Sunday, October 4, 2009

Two plus Two

Nearly a year ago we were here:

Now we are perfectly here:


I don't want to forget his vocabulary as it currently exists. Oh little man, do you make our days shine with your witty words and smiley squinty eyes.

He has trouble with oo sounds..he calls himself Luck

His sippy cup is a bobby and sometimes when he's feeling particularly happy it is referred to as a bobby bob-oh

Pillow is a billpoh

Chips are pips

His blankies are bankies

The playground he lovingly calls The Wagon

A wagon is just that, a wagon

Fire trucks are gah-gung-gungs. We don't get it either. They are also called E-O's. Like the sound they make

He can perfectly say eyebrow

Love is another good one

Cold can be easily translated to colden. Ending words with "en" is popular as drawing is often referred to as drawden and water can sometimes be heard wateren.

Fish is pretty straightforward

cado is short for avacado

juice and melk are easy

orge for curious george

Poop is pup

when asked what you get the grocery store he replies Appies (for apples) and Bnanas or ninas

I know there are more but these are high on the list of awesome Luke-speak

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cattails in the fall

We took a family walk this week along the bike trail. The trees are turning, leaves are beginning to fall and the cattails, oh those cattails are blooming. The sight of them to the right of me with my family strolling in front of me brought me back to 1984, the muddy grounds of the Warren County airport underfoot, holding onto my mother's hand as we maneuvered the landscape in search of the perfect spot to watch the hot air balloons rise around us. The cattails were blooming then too and as we walked I remember her telling me an intricate tale about cats (I was obsessed with all things kitten) and that maybe, just maybe we could snip one of those cattails to take home. Later that morning the four of us sipped hot cocoa at a diner and in my 8 year old mind life was simply perfect.

For most of my childhood I believed that every kid lived in a two story home with a mom, a dad and a sibling. I also assumed every kid had two sets of grandparents, both of them quite different, but both equally loving. I thought every mom scoped out the clouds to find pictures in the sky, could draw like a real artist (this came in handy for book reports) and knew how to make a killer cake. All dads were strong military men, intensely honest and community oriented, but were also soft as teddy bears. Naive I know, this ideal world I lived in.

The balloons will be flying high all about us this week with the cattails blowing in the breeze and picturesque story filled clouds overhead. I hope Luke and Ellie remember these purely ideal moments of what it is to be a family. The simple hand-holding and discovery. The sharing of a warm drink on a cool morning complete with muddy boots and an afternoon nap. Sweet perfection.

Friday, September 4, 2009

September 14, 2001 to September 3, 2009

The date was Friday, September 14, 2001. I found myself in Manhattan's Union Square amidst a sea of protesters and peace-loving folk as fighter jets flew overhead and smoke still smoldered to the south. I was torn. Longing to be part of something during this scary time, missing my family and the comfort and security of a small town I clung to whatever it was I could. However at this moment, three days afterward, I just wasn't ready for peace. If I had lost someone that day I really wouldn't have been ready for forgiveness. In those moments I tried, under that crisp, clear, beautiful blue sky I stood there and cried, I was speechless. The world was spinning, but I was standing still. I watched the protesters in slow motion chanting and waving their signs as I looked down Broadway to Ground Zero. As the daughter of a Naval Master Chief and the sister of a fireman, my heart was with the military, the firemen, their families and the grieving. It all seemed like a twisted movie.

My office building was a shrine to the missing. Armed guards stood on both ends of our block as our building was attached to the Lexington Street Armory where they were sending family members of the missing. Candles and notes, pictures and teddy bears, flowers and poems were taped up covering a huge portion of the building. It was eerily sad to see those faces looking at you everyday and to read the handwritten notes.

My mom was the first person I called when it happened. The relief in her voice was one I hope to never have to experience as a mother. My father told me that night that he was going to drive down and bring me home but I refused. The next day he and I had a long phone conversation about faith, hope and love and I remember both of us crying. We cried so hard we made each other laugh.

I've lost touch with some of the people whom took me under their wing that fateful day. My mom called to thank them which I remember being embarrassed by, but I get it now. Misunderstandings seemed so trivial then and easier to get through, but I guess time marches on now.

I remember looking out the kitchen window of my apartment which looked into the living room of an apartment across the way where I saw a family huddled together playing Scrabble. It was incredibly heartwarming but it also left me in with a heavy heart for that is what I longed for in those moments.

