Summer/Fall Update – Thank God for Television?

I miss my blog! I have an article due today that I have just not been able to write, and every time I open the laptop to work on it I distractedly click over to my small and neglected piece of the internet. So here I am, posting a little something because today it finally feels like I must. I’ve never, ever been able to force it.

Lately, most of the days are wonderful and some of the days are incredibly frustrating. Today is a frustrating day. This is infinitely better than when I had mostly frustrating days and the occasional wonderful one. I am so grateful.


It’s been one of those days…

I am also cognizent of the fact that it is frustrating almost entirely because we are all exhausted. We’ve been doing a stellar job not overdoing it lately (it doesn’t take much to overdo it), but last night we were up late with our friends who had been staying with us. They were packing and we just had to get in as much time together as we could! So I went to bed at midnight and then we were all up bright and early at 5:30am. Combine that with my children who woke up a combined four times in between 12 and 5…you’ll see that none of us got any quality rest. On top of it, the kids seem to be coming down with something and have been whining and fighting all day. Right now, they are sitting together on the couch, eating Nature Valley granola bars (or the imitation ones from Aldi…my new favorite store) and drinking OJ. They are watching TV. I am SO thankful for television sometimes…and I was adamant before I had kids that my children would never watch TV. Ha!

Watching TV

It sucks them riiiight in

Here’s what we’ve been up to these last few months…

We took our first family vacation to Prince Edward Island! It was an incredible trip. It was a long drive to a little cottage on the North Shore of PEI and a simple, simple trip. We barely looked at our phones, we ditched all routines, we walked and drove and laughed and watched Harry Potter movies, and we had a couple of lovely friends from North Dakota come and stay (and treat us to some amazing seafood!). Ana turned three while we were there…she made and frosted her own chocolate cake 🙂 Here are a few photos…all the best ones are on John’s phone, so maybe one of these days I’ll pull them off and get around to a more detailed post about our trip!

When we came home summer was winding down and it was time for school to start…I had signed Ana up for preschool in the Spring because she made the cut-off (September 1st) by about a week…meaning she was probably the youngest kid there. We tried it out for a couple of weeks – every morning, 5 days a week, three hours at a time…it just got to be too much. Plus, my girl kept telling me that she didn’t like it and that she wanted to “stay home with mommy,” so after minimal fretting we made the executive choice to just take her out. She can go next year! I am so SO glad that I followed my gut feeling instead of continuing on with something that didn’t feel right for us.

I’ll tell you what was the most unsettling about the whole preschool experience. Nothing was wrong with the school or the teachers or anything they were doing. Nothing was wrong with Ana, in fact I’m sure she would have adapted to her new routine with some more time (I am, however, sure that keeping her home was the right choice for everyone). What I found was that suddenly our family seemed to be going in the very direction we aim to avoid…the busy, faced-paced, schedule-filled direction that does not jive with us and the type of lives we would like to lead.

It’s got me thinking…a lot. None of these are new thoughts or feelings, but the pull is stronger. The pull to lead a different sort of life. Where time – together and alone – is the ultimate commodity. Where we aren’t (as) influenced by the desires of this world. By the drive that says “more!” “go!” “push!” “succeed!” I know, in the depths of my soul, that I want a life that is slower. A life that focuses on family. A life that is more focused “within” than “without.” A life that is hand-made. A life…maybe a life without TV? Eh, that might be a stretch 😉

Anyways, I wanted to get these thoughts down here so that I can begin to expand on them little by little. Thanks for reading. Hopefully I’ll be back soon!






On Friendships and Being a Parent

I’ve been thinking a lot about my friendships lately. They have inevitably changed since I had children, but more than ever they are a source of great happiness for me. Some of them have been there since the beginning and some of them have only recently entered the picture, but all of them are so important.

I spoke up recently about the guilt I have about my friendships…I want to be there more. I want to be more involved in my friends lives. I often feel like they are giving me more than I am giving them, because the truth is that my primary concerns are always centered on Ana, Amadeo and John (and myself!). I go to my friends for a break from real life, rather than living real life along with them…and maybe that’s the big change that comes as we all become adults. Ten years ago, we ate, slept, and breathed each other’s daily existence – now we are all busy and living our lives, going to each other during the little moments when we can make time.

So for my friends, I may not be as available as I once was (though I’ve never really been so great at the phone, we can all agree on that) but I want you all to know that you are permanently woven into the web of my days. I think of you often.

