Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Laura has this creepy doll: Babers.  One of the few dolls Laura has actually named.  An "oh gee thanks..." gift from a school friend for her birthday last year.  I immediately checked her back panel to make sure she was off.  And hoped Laura would never find out she could theoretically turn on.

Then last night Laura wanted to change Babers' diaper.  So she started to undo the velcro on her jumpsuit.  I panicked.

No!  Babers outfit doesn't come off!  She will fall apart if you take that off!  LEAVE IT ON. 
But Mom.  I need to change her diaper!
Well, that outfit stays on.  So you can just pretend to change her diaper.
Mom?  Could Babers sometimes talk?

So I did what any sane mother would do.  I whisked Babers to the kitchen, attacked her with a philips head, and finally took out her batteries.  Something I should have done ages ago. 

But it seems we have a whole 'nother problem now...


Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

How I Spent Hurricane Sandy (Day 1)

I have this odd compulsion to make my children's Halloween costumes. I guess it's my way of assuaging my guilt at being (and loving it) a go-to-work mom. I might drop the kids off at daycare, but dammit I make their Halloween costumes!! Well, two costumes so far. Laura was a store-bought tiger in 2010, a costume which Gavin will don this year. Laura is dressing as Ariel this year, in a costume I have proudly put together.
I had lofty plans of making a sea foam green tutu, which Laura would wear over a lavender leotard with hand sewn seashells. I pinned various tutus as inspiration, and was at Target looking for a leotard before heading to Joann's when I saw it: the perfect dress. My heart skipped a beat as I casually walked by. If I pick it up, Laura will see it and we'll both be in love and I will buy it. Buy it I did. It was the perfect base for Laura's Ariel costume. All I needed was the seashell bra and some red hair.

Done. Target had a Disney certified Ariel wig that went right into my cart, and I resolved to make that bra. Weeks and weeks went by. I finally bought the sequined fabric yesterday, Sunday, days before Halloween. Thank goodness I was home today to make those seashells!!

Ok, so I didn't "make" her costume in the traditional sense, but I am still so pleased with how Laura's costume turned out!

Friday, October 26, 2012


My day started off with a great night's sleep... but a very unfortunate coffee.  Dunkin' let me down!  I'm agast at the implications.  Armagedon, surely.  But my day has sort of continued the same way: something awesome (sleep!) followed by something less awesome (bad coffee!), with a little Armagedon, surely, on the side.

Surely you can't be serious.
I am serious... and don't call me Shirley!

I'm trying to plan all the things! from upcoming birthdays, to the holidays, to parties, to Baptisms...  When really it doesn't matter.  Because the Storm of the Century is surging my way.  So why plan a trip to the pumpkin patch when it's just going to be too rainy?

And I'm tormented by the upcoming election.  Both by all the hate and mean being spouted on the internets, and by my indecision.  I don't honestly know who or what to vote for.  Obama or Romney?  Could I get a third option with a viable chance, please?  Extended gambling?  The arguments against are convincing... but paid for by West Virginia?  And the arguments for are equally convincing, but paid for by whom? 

The one vote I know, without a doubt in my heart: gay marriage.  Solid yes on that one.  Love is love.  (and to that end, I'm still eating Chik Fil-A.  Love is love and I love chicken)

But none of these votes matter.  Because Sandy.  Pssh!  Who needs elections when we're going to be fighting over toilet paper by Wednesday?  By we, I don't mean me.  I won't survive the zombie apocalypse. 

On that note, I'll see you next week.  If next week ever comes ;-)  I'm not a weekend blogger.  Besides, I'll be too busy stocking up on formula and chocolate to write anything coherent.  As if this was coherent!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Flowergirl

As you might have surmised from a couple other posts, this past weekend found our family in Nashville, TN for one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been a part of.  And I have been part of a lot of really, truly beautiful weddings.

