Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dee De Deeee

That's my Nana Ruth. She is the sound of shuffling slippers, a little "dee de deee" tune and a tea kettle whistle. She is memories of whole cans of soda, strawberry milk, sugary cereals and candy dots - all thrilling novelties to my brothers and I. She let me push her raft for hours in her pool and listened while I rambled on in the way that little girls do. She let us pick out our Christmas gifts from the gigantic Sears catalog. Her birthday cards always come first and she and my Grandpa used to call every year on my birthday and sing to me.

She has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. The quieter, softer one along side my big boisterous Grandpa Sid. Without him she seems even smaller. Our time together was filled with Grandpa's stories and I can retell his favorites word for word, hand motions and all. Nana always sat and listened, smiling and laughing at all the right parts. I can't even imagine how many times she heard those stories!

When Grandpa was sick, I spent a few weeks worth of afternoons keeping Nana company while her husband and lifelong partner slipped away. We sat on the front porch, his dog at our feet, and she talked. She talked to me more in those weeks than in the years since. She told me stories of her childhood, as a young wife, and as a mother. She spoke to me as an equal, not hiding details because I was her grand daughter or a young woman. She was frank, honest, and unapologetic and in return my questions were bold. I learned so much about her. I gained respect and understanding.

Our visits now are quick and chaotic with the kids. Our phone calls filled with chit chat about the weather and trips to the zoo. But when the tea kettle whistles I often find myself transported back to the front porch with my nana and that stinky bulldog. Now as a mother and a wife, her stories take new meaning and I find myself appreciating her even more.

Then I shuffle my feet across the floor and hum a little diddy...just for her.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yellow Dust Road

Just follow the yellow dust road....follow the yellow dust road...

Im determined to ignore the ridiculous high pollen count, the powdery yellow coating on everything, my swollen red itchy eyes, and the stuff dripping out of my nose.

It is spring, gosh darn it, and I LOVE spring. I love new flowers, the return of green, flip flops, no winter layers to torture the kids with, and most of all being outside - finally! It is so freeing to just open the slider and let the kids run out in whatever they are wearing. We have been outside non-stop for the past 4 days. Despite my helpful neighbors mothering me, I absolutely refuse to turn the air conditioners on and shut the windows to keep the pollen out. It is SPRING! The smell of the fresh air wafting through your house is one of the best parts!

Allergies appeared in my life while in college. They didn't gradually enter my sinuses, oh no - they blasted in that first year in full force. Since then I do harbor a sense of dread when I see that first Daffodil. I know the pollen is coming. But, every time I start to complain I have vivid flashbacks of my brother Matt. Too many of my memories of Matt are of him with major allergy symptoms. It didn't stop our family from asking him to mow the lawn or prevent us from having a dog. Heck, I used to make the dog roll on his bed when I was mad at him! I don't remember him complaining or whining about it. He went and mowed the lawn, he loved our dogs. But I can't help thinking it must damper his enjoyment of the seasons. It must have added to his low frustration level (which was always pretty low, but you should see what a patient father he is!).

So it is my love for spring and my hopes of avoiding his suffering that I gave Drew allergy medicine. I hate medicine for myself, and even more so for my kids, but I love my little guy and the beautiful seasons more. Drew seems 100% better, no more sneezing, no more red drippy eyes - running, bouncing, and skipping down the yellow dust road.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wild Ones

She loves him fiercely. It is already apparent that they will be partners in crime. Taking the world by storm, at full speed. Running, jumping, splashing.

The rest of us will just hang on for the ride!

Monday, April 27, 2009


...a photo shoot is in order...
...for no other reason...

...than an exceptionally cute boy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Still the cutest...

I could watch THIS a million times, always with a smile and a little tear.


All kids love routine, ask anyone you know. It seems though, that my kids are especially fond of routine. So much so that you may hear Mike and I saying things like, "sometimes we do things differently and thats ok!" It is ridiculous. You must have caught on by now that these monkeys are pretty quirky.

So, a few of our routines...

We take our shoes off when entering the house. Ella barely takes a step before ripping them off and rushing to the shoe basket. After a few incidents of taking her shoes off upon entering the diner or a store, she now asks whenever we go somewhere new, "Shoes off or on?"

When crossing a street I hold Tyler in one arm, hold Drew's hand with the free arm and Ella holds Drew's hand. Recently I realized my most unpredictable child was out of my grasp in busy parking lots, so I tried to switch it up. Oh, nelly, Drew is not happy about that!

The bedtime routine takes the cake. After pj's, a vitamin, and brushing teeth comes a game. Then it is stories and they always need a drink of water mid-story. Finally they use the bathroom and then head upstairs. While going upstairs they take turns saying, "put the music on, leave the door open, and don't make that noise!" We still haven't figured out what "that noise" is.

Thus concludes one of my most boring posts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Love...

Braids and curls...

Little boy button downs and leather belts...

