Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Know This Much is True

We had a very crazy 2 weeks. This will be the abridged version of things that I will hopefully be writing about in the next few weeks.

  • I am not awesome in a crisis. I did however, surprise myself by being more of a half full than half empty during the Pre-Halloween N'Oreaster, Storm Albert and subsequent 9 day power outage.
  • I am not nearly as graceful or brave as my children during a stomach bug. I cry, wretch and carry on. Until I realize that one of my own is there in the trenches with me, barfing up his guts. It activated my mommy response and I was able to rise to the occasion.
  • I don't find candlelight or fireplaces nearly as charming as I used to. I have a renewed empathy for people who go without. I understand now why you hear about people burning down their apartment buildings and homes trying desperately to keep their families warm. We were lucky that during the day the temperature didn't dip below 50 but the nights were cold.
  • These are things I can live without (in an emergency)... cable tv, hot food, telephone, heat overnight when I am in bed....
  • These are things I can NOT live without (in an emergency)... hot water, coffee, web access, heat in the evening and enough candlelight to read by.
  • I am truly grateful that we had a full sized warm home to relocate to on the Cape when we needed it. As well as invites from family to stay with them.
  • I yell too much and need to find some kind of self soothing methods, whether it's yoga, meditation or taking up smoking, something's got to give. If I've learned nothing from the people around me, including my immediate family, is that you never know what life's gonna throw at you, and you better be able to handle it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stay Little

My oldest is turning 10 on Monday, Halloween. I am having a really hard time with it. Not the turning ten part, but the fast train we are on that is heading right for middle school, high school, college..... I had to pick my son up over at the high school the other day, and looking at these enourmous, lurking, loud, texting, swearing, flirting teenageradults had me sweating and losing my breath. Literally. This is right around the corner. And next year when my tiny girl (why oh why didn't we decide to hold her in preschool for another year? well, she was ready to go to kindergarten and the state said, go ahead and send her, and when you are sending your first born to kindergarten, you don't even have a clue about the great big world you are sending them out into) is going to middle school, the eighth graders at her school will be gearing up for high school!! It's all too much. She's always been a mommy's girl, and still is. She loves to watch Extreme Couponing with me and loves to find snippets of things that we have in common, but there is a gentle pulling away. Sometimes with a look, or a tone of voice. This Halloween, she's going trick or treating with friends. At first, (I'm ashamed to admit) I tried to guilt her out of it... Are you sure? Really? Because, you know it's your birthday too, and I guess it'll just be me and Meggie and Crid... But then I realized what I was doing and back pedaled and told her to go have fun with her friends. I guess that's the right thing to do. I hate that next year she won't be with her brother and sister at the same cozy little school. It feels so far flung to have them scattered all over town. I don't like it. I don't like it. I don't like it. But I guess she's ready, and probably wouldn't take too likely to me trying to hold her back in 5th grade, even though I really want to.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Momma Bear

I am not a perfect parent by any account. I yell, I stomp my feet sometimes, and many nights my kids eat cereal for dinner. However, the balance is that I love my kids like crazy, do everything I can to keep them safe and happy and protected out in the world. They know at home, no matter what they do, that they are loved and cared for. That said, I am now going to go on a shortish rant about how angry I am at our school nurse.

When my oldest was in second grade, she was on a daily medication that unbeknownst to us was the cause of headaches, stomachaches, loss of appetite and full blown panic attacks. It took us several months of continuous trips to the doctor, specialists, eye doctors, a battery of blood tests, agonizing mornings before school, and yes, many many trips to the school nurse. She lost 5 pounds over the course of about 3 months, which doesn't seem like alot until you take into account that she only weighed about 55  pounds at the time. So she lost approximately 10% of her body weight from not eating. We had her tested for Lyme, mono, pneumonia, and even leukemia. We talked about taking her to a psychologist to see if there was something going on that she just wouldn't tell us. Finally, one morning up at school I was on the playground with Meghan after the bell had rung and she came outside to see me (totally against the rules and very out of character for her to break any rules at school) and I had to bring her in through the office because the doors automatically lock. After speaking to the vice principal about what had been  going on for months she decided to have the school psychologist call us, since I had told her the extent of her panic attacks and anxiety. When my husband and I met with him he was taking general background info from us and we mentioned the medicine she was on. Mind you, her pediatrician never found this to be a red flag. He had a subtle but jarring reaction when we mentioned it, but didn't give much info except that the medicine could have some side effects that we might want to look into. We went home, and looked into the side effects, and she had 100% of the side effects from this particular medication.  We took her off it immediately and saw a gradual but steady improvement in all of her symptoms and side effects.

Flash forward to yesterday. Three years later and this woman still holds some kind of weird grudge against my daughter, who when she was 7 went to her office... at her job... that she is PAID FOR... when she needed medical attention too frequently for her liking. I know some kids, when I was a teacher I called them nurslings, like to go to the nurse to get out of class, or for a little extra attention. But mostly the kids that are there too frequently are there because they need a little extra tlc. Maybe they have anxiety, maybe something bad is going on at home, or they are nervous kids, regardless, you are there to CARE FOR CHILDREN. I'm pretty sure it's in the job description. So anyway, she fell at recess yesterday and the on duty teacher sent her for an ice pack. "what is it now Erin?" is how she greets her now, any time she goes to the nurse. Like a few weeks ago when she had a sinus infection. And when she went back to return the ice pack.. a clipped "what Erin???" GFY lady. Stop being mean to my kid.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I'm not a runner, but I surprised myself this past weekend by running my first 5k faster than I would have ever expected. I normally run a 15 minute mile on the treadmill. At the race I did an 11.14 mile, and finished in under 35 minutes. It's not from hard work, or dedication; it was because of this kid....
My almost 10 year old ran this race like a pro. She beat me and she would have beaten me by a lot more if I hadn't been afraid of losing her in the crowd at the finish line and let her go sooner. She didn't train. Heck, she didn't even have running sneakers on. I literally thought I was going to throw up as I ran the last 50 yards. On the video that the marathon posted I'm one of the few people walking across the finish line. Erin just sailed on through like FloJo. And then played a soccer game that afternoon. And another one the next day.