Laura was one of three little flowergirls in this wedding.  She was the youngest, but only by a few months.  The oldest is just four, and all the children always play so sweetly together.  The sight of the three girls in their matching dresses and cowgirl boots was, honestly, breathtaking...  I have been getting teary looking at the photos for the past few days.  And I am NOT a wedding cryer.

Anyway, I need to show off my little girl in her precious flowergirl dress.  So hope over to my Facebook page for the album.

Bet you didn't know I had a Facebook page.

Sunshine Award!

It is a bright sunshiney day out there.  That sort of fall day where it's actually really warm... but everything still feels cool and crispy and FALL.  In other words, the best sort of day ever.  It's also a perfect day to spread a little sunshine!

Thanks to Audrey at Break It, Make It, or Bake It for this sweet little award!  It's the perfect day for something fun like this.  It's sunny out, I'm feeling sunny in my heart, and I have nothing poignant to say.  So I'll answer a few questions instead!

The rules are to answer the 8 questions, and then spread some sunshine to 8 other bloggers that you think are awesome!

1. What is your favorite Christmas / Holiday Movie?
I have actually posted on this very subject before!  It's hard to pick just one favorite Christmas movie.  My top two are Mickey's Christmas Carol and The Christmas Toy.  I just love those movies. 

2. What is your favorite flower?
I adore tulips.  And lilies.  And hydrangeas.  And roses that smell nice (not roses without scent). 

3. What is your favorite (non-alcoholic) drink?
Non-alcoholic drinks aren't really my thing... I mostly drink water, but I do love real Coke, Earl Grey tea and coffee with lots of cream and sugar.

4. What is your passion?
I love bed.  Bed with soft, cool sheets that smell a little like detergent and bleach.  Again, things I have blogged about before.

5. What is your favorite time of the year?
Fall for a more general season, and Christmas for a more specific time of year.  Which isn't Fall at all, but is so awesome!  So basically I'm entering the sweet spot of life right now!  Just need those clocks to change back...

6. What is your favorite time of the day?
Naptime!  Or tea time.  So, around 3pm for a cookie break?

7. What is your favorite physical activity?
But pulling myself back up out of the gutter, I am not the most "physically active" of people.  When I exercise, I run.  That doesn't mean it's my favorite!

8. What is your favorite vacation?
I spent a lifetime on Cape Cod in the summers, and for that I am eternally grateful.  I hope my children have (at least) a similar experience in our family's house, sailing and soaking in the New England summer sun.  But of specific vacations, Tahiti for our honeymoon was pretty fabulous!!

So now I'm tagging some lovely ladies who bring sunshine to my reader (and who could probably use a little sunshine themselves.  Who couldn't?!).  In no particular order:
1.  Laura at Payette Pigtails
2.  Molly at A Day in Mollywood
3.  Amanda at It's Blogworthy
4.  Jessica at The Southern Belle Boy Mom
5.  Law Momma at Spilled Milk and Other Atrocities
6.  Ashley at The Domestic Wannabe
7.  Kerri at Chronicles of a Carolina Mama
8.  Kim at Growing with the Gilmores

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Somewhere around 3 months, the little scratch under Laura's eye was suddenly not a scratch at all.  It was a freckle.  A little dot of brown.  A beauty mark. 

I love that freckle.  I see the little dot under Laura's and love how fabulous and unique it is.  It's all Laura's - no one has a freckle like hers.  I get defensive about Laura's freckle too.  Defensive toward all the little children who yell "What's wrong with her eye!"  Toward all the random moms who try to rub the dirt away.  Toward the other random strangers who ask how she got her boo-boo. 

But of course, that's my reaction.  My opinion.  A harmless, beautiful little dot of character under her eye.  A dot, her doctor tells me, she can have removed one day if it bothers her and she so chooses.