That weekend, just as I had ventured to the peace demonstration with my roommate she ventured to Catholic church with me that Sunday. I needed a dose of normalcy, of some routine that felt comfortable while to her it was I'm sure more of an experience. The closing song was God Bless America, as I sang the tears came once again, my voice barely able to crack a note as my throat was in one big knotty lump.

Yesterday I had to run a few errands for work and as I walked to the car I heard God Bless America played through the church bells. The sky was as blue and beautiful as that Tuesday. The bells stopped me in my tracks, transporting me back to those moments. I looked around at my city, at what I've been able to contribute, at the car with our two car seats in the back and I smiled. I am so lucky to be here, to have this life, and my God am I blessed.

Those dark days will never leave my memory but I have come through it all to realize those dreams and to create the life I longed for.

Ironically as I drove through my beloved and longed for East End of Glens Falls I heard this song and the tears, they came again. I will never forget, I will always remember and honor those days.

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

Monday, August 31, 2009

New beginnings

I have so much to chronicle.

Ellie is crawling all over the place and has finally started to enjoy eating table food. Well I say "enjoy" loosely, it means really that she tolerates it, gets that it should be something she puts in her mouth and not some foreign object that will be projectiled out all over me.

Luke is starting to put sentences together: "Mama, backhoe is hidin." I love that he knows what a backhoe is but cannot for the life of him say "construction trucks" that comes out as "dung gun gungs".

He immediately removes his shoes when he get in the front door and wants his baseball cap hung up on the hook. Everything in it's place you know.

And! He pees in the potty nearly every night.

They are growing and changing and so am I.

I just submitted a little essay to a writing contest. I'm sure it's more amateur than anything but at least I challenged myself and did it. I also have taken on another challenge. A triathlon. Yeah, you read that right. It's next July, I have time and I thank Amanda for the push.

We never stop growing, there's always something new around the corner and regardless life is too short to sit idly by. Regret be damned. Ellie isn't going to just sit on the floor wondering what it's like to be mobile so I'm not either.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The irreverent 'rents are we

His hands were covered in pizza sauce, her face was barely visible through the apples and apricots strewn from ear to ear, and there was me and John between them playing referees.

I had made homemade pizza, Luke's favorite and Ellie was armed with two jars of Earth's Best baby food. Easy night, peaceful meal we thought. Most nights Luke picks at this or that, sometimes he'll lap it up (french toast, spaghetti, couscous, avocado, quesadillas and mac'n cheese are always homeruns), and some nights he takes one look at what I have served before him looks at me like, "are you friggin kidding me?" scrunches up his nose and hands it back. Tonight though he knew it was pizza and couldn't wait for it to be ready.

We had worked all day cooking food for the week, cycling the laundry, and organizing some kitchen cupboards as they took simultaneous 4 hour naps. Of course it felt good to get some much needed work done but once we were ready to take a break they woke up, so onward to dinner it was. John started Ellie off who repeatedly would hit the spoon with her flailing hands sending the strained food in the air, hitting the wall, her face, and all over her lap. The more he tried the more food went everywhere but in her mouth, so we switched, I fed her and he entertained Luke as the pizza cooled.

We cut strips of pizza for Luke, of course, just the way he likes it. Ellie ate and played and we danced between them. Luke decided the pizza was too crusty and was done with it after only a few bites when he started handing his saucy strips back to us, nearly landing them on the floor as Ellie hacked and coughed like a degenerate trucker.

We were tired, our kids were playing us like fiddles and we just wanted 5 minutes to eat in peace. John leaned in with a wink and said, "You know these dinner guests really suck."

We cracked up and couldn't stop laughing. They're lovely, beautiful children but sometimes you just gotta tell it like it is.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cold Play

Both kids have coughs that I can only explain to be smokers coughs. I've been fighting a little something that has turned my voice into what the boss described yesterday as sounding a bit too close to Carol Channing.


Their eyes are accompanied with red bags beneath them, their bodies clammy, and simple tasks seem to exhaust them. Teething? Summer colds? I'm holding out hope that this subsides and that sleep is all they need. Man we were blessed with one month of health since Luke's surgery. It was bliss. Please coughs and ickies, go away.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Where is Elmo?

Luke had his follow-up appointment in Saratoga today to make sure all was well with his tubes. The appointment was scheduled for 3:20 which meant I had to take Ellie with me. It wasn't quite as bad as the trip to the beach until he refused to go in the room. I had Ellie in one arm, my enormous big red bag disguised as a diaper bag full of firetrucks and bottles slung over my other arm. He wanted the legos and had thrown himself to the floor.