I have had "run a 5K" on my bucket list for years but never had the motivation or inclination to actually do one. For some reason, watching these races makes me very emotional. It's so inspiring to see people running or walking for a cause, or because they have overcome something, or used running as a way to better themselves. I did it because Erin asked me to run it with her. I knew that if I promised her, I would do it. So we did. I'm so incredibly proud of her and I'm proud of myself for really pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Now that I know that I can do it, if I want to do another it won't be a big deal. This was a big deal.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Max and Ruby

When I started writing this blog, I thought I would use it more frequently to chronicle funny little anecdotes that my kids say, that don't necessarily need to make it to Facebook. The other day I was letting Meghan (recently turned 6) choose an episode of Max and Ruby from OnDemand. She doesn't get the opportunity to pick a show, since her almost 10 year old sister monopolizes it with Food Network shows. But I'm glad that when given the chance, she picks from the little kids menu, Max and Ruby, The Fresh Beat Band, and just this summer asked to watch a few episodes of Sesame Street. So my sweet little innocent third born when given her choices of which title to choose, I think it was Rocket and Fairy Tale. She told me she wants a different one. Max and Ruby, Ruby gets a Boobie. And started cracking up at her own joke. And the beat goes on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Room With a View

I don't have much to write about today, but this is the view from my desk, the hydrangeas are from my garden and the sunflowers are from the awesomely fabulous Trader Joe's.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Below is my memory of September 11. But first I need to comment on something that has always stuck in the back of my mind and I never heard it explored in its obviousness on the news. In the US, our distress call, nationwide, is 911. Did they pick that day on purpose. Snickering behind their hands? Knowing the bedlam they would cause. The fact that they would obliterate an enormous demographic of our 911 responders? At the same time rendering our ability to dial 911 useless? It is too obvious to even seem ironic. I'm surprised that I haven't heard it discussed.

As a former New Yorker, accent on the former, I felt like a poseur when I was feeling what I was feeling on and after September 11. I felt like I needed to validate that it somehow hit me harder, because my father had been a FDNY firefighter, and only had just recently retired. I knew people that died. Only 2 I could call real friends but there were many others that I had known, worked with, been at parties with, went to college with. I felt like I somehow had to acknowledge that, without being a narcisstic drama queen, or having a clever anecdote in a conversation when the all too common conversations about the attacks came up. "Oh, you're from New York City... Did you know....." I was a peripheral player, who was feeling homesick and terrified and depressed and displaced and couldn't believe that I was bringing a baby into this world. I was obsessed with obituaries and the then limited internet, trying to piece together my purpose or place in the craziness that was our post-911 world.

I copied this from the Notes of my facebook page; my memories of September 11.

On September 11,  I was at home in Scituate, Massachusetts; 8 months pregnant. I had opted not to start the school year since my baby was due in just a few weeks. I wasn't sleeping at night and had gotten into the habit of sleeping in. The phone rang shortly after the first plane hit. It was Tom in an incredibly calm voice asking me if I had the tv on. "You may want to turn it on. A plane just hit the World Trade Center." I immediately started to panic because, as a former Staten Islander the possibility of knowing several to hundreds of people that worked there was very real. Aunts and cousins that travelled in on express buses. Friends and family on the ferry and in the subways. Then the second plane hit. Like everyone else I was nauseated and appalled  by people jumping out of buildings. Then the collapse. Now I was freaking out because, not just for the obvious reasons of all the death and devestation. My sister worked the 10 am shift at a midtown hotel, and would have been on a bus into the city at 9 am. I couldn't get calls through. Phones were completely out at my parents house. I deperately called my aunt (who's 2 boys were FDNY EMTs and were probably at a makeshift triage unit waiting for the injured who never came) and my parents' neighbors, just to see if everyone was safe. Just busy signals no answers for hours.
 I was silently crying my eyes out. Riveted. Alone. In Massachusetts. I felt so removed and homesick, even though I hadn't lived in New York for 6 years at that point. My mother in law called me to distract me, but I didn't realize it at the time. She was rambling on about the movie Princess Diaries starring Anne Hathaway. I kept switching the topic to the Towers. She was trying to keep me from going into labor a month early by keeping me calm, but I couldn't see it then, I thought she'd lost her mind. I got off the phone and started going through my mental rolodex of all the people I had lost touch with who could possibly be there; firemen, police officers, finance and wall street people. I kept hearing about Cantor Fitzgerald. So familiar. I was wracking my brain. Billy Micciulli, a high school friend had given me his business card when I worked downtown. Holy crap. It had been a long time. Maybe he didn't work there anymore. Unfortunately he was the first of several names I would find out hadn't made it that day.
I finally got through to my parents, only to find that my sister hadn't gone into work that day, my aunt had missed a bus, my cousin was fine. But my retired firefighter father had grabbed his gear, hopped in the back of a pickup truck and joined countless other off duty and retired Bravest. Great.
I was obsessed with the television trying to watch and see if another of the few survivors would climb out of the rubble to the applause of the bucket brigade of so many hardworking people digging out rubble, bucket by bucket. There were so few. There were rumors as the hours passed of others, alive and trapped, everyone waiting. Names of the deceased started to trickle in, and I waited with baited breath for someone I knew. Amazingly, only a few friends were lost to me that day. Kevin Reilly, a smart, funny classmate of mine from Oneonta, lost his life in the line of duty that day as a firefighter. My father lost friends that day, but what was more difficult for him I think, were his friends' sons. A legacy lost.
So many brave men and women were taken that day, and I have so much respect and appreciation for the men and women who stepped up after that day to take their places, whether they had been waiting for a spot to open up at the academies or that went out after that day to take a stand. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fireman's Daughter

Every year as 9/11 draws close, I'm reminded of a story from about seven years ago. It was a hot July day and Tom had just left for Boston to do his 2 weeks Reserve Duty. I decided to take the kids, then ages almost 3 and almost 1 down to my parents house for a few days. We had one cell phone at the time, and luckily I had it with me. It was broiling hot and we were stuck in traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway heading for the George Washington Bridge when my car started to overheat. Not just overheat, but there was a "pop" and then steam starting pouring out from under the hood. I slowly got over into the right lane and threw my hazards on. "ohshitohshitohshitohshit" I was trying not to panic, and realizing that I could not call Tom, I decided to call my dad, down in Staten Island, on the other end of summer rush hour  and Jersey shore traffic. He told me to call 911 and in the meantime I should try to get the vehicle off the highway.