Laura has had this freckle for almost all her life.  And yet, she is only just beginning to notice it.  She is only recently becoming self-aware of her reflection in the mirror.  She is so recently self-aware, in fact, that her freckle completely startled her the other morning:

Oh my gosh!  Mommy!  My EYE IS HURT!  I have a boo-boo!
Haha, Laura!  That is your freckle!  You've had it your whole life (almost)!
I hab a fweckle?!

And if I hadn't laughed enough, the next morning:

Mom! I hab some mud on my face!
Hey Laura? That's your freckle, remember?
Oh yeah!

I love that little freckle.  And that little girl.  I wonder how Laura will come to feel about her new-found beauty mark when she is older?  Will she love it as I have?  Or will she choose one day to have it removed?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wagon Wheel

My brother-in-law was napping next to me as I drove yesterday, Gavin and Nate were snoozing behind me in the middle row.  Laura, my niece and sister-in-law were nestled asleep in the back.  It was a quiet drive during my shift, the first leg home after a beautiful wedding in Nashville, TN.  I had XM to keep me company, with Sammy Hagar going on about his "island" of music.

I wasn't really paying attention to him at first, since I just wanted some classic rock to while away the miles in front of me.  But he was saying something about "goosebump" songs: the songs you hear that reach the depths of your soul and give you chills.  I knew exactly what he meant.  I had danced with my precious baby boy to that very song the night before.
So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me


The song came on somewhere in the middle of some fantastic dancing during the reception.  Right at a point where I was having so much fun, but ready for a little break.  Gavin had been circulating the dance floor, but had just made it back into my arms.  I love that song, with it's sweet lyrics and soft harmony.  But never had it moved  me quite so much as it did on that dance floor.  I sang along , swayed, and quite literally rocked my baby to sleep in my arms. 


Some day, my babies will grow up.  They'll fall in love.  They'll get married.  If I'm lucky, their weddings will be as lovely as the three weddings I attended this year.  And one day, I'll be dancing with my baby boy, all grown up, one last time before I hand him off to his beautiful bride.   I smiled and cried as I pictured my fuzzy-headed infant all grown up.  And then I nuzzled his soft cheek and sang some more. 


And wouldn't you know it?  Nate was thinking the same thing as I, while he danced with one sleepy flower girl:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Memories Captured: October at the Beach

October has been a busy one for our family.  We packed ourselves up, left Gavin with Grandma, and jetted off to a sunnier clime: The Bahamas.  We are so lucky to work for a corporation that values its families as much as New York Life does.  We had such a wonderful - and memorable! - week at Atlantis.  Here are just a few of my favorite pictures from our stay.

And not to be excluded, here's a picture of Sweet Gavin playing with his cousin while we were gone.  We missed that fuzzy little head, but know he was better off far away from the sandy beach and Splashers water park!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Censorship and Sleep

I did something recently that I have never done (on here) before.  I went back through Le Blog and read every single post since April 2009 and censored myself.  Not much, but just a little.  There were a few posts that were just a little too pointedly hurtful towards people in my actual life.  A few posts that had just a little more TMI than I was comfortable with.  I clicked those posts over to "Private" and heaved a sigh of relief.

This blog, for all it's "anonymity" (which really means I just don't tell anyone in my "real" life about it), is meant to be a little place where I can unload my brain and feel completely, 100% ME all the time.  Those posts where I was really horrid or really graphic?  Are SO NOT ME.  I might be a catty brat in real life, but I would never say something truly hurtful ever.  And TMI?  Can truly beToo Much Information, even on a journal sort of an "anonymous" blog.  So I censored myself.

But did you see the other part of this process?  The part where I read every single post I have written?  That was very, very revealing.  What a look inside my head over the past 3 1/2 years!  So very much has happened.  I have changed so much.  And remained so much the same.  The dark period before I sought help for PPD?  Really was so dark.  Hindsight has sugar-coated that period for me, allowing me to live life saying "Ok, that sucked, but I'm better! Yay! Rainbows!"  And those months when Laura just wouldn't sleep?  I had completely forgotten about those months.  She is such a good sleeper now, I think I blocked the sleepless nights from my memory.

