Wednesday, December 19, 2012

D is 7!

 This was a big year for you buddy! You lost so many teeth, I lost track and there were rumors the Tooth Fairy applied for a loan. You started 1st grade without a hitch and became a reading machine. Hockey has become your most absolute favorite thing to do and we have all loved watching you skate. And you conquered some real fears - heights by climbing the rock wall and sliding down the fire pole - and going under water in the pool. Drew, we couldn't be more proud of you!
 If I had to describe you in just a few words, I could simply say, "Good kid." Actually, more like the best kid. You follow rules and do as you are asked (although sometimes it takes a while you dawdler!). You genuinely care about others and wouldn't hurt a fly. You have the patience of a Saint, especially when it comes to your brothers and sister.

And, just get it. You get that your brothers are smaller and you share, and bend rules, and encourage them. You stay away from the fresh, wild boys at school and avoid trouble. You want to help and go out of your way to make your special people feel special.

There are a million reasons to love you and I appreciate every one. I feel honored to know you and lucky to be your mom. Im so proud of you, pal.

Happy Birthday! Love Mom

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Girl at 7

Every year in December I smile when I hear Mariah Carey sing "All I Want for Christmas." I think of sitting in a NICU 7 years ago holding a tiny bundle named Ella. I sang this song softly in your ear because all I wanted for Christmas was you home, away from IVs, monitors and tests. I got my Christmas wish that year. 

But this year is a little different. I can't listen to the song without tearing up. Maybe Im a little more emotional this Holiday. But I think it is because it suddenly hit me that there was a chance you wouldn't have made it to 7. There was a blood transfusion and talks of internal bleeding. Cat scans of your brain and a follow up blood draw every month at a Hematologist. And now it is hitting me, because now I know how utterly awesome you are...back then I didn't even have a clue about the little girl you would become. 
What would I do without you? You wear your heart on your sleeve, my love. When it is time to leave your cousins, you cry heart wrenching, body shaking sobs. Your feelings are amazingly intense - sometimes so much so that I worry. But most of the time, you are simply a spitfire. You are quick with comments and jokes. You pick up on everything that is going on and usually have an opinion. You call me out in my own moments of weakness and challenge me in ways I didn't know possible. And I love you for it all.

You love all things animals, especially dogs. I love to watch your tiny body do gymnastics. And you are fiercely competitive on the soccer field. You are the best big sister Colby could ask for. You tell him stories at night and love him with unconditional acceptance. You hate to be late and organize your gear well in advance. You love to collect and hoard little baubles and trinkets - even Daddy's wedding ring! You could sit at the counter and do school work or draw or write all day.

You are awesome and you are mine and I am so grateful.

I love you Bella Boo. xo Mom

Sunday, December 9, 2012

T-Bone at 5

 Tonight I was talking about the day you were born. I told you how you came a week early and surprised us all. How Nonnie was already on the train and Ella and Drew were both still in cribs. You smiled and laughed. Then, "Mom, do you know the rest of the story?"

Ty, I could tell your story for days.
 Your story is about a little guy two years younger, who can certainly keep up. You always have. I have to tell you, though, you give us all a hard time. Your standard answer to most questions is more of a grunt and it takes about 20 requests before you even budge. We are working on it and I see you growing out if it little by little.

But when you are happy? Oh, Ty, it is the best. Your feet never hit the ground and you talk so fast you stutter. Your laugh is contagious and your hugs are so genuine as your little arms squeeze my neck so tight. You love to run, jump and go. You love a good project and will smile as you help. You get nervous at the most surprising times, just often enough to remind me that you are still a little boy.

Your story is about dancing. You dance on the hockey rink, in stores and in the car. You aren't shy or embarassed and your robotic moves are hysterical. I love the way your head bobs to the beat with your hockey helmet on.

Your story is about being a brother. You play the middle position well. Sometimes a nudge to the older and younger, but often so sweet and caring to both.

I can't wait for more of your story Ty, especially since it is one of the best parts of my own. You make me so proud.