I called 911, explained that I had 2 small children with me and they said they would send someone out to help. At least 45 minutes went by in dead locked traffic and I finally see a police car go by on the opposite side of traffic. Eventually I flagged down a police car that was not aware of my situation, and they parked their car behind mine .  Finally, I asked them if they would follow me to a police station so I could wait safely (I was in the Bronx) until my dad could come and get us. They kind of rolled their eyes at this damsel in distress and gave me directions to the precinct a few blocks from the highway.  At this point it had been several hours and I had split Christopher's milk bottle between the 2 of them so they wouldn't dehydrate. I went into the police station, and they were too busy to help someone without a real problem. I looked around and the place was crawling with young moms with toddlers in tow, in there for reasons unknown to me. For all I know, they were making pests of themselves just to beat the heat and enjoy some free ac. Who knows.

Somehow, I realized thru my bleary eyed panic and desperation that the precinct was attached to a fire house. Well lordy lordy. Didn't my former firefighter father tell me when I first got my drivers license, "If you're ever lost or in trouble, go to a firehouse. Tell them your dad's a fireman and they will take care of you." I left the precinct in a huff and knocked on the door to the firehouse. I told my sob story to the guy who answered the door, including that my dad had told me seek refuge in a firehouse, and he welcomed us right in. He brought us into the huge kitchen, and gave my kids water and apples. Found some Dunkin Donuts from that morning's breakfast and gave the kids each a donut with directions to help themselves if they wanted more. In the meantime, 2 of the guys asked for my keys, physically pushed my car up the street and into the station and began tinkering around under the hood!!!!!!! Some of the other guys brought us into the lounge, which was rows of old sofas all pushed together and encouraged the kids to jump on the couches and put PBS on the giant screen tv.

By the time my mom and dad arrived, they had jerry rigged the car so that it would run, and my dad drove it while the rest of us followed in my parents' car. I thanked them profusely and swore to myself that I would do something nice for them, in fact, hey, maybe I'll even contact a newspaper to share my story. But, I. Never. Did. Anything. I usually avoid the CrossBronx when I drive these days, I always feel like a heel that I never even sent them a thank you note. I didn't know the name of the Company, and then life got in the way. But I never forgot their kindness and the way that it was no big deal to them to help people out. People in need. That's part of the job description, but it seems to go deeper. I'm thankful.
This is my dad and one of his best friends the morning of 9/11, a couple of retired firemen, who went into their basements, grabbed their old gear and got the hell over to downtown Manhattan, to do what they could to help.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Trying to keep writing to find my groove again...

It's been a busy week for us around here. Last Wednesday we defied the odds and pulled off 2 consecutive birthday parties in one day. Rented a bounce house and decided to get our money's worth, checked my sanity at the door. We celebrated Meghan's 6th birthday and Christopher's 8th. It's so weird to me that my youngest is now 6. She's still totally the baby around here. I also would have thought that we would have had a 4th, a surprise, if you will, at this point. But the older they get, the farther away from babyhood, the less realistic it seems. I went shopping for my cousin's baby shower yesterday too. Bought the baby girl 2 of the most insanely adorable fancy yet comfy BabyGap dresses. I wish I had dressed my girls up more when they were babies. They were fall babies, so they spent a good amount of time in cozy footie jammies. That and, we never really had to go anywhere, so why bother dressing up?

School started last Thursday. The 2 older kids went off and into school as expected, and as expected my little one clung and cried like she'd never see me again. Her very capable first grade teacher handed her the class sign to distract her and sent her in to lead the rest of her class. A few more tears on day 2. Today, she went in like a champ. Fingers are crossed for another good day. I have a Squinky for her as a prize for being big, and more in a bag for additional bribery as the week goes on.

Sunday was Meg and Christopher's actual birthday. It was also the Constitution State Feis. Erin took 4 medals in the Light Jig, Reel, Slip Jig and HornPipe. Very exciting stuff. Especially since she got 2 gold medals, (her first time for that). The feis was held at an amusement park so we spent the rest of the day enjoying some good old fashioned family fun. Topped the day off with a traditional Carvel ice cream cake. 

Yesterday, Labor Day, Tom took Chris to a Yankee game and the girls and I went to the mall. The mall is a big deal for my kids because I never ever take them there. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Pretzel Time kiosk for pretzel nuggets and fake cheese dip. Delish. We went to Claires, where unfortunately there were no "red-line" sales items, so we ended up paying full price for a pair of soccer ball earrings (too heavy for Erin's earlobes) and another disgusting, probably made in China and pthalate filled makeup kit. Yuck. It was a nice visit though, and I forced myself not to rush them, or snap at them, and just relax and enjoy them.

Friday, September 2, 2011


The kids are on day 2 of being back at school. Yesterday I took a completely lazy kid-free day, caught up on my MTV Challenge Reunion, ate several cupcakes and went grocery shopping. Today I felt like I needed to try to earn my keep around here. I had to strip away the old calk and dig out all the junk around the tub again because I used the wrong kind last time. I did the "cyclical" chores that are neverending, like emptying and refilling the dishwasher, laundry (and actually put it away - bonus!), cleaned the kids' bathroom (well, halfway), and finished organizing Christopher's room, and went to Whole Foods to round out our groceries. I need a new cell phone because mine is completely dead and I think I'm going to stick with an old school phone, with texting. As much as I drool for an iphone, I think the added web access will just serve as additional distraction for me. Plus, the addtional monthly charge isn't that appealing.