Mmmkay. Thanks for helping out mom L-Train.

I told him to follow me and walked away to the room. No dice. He stayed but finally succumed to joining me and the nurse in the exam room so long as he could bring the plastic wagon that held all of the legos.

The PA only needed to peak in his ears and look up his nose. We had to bribe him with lolipops and her saving grace question: "Luke, can I peak in your ears? I think Elmo is in there?"

"Melmo ears?"

He mowed down his lolipop (seriously he pulled it off the stick and crunched it like a man), left with a clean bill of health, stickers, more pops and firmly believes that Elmo really does live in his ears.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A trip to the beach is really no walk in the park

This vacation post deserves it's own space and is too much of a gem to get lost within the all-inclusive vacation recap.

We are done having kids. If you are unsure if your family is complete there is one simple way to figure out your answer. Take the kids you have to the beach. I swear to you it will seal the deal.

Our house was about a tenth of a mile from the beach. An easy walk down a sandy path, from all of the recent rain it was riddle with potholes and the like but for the most part an easy walk to and fro. Right. Our plan was to put Luke in the umbrella stroller which would later offer a space for Ellie to sit/nap (our car was far too small to bring along the Bob Double Stroller which no doubt would have rocked the beach, but I digress) and carry Ellie in the Baby Bjorn. We also had two beach chairs, a beach bag equipped with water, Ellie bottles, snacks, magazines, and a big towel, an umbrella to keep Ellie in the shade, and a bucket of beach toys for Luke. Not too shabby.

Day 1
John's sister and I took the kids while the guys carried all the gear. Ellie was strapped to my chest as I tried to push the stroller in the sand. Not so much. It didn't bugde, so I pulled it. Heaving 38lbs of Luke and carrying Ellie was a struggle, but I managed, no biggie, we were on the beach, whatever. That was day one. I didn't realize how much of a chore it would be on days 2, 3, and 4.

Day 2.
Once again I pulled Luke, but this time John had Ellie. On the handles of the stroller were the bucket of toys and a chair, all dangling within an inch of falling off, the stroller at times tipping on it's side with Luke hanging on for fear of being face planted into the hot sand. John trailed behind wrestling the umbrella and one of the chairs that kept opening up on him, the overstuffed beach bag and Ellie, who dangled like a rag doll.

Day 2. Leaving the beach.
Luke was done. Overtired, it was time to leave. He started throwing sand just as Ellie was screaming for a bottle. The beach was packed. Families were all around us and the great beach mocked us. "Let's see you gracefully escape" it taunted at us.
I had Ellie and Luke, I need to get them home, Luke repeatedly threw his dump truck, Ellie alternated between screaming and smiling. Good times. We got Luke strapped in and Ellie's legs moved like a puppet on a string, I put what I could on the handles of the stroller and prepared for the pulling of the dead-weight. All eyes were on us. I looked back to see John wrestling the umbrella, it was a scene straight from a Chevy Chase Vacation movie. A woman looked at me and said, "oh I remember those days" as her grandchildren danced about her feet. I declared back, "this is great birth control, we've realized today that we're done, no more kids for us!" Everyone laughed. At least I made them laugh and could laugh with them.

We trudged on. I looked back to see John still trying to compose himself, the damn chair opening up on him over and over as the umbrella slid back and forth preventing him from moving quickly. I just kept laughing. The wooden ramp from the parking lot to the beach was just steps away, I was almost to a hard surface, I started counting the seconds, it was so close and yet so far away. 10, 11, 12, 13...16 seconds and were on the ramp. Phew. I took a breather and turned around. John was lagging far behind. Eyes squinting, brow furrowed, totally pissed.

The kids and I moved on, Ellie dancing, Luke muttering, our house just a few moments away. I turned around again, John was closer but still steps behind us. The chair opened up on him again and the umbrella slipped to the ground. I laughed. I couldn't stop, it was pathetically hilarious. He yelled, "Well that's just what I needed. Tomorrow we are bringing a blanket. That's it!"

The next few days we left the umbrella home and used a towel to shade Ellie in the stroller (which also did have a shade cover too, we were extra cautious), Luke held some of his digger trucks and we figured out a better way to put the chairs on the stroller. We still were the variety show leaving the beach, but it was a little better each day, learning a new trick to the game. I am impressed with families of more than 2 kids. I really don't know how we would have done it with 3.