I love you, Happy Birthday!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


 Mike, his sister Melissa, and I took the kids across the river to visit the 9/11 Memorial. I wondered if they would be too young, but took a chance. By the time we got into the Memorial we had talked a little bit about what had happened on that day. We pointed out the building that Uncle Joe and Aunt Michelle were in. We talked about how the Ferry we took was the only way home for so many people. I wasn't sure what the kids were taking in, but at some point I realized that it was good for me to remember, regardless of what they learned.
 We walked past the fence into the Memorial and the kids hushed. I don't know if it was in sheer amazement at the giant waterfalls, or if they simply absorbed the reverent feeling of the space. We walked around one footprint, found a bench and sat. They asked great questions, "Didn't the bad guys die too? That was a dumb decision!" And they started to empathize, "Everyone must have been so scared because they didn't know what was happening."

It was a good start to understanding such an important day of our country's history. And it ended with a picture of the future and a reminder to never take a day for granted.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


He can't stop dancing. At home, in a store, or the car- it doesn't matter.

"I love you to the Moooon!" He shouts as his little arms wrap around your neck.

"Mum! Where are you?" He calls through the house as he tracks me down.

"NO BOBO!" the soundtrack to our days.

"No home!" the call from the backseat as we turn down our road.

Video is needed because before I know it, this phase will be over and Ill start to forget.

Pass the tissues.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


My 13 year old client sat on the couch across from me today. His sneakers separated at the toe, so when he crossed his legs the piece flapped and hung from the shoe. He asked me if we could cut our meeting short so he could get to the Boys & Girls Club before the home work help session was over.

I was excited. I had submitted his story to the local paper and it was chosen to be published in the annual Holiday giving drive. This boy with the tattered shoes and a tattered heart from a family who has never failed to let him down - this boy is going to receive $1000 for food, clothes, after school activities, whatever he wants! Woo Hoo! Let the fun begin!!

"Well, maybe a $100 dollars to Marshalls so I can get some new clothes. And then the rest to the supermarket so my grandmother doesn't have to worry about food."

For the first time in his life he was lucky. He won big. The golden ticket. And he thought not of himself, but of his grandmother.

I never want to forget that moment. And I will pray, hope, and work every day to instill that same selflessness and generosity of spirit in my children.

ps. After some discussion he decided on $100 to Game Stop, and then split the rest between clothes and food :) 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life = Pretzels

 Sometimes life is like a pretzel. A big, salted, overpriced, farthest thing from organic, NYC street vendor pretzel. It may not be exactly what you want or need, but sometimes you just need to sit down on a bench and take a big bite. If you get caught up in the details, you miss out on the sheer joy of it all.

Ask Colby, he knows.

Monday, November 26, 2012


 It started with the easiest trip we have ever had to NJ. The Thanksgiving Gods were smiling down on us - clearing the highway of traffic and keeping our kids happy and busy in the back of the Family Roadster. And the weekend just kept getting better. The kids were so happy to be at Grandma & Pop Pops house and they were equally happy to see them.

We reveled in stories and laughs as only a family that has been together for so long can do. We hugged each others children, tickled their bellies, and asked about school. The kids skip all that and go straight to playing - making forts, performing rehearsed dance shows, and buddying up.

I never take as many pictures as I planned. Some memories are just meant to be seared into my brain and heart. And this visit was all about the feelings I get seeing our family together - no camera could capture that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Moments That Matter

Sometimes when I get caught up in ridiculous things, I scroll through my phones pictures and look at the moments that really matter.


Pitch In

Fall cleanup is no joke in my Dad's big yard. Throw in a hurricane and a Nor'easter, and well, it seems never ending. So whether they volunteer or their help is requested, everyone pitches in.