I have to go get the kids in a few minutes. Meghan cried again this morning and had to be pulled away by her teacher. Brutal. I have a had an anxious stomach all day. When I emptied her lunch box yesterday, I saw that she, for the second year now, won't throw her trash away in the cafeteria trash bins. There are all kinds of rules about recycling, liquids, trash, finishing healthy snacks before treats, etc. All things that we take for granted as status quo, but that scare the crap out of a brand new first grader. I told her that if she wants to bring her trash home (I know, I'm a total enabler) that she needs to dispose of it as soon as we get home. She burst into tears and told me that if you're not finished with your lunch when the kids that are lined up go outside, you have to go by yourself. Great. Now I'm afraid that she's not going to eat her lunch so she can get in line in time. And they don't have snack time, since lunch is smack in the middle of the day. Anyhoots, that's where we are Day 2. The big kids love their teachers and all is back to normal with them.

Friday, August 19, 2011

You've Been Served

The kids go back to school in two weeks. We have been together almost every single moment of this summer vacation, the exception of a week of full day sports camp for Erin and then Erin and Chris did a half day soccer camp for a week. No break from Meghan, and all access kidtime the rest of the time. Today I blew my lid. My mom and dad are visiting, so I always love showing off my skills as a model parent when they are around. Here's how the morning went.

I put on water to poach an egg for myself at 830am after having 2 cups of coffee. In the meantime Erin asked me to do her nails, including removing the old gunky stuff and therefore I also had to trim her desperately jagged nails. Repeat for Meghan. At the same time, Christopher needed help gettting into his rollerblades. My dad called from the kitchen that the water was boiling. I asked him to turn it off because now I was in the midst of manis and pedis. My mom mentioned that she was going to take a shower. Prompting Meghan and Christopher to fight over who was next. (Couldn't be bothered with showers last night, much to the grossed-outedness of my mother) Yell at kids for fighting. A bee flies onto the porch. Erin starts waving a cup of apple juice to keep it away, dumping the contents on herself, the porch and a chair. She heads to the shower. My mom calls from upstairs that Chris would prefer a bath. I start to let loose a string of PG rated obscenities about FINE I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY DO GOD GEEZ IVE BEEN TRYING TO EAT BREAKFAST FOR AN HOUR DONT YOU KNOW THAT YOU NEED TO LEARN PATIENCE AND TO WAIT THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU GOD YOU GUYS ARE READY TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yup, I bit my tongue all summer long making sure I didn't utter that phrase. But I did. I feel crappy and blame myself for creating this system of instant gratification. I've likened it to a short order cook. When I worked at the snack shack of a swim club when I was a teenager I always tore thru the line taking 3 to 4 customers at a time to keep the line moving. Inevitibly making errors along the way. Just trying to move them through the lunch rush to get a chance to relax when everyone had been served. Being a parent doesn't work like that. When you are home with your kids you can't really rest, but you can be rest assured that there is always one more repeat customer coming back because they ordered their burger without pickles. What I've taken from this is that I need to teach my kids to wait. They'll be better people for it, and they will have a much better shot of getting what they want.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lily Pads

We took these pictures on my birthday at the Cape. We've walked past this lake, Lake Elizabeth, countless times in the past 10 years that we've come to stay at my in-laws house on Cape Cod on our way to the beach, and I have only noticed them peripherally. Then Erin asked what lily pads felt like and we decided to investigate. I love how very green they are. And for the record they are smooth on the top and slimy on the bottom.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Little House

Hooray for me -- I finally figured out how to scan pictures into my computer. The only problem is I don't know if I will be able to locate them in the future. Anyway, this picture is our first little house that we lived in when we were in Scituate that I wrote about a while back. This may actually be the only photo I own of it. That's Erin in the stroller with Tom next to her. He and my dad built that tiny front porch right before I came home from the hospital with her, because the previous stoop was crumbling stone and I was afraid I would fall carrying the baby. It was completed about a day or two before I went into labor. I think this picture was taken right before we moved out.

Friday, July 8, 2011

This and That

I love this kitchen from Better Homes and Gardens, and particularly the track lighting on the ceiling.

These images are from a blog called Something Blue Maine, which makes me want to be a wedding stylist, a designer and to live in Maine.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Backsplash Gorgeousness

Lazy blogging and grabbing inspiring pictures from decorating blogs of what I would love if we ever get around to doing our counters and backsplash. This way I have an easy place to find them. I would love to credit whomever originally posted these, but that ship has sailed. Happy 4th!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


This is my beloved Scituate, MA. We lived here 10 years ago and I never really appreciated it. I was always itching to get back closer to NYC, with Fairfield County, CT as our ideal place to put down roots. We moved from Texas, to Washington DC, with the Coast Guard and when Tom put in his papers to get out, he had a potential job offer with GE Capital in Fairfield that the guy told him was his. Just waiting on a formality from HR. We literally were down to the wire, moving out of our DC apartment when we got the call that he didn't get the job. I still remember his buddies were holding our enormous bedroom mirror when the call came and I excitedly passed the phone to Tom. No dice. They gave it to some internal. We were off to Massachusetts and a job with Frito Lay. Womp Womp. Disappointment shadowed the excitement of the move. The Frito job was our safety net. We quickly shifted gears (we had no choice), and got excited for moving to Boston. Except we couldn't afford to move to Boston. We ended up in a 3rd floor walk up in Braintree. We couldn't even fit alot of our furniture up the stairs and had to store it in Tom's parents basement. All of these items were newly purchased since we had just been married a year before.

The apartment never quite felt like home. Almost immediately we started looking at homes and on a lark found ourselves in the quaint little beach and fishing town of Scituate. There was a house on a marsh, with views of beach beyond the marshes. It was out of our price range but we were in love with it. In hindsight, we probably could have made it work if we both hadn't started grad school the year before. But we found a cute little 2 bedroom fixer upper, and got to work. Within a few months I was pregnant with Erin. Life was really coming together. I loooooved my teaching job and graduate classes, and was expecting my first baby in November. We put in the cursory New Englandy hydrangeas, shingled the cottage in cedar shake and were living the dream. But I was always pushing. How about Westchester? Why don't you try Gillette in New Haven? How about looking in New York City? Couldn't settle in and enjoy myself. We enjoyed the restaurants and shops in Scituate Harbor, but the grass was always greener down near New York.

