Thursday, August 28, 2014

House - months later...

We moved last February.  I had been looking at houses for about a year leading up to our move but hadn't found anything that really spoke to me.  In an effort to be realistic, I knew we couldn't take on a major renovation project - life is just too busy for us these days.  At the top of my wish list was a sunny kitchen, an open floor plan and some curb appeal.   We found those things and some of the harder to explain "charm" I was looking for in our current home.  We loved the working fieldstone fireplace and the kid friendly cul de sac.

While the things that topped my wish list still remain some of my favorite elements of the house, a few things have surprised me and I hadn't realized how much I would enjoy them.   1) We are the last house on the street and our house abuts 300 acres of town conservation land.  I love the privacy.  The dog can run free and the baby doesn't need to be watched every single second while he plays outside.  No cars are zooming by and I don't have to worry about bumping into a neighbor if I play catch with the dog in my pajamas.  A few times a week, I bring J and the dog outside after work and everyone just runs wild. I love that my boy gets so much fresh air.  It's fun to see his little wheels turning as he scoops the mulch into his toy truck or pushes his bike up and down the driveway.  By the time he answers "yes" to being ready to go inside he's officially wiped out and ready for his bath and bedtime.   It's a sweet ending to the day.   2) Our yard.  We bought the house in the dead of winter.  We could tell that the previous owners had a green thumb but I love that we have established plants and gardens.  But I also love that our yard has a little bit of everything - the front yard has traditional grass for easy play.  The backyard has a pool and gardens and beyond the fence is a more "untamed" area perfect for my compost pile and for nature exploration.

The house has been such a joy.  We haven't tapped into its full potential.  A lot of it is still unfurnished, we'd like to paint, do more landscaping, hang things on the wall, get better organized - but those days will come.  For now, I'm not going to let what's undone spoil what is done.  The fact that it's ours- our family will grow and learn and cry and laugh within these walls... it's a wonderful place to call home.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My heart

"A baby will make love stronger,  days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for..."   Mama loves you more than stars in the sky, Baby J. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Letting Go

Lucca has Freshman Orientation today.  I'd be lying if I didn't say my heart is somewhat in my throat. Not that I don't think he can handle it, that boy is nothing if not capable and certain but I just want to be there, to see how he does, how it all goes...    But that's not my job, or his dad's either, for that matter.

Soulemama so eloquently described it:
Each year, and each new season, another layer of adventure is added onto the story of their life and the growth of who they are. And each time I think my heart might break a little from letting them go even further out of my arms, I pause and see their delight in the adventures that are all their own. And so I celebrate with them. Oh, what aching joy to watch them grow, and what a real pleasure it is to be their Mama."

As we let this boy go onto yet another exciting chapter in his bold adventure, the mama in me (stepmom or birthmom - it's indifferent) couldn't help but send him a text wishing him well and saying how proud I was of him.  And off he went....

Monday, August 18, 2014


I know I say this every time.... but 21 months is just killing it in cuteness!   You babble a lot, dying to talk and tell us what you think....  even without many words though, you always get your point across.  Words you don't hesitate with are "mommy"  "daddeee" "fo" (you're nickname for Lucca)  "ba" (your word for all buses and trucks), "duck", "ow, ow" (for the dog), "ovo" (portuguese for egg), "A-ta" (portuguese expression basically meaning "I get it") "yeah" (always a little high pitched for added enthusiasm) "night-night" and your personal favorite - Bubbles!!!!   Every week in music class they have a segment of class where they blow bubbles around the room and you get so excited and say "Bubbles!"  "Bubbles!" the entire time.   You also say bubbles when we put them in your tub!  

I couldn't ask for more.   

Friday, August 15, 2014


Tuesday and Friday mornings for the past few months, I've found myself at Fithouse.  The girl who opened it is a friend of a friend and spent some time with my husband asking about his experience with a fitness business.  So I had an extra vested interest in seeing her vision come to be and rooting for her to win.

That said, she is the real deal.  Not only is she in killer shape but the energy that she brings to each and every cycle class is through the roof.  The other teachers are exceptional too, although I know enough about leadership at this point to know that it starts at the top.   For 45 minutes, she pushes us beyond what I ever thought possible and while the classes began as tortuous and felt like eternity, they've become a highlight of my week.  Her playlist is as incredible as her energy and the classes have a wonderful pace --- we kill it but about 2/3 through the class comes my favorite part - the lights go out, no instruction is given and we just ride to our own beat.   Those 4 minutes are everything.