I love it. I love to look across the yard and see my family working together. I love the smell of the air and the crunch of the leaves. I love to see how proud they are when they make a contribution, no matter how small. I like to talk about how good it feels to do something for someone who does so much for you.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Our Thoughts are There

 We are hours away from New York and New Jersey. Our lights are on, our gas tanks full and our home dry. But we can't stop thinking about our friends and family who are having a tough time right now as a result of Sandy.  Somehow the devastation is more real, not only because our friends are effected, but because our memories still live there too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Into the Woods

 We cant help ourselves. Once the air gets a hint of crispness and spots of yellow dot the trees, we head to the woods. On a recent Thursday afternoon we left school and made a beeline for Blue Hills. Not quite a mountain, but challenging for little legs (and momma legs with a big 2 yr old on her back!). The hike up is a steep rocky incline with a view of Boston as a reward at the peak (does a hill have a peak?)
 The way down is a meandering trail carpeted in pine needles and newly fallen leaves. The kids run more than they walk and I love to watch them. Being in the woods, in awe of nature and feeling so lucky to have these awesome healthy kids...I feel happy. I remind myself that I don't need any more than what I have. Some people have church, others therapy or wine - I have my kids and the great outdoors :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

That Parent

I've realized that I am one of those parents. I am one of those parents that was a better (the best!) parent before I had kids. I wouldn't be the parent opening up packages in the aisle at the grocery to shush a screaming kid. I wouldn't be the one licking my fingers to wipe a messy chin. And I certainly would not be that parent screaming on the side lines of a 6 yr olds game.

Except, well, it turns out that I am. I am that parent. And Im not sure I can stop.

I scream at my 6 yr olds games. Of course, only encouraging things like, "Go! Go! Ella, stick with it!!" or "Take it to the net, Drew!!" I realize I look stupid. Im sure other parents talk about me on the way home. I get why my husband stands across the rink from me (lol). It is ridiculous. And I can't stop.

I even give myself pep talks on the way to the games. "Im not going to yell this time. They are just little kids. It isn't that big of a deal. Im not going to yell." And then I yell. Every time.

It is just too much for me to take. They are so damn cute in their little uniforms. And they try so hard. And they are so excited. And when I watch them I am so proud and so happy that I literally burst.

Is there a 12 step program for this?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


 Our weeks can get pretty crazy. Well, maybe crazy isn't the word. Busy? Rushed? Filled? Maybe all of the above. Granted most of it is fun - gymnastics, hockey, soccer, and story time. And some of it is not - school and work. So, carving out some real quality time has become even more important. Let me introduce Thursday Afternoons. I work Tuesday afternoons returning home well after bedtime and then back in most of the day Wednesday. By the time Thursday rolls around, I miss my kids. And as luck would have it, the kids have a half day every Thursday. Yes, EVERY Thursday!
 Thursday has become our day and I can't get enough. Im first in line at the school pick up spot with snacks packed and a plan. We hit the road, singing, chatting, teasing and fighting - I love it all. They are mine and for a few hours, they are all mine.
Stay tuned for tales of our Thursday adventures....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Little Miss

Little Miss....

...always right (and she usually is).

...super big sister to Colby

....instigator. butterfly (she works the town soccer fields like a smooth politician at a fund raiser).

...sensitive, just when you thought she was so tough.


My Little Miss.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The New Kennedys

 What to do when you don't cross everything off your Summer list? Well, you extend it into the beautiful first days of Fall!
To Martha's Vineyard we went and although the calendar said Fall, it felt like the perfect Summer day trip. The ferry would have been enough for the kids. They entertained our fellow passengers with Pirate Play - "Load the Cannons!!' And it was all I could do to get them out of the bathroom, because the port hole window was "awesome!" Luckily the island didn't disappoint and even if it did, there is always the ferry trip back.
With expectations low, we traipsed around the island in search of ice cream and the penny candy store I remembered from my own childhood memories. We never found penny candy, but even better, we found the Flying Horses Carousel. If you score the Brass Ring, you win a free ride. Drew grabbed it twice in a row!! Needless to say, our expectations were met and then some!
So move over Kennedys, the Dargans may be taking over the Vineyard!

Friday, September 21, 2012

A few notes...

motley crue

A few snippets...