Erin was born shortly after September 11th and by then I was truly homesick. Postpartum set in and colic exascerbated it. The six hour drive to New York to see family was brutal with a screaming baby. It never occurred to me to take her to the beach once she was crawling. I had no idea what to do with a baby at the beach. What if she doesn't like the sand? or the sun? or the water? I wish I had known then that babies are at their happiest at the beach. So we sat in our tiny little house and watched insane amounts of Elmo. Soon I was pregnant with Christopher and lo and behold a job that Tom had interviewed for in Central CT months before came through. Tom finally conceded and we moved our growing little family to West Hartford. It took me about 3 weeks to realize how much I missed Scituate. We are pretty much landlocked here. The summers can be stifling. The closest beaches are over an hour away. Tom hadn't wanted to leave Scituate at all. I got what I had been pestering him for, and while we were now in a big beautiful home, I missed Scituate.

So here we are. I love it here. I love the friends I've made, and the kids are at a great school and have made great friends in the neighborhood. The town and my neighborhood are unbelievable. It's all I ever wanted. But whenever we go to the Cape to visit Tom's parents we pass through on our way. And eat at our favorite restaurants and take them to the beach and the lighthouse. They have the same sense of ownership over Scituate that Tom and I have. Last year the little marsh house came back on the market. It's still on the market a year later. It's supposed to be ours. I know it. I see us retiring there. I would love to get there sooner. Maybe it will come back to us in another ten years.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Play Ball

This picture warms my soul. Tom coached Christopher's baseball team this spring. This picture says it all. Father pitching to son in the instructional league of Little League. He loved it and it really made Christopher love the game. He put his heart, and spirit and love for the game into coaching. I see my husband and his dad together and they are total pals. They love going to Yankee games together and watching any and all sports together. Their phone conversations are about all of the New York teams. It's like from a bygone era. His dad is from the Bronx, and like anyone who grew up near Yankee stadium, the love of the game is coursing through their veins. I see my husband passing this relationship on to my son. It's great. He's a great dad. Happy Father's Day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tooth Fairy

The tooth fairy came for Meg for the first time last night. Meghan wrote her a cute note and left the tooth in a little blue Tiffany jewelry box. I was excited to see how excited she would be when she woke up this morning. Instead, this is what I heard at 6:08 am. "THE TOOTH FAIRY DIDN'T COME LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!" I went running in to help her look. "SHE DIDN'T EVEN TAKE MY NOTE, SHE JUST BENT IT!!!!" I helped her locate the cursory $2 and looked at the note, showing her that the fairy had written her a tiny little note on the back. "I DON'T EVEN BELIEVE IN THE TOOTH FAIRY!!! I WANT MY TOOTH BACK!!"
Hmmmmmm. How did my skeptical daughter get to this place? Oh that's right. She needs to go to bed earlier. She's killing me. Mad at the tooth fairy. Mad at everyone. I said to Tom, how does she not believe? Where did this come from? He said, "I think she believes in the tooth fairy. She's just mad at her."
Starting the day as such is usually an indicator for how the rest of the day will play out. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Basement (Before Pictures)

Now that the porch is all done (photos to follow another day) we are moving on to the basement refinish. Warning: these before pictures are not for the weak of heart.


Gross, right?

Too damp...

Too dank...

Too dark.

The view to the Laundry Room. A laundry room re-do is on the wish list. Highly unlikely that it will ever be nicer than what you see here.

This cozy space has been my "home gym". I'm hoping for something more contemporary. Notice the hot water pipes overhead.


I'm feeling that end of school feeling, where I am looking forward to not making lunches and lazy mornings but at the same time feeling a slight buzz of panic about what I will do with the kids 24/7. It's definitely much easier now than even a year ago, but they can go from zero to fighting in no time flat around here. I'm feeling really bittersweet about the end of this school year also because Erin will be going into fifth grade, which means only one more year of having all of my babies accounted for under one roof. Next is middle school, and school buses. Less control on my part and it's freaking me out. Meghan will be finished with kindergarten and that's the end of another era. She's really not a baby anymore. And Christopher will continue to do his thing with what I hope will be a seamless transition from second to third grade. The only difference there is that he will be "upstairs" with the big kids. Meghan still cries when I have to leave her classroom or drop her off at dance, Christopher calls for me up to 5 times after bedtime to "take his dreams" and ask if he can sleep in our bed, and Erin hasn't walked into school with her classmates at all this year, opting instead to walk to the kindergarten playground with me to see her sister off. Often I get irritated or roll my eyes and long for personal space, but I'm thinking that I'd better be careful what I wish for because as Darius Rucker says it won't be like this forever.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I had lunch yesterday with an old friend. She went to college with me, and lived down the hall from me in my freshman year dorm. We hit it off right away with the same oddball sense of humor and cemented our friendship early in the fall of 1990 when a stereotypical mean girl in our hall lashed out at her in a stereotypical mean girl way. Soon our schedules were synched with English classes and Stage Makeup electives and since she was a year ahead of me I would basically take her schedule and go register a few days later with the same classes. We have the same name and our last names Lyons and Logan were so similar that we were practically interchangeable, and answered to both. With Jenny around I was never alone. We pledged a sorority together (her idea) and ironically, but when she lost interest and found a new circle of friends I became more enmeshed in the sorority and had to find other friends to fill my time. We would always circle back and were each other's touchstone when we needed it. She graduated and quite literally travelled the world and I still had one year of college that I stretched to two, with no interest in growing up or finding a job. I worked at the on-campus daycare and lived on snippets of allowance that my parents still sent me. Against my will I graduated and finally found a job in NYC. Jenny had been back in New York for some time, working glamourous jobs in fashion and for magazines. Occasionally we would run into each other. She went to Colorado and I to Texas and began what I refer to as my "uptight newlywed phase". We weren't in each other's wedding parties but went to each other's weddings. As we had babies we gradually got more in touch, again circling back to the comfortable place we once were. I ended up in Connecticut eight years ago, now she's been here almost three. Now we see each other about once a month, sometimes more sometimes less. But it's like we never left.
When we get together now at the tail end of our 30's we marvel at where we are... sitting in a chi-chi restaurant in Old Greenwich, walking around the boutiques, pretending to not be shocked at the price tags on the clothes ($275 for a cardigan!!!!!) and settling on buying a pair of $9 earrings. Just a couple of kids from Brooklyn and Staten Island, playing dress up and trying to be grown ups. I'm glad to have you back.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Meghan is in her room for the second time since 4pm... this time for the night. It's 6pm. She's had it. I've had it. She had her field day in the blazing hot humid sunshine this afternoon and cannot keep it together. She is alternately screaming psychotically and begging me in the saddest voice I've ever heard for one more chance. I can't do it. Her tantrums have been tantamount lately and I know that we are at least partly to blame because she's exhausted from all the wonderful things that May has to offer. Concerts, sporting events, field trips, playing outside after dinner. Frankly, it's too much for my 5 year old. But something's got to give, and for once I stuck to my guns and made her stay up there and fiiiiiiiiiiinally at 650 she fell asleep. I'm looking forward to having the old Meghan back tomorrow. If even for a day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Little Girl