I really think Chevy Chase could have written those 15 minutes of daily hilarious hell. I need to go ask my mom how they did it so seemingly perfect when were kids.

Vacation: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

A week on Cape Cod with John's family proved to be both relaxing and a whole lotta work. We went into it with low expectations. Our kids thrive on their schedules and sleep best at home, they travel well (in the car that is) but pretty much are total failures at sleeping in strange places and regulating themselves to new situations. We carry on though, teaching them new things and exposing them to a world oustide of Glens Falls.

The Good.
Luke was awesome at the beach. Digging in sand is his forte and he full on succeeded at shoveling and keeping himself entertained which was a 360 from last year's beach trip where we chased him every which way. He understood boundries, didn't steal toys from strangers and asked for help when it came time to refill his pail of water. He was thankfully, for us, very intimitated by the ocean, a good kind of fear for a 2 year old I think.

Being around family and watching all five cousins play and interact. It was at times also ugly. Read on!

Finding out that Luke loves Fish and Chips.

Our morning neighborhood walk that preceeded our 3 hours of beach loafing.

Stolen kid free moments enjoying coffee and a snack at Buckie's Bakery.

An anniversary dinner (four years) in Chatham, Ma.

The Sundae School. OMG best sundae on the planet.

Luke repeating all kinds of words. Which had an ugly moment too.

Actually getting to read magazines from cover to cover.

Exploring Old Sturbridge Village on our way home, can't wait until they are old enough to really appreciate and enjoy it. We watched one of the reanactors prepare a meal, the woman was making a mixture that would eventually lead to a loaf of bread. Luke yells out "Pizza!"

Realizing that I crave our scheduled life as much as the kids do.

The Bad
The fact that the kids were up around 5am nearly every day and 6:30 was considered sleeping in.

The Ugly
Luke pushing and punching his 6 month younger cousin multiple times throughout the week. We were shocked. He was in time out repeatedly, this was not my kid. By Thursday night though they were sharing a snack in the recliner, phew. Thankfully Leo didn't take it all too personally, but man it's disheartening to watch.

Luke hearing me say "God" in an expletive way and repeating it about 5 times in the same manor. We are now biting our potty mouthed tongues.

Ellie throwing up mutliple times throughout the week. Dealing with a bad diaper rash and teething craziness kept us homebound and sleepless for all of Thursday. Not cool.

The fact that I took 2 trips to the laundry mat and still came home with a mound of dirty laundry is leaving me speechless.

The time on the highway when we were going 75mph at 10:30pm, I was sitting between the kids in the backseat and I unbuckled Luke's carseat instead of my seatbelt. Good Times.

The camera broke on our third day there. Pictures hopefully will follow soon.

It really was a wonderful week away from our monotous scheduled life, and while it was worth it to be together as a family, extended and nuclear, it was also good to come home. The break renewed our spirits and while we may still just be exhausted parents, we're also refreshed with new perspectives and appreciation for the life we live.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Welcome to two

This photo was taken around 11pm Sunday night. Good times. I tried being tough but man he cracks me up, I couldn't stop laughing at him trying to be like his dad sporting some specs.

Today at the sitter while he was supposed to be napping he found within reach of his pack 'n play some Carmex medicated lip balm which apparently he thought was hair gel.

I'm curious to see how things play out when Ellie is mobil as well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Riding in cars

I opened my email a few days ago and found a little note from my dear friend Tracey. It included a little memory of her parents, a nod to her father on Father's Day and while I read it and thought it was sweet it didn't hit me until later that day how appropriate it is to my life now, one as a mother. Her small personal note about the joy of riding in the car with her parents touched me more than I thought.

I very clearly remember those drives with my parents, whether short or long it was always secure. My dad would goof off to the oldies, pat my mom on the knee and say how lucky he was to have her as his wife and me as his daughter. I would roll my eyes thinking he was dorky but inside I loved it. I never doubted a thing, he put his love all out on the table and my mom twinkled at the sight of him.

This morning as John and I drove the kids to the sitter as we do everyday, he appeased me by turning the radio to the country music station and I started singing. He smiled at me, winked a little and leaned in close. I heard Luke trying to sing along and turned around to see him bopping his head with the music and when our eyes met he smiled so big his eyes squinted. It was in that moment when I realized yet again that I'm a parent. I'm now my mom sitting in the front seat twinkling at my silly, loving husband enjoying the security of my life and cherishing every moment for fear it could be the last.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Since we have yet to get a picture of all four us at once I give you this. Luke looks like he's got muscles and Ellie, my sweet Ellie has those eyes. Oh those eyes.