Watching two little beings so in sync...

The wonder a dandelion can bring...

Beautiful spring days and beautiful children...

I love.

ps. I once saw a post like this one on soul mama...I love that lady!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


She is the tiny one in the middle

Here is my little Ella Bella swimming away in her class.

I feel ready to burst the whole lesson. She is such a little peanut next to the other kids. She is nervous and hesitant, but she does everything the teacher asks of her anyway. This is what makes me so proud.

I don't want her to be an Olympic swimmer. I don't want to force her to do things. I do want her (and all my kids) to experience the pride and satisfaction of accomplishing something for themselves. The rewards are small for easy comfortable challenges, but for those that require them to dig down and then power through - those reap big rewards. Like that giant smile at the end of class. The big hug and the happy bouncing in the locker room.

Isn't that what every kid should learn growing up? How to face adversity and all of life's challenges - big and small- with confidence and poise. To have enough gusto to at least try. To know that their are people that love them anyway and who are ready to help- but that the biggest joy will come from accomplishing it themselves.

I once was in the back country of Glacier National Park in Montana for 4 days and 3 nights. I don't remember the trail or the names of the mountains and passes. I do remember this particular climb. We slept under it first and gawked at it through dinner and breakfast. We put on our enormous packs and began the switchbacks.

It was the hardest thing I had ever done. If I could have quite I may have, but I didn't. We all got to the top and we each found a spot to sit. I stared out over an amazing view. I still can't describe my feelings. I just know that when I am challenged I revert to that climb in my mind and I gain additional confidence. I didn't think I could do it, but I did and it felt unbelievable.

Maybe Ella's swimming lesson will be her Glacier climb.

Monday, April 20, 2009

LOST: My Mind

I last saw it somewhere on Rt 17, just before my head exploded.

The details aren't important and that's the thing that kills me. Screaming, biting, crying, dirty diapers...all mundane harmless (well maybe not the biting, but no medical attention needed) incidents. So why when added up over a rainy, runny nose, coughing Monday morning do they equal total head explosion?

This may be the great mystery of motherhood. You quietly deal with the slow pecking away at your sanity. The pushing. The whining. The misbehaving. The stares from store staff. The begging. The clinging. You respond to each with a gentle smile or a firm reprimand, but then you move on. Or so you think. Next thing you know, your mind is on the side of the highway.

I made it the rest of the way home with the radio turned up higher than they had ever experienced. High enough so that I couldn't hear the whining, crying, and sniffling. Because I am a mom and we all have guilt - I checked the rearview often. I was expecting to see them cringing or covering their ears. But the contrary- they were relaxed. One fell asleep and the others quietly looked out the window.

Im hoping to regain some sanity during their nap. A few cups of tea and some Easter candy may do the trick.

Just in time to welcome another 3 yr old in for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Did I say tea? I think I may need something a little stronger!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tots of Hazard

Ella is a natural born driver. She loves it - the faster the better. She has no fear of crashing into anything and she expertly fiddles with the radio while navigating the roads! Of course, the little maniac is a fantastic partner for her road trip. He runs for the jeep as soon as he sees it and you have to peel his little finger off it when it is time to get out.
I love watching them go, smiling ear to ear.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Girl

Dear Ella,
Last night while out for a walk I followed a mother daughter pair also out for a walk. I was struck at how their body types were so similar, their gaits, even their haircuts! I imagined them the best of friends meeting for walks a few times a week and chatting about everything. If we lived closer to Nonnie that is what I would do, although I would be the shorter rounder version of the tall lean Nonnie machine and Im not quite ready for her semi-bowl cut.
Anyway, watching this cute pair got me daydreaming about you and me. I hope you stay close to me in more ways than one. I can't wait to delight in your experiences and encourage you through challenges.
I want to take walks, meet for lunch, and float in the pool.
Let's all move to Nonnie's house and never leave.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Great Outdoors

It seems funny to think of my parents house as a great expanse of nature - especially since I lived in Montana for a year, romping around national parks. I don't know how to classify where we live now. It is too crowded to feel suburban, but not even close to the urban lifestyle of Hoboken or NYC.
Anyway, we had a great time playing in the yard and exploring their woods. Drew seemed most enchanted with the woods. He was swinging sticks, stomping on fallen trees and holding branches back so Ella could walk by. Somersaults, hide and seek and playing tag rounded out the morning.

Im looking forward to spending lots of time there this summer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In My Absence...

We have had a fun filled, exciting, and truly wonderful few days. We left for MA on Thur night and returned to NJ on Monday afternoon.

On Friday morning Ella, Drew, Tyler and I enjoyed my parents yard. Coming from NJ and the land of teeny tiny square backyards - if you can get one - we thoroughly enjoyed the expanse of their property. At one point I realized that just their front yard is bigger than some of our favorite parks. More on that to come this week.