My money would be much better spent at J.Crew then ever signing up my 5 year olds' for activities. I don't know why I didn't learn my lesson with Kindergarten Daisies for Erin, or Kindergarten Basketball for Christopher.. But my biggest activity fail with the highest financial windfall (well, opposite of windfall) and emotional turmoil has been Kindergarten Lacrosse for Meghan. $40 activity fee and $75 in equipment plus shorts and cleats... throw in the bribary purchases to get her on the field, which no longer work. So many tears. Actual sobbing, not even the drama kind. Too much. And I get it. Know what activities I did in Kindergarten? Kindergarten. Half day kindergarten at that. What did I expect?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Laundry List

I've been having strange dreams lately. Stress dreams I think. I'm busy. We are all busy. Either you're busy with work, or you're busy with kids, or both, but everyone's busy. May is insane. Between school and activities, recitals, Communions, birthday parties, and sports. There's just not enough time. I can't help but think that there has to be a better way. For example, school concerts. There's just no way that my (and your) 4th grader is that much better at the saxophone now than she was in that confoundedly long month of March. How about we do the concerts then? And the first Communions. April? Just to take the edge off. My dream the other night was that I was at Disney and bought a huge bunch of balloons for my kids, but kept forgetting, and letting go. Then I'd go running after them, and leap super-humanly into the sky and grab some back, only to forget and let go again. It's so cliche and telling of what's going on in my day to day. And yours. I know. Life has become a laundry list. And don't even get me started on the laundry.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Titanium Ted

Today we participated in the Greater Hartford Arthritis Walk. My friend's son is this year's ambassador. He's 9 and has been suffering from an acute case of Juvenile Arthritis (JA) since he was 4, I believe. You'd never know it. He's an amazing athlete, and has been playing Travel Soccer (very competitive) since he was 7. The only way you'd know that something might be wrong is that the medicine he takes gives him terrible psoriasis and he breaks bones very easily so he's frequently in a cast. He misses quite a bit of school, but more often than not, he's there, even if he's had a treatment. Now the arthritis is in his eyes and he had to have eye surgery and have special drops put in his eyes 3 or 4 times a day. We've never done a "walk" before. But I was inspired by Ted's story and signed us up. I'm hooked. I'm easily moved. The letter they sent out made me sob. Watching my husband complete a 5K (no big deal for him) has me welling up. Not just the finish line, just watching him run. I follow several blogs and one of them is written by the wife of our school's 5th grade teacher. She's 30 and beautiful and fighting an uphill battle with Leukemia. And she was out there. Every time I looked at her, I was so moved to where I couldn't speak. Because if I did, I openly cried. Here's someone out there, fighting the battle of her life, supporting another cause. I'm moved. I'm impressed. I'm embarrassed that I don't do more. I have no excuses, I'm healthy and strong. Move it or lose it, right?
My sweet healthy strong lucky kids and their friends walking for a good cause.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


if i could do it again, i would be a wedding stylist, or interior designer or i wouldn't have bombed that interview with seventeen magazine back in 1996. i wanted it so bad. but i definitely wouldn't have gone to graduate school to become an elementary school teacher. to be honest i was just in it for the glory of owning one of those teacher planbooks. had i known they were readily available at the dollar store i could have saved myself a lot of time and energy. my education is dated after 10 years of stay at home mom-ness. i think it's misleading to think that teaching is great for people who want to have a family. yes. if you want to continue working full time, it's a no brainer. but you can't do it part-time, or according to your own schedule except in rare instances. or if you've been doing it for a long time and can kind of call the shots. but if i had done the design thing, or the magazine thing i could have kept a toe in the biz and still had my time at home. but who knows? if i had gotten that job at seventeen, i don't think all the bar-b-q in texas could have gotten me to walk away from that dream job and into my current life. i dunno. i do know that trying to figure out career options at 38, ok, almost 39, is not easy.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pip Pip Pip and Doodley Doooooo

I wish I had watched the Royal Wedding. This is all I saw this morning. Barbara Walters jabbering on in the background and not a snarky comment to be found.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Drive Down

Our plan was to leave at 4am on a Friday morning to avoid NYC traffic and rush hour. Proud to say we were on the road at 4:09 and on our quiet way. The kids were still drowsy and snuggled in with their pillows, fleece blankets and their "guys".  Fifteen minutes into the drive Meghan says that she doesn't feel well. She's had mild car sickness in the past, but nothing major. I looked at her and just knew she was going to throw up, so I grabbed my handy carsick kit (forgot to pack the giant coffee can that I used to keep in the car) and had her throwing up into ziploc gallon sized bags and wads of paper towels. She didn't get a drop on the interior of the new car. What a champ. She fell asleep and I assumed we were done, based on past performance. At this point, Erin is freaking out because she panics anytime anyone throws up. Meghan woke up 15 minutes later and threw up again. And again. Slept for an hour. Threw up again. Oh, and then Erin threw up. Cue the scene from Stand By Me at the pie eating contest. At this point we are past NYC and travelling South on the NJ Turnpike. I'm ready to throw in the towel and try to convince Tom of the same. He's not buying it. I'm thinking, new car, her stomach can't handle a truck's shocks versus the smooth ride of a minivan and we are screwed the whole way down to Florida. And back. We stopped at a rest stop and got her Dramamine and ginger ale. Up it came and she fell back asleep for 3 hours. As long as she was asleep, we were going to keep on truckin. Didn't she wake up just right as rain? Apparently she had a fast moving stomach bug that worked it's way out before we even hit Washington DC.