Those sleepless nights... We are smack in the middle of the wakeful period with Gavin right now.  At 3:30 am, I wonder why he is still awake?  How did my fantastic sleeper of an infant turn into such a midnight monster?  At 3:30 am, I think to myself "Gosh, Laura never did this to me!  She has slept like an angel from the start!"  At 3:30 am, I am clearly not thinking straight.  So last night as I rocked and hushed and diapered and bottled and rocked and hushed some more, I chuckled to myself recalling post after post written in 2010 bemoaning those sleepless night.

It'll get better.  I just know it will.  Because it did before, and it will again.  I will sleep through the night again!  It will be glorious, and I will promptly forget the horrors of the midnight monster.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


It's so silly of me to get so emotional talking about my childhood home.  A home I "never felt connected to," as I always just assumed we'd move again.  We moved in 1st and 5th grade, so why not in 7th or 9th or some equally horrible age to move?  So it was where I lived, but not necessarily home.  And of course I went and moved to Virginia for college and Maryland for whatever happens next.  Here I am, 12 years after leaving the house that truly is my childhood home - regardless of my opinions on the matter.  The home where I suffered through middle school.  The home where I started to understand who I really am through high school.  The home I return to at Christmas.  And oh! Christmas in that home!

This home of mine officially went on the market yesterday, with fancy wide-angle photographs and everything.  My home looks immaculate - far tidier than it ever was at any point in its 20-year life - so professional.  A little cold for all the beauty of my mom's decorating and the house itself.  The photographs are beautiful, but so devoid of my family for who we are.  So many photos missing from the walls.  And where is the pile of coats on the back of the kitchen chairs?  And the mail on the counter?  Where are the shoes under the foyer bench?

I also realize looking through the photos that the house is so very PINK!  Living in the home for so long, I suppose I noticed the profusion of pastels in every room.  The floral carpets and drapes and upholstery.  But man, do those photographs truly emphasize the PINK of it all!  Yet it's very hard for me to imagine that house any other way. 

I'm sad to know the house is on the market.  Sad that I'll only visit once, maybe twice, ever again.  Angry that some other family will come in and ruin my mother's beautiful decorating, marring the walls with some garrish non-pastel paint or something.  Hopeful that maybe, just maybe, they new family will appreciate the handpainted nursery and will keep the secret garden room for another little girl to grow up in. 

It's silly to be so upset.  It is.  It's too much house for my parents, and they are moving onto a very exciting new adventure.  I suppose it's the realization of time marching forward.  Twenty years have passed.  All four of us have moved out, leaving my parents and one very small dog behind.  It's time for a prayer to St. Joseph that, if nothing else, the house sells quickly.  And if I can put in one extra request? That the new family has as happy a life as we did in their new home.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


It's funny how a song can take you back to a single, specific memory.  I'm sitting at work on a Saturday, trying to comp some hours after a week in the Bahamas.  I'm doing some dull work - stuff that I normally try to avoid.  I have Pandora playing in the background to keep me going.

The music I turned on was meant to break the silence of a loud air vent, the scratch of my pencil, the occasional shriek of the paper cutter, the whir of the scanner.  Instead the music is flooding my mind with images and memories, one song at a time.

Hey Jealousy: 6th grade and my favorite song.  I was just becoming shy.  But I was also beginning to assert myself as a person with preferences and favorites.  To this day, I still love that red kilt that I wore weekly everyone else teased me about.  My fashion was ahead of my time.  My big brother gave me the CD for my birthday, validating my taste in music and allowing me to feel confident in some small way.

Only Wanna Be with You: that summer before my big brother went off the college.  The one where I asserted myself as the tag-along little sister in his group of friends.  A move that has shaped my life.

Closing Time: Laughing with that same brother over the line, "finish your whisky and beer" for some inside joke I still don't understand.