That's enough you know

I'm home with the kids today, Luke had his adenoids out and tubes put in his ears yesterday. We're supposed to be laying low and taking a day off to recover. I think he was fully recovered by 6am this morning when he woke up wild-eyed and bushy-tailed. He voluntarily undressed himself as he watched me folding the clean laundry, most of it his. He was ready to go, wanted to get in play clothes and get in the car. Mind you, most mornings it is a fight to strip him of his pj's, his security blanket it seems. Today though, no problem. So after diaper changes and bottle making we headed to see Gramma LaSarso. She's failing in health but is still a tough German with a stubborn-streak that runs deep. In her den is a small plastic basket of cars, a few Army men, and a big school bus that was given to her in honor of her years as a school bus driver for mentally handicapped kids. Luke remembers the basket, running straight for it everytime we go visit. The entire car ride today he said "bus" and "aww-ed" with huge exclamations when he finally got to play with it. He even shared it with Ellie for a brief moment.

As we were leaving she said, "yup Aim you're lucky to have such beautiful children. You're getting to be such a good cook, and a great little mother. A nice family you have."

I smiled, said thanks, told her I loved her and kissed her.

Never to be one without honesty she left me with this: "A boy and girl. So nice. And that's enough you know, you don't need anymore. Jeez."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This is the kind of night...

We're happily exhausted. We embraced the weekend with open arms ready to take what it was willing to give. A neighborhood BBQ and playdate on Friday night thoroughly exhausted Luke into Saturday morning. John woke early with Ellie letting me catch an extra hour of shut-eye and Luke popped up ready for the day around 7:30. We lazy-ed about in the morning, surprised my home-bound grandmother with lunch at noon, bought groceries and put the tired kids down for what ended up being almost 4 hours worth of napping. Happiness! Luke was of course ready to go somewhere the minute he woke up so off we went in the Bob Stroller, heading downtown we weren't sure where we'd end up eating dinner and soon found ourselves sitting on the point at Raul's. Luke was enthralled with the traffic. Buses and cop cars, big rigs and sports cars zipped past us as we noshed on homemade chips and spicy salsa.

Our shoulders relaxed, our kids are happy, and that sick tunnel that has traumatized for weeks is ending. We oohed at Ellie, wowed with Luke as he pointed at the moon and said "light on! Oh wow!" and we winked at each other. This is it. We're here.

Sunday morning saw us with another trip to the playground with another set of close friends. Four couples, 7 kids with 1 soon to join them in August. It was mayhem and laughter, time-outs and hugs, commiserating and sympathizing over pregnant bellies, surgeries, bedtimes, and even talk of the glories of vasectomies. Bah! The rain trickled and lunch was moved to a covered picnic table. Watermelon and strawberries, guacamole and chips, juice boxes and sandwiches were everywhere. We soon headed home, Luke and Ellie took another 3 hour long nap as we enjoyed the silence. We napped ourselves in the living room, covered in blankies on a windy day, falling asleep to a movie, it was bliss.

After dinner we decided to go for a family walk which took us along the bike trail to Freedom Park. Luke calls the playground the "wagon" and honestly we couldn't deny him a ride down the slide, or a push on the swing. He lights up at the sight of a "wagon". So through the wind with his nose running and eyes tearing up he ran. He ran and ran and slid and dug. The sandbox was his sanctuary and Ellie watched him so intently, so wanting to jump right in and dig alongside him.

Then it was late. 7pm and the tub and books awaited us. He fought us hard, no way was he leaving, but he did. And as we walked in the house, me holding Luke and John carrying Ellie I heard John say, "this is the kind of night where I wish I could call my dad..."

Ugh. You never know when it's gonna hit, but it hit and it felt like a ton of bricks. I told Luke we were gonna call heaven and he smiled as if he knew. And later, because I could, I called my mom.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The latest and greatest

Ellie has been sleeping through the night which is great, but she's also been throwing up for the better part of 2 months, which is awful. We've switched formulas, been on previcid and antibiotics and now axid. We were lucky enough to have a 3 week stretch of no vomiting, thought we were in the clear but alas no. I feel guilty for working, guilty for not pushing the nursing thing, guilty for not having an answer. But I like working and I have to work and I know deep down that it's not my fault, however, UGH, I just want her better. On the bright side she's not too poorly phased by the whole thing, at least this week she hasn't been. She smiles, she laughs, she sleeps.