* I laugh when I remember that we used to describe Drew as quiet. He is always talking, singing, or otherwise being silly. He is a class clown and loves to make people laugh. Funny how kids can change :) 

* Ella is picking up quite the unintentional education at school. We have heard who is "off the hook," who she has a crush on, and how according to her lunch-mate gelatin is made from horses hooves. Also I "just don't understand her!! (cue feet stomp and slamming door)" 

* Colby is just funny. Unlike any of his brothers or his sister, he is a bit wild when away from home. He has pushed on the playground, blows kisses to every adult who looks his way and wanders away constantly. Where did he come from? 

* Tyler T is up to his usual tricks. Do you hear that banging? He is either practicing his slap shots against the garage or slamming the tennis ball! Some things never change :) 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Fun House

 Uncle Johnny and Auntie Mary have always brought the life to the party. Their stories are great, their jokes funny (albeit off color :) and they truly know how to have fun! When I was a kid they lived in Florida. I will always remember the excitement of knowing they were coming for a visit - with Christmas Eve being the best of all.
 Now they are in NH, only a little more than an hour away, so we should really see them more - sadly we don't. But I already see my kids having the same excitement as I did at their age. "We are going to Uncle Johnny's?! Yes!!!" So there were popsicles in the hot tub, lobster, and movies on the big, loud tv.  And the best part is that it is just as much fun, if not more, for the adults!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ah-Nats Boat

 We love Uncle Marks Boat, or as Colby affectionately calls him, Ah-Nat. We talk about our days on the boat all the time. "Remember when Uncle Mark went so fast?!" Colby brings up Ah-Nats boat several times a day and always with a big smile.
 It isn't about where we go (although the Spit might be one of my most favorite places in the world) or how far out to sea we travel (we don't). I think it is just the pure fun of being on a boat. Of being on the water.
 Ah-Nat fixed up a much smaller boat that he so awesomely has offered to share with us. Im thinking next summer is going to be pretty great.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


We pulled into 349 Middle St like we have hundreds, probably thousands, of times before. My dad driving, me along for the ride. This time my 2 boys were in the back seat and we knew no one was home. My Nana was born in this home over 95 years ago. She raised her family here as well  - history oozes from it's walls.

The boys set out toys in the driveway while Dad and I started snipping away at the shrubs. My mind drifted to the days of the big red glider, birthday celebrations on the patio, and exploring in the back yard. I remembered picking lettuce with my grandpa and gathering roses with Nana. My Dad must have been remembering too. Soon the quiet rythm of snipping was broken by stories of digging holes with his Dad and of just how small those tall pines were when they planted them.

The house, the stories, the memories....the fact that the 5th generation of us played in the same spot as generations was weeks ago, but the feeling remains lodged in my chest. Although I can't find the right name or description for how it feels, I like it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to School 2012

Back to school. I love it and hate it at the same time. I love the new pencils with thick pink erasers, the crisp folders, and cool air that blows in at night. I hate saying goodbye to my kids, watching them struggle with the leaving and exhausted after a long (to them) day. 
Drew woke on the first day a full hour before his normal summer waking time. He was raring to go, wired up, bouncing around with his backpack on with plenty of time to spare. 
Ella spilled tears into her pancakes. She powered through breakfast, dressing and by the time we posed for pictures she was smiling. The tears returned as we pulled up to school, but she went. I lost it. I want nothing more than to protect her and I was exhausted from a morning of keeping us together with songs, dancing, cheers, and pep talks. Im so proud of her. Crossing that line into what is uncomfortable is hard for anyone and she is doing it everyday. 

Tyler went back to Steeple School this morning for Pre-K with Mrs. Pugatch. We all get a giggle when we say her name :) He looks so much bigger than the 3 year olds at school. Ty is quiet heading off to school. He marches in and doesn't say goodbye. He looks so big and so small at the same time. I can't quite figure out why I am so emotional each time I drop him off. 

 And this one? Well, he runs around the house gathering his shoes, sweatshirt and backpack with the rest of them. He always waves goodbye to Ella and Drew happily. But this morning was hard for him. He didn't want Ella to go. Then he walked into the classroom with Tyler and wouldn't leave. Once he realized Tyler was staying he fought as hard as his little body could to get back in the school building. Yelling, "Bobo!! Bobo!!' I know exactly how he feels.