The Wall: Cruising around in my big brother's brand new Jetta late at night with the windows down, letting the damp salty air kiss our faces.  We talked so much as we drove to nowhere.

When I turned on Pandora this morning, I wasn't expecting this walk down memory lane.  Indeed, with a station called "Road Trippin' Radio," I guess I was expecting my 70's and 80's classic rock, and less 90's  memory lane.

Five years and a few months ago, I married a man I would never have met if I hadn't been that tag-along little sister.  Five years ago today, I stood with my husband, my brother, and their mutual best friend as my big brother got married.  How perfect that I've had these flashes of memory all day of my big brother with whom I have shared so much.  I'm so lucky to have a big brother, as well as a little brother and little sister, who have shaped my life so much.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Use Your Noodle

Have you seen the thing on Pinterest where you use a pool noodle to keep your kid from falling out of bed? Well, it works. Excuse the *worst* picture ever:

We were planning to just cross our fingers that Laura wouldn't roll out of her bed in the Bahamas. But we found a bolster on each bed on arrival, I thought of the noodles, and gave it a try. Laura has a cozy nest, and we're all sleeping soundly!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Every Postpartum is Different

I have often heard "Every pregnancy is different," and "Every child is different."  I was expecting to have a different pregnancy experience with my second child - after all, I had a toddler to look after while growing another human.  Of course it would be different.  And I could never imagine having two children with identical personalities - of course my son would be his own person, so very different from his sister!  But what I had never heard - and could not expect - was that every postpartum experience is so very different, too.

Laura was not quite four months old in May 2010 when I admitted to myself that I was struggling with postpartum depression.  I had been suspicious for a while that perhaps maybe I was having trouble adjusting.  It was so easy to brush off my feelings and say "oh it was just one bad night," or "I will feel better when I go back to work."  But I had more bad nights than good.  I didn't feel better at work.  I was angry all the time.  I hated everyone. 

During my pregnancy with Gavin , I worried some that I would suffer from PPD again.  I prepared myself for the worst, ready to call my doctor at the smallest sign that I was suffering.  I haven't had to make that call.  Gavin is now four and a half months old - the same age as Laura when I started counseling - and I couldn't be feeling more differently.  .  Sure, I still have the occasional bad night.  But the good nights far outweigh the bad.  I don't catch myself muttering "I HATE YOU" under my breath while walking past my husband or certain coworkers.  I don't see red through seething anger when something tiny goes awry.  I am far more patient in general - but specifically with Laura and Gavin - than I have ever been.

I recently found out that for whatever reason, Gavin had not been added to our health insurance policy.  If this had happened after Laura's birth, I would have flown into a seething rage, yelling and screaming and crying and freaking out over the $1,100 pediatric bill.  I would have shouted into the phone, nearly broken the receiver while slamming it onto the cradle to hang up in rage.  Instead, I choked out a small sob, took a breath, and then calmly asked the insurance representative if the problem could be fixed and did I have to call my HR rep, or would she?  I was panicked and upset, but still able to function as a normal human being.  The insurance rep could not have been kinder or easier to work with - she took care of everything and called me the next day to confirm that Gavin had been added to the policy.  I took care of the problem without anger, hate, or tantrums. 

I share this story to show just how different I am this time.  I suffered from PPD and came out on the other side a better mother.  I feel a stabbing guilt sometimes, for the months of happiness I lost following Laura's birth.  I spent a lifetime trying to place blame someone or something for my PPD.  But I'm over that.  There is nothing to blame, really.  I still have some bad days - but doesn't everyone?  My bad days don't define me.  I am a mother of two, and I am a PPD survivor.

Pouring my heart out

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Take your Laura to Work Day

Remember when I brought Gavin to work with me a few weeks ago? My coworkers loved getting the chance to see him, but missed Laura. I knew I needed to bring her in, but wasn't sure she'd be as easy to entertain as Gavin was! But then my mom decided to fly to Baltimore for a 24-hour trip on a random Tuesday and I had my chance to bring Laura to work!