Friday afternoon we rode up to see our NH cousins - especially to meet my newest niece. So nice to see a girl after the last 5 cousins have been boys! She is absolutely beautiful, my brothers family is awesome and the visit was a blast. I drove away from his house filled up with the love and joy a visit with them brings, but also with a strong sense of longing for more visits. If you want more details or pics from this visit, send me a note.

Saturday was a lounging day. We went to lunch and colored eggs. Then we met my mother on her way back from NH for dinner. The kids were so excited to see Nonnie again and thrilled that she was finally coming back to her house. As we put the kids to bed on Saturday night - they started to freak out. It was unlike anything we have seen before. Screaming, crying, fighting to get out of bed. After much discussion and more tears, we determined that they were afraid of the Easter Bunny. I had to make a quick call to the big guy and request that he leave their baskets at the neighbors house. I was also instructed to leave a note on the door telling him not to come in. Uhm....maybe we shouldn't have waved at that large ugly thing in the mall!

Easter was a blast, once we assured them that the Easter Bunny was in fact gone. Ill post on that later.

Monday we had planned to go to a zoo to meet one of Mike's friends who works there. She had promised us a great tour and we were so excited. Unfortunately Ella started a fever on Sunday afternoon, and woke up with it on Monday. We had to cancel. Hopefully we can reschedule soon.

So, stay tuned for more details from our trip and some great pics.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Liberty Pics

I had to put these pics in their own post because they are cracking me up!

This one is funny because it was the only one I was able to catch with all 3 kids in the picture with the Statue. It also makes me laugh because kids are so easy to please. Running free on a big patch of grass could have easily been their favorite part of the day. What?! There was a Statue there?!

How funny is this one?! The perspective or scale or whatever you call it kills me. Did you notice that it looks like Tyler is dangling from Drew's hand by the pom-pom on his hat?!

Hey Lady!

We were lucky enough to be a stop on my friend Sarah's visit to the "lower 48" this week. She has been living in Alaska for the last 8 years...crazy, I know!

It was her first visit to NYC so we couldn't let her go without a stop at one of the Big Apples main attractions. After much deliberation we settled on the Statue of Liberty. The decision seemed great until it started snowing. Not wanting to seem wimpy in front of our Tundra living pal, we braved the trip despite the weather.

Uhm, it was cold. And windy.

But, we had fun anyway. The kids loved the ferry rides to Ellis Island and Liberty Island. It was great to look up at the beautiful monument and reflect on all of the people who have been welcomed by her. It was fun to go, as so often you neglect the touristy things right under your nose.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Creative Expression

A few weeks ago a friend sent me some pics of her kids. Her little boy was born a few days after Tyler - if only we lived close we could watch them grow up together. of the pics showed her 2 kids sitting at the counter bar using water color paints. They looked so cute and I was immediately struck with guilt that I haven't let Tyler paint yet. He ends up with a mouth full of crayons every time I let him color, so I figured he was still a ways away from paint.

But I couldn't get it out of my head that I hadn't even let him try. What kind of mother am I?!

Turns out I was smarter than I thought. This is what happened. I can't wait to color eggs this week. Agh.

Friday, April 3, 2009


He summed it up so well over at Soulemama...

I've not found one endeavor more capable of producing fear and offering scary moments than that of raising children. As they navigate through the trials of a day, I am given many opportunities to see my own shortcomings. As a parent. As a person. Like staring into the mirror and studying my own eyes, I see, in them, the truth. In them, I am confronted with the very best and the very worst of myself. Every. Single. Day. And there I am for my children to see, strengthened by trial and humbled by experience. Crowned as a champion and exposed as a fraud. The only thing I have to offer is myself and... I've got nowhere else to be.


Lately it seems as though I blink and this happens...

I find myself answering questions or telling stories and saying "last year" and then realizing it was 2 years ago. It is the oldest saying in the book - kids grow up so fast. But why does it have to happen to my kids?! Im amazed at so many of my friends who are rushing their kid off to full time preschools and arranging for all kinds of classes and baby sitters. All I want to do is be with them. Listen to their stories, watch them try new things, and show them all I can. Oh, I love them!

Ahh, damn it - they are waking up! Did I mention I love them napping as well?!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Two questions for today:

1. Does it get any cuter than this?

2. How can something so cute be so fresh?!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Our Spot

The first time we went there it took us about 30 minutes to find it. Nestled amongst clothing factories and distribution centers is the cutest little duck pond. It has a few benches and some platforms for fishing. It also has an old caboose painted a shiny red parked along side the pond, perfect for climbing and pretending to be a conductor.

We have never invited our friends and we rarely see anyone else there.

It feels like our secret spot.

Today we had a great time despite the wind and one greedy Canadian Goose. He took a few bites from a roll while Drew was holding it. A little too close for me, although Drew and the Goose seemed just fine with the arrangement.

We quickly retreated to the platform and fed the ducks from a safe distance!