Just look at her in all her cute glory.

Last week he got into the sunscreen and burned his eyes. This week I left the bag of Goldfish within reach, turned my back for a minute and this is what happens....

Luke is getting his adenoids out and tubes put in his ears in mid-June. He is also again on an antibiotic and he's also seemingly unphased by things. He's cranky one day, fine the next but thankfully sleeps like a rock every night surrounded by an arsenal of his favorite trucks. The sitter is helping to teach him sharing games and slowly he's learning about time-out. The bright side for him though is that he's really a little love muffin. He demands to give his sister good morning kisses and protects her as best he can, showers her with toys, and helps her with her bottle, it is undeniably precious.

We're seeing the light at the end of the newborn tunnel, but can't wait to be handsomely rewarded with healthy non-medicated children. The time will come when this will just be a blip on the radar and I'll be wishing these days back.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Two cars or a cell phone would have helped

I originally wrote this on May 6, 2009. I was going through old unpublished posts today and this just made me laugh and wonder why I never hit the "publish" button. Enjoy!

I got the call today. The mid-day call from the sitter, her voice a little tense, and very cautious. The one you dread.

Ellie was screaming in the background, she had just thrown up twice and the sitter was leaving in 20 minutes to pick up the big kids from elementary and middle school. Great. Okay, I frazzily left work, high-tailing it out of there to make it to the car and then to her house on time. We are a one car family and every morning we drive to the sitter, drop off the kids, and John and I park the car in a Travelers parking lot where we can leave the car there ticket-free all day. Today though, I had my annual appoint at the "lady doctor" at 8am. Great way to start your day, right? I should have known it was downhill from there. I decided to walk to the doctor as it would be easier and John would drive the kids and park the car in our usual spot. Alright so it was also "food day" at Travelers and he was in charge of supplying the coffee for his corporate kumbayah. Usually we park (hand gesturing) over here at Citizen's Bank, but of course today he parked way over there at Stewart's, cause well he had to get coffee. I was unaware of this.

I ran out of work, down the street, ran/walked some more and prayed that of course, the car would be where it usually is. Wrong! No car, and since we are the last people on the planet without a cell phone I had no way of calling him or the sitter. So as I stomped my feet in the parking lot I decided to run around the corner to the bank, his former place of employment and use one of their phones. I walked in anxious and sweaty, luckily they didn't have any customers but all three ladies wanted to chat. Talk? I have no time for talking! One offered to drive me home. Home? I need to get to my sick daughter, I don't need to go home and besides, I need a car with car seats and I need to get there in 5 minutes. In the end I made it, I got ahold of John and the sitter and I got both kids home without incident.

2010: We have now upgraded to an iPhone (thanks to Trampoline) and a usefully practical tracfone.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

She's the one*

Can we just hit the pause button? Those eyes leave me speechless.

*It is a wonder that I am in the field of graphic design. I have a great propensity for taking blurry unfocused pictures. Sigh. How did I make it through 3 semesters of photography with flying colors? I blame the camera.


Luke loves spinach and swiss cheese quiche. Loves it. I haven't made it in a few weeks so this morning I whipped up a batch in hopes that he'd gobble it up for lunch.

He also love avacadoes. In an average week he alone consumes about three. Hello high-end mature taste.

When he has had enough or just plain doesn't like something, he puts it on the table as noted here. The peaches and the quiche didn't make the cut today.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Embracing Moments

Time is ticking away, it marches on whether we want it to or not. Historically I have been one to always look back.

Remembering vacations gone by, family reunions listening to my aunts quip about their childhood, wanting to be back on our honeymoon, wishing I was 5 years old spending summer days riding around in our beat up Army green Chevy truck. The urge to want to go back, to relive those moments is so great that I forget *to live in the moment*. There are new memories to make, and my own husband and children to make them with.

It's time to embrace life. Really embrace it. My kids deserve all of me. John deserves all of me. He told me the other day that when I'm happy and skipping along the road of life he is too and lately there hasn't been much skipping. How sad. Instead I've been kicking and screaming and mourning what will never be and in the end I am wasting so much time. Precious, precious time.

I'm ruining the very moments that I'll want back someday. I am emotionally and physically carrying this baggage around and it's time to check it.

So in this spirit of the now let me tell you what's been going on in the Stevens household.

Ellie is sleeping through the night. Yes you read that right. After 6 months of trying to find our groove we finally found it!! 8pm is bedtime, 4:30 she needs her paci put back in her mouth and she's content until 7am. Glory be, she rocks my world.