So yesterday morning, we all piled in the car, dropped Gavin at day care, and then caught the train into DC. Laura really enjoyed the train ride, but was a little miffed when she had to sit on my lap as the train filled with commuters. We were on a fairly crowded rush hour train because, yes, I was bringing my 2.5 year old to work for the day, but I still had to get some actual work done! That's why I had Grammy tagging along!


We got to work, grabbed some breakfast (mmm ham & cheese croissant...), and got to work. By got to work, I mean I got to showing off my cute kid. Who of course became shy for the first time in her life and wouldn't open her mouth to talk to anyone for anything. Even the allure of cubicle toys couldn't get that girl to crack!

A teddy bear on my desk became a new BFF, and Laura eventually settled in ON my desk (sitting on my scanner, oops) with crayons for the morning. I got some work done while my mom and I caught up. I did have a meeting to go to, which ran REALLY LONG, so I sent Laura and Grammy out into the galleries to visit the exhibits and play. I am told they had a lot of fun.



Grammy and Laura got to hang out with my coworkers for lunch. Laura refused to show off any of the tricks I keep telling them about, of course. But she did have fun playing hide and seek in the conference room! Laura ran off a ton of energy, and was ready for a fantastic hour and a half long nap under my desk, George Costanza style.


I got a ton more work done, seriously, and then decided we'd catch the 4:20 train home. It was a really fun day in the end, and I'm really glad I could visit with my mom, even for a few hours while I worked!

Monday, October 1, 2012


I didn't used to be shy.  Way back in the day.  I used to just put myself out there to make friends without hesitation.  And then we moved.  I rallied, made great friendships, and knew I wasn't shy.  And then we moved again.  Suddenly, it wasn't so easy to make friends.  Suddenly, I wasn't as confident that making friends - and ties to this new town - were the best idea.  I was afraid to put myself on the line; I was afraid of the possibility that people might not like me or want to be my friend.  So I hid inside myself, and was suddenly shy.

But shy isn't the right word.  I know in my heart that I'm not really a shy person.  In my heart, I am loud and confident and ready to include everyone! in everything!  I want to have lots of friends.  To have my social calendar full.  To be that perfect sort of busy.  The sort where I always have playdates on the horizon.  I want to be a friend to others. 

When Laura started day care, I made some huge strides towards becoming un-shy.  I left notes in the cubbies of a few moms.  "Let's have a playdate! Here's my email!"  To my surprise, I wasn't rejected, laughed at or ignored.  Indeed, these other moms were just as interested in being my friend, as I was in being theirs.

Lately, Laura has been talking about her friend at school.  She says he's her best friend.  I have met this friend's mom once, in the grocery store.  I knew her first name, and that she's not a "mutual friend" with anyone I know from day care on FB.  So my potential-friend stalking abilities were limited.  I kept meaning to leave a note in the friend's cubby, but also kept forgetting.  And who ever has a pen in her purse when she needs one, anyway?

Thursday was Back to School night.  The other mom was there.  I took a breath, un-shyed myself, and walked over.  We exchanged phone numbers, and are planning a playdate.  It wasn't hard at all.  At the same Back to School night, there was a new mom in Laura's class - a mom I hadn't seen before.  I introduced myself, and made a concerted effort to remember her name.

On Saturday, Nate and Laura were off camping in the wilderness of a Delaware State Park.  Gavin and I were home, with nothing planned.  I had an invitation to a party... where I would know only the host.  I decided to go!  Then I decided to stay home.  Then I decided I wanted pumpkin beer.  Then I decided it was ridiculous to drink pumpkin beer at home, alone.  So off we went.  And you know what?  We had fun.

The more I put myself out there to meet other people, the more fun I have.  I like this knew un-shy me.  I love the confidence that I feel rise up in my heart as I introduce myself and get involved.  Un-shy is a much better way to be.