She adds a lot of motivation and lines to keep us going --- heard often are the reminders that we are stronger than we think and yes we can, yes we will.  I'm so happy I have those times in the week.
There's no better way to start my day.    Thanks Britt!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A thought on TBT

TBT, throwback Thursday, is a fun little gimmick.  It's cute to see some old photos or remember a time before this one but everytime I see a post (my own very much included), I can't help wonder whether the whole notion is askew.  We can't glorify the past --- it wasn't some perfect time when kids rode bikes and were free as the wind.   No, I remember many a summer day being bored to death with no fresh ideas and just waiting for the time to pass.   Sure - I had many fun moments, so many, but the concern with the TBT idea is that nobody ever took a photo of me watching my 4th consecutive hour of gameshows or driving around with a highschool friend daydreaming about what we hoped the future would look like.

I like life these days.  I love my baby's chubby little legs and his amazing giggle.  One day I will no doubt yearn for these moments so the solution is to savor them.  Savor the tiredness, the extra few pounds I'm carrying, the messy house.  They will all be gone one day.  But lucky are we who make the memories, who feel the love, who live the moments.   Today I'm focusing on today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Farewell Robin Williams. We lost a great spirit.  I think this is the third suicide I've heard in the recent months.  Depression is a real illness and it needs to be treated as such.  I hope that Robin is out of pain and at rest.  He, and everyone suffering from debilitating depression, are in my prayers today.  Peace.

"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone.  It's not.  Th worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone" - RW

"People call these things imperfections but they're not.  Oh, that's the good stuff.  And then we get to chooses who we let into our weird little worlds.  You're not perfect sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you met, she's not perfect either.  But the question is whether or not you're perfect for each other." - Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting.

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?" - John Keating, Dead Poets Society. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer Sunday

Loving the flip flopped, coat-free ease of these summer weekends.  We took a family day trip to the Lakes Region in NH, a place where I spent my summer vacations as a kid.  The place evokes so much nostalgia and just all around calm.  It's not fancy, it's not hip --- but that might be precisely what makes it so relaxing.

We drove by some familiar sights, ate a casual lunch at picnic tables in the woods and of course, enjoyed a few hours at the world's largest arcade.  Nothing beats some skee ball, air hockey and old school Paperboy to make you forget whatever may be on your mind.

We stopped for ice cream cones before we got on our way home and the weekend came to a perfect end.

Friday, August 1, 2014

How Children Succeed

This week I wrapped up this really worthwhile read, How Children Succeed.  I picked it up on a whim, but lucky me --- it really tapped into some things I want to understand better.  The author's general thesis is that it is character, more than cognitive skills, that will determine the likelihood of one's future success.  Using personality traits such as grit, optimism, gratitude, and tenacity social scientists can better determine who will have a more successful life --- success being defined as healthy relationships and level of internal satisfaction not just "career success".

His premise was interesting and he included a lot of data and practical examples in his work.  I think it was an excellent starting point and really peaked my interest in the concept.   Where I felt the book was lacking was that he didn't elaborate on what can be done to improve the character traits of children or how focusing on character development could improve the societies in which we live.  I wanted more....   But perhaps, I should do my own investigative journalism and use Tough's work as a starting point.  I think it's undeniable, and therefore found the book reassuring, that life goes beyond SAT scores and AP tests.  We are foolish to believe that cognitive skills without appropriate personality strengths will bring us towards the future we want.

An excerpt from the author:
In the end, though, this research had a surprising effect: it made me more relaxed as a parent. When Ellington was born, I was very much caught up in the idea of childhood as a race--the faster a child develops skills, the better he does on tests, the better he’ll do in life. Having done this reporting, I’m less concerned about my son’s reading and counting ability. Don’t get me wrong, I still want him to know that stuff. But I think he’ll get there in time. What I’m more concerned about is his character--or whatever the right synonym is for character when you’re talking about a three-year-old. I want him to be able to get over disappointments, to calm himself down, to keep working at a puzzle even when it’s frustrating, to be good at sharing, to feel loved and confident and full of a sense of belonging. Most important, I want him to be able to deal with failure.
That’s a difficult thing for parents to give their children, since we have deep in our DNA the urge to shield our kids from every kind of trouble. But what we’re finding out now is that in trying to protect our children, we may actually be harming them. By not giving them the chance to learn to manage adversity, to cope with failure, we produce kids who have real problems when they grow up. Overcoming adversity is what produces character. And character, even more than IQ, is what leads to real and lasting success"