Luke has an old (but new to him) swingset that he absolutely adores. He would swing morning, noon, and night if he could with a possible break every now and then to whirl down the twisty slide and climb the ladder. His smile and excitement are infectious.

Firetrucks that sound off "e-o, e-o, e-o" (Luke inspired sound effects) are lined up like a caravan most mornings. The hunt to find the fireman that drives the truck usually results in every toy strewn about the carpet.

He is in love with Richard Scarry books. Pure love, deep interest and total attention paid to every page.

He hates tubby-time but we're working on it.

I am incredibly lucky to be married to such an attentive and loving father. They bring him to tears with their antics and adorableness. He truly embraces and loves fatherhood. As patient as I am with him somedays, he is moreso with me and I am thankful for that.

I guess you have to waste time to realize what you are missing.

PS. I am promising myself that my posts from now on will be on the lighter side of life. My stars (Ellie and Luke) are dancing on the water that's bringing me back to life.

So damn easy to say that life's so hard
Everybody's got their share of battle scars
As for me I'd like to thank my lucky stars that
I'm alive and well

It'd be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you've sat and watch go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me... I'm alive

And today you know that's good enough for me
Breathing in and out's a blessing can't you see
Today's the first day of the rest of my life
And I'm alive and well
I'm alive and well

Stars are dancin' on the water here tonight
It's good for the soul when there's not a soul in sight
This motor's caught its wind and brought me back to life
Now I'm alive and well

And today you know that's good enough for me
Breathing in and out's a blessing can't you see
Today's the first day of the rest of my life
Now I'm alive and well
Yeah I'm alive and well

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Grace of Grandmas

My mother brought the box* over on Wednesday evening, it smelled of a cedar hope chest and the passage of time. It was the very baptismal outfit that I wore some 33 years ago, and was adorned with lace and ribbon, layers upon layers of frilly cuteness. The box was askew, the top not quite fitting the bottom, it had curled up a bit throughout the years but the vintage charm of the box and the label on the dress were charming and endearing, representing a time gone by, a lost era. Generations were crossing, traditions were passing on, sacraments were being made. A mother, a daughter, a granddaughter, the circle enlarging as time marches on.

Gram LaSarso is getting on in years and the past few months have been physically and emotionally challenging for her and my mother. Their roles have switched, my mother the caregiver, washing her hair, living at her house, helping her dress and getting up with her in the middle of the night. We joke about the similarities of caring for the very young and the very old. My mother, always the selfless one, always helping others, I see the toll it's taking. Working long hours, living out of a suitcase, hoping Gram doesn't fall, or worse, while she's at work, and yet she rarely complains. And her day off, her day off on Friday's is filled caring for the grandchildren, changing diapers, filling sippy cups, rehashing school days. In some way it must feel good to help, to do whatever she can so that when the time does come she knows she did all she could, something she wasn't able to do for my father, or for hers, they were gone in an instant, there was no waiting period.

Today was a gift. A gift to have Gram here to celebrate with us, to see her great-granddaugther perfectly fill out the frilly gown that she bought for me so many years ago. Ironically the sermon today was all about Thomas the apostle. Thomas. My father's name. How fitting. I teared up, holding my little girl whose smile is so bright and innocent, as the music and songs tugged at my emotions, the feeling of family and loss, love and hope surrounded me. My brother winked at me, that understanding wink. The wink that says he's hear, he knows, he sees us.

I'm looking forward to the day that I can bring the box over to Ellie's house.

*I found this photo of the box on eBay, this picture isn't of our box.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Tomorrow it will be six years since my father died. I feel like my posts about him and the void that has been left have been very downtrodden. I mean I am writing about a loss, death is not fun or beautiful or happy. But I also don't want to be such a downer all the time. I need to inject more quips about Luke or the sparkley magic that shines in Ellie's eyes. It is pure magic I tell you.

For tonight though I have memories to share. Memories that I want to make sure Ellie and Luke know about. Memories of my dad.

He carried a bible in his lunchbox. He was a devout Catholic but never pushed his faith on anyone. I didn't even know he had one in there until after he died.

He would always wrap his pinky finger around my pinky finger when we said "The Our Father" at mass. When he did, he'd always wink at me when it was over.

When he babysat Jacob he always got down on the floor and played with him, even when he was only months old and every Friday he bought him a Matchbox car after he picked him up from the sitter.