Monday, April 25, 2011


We drove to Naples, FL last week for spring break. We stayed at my parents' condo which was awesome, because, well, it's always pretty great to not have to pay to stay somewhere awesome. To be honest, I wasn't that excited for this vacation beforehand, mostly because I didn't know what to expect. We've been to Disney a bunch of times and I thought we might be disappointed. I was wrong. It was beautiful in it's simplicity. Perfect beach days, quality family time around the clock and minimal fighting between the siblings. I big time want to be a snow bird some day. Here are some sepia moments (and some black and white).

This hat kills me. I love it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Inspirations and Decisions

That much closer to making a dream a reality.. Here is the inspiration and also the final choice of the rug I hope to go with in the living room. I was able to bring samples home (awesome) from a beautiful little shop in West Hartford Center, called Comina. I wanted to move right in. Everything in the store was absolutely and insanely perfect.
I have it laid out on the floor with a nautical chart that Tom got me from the Coast Guard of Scituate Massachusetts, where we used to live. I swear I had this idea for years, way before maps became trendy. I love the colors in the rug with the colors on the chart (I want to call it a map, but was corrected one too many times that it is indeed a chart, not a map).

Here is the first runner up. It too was goooooorgeous, but the other one felt right. Those are my navy blue toes at the bottom of the photo.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Car Max

In the last 2-3 weeks we've had to replace both of our cars, opting for a 2006 Altima for Tom and a 2008 Honda Pilot for the family truckster. We both agreed that this is it, we are hoping to get through at the very least 5, possibly 8 or 9 years out of these cars. We also realized that there is a good chance that Tom's Altima may be Erin's First Car. How scary is that? She's old enough now (9) that in 7 years SHE WILL HAVE HER DRIVER'S LICENSE. Slow down the ride. I want to get off.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can't seem to find what I'm looking for

I have been on a little bit of a writing hiatus, as well as a renovating/decorating hiatus. Also suffering from a bit of writer's block. Here's what I've been rearranging as of late. Bought the wrong size rug for my living room. So we moved it to Meghan's room, which looks great and has given her a whole new reason to tantrum when I won't allow her to sleep on the new rug. I moved the burgandy beast of a wrong carpet purchase from the living room which I am trying to lighten up and beachify and into the dining room. Definitely gives it a more traditional vibe, but it works for now. Mentally shopping a Dash and Albert rug for the living room.
See the burgandy? I hate it. I thought it was red at the store, and I never return things, so I've lived with it and hated it for a year. Moved it across the hall to the dining room. It kind of anchors the room, and is not quite as obnoxious.

I love the way this light rug looks but it is way too small...

I think I may finally bite the bullet and buy a Dash and Albert rug, which will give me so much joy in my heart, but it's a definite splurge. Below is the same rug, but in Meghan's room. A much better fit. Besides, we'd have trashed this in about 4 days.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Trying to help my 4th grader last night with her math homework. Apparently there is something called Base Ten Shorthand that I don't think we ever learned. Also, converting decimals to metric measure, impossible. I had that pit of my stomach feeling that I used to get in middle school and high school, when the math was just too hard to wrap my brain around. And honestly, I think this math is what we learned in 7th grade. Oh, and did I mention that I have a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and am certified to teach this crap? It blows my mind. Last week I had her conference. I love her teacher, but I think the stakes are so high, and the pressure on these teachers is such, that they need to teach above the test. Just to stay at the status quo. Erin is a young 4th grader. There are some kids that were turning 10 before she was turning 9 in her class this year. Legally, she was eligible and I think ready to start kindergarten when the state said she was. The parents that held their kids for an extra year were also within their rights. I don't begrudge them the choice to make decisions based on what was best for their families. What I do resent though is being told that Erin's is a "high" class, meaning that they are performing above grade level. It is also a class of older kids. So she is teaching "up here" ((hand gesture signifying just how high)) and that she is not going to "dumb it down". I should "be glad" that Erin will have had some exposure to it when it is taught next year (AT THE FIFTH GRADE LEVEL WHERE IT BELONGS!!!!!!!). It's apparent that the town, state, and some faceless team who makes the decisions that teaching at grade level is considered "dumbing it down."  So here we go with the cycle of "I'm not good at math" that I'm fairly certain is going to stick with her. I have no problem helping her. I am hands on homework mom. As a former teacher I think it's an important way to reinforce skills and to make sure that they are practicing the skills correctly. We have the extra practice books and know all the websites to hone her skills. This just seems unfair to me. And to her.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


so, about 2 weeks ago, tom's car died. we toiled over whether to just replace it with another small sedan "work" car for him, that gets good mileage, especially since he does reserves up in boston every month, or if we should just go for it and get a replacement for our minivan, which was going to need replacing in the next year or so anyway. we decided to get the small car, and ride out the life of the van until next year. wouldn't you just know that when we took the van in for a tune up because we are driving it down to my parents' condo in florida in 2 weeks that it looks like we have transmission issues. here's the thing.. i don't want to break down anywhere on the 2 day drive down there. so, here i go, off to carmax to look at some vehicles, that we really don't want to have to buy right now. takes the excitement right out of it. however, i reeeeally don't want to pack the 3 kids shoulder to shoulder in the back of the altima for that personal brand of hell. so much for trying to have an affordable, stress free vacation.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shiny Shoes