Friendship Is

…Reading out loud to me while I cried in a Manhattan park (Charlie)

…Never giving up on writing me emails (Bob)

…Being there for life’s big moments (Bess)

…Experiences that tie you close for life (Cassi Jo & Julie)

…Six Flags as the start of something lifelong (Amanda)

…Sharing the daily struggle and the joyful small moments (John)

…A woman named Jolene (Jolene)

…Keeping in touch across decades (Taylor)

…Secretly listening to Alanis Morrisette (Alicia)

…Whiskey and cigarettes at Worden’s Pond (Lacey)

…An incredible conversationalist (Charlotte)

…Laughter since birth (Michael)

…Picking up where we left off (Liz)

…Being unsure of our lives, together (everyone)


Our Routine These Days

Hi Blog Friends!

It’s only 11:30am and one of those days that I feel accomplished already this early in the day. I attribute it to the little routine we’ve got going on, so I thought I’d share what a typical day is looking like right now. I haven’t done a post like this in over a year (!), and as always things with two toddlers change rapidly!

I will say that I am MUCH happier than I was last time I wrote a post like this. I felt like I was drowning in babies. I had some definite PPD going on after each kid, so I was in the throes. If you can relate…I just want to tell you – it gets easier. Someone (a veteran mom) said to me the other day that it gets easier every day. I am hanging onto those words.

The things that have by far contributed to life becoming less stressful (or rather, me becoming more resilient) besides the kids getting a little older are eating well, exercising, sleeping and getting a ton of help. Without the things I do to take care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to face up to this life, with or without kids. Just sayin’…self care is life-changing.

mommy ana deo

So… a typical day with Ana (2 years and 9 months old) and Deo (20 months old) starts at around 7am. Ana is almost always the first up, and she either plays or goes to wake up her brother (which I discourage, but it’s pretty cute) but she never comes into our room…I am pretty sure she thinks that she is not supposed to get out of bed in the morning so she avoids me, sometimes even running back in and jumping into bed when she hears me get up.

It is easiest for me to get them and myself completely ready for the day before we even come downstairs. By 8/8:30 we are downstairs and they usually play while I clean up and get breakfast ready (honestly I can’t relax until the kitchen is clean and things are taken care of…I’d love to come down to that every morning but usually it just isn’t the case). We then all sit and have breakfast together by the big bay window in our great room.

After breakfast is almost always a good time…the kids are energized and fed and will usually play well together (ie: minimal whining & crying). At this time we either go out (some days I have personal training at the YMCA around 9:30, sometimes we head to the playground) or we stay in to get some housework done and a workout in around 10. Workouts are a little tough with both of them running around…but luckily they are used to mommy and daddy “sizing” (exercising) and they even have their own little hand weights to use. Sometimes they just crawl all over us and simply make the workout tougher 😉

Snack is around 10:30/11 and lunch happens around 12/12:30. Amadeo naps from 1-3 and at this time Ana and I relax, do some coloring, watch our favorite youtube videos, go outside and just enjoy “quiet time,” kind of like siesta time in many other parts of the world.

Ana smiles

After Deo gets up we have another snack and then either go out for the afternoon, head to the YMCA, or hang out at home. Dinner and bath (they do not have a bath every night!) and bedtime is from 5-7.

That is pretty much a whole day in the life of me & my kids. After dinner is mom & dad time and weekends have a similar pace but are usually a little more chaotic and less organized.

I will say, and I’ve been meaning to blog about this, that bedtime is my favorite time. Not because it is the end of the day but because of how sweet these two are when we are tucking them into bed. They give the biggest “bear hugs” and kisses and are so sweet and cuddly at this time of day. Ana tells me about her entire day every night before she goes to sleep, and Deo plays the cutest games with me. Every single night I think about how I want to preserve the memory of it forever, but time just goes hurtling on.

Thanks for reading, friends! Follow along with my instagram for updates…I’m burnt out on FB and not quite ready for youtube, so that’s where I’ve been posting lately. Comment and let me know about your routines with toddlers…I love reading about what others are doing because it helps me to remember I am not alone and to fine-tune ours even more! xoxo

Just Trim Around the Bush!?

A little anecdote before I settle in on the couch for the night with some Peaky Blinders (new season, FINALLY!) and an amazing salad.

Things have been tougher than normal around here. Maybe I’ll get into it in another post, or a vlog if I finally manage to post something up. Life with two toddlers is not easy, no matter the circumstance, and things like yardwork can seem extra stressful sometimes, mostly because there is so much to get done in a day! But optimism, friends, optimism.

Okay. Pessimism has it’s place, too. We were hot, sweaty, tired, arguing, making up & arguing again. Taking out frustration on the yard. (Thanks, yard. Thanks for taking it all and still holding us up. I thought about that a lot today – that we simply have faith in the earth to continue to hold us up). Anyways, I was almost finished with the lawn when another overgrown bush got in my way, and so I went and got some clippers, and just whacked away. When I was done, I stepped back to admire my handiwork and ran over to John with tears in my eyes.