He hated tomatoes and rice. But loved spaghetti sauce and would eat rice in veggie beef soup.

He put a cape on a jumped off the roof of his house when he was in the 1st or 2nd grade, he was convinced he could fly like Superman. He broke his leg and missed so much school he was held back a year.

He went to Iceland with NATO.

He loved Cheez-Its. And maple walnut ice cream. Crackers with Skippy peanut butter were another favorite.

He was terrible at home repairs. He didn't have much patience, he just wanted it done. But he could build a bridge and a road in some underdeveloped country with the Seabees.

He carried a picture of me from my first dance recital in his wallet.

He was school board president.

City hall lowered the flag when he died.

He and Jake used to call me at work in NYC and scream "wuzzzup" into my voicemail.

He used to send me cards to cheer me up when I was homesick the first year of college.

And everyday I can feel him smiling.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I've been spending a lot of time here connecting with old friends. It's a wonderful guilty pleasure. Guilty I say because it's a time suck. John and I share the laptop so if I'm not on it he is and well then it's time for bed and Ellie needs a nightcap and holyshit where did our night go? It's pathetic. Here I am living the life I've always wanted and there I sit staring at the glow of a computer screen.

There isn't much point to this post other than embarrassment. I just had to get that out. I miss blogging, sharing future memories for our kids to cherish. Technology is awesome but sitting on the couch talking in real time to your husband, holding hands, and laughing is so much more.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Simple Moments

I'm feeling sappy today.

The simple act of buying holiday cards always leaves me with a broken heart. We can't buy Father's Day cards, or cards for our "Parents", or for "Grandma and Grandpa" only cards for Mom/Grandma. Luke, Ellie and Will, will never get to sit in their Papa's lap or hear his laugh, or see him smile with pride at their cute little faces.

It's Valentine's Day, hug your loved ones, sit your kid in the lap of their grandparent, kiss them goodbye. It's the simple moments that we remember and hang on to.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Picture Perfect

Time has been precious as of late. The moments are fleeting and the days zoom by with huried schedules topped of with lovely flashes of big Ellie smiles and random moments of Luke actually wanting to cuddle. I've had many a blog entry in my mind and too little quality time to get them out. So in place you have pictures from our weekend, hanging at home and watching the big game.

Ellie, our little Strawberry Shortcake who is someday going to pull a fast one over her father. He's mush when it comes to her. and Luke, not to be overshadowed by his sister's ladylike ways, has been battling ear infections and the stomach flu. We've seen the doctor more this winter that it seems we did his entire first year. He hangs in there like a champ though. He can puke one moment and run off smiling the next, seemingly unfazed. Until the next round of squeamishness hits.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The family that bathes together...

The nightly ritual of bathtime used to involve just one of us with Luke, but as of late we're all gathering in our tiny bathroom to enjoy the fun. There's no tv beckoning to Luke, no distractions other than soap suds and foamy stick-to-the-tub letters. It's where John and I recap our days and Luke makes us laugh with his soapy beards and use of the letter J as a phone. I can still hear the laughter of tonights shenanigans.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Working Girl

We're two weeks into the new year and almost a month since my last post. Maternity leave came and went like a whirlwind peppered with holiday fun amongst what seemed like endless doctor visits. We've made resolutions, mainly to have 2009 be pregnancy free, and scaled down to one car and one laptop (thanks to Luke and a glass of water and thankfully it wasn't my laptop). I'm back into the swing of working. A place that feels like home, with fun banter and creative wit. Our days are flying by with so much to do and so little time to do it all. We snuggle with Ellie in the morning until the last possible second which then amps us up into a hectic 90 minutes of breakfast, bottle making, Noggin, giggling with Luke, showers, making lunches, packing bags, getting kids dressed, cramming us all into the two door car and off to the sitter we go. If we're quick enough somedays we grab coffee together at the coffee shop and walk the few blocks to work hand in hand. On those days I feel like a carefree city girl again, ala Mary Tyler Moore, as I dash off to work amongst the buildings of downtown.

I know that I'm so blessed to have the best of both worlds with my homelife (major props to John who is Mr. Mom on Thursdays, and the guy not only does laundry, he also makes dinner!) and worklife, but I'm yet again craving time. More minutes, longer nights, slower mornings. I can't lie that I dream of the day we'll have enough money to hire a cleaning lady. Yeah it's a pipe dream, but a girls gotta dream. On that note, the dishes are waiting and the bed needs to be made.