I was just thinking about how I need to touch up the red glitter on Meghan's shiny shoes to wear to this event we are going to next week, which got me thinking that this may be the last year that she will wear sparkly shoes with everything from dresses to sweatpants to jeans. She also likes to her brown suede maryjanes with purple fleece bootcut pants. And her brown and aqua twinkletoes. And rain boots, shamelessly and with verve. I think we may need to get at least one more pair of black patent leather maryjanes here soon, because you never know when that era will end. I am afraid that since she's the 3rd kid and moves on to the next phase sooner than a first born that all of a sudden she's going to be a full grown full time big kid and that will be it. I'm not ready for that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


oh joy of joys, i was able to find an age appropriate, semi-formal dress for erin to wear to an event we are going to next weekend. 9-12 years old is most definitely the most difficult demographic to shop for anything dressy. i may need to market it to her as looking like something selena gomez would wear on wizards of waverly place since it's pink though. so, thank you target, you just made this mom's job a little bit easier.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Reality Check

I had posted a blog a few months back with a quote from Maya Angelou, about how you can tell alot about a person by the way they handle the little things can throw you off track. Tangled Christmas lights, lost luggage at the airport, etc. Can't remember the exact quote.  But this past year or so has shown me that I can maybe complain less, suck it up more, untangle those Christmas lights without the need for a major motion picture documenting how hard my life is. I've always had one of those self-deprecating personalities where, if even the most minor discrepency happened in my day you were going to hear about it. I always had a STORY!,  whether I tripped over a curb or dealt with an unpleasant clerk at the grocery store. This year has opened my eyes quite a bit as to just how much people reeeeeally go through on a daily basis. Some examples are the blog I follow of the 29 year old wife of  the 5th grade teacher at our school. She has Hodgkins Lymphoma and I have been following her story for a few months. She stays amazingly positive in spite of her everyday real life dramas. Here is her story:  Another is an acquaintance who I have come to think of as a dear friend has shared her brutally honest, often heartbreaking, and sometimes funny story of financial stress in And hitting even closer to home is my sister's  which I wouldn't even believe if I hadn't been there firsthand when most of her life was unravelling. Finally there is the blog about a college friend's 3 year old fighting a rare and terminal brain cancer on
And don't even get me started on the tsunami that hit Japan this week. So, don't expect to hear my whining about my kid that's been puking since 3:30 this morning. I'll be busy untangling the Christmas lights.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Cabin

Growing up, my family, on my dad's side had a cabin in the woods. It was an honest to goodness log cabin located in Smallwood, NY, in the Catskill Mountains. I think it had been in our family for quite awhile, and I imagine that my ancestors were the only people to have inhabited it. Let me paint you a mental picture. You drive uphill on a barely paved road and pull up to a little cabin in the woods. Then you hike (or so it seemed as a child) up a leafy path to the screen door that squeaked, and always slammed shut quickly. Now you're in the front screen porch with a bamboo couch with deliciously musty old cushions and a picnic table, covered with an ancient oilcloth tablecloth. Here is where we played hours and hours of rummy 500 and attempted to play chinese checkers, although I don't think we ever knew the rules. There was a radio with limited reception for entertainment. My parents would cook on our electric griddle right there on the table for breakfast every morning. Every time I turn on my own electric griddle the heat smell brings me right back.. Through the porch is the main room. In the center of the room was a wood burning stove on a stone or slate pallet, with the smokestack going straight up through the ceiling. There was a stone wall behind it to absorb the heat. To the left was a primitive "pull-out" couch and two kitchy arm chairs with smooth wooden arms and a lamp that reminds me of what you might find in a lodge-themed resort. There was a curtain that separated "my" room with 2 daybeds and a linen canister with a handmade skirt sewn around it. The curtain was also wide enough to act as a stage curtain. My favorite feature of that room was that there were 2 windows that opened up to the front porch, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. Behind another curtain was my parents room, which I think may have had a double bed and a tiny bathroom with a tinier shower that up until I was about 10, had no running hot water. We literally took baths in a metal tub with water heated up on the stove. The rooms had no ceilings. The tops of the walls just ended partway up and there must have been a beamed ceiling. We would throw balls and stuffed animals over the walls from one room to the next. Also off the main room there was a miniature kitchen with a 1950's refridgerator and a tiny little porch that brought you out back to a fire pit and acres and acres of trees. And ferns. There were ferns for miles. The smell of decaying leaves and ferns was overwhelmingly clean and pleasant smelling.

We had neighbors maybe a hundred yards from us on one side, but we never saw them and I don't know that they saw much of us either. We could go for walks, after finding the perfect walking sticks and just let our imaginations run wild. It was heaven on earth. There were two lakes nearby that we would go to swim and lounge and relax. Sometimes we would fish. I remember saving my money to buy purple rubber fishing lures that looked like worms to fish with. I never caught a fish with them, but we caught tons of minnows in buckets and the occasional chameleon became a short term pet. We would drive into nearby Liberty and they had tiny little junk shops where I remember buying chinese shoes and probably ceramic unicorns. As we got older, I wanted to spend more time with my friends and less time with my family. I became increasingly more sullen and begrudgingly spent my summers there, until when I was about 13, my parents (and my nan and aunt and uncle  I guess) decided that it was too expensive to keep it up, and the taxes kept getting higher and higher. Sadly, I think I was glad to see it go. It makes me sad now, that I was such a brat about it. What a great place, and great memories. That's where we would see drive in movies and spend time where it was just us. I would love to find something like that for us now. It's too bad it's gone. I need to find some pictures to scan in to really do it justice.

Monday, March 7, 2011

my outrageously unaffordable happy place

oh pottery barn, you break my heart.
with your unattainable beauty
why must you mock me?

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Yesterday my 7 year old son asked me "what does getting stoned mean?" Inwardly groaning, and knowing full well that this is to be covered in next years' health curriculum, I took a second to ask him where he heard it. Turns out his CCD teacher told him that when Jesus was alive, people were stoned to death. Whew. That's an easy one. God forbid we have the sex, drugs and rock and roll conversation. I told him that it was a form of punishment that would happen a long time ago because people didn't know any better.  Lame, but it sufficed.

Later that day, he told me that Ellie in his class, doesn't have a mom and dad, but has 2 dads. "How does that happen?" Again, a long pause while gathering my thoughts for the appropriate response. He answered it himself. "Oh wait, she was adopted." Uptight Catholic Parenting Crisis averted.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011