“Babe, I’ve ruined it. I ruined another bush.” I was so mad at myself for yet again, hacking another bush probably half to it’s death. It was so pretty before I got to it!

After I took a little time out and he went to assess the damage, he returned with some wise words that just really sounded like a metaphor for life. “You know, it’ll work better if you just trim around the bush instead of chopping it off at the base…”

Apparently, this whole time I’ve been trying to prune bushes by chopping off major branches. I cut all the way down at the base, as close to the ground as I can. The bushes end up lopsided and unhappy.

Do you see the metaphor? That rather than hacking off the limbs (our problems: people, habits, weight, family, jobs, etc…) it may be wise to consciously trim. To slowly & carefully cultivate our bushes (lives) until they resemble something even more beautiful than they were to begin with.

Next time I’ve got a problem, I’m going to sit back with a good ol’ pair of felco’s and examine until I know where to trim. 😉



Gap Casting Call…I submitted Deo! & What I Consider a Food Success!

I swore I’d never do these things…but c’mon, he just looks like a Gap kid. I’ve been wearing Gap clothing my whole life…”brand loyalty” is a real thing. Plus, this kid BEGS for the spotlight.

What I won’t do is post things on Facebook that are like “Vote for my kid!” “Vote for my kid!” Because that’s annoying. At least I think I won’t do that. No…I definitely will never do that. Kind of like how I will never enter my kid into a contest.

Onto other news, I still haven’t figured out how to use Windows Movie Maker, and I’m not doing so hot on sticking to scheduled posts. I do like the idea of “Mental Health Mondays” and “Food and Fitness Fridays” (I can’t figure out a good Wednesday post…maybe I could just aim for two a week for now. Or, Vlog Wednesdays! That could be the video day. Probably these musings should be relegated to my notebook.) Friends, any tips or ideas you have will be SO appreciated!

Onto Food & Fitness Friday. I want to talk about two things: Flipping Tires and What I Consider a Food “Success.”

Flipping Tires: Makes me feel so badass. I experienced this for the first time recently at a YMCA group fitness challenge, and I just wanted to do it allllll day. Call me crazy. It works the whole body and gives you a great sense of accomplishment.

Food “Success:” For me, this means that I get in 3 meals and two snacks every day. Each snack must include a bit of protein, each meal has a fruit or vegetable. Since my life is so hectic, these smalls feats are HUGE things. I don’t stress. I try to keep to normal portion sizes (like what it says on the label, or the internet). At the end of the day, if I have accomplished this, it means that I have not experienced extreme crashes of hunger by going too long without eating, and that I have nourished my body so that things like flipping tires are possible!

Sorry for the randomness of this post, just wanted to get an update in! Follow along on social media sites if you want to see what we are up to this weekend!



Mental Health Monday: When you start to feel like you are twisting things, watch this.

Hi amigos…A quick musing for your morning coffee time:

This woman is amazing. I am blown away by her matter-of-fact attitude regarding anxiety and depression. I have struggled for so long, knowing that how I feel isn’t right, but reluctant to seek help (especially pharamcuetical) because I felt so ashamed. I think “I am weak,” “I should be able to handle this myself,” “It will pass,” “If I do ___, I will feel better.” If you, like me, think those thoughts, LISTEN TO HER:

Exciting News!

I have a whole bunch of exciting news, so here it is…in order of importance, of course!

First, Ana has started letting me do her hair! This is a whole new world for me and one that I have been patiently awaiting. I have tried to do it ever since it was long enough but she genuinely hated it, and I didn’t force it (much) because it obviously bothered her. So, here’s to the first of many awesome hair-do’s and french braids! The pigtails are my favorite:

Ana's Pigtails

OK! Now for some blog-related news. In case you haven’t noticed, the blog is getting a makeover…I’ve changed themes, updated the categories, and finally purchase the domain! We are officially!!

I have also set up social media sites and a YouTube channel. Nothing is finished yet, so if you click on the icons and they don’t work – don’t despair, I’m working on it.

The next step is to brainstorm a calendar and get on a schedule for posting – both blogs and videos. I have been wanting to vlog for a long time and I’m going to start experimenting…so exciting! We’ll see how it goes.

And on one more positive note, I wanted to share this quick story. We are lucky to have lovely neighbors…this is a story of true neighborly love and kindness.

When the older gentlemen down the street dropped by this morning to bring me some mail he found of ours in his mailbox, we visited for few minutes to catch up. I told him that we were taking it easy today because John has had to work nights this week and our routine is all thrown off – I’m beat. We all are. Several hours passed and as I was writing this blog, he just dropped by with a pizza and a bottle of wine “so we could relax and enjoy the night!” I am overwhelmed by his kindness, it is proof of the love and beauty in this world.

Pizza from Grandpa Tony