Archive for Me

Drill Gremlins

The drill gremlins (the slightly less nasty cousins of the deployment gremlins) were out in full force this past weekend.


First, I got stuck on the icy roadways. Only a fortuitously placed tree stopped my car from falling into a ditch. I spent two hours trying to dig the car out and broke a shovel in the process. I carefully dug out each wheel, rocked the car back and forth, and made some progress only to get stuck again in a new spot. Finally, I straightened out, backed down, got a “running start” and freed myself.

That night, I had to find the energy to take my daughter to the sweetheart dance. A lot of fun but I was wiped out.

The next morning, we rushed out to take my son to soccer practice (which he normally does with my husband). When we returned, we had no heat and I had to do battle with our oil company. They were supposed to deliver the day before and didn’t. The kids were freezing but we had to stay home so the mechanic could restart the heater.

Do you find that when your spouse is away lots of little things break and go wrong? I’m not sure if more things go on the fritz or if it just seems that way because he isn’t here to help fix the problems!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2014 Family Portrait Small


From me and mine to you and yours…Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!


Happy Holidays 2014 Kids

Happy Holidays 2014 Me and Kids

Family Style #GivingTuesday #UNselfie

Volunteering in the community is a value I want to share with my children. One of our annual traditions is joining Volunteer 4 Long Island’s Thanksgiving effort to feed people who are homeless and under-housed. Before we feast on dinner at my Mother-in-Law’s house, we feed the spirit–others and our own.

V4LI actually takes the meals and personal items and warm clothes out to the make-shift shelters where people without homes congregate.

We love working with V4LI because they find something meaningful for everyone to do, they have yearlong efforts so they make a deeper connection with the community, and everything they do is done out of a spirit of love.

My daughter (age 7) helps assemble packs of personal items and also works on the food line.

V4LI 2013

My eldest son (age 5) helps make cards that go out with the meals.

V4LI 2013 B

You are never too young to get in the habit of giving–there are tons of ways young children can volunteer and serve.

Share your ideas for #GivingTuesday and link up at Bloganthropy, an organization I co-founded with Debbie Bookstaber. In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, Element Associates, in partnership with Bloganthropy, is donating $1 for each link up to 100 links to Postpartum Progress.

Welcome, Cyrus Xavier!

Cyrus 2

Cyrus Xavier joined us on 11/14 at 2:20 pm, weighing 9 lbs, 11 oz.

Cyrus 3

By the time we got to the hospital, we were already very close. I’m not one to go into too much detail…but did you know an epidural can stop working just as the baby is ready to be born? Yup.

Other than that, it was a fairly routine birth. We were out of the hospital about 24 hours later. He did have a tongue tie, which made latching tough. However, we had it snipped and the nursing is going more smoothly now.

He regained his birth weight and then some within a week and everyone is healing well.

Cyrus 1

His siblings are so happy to meet him and proudly show off their baby to everyone we meet.

Done Trying to be a Perfect Mom


My husband is in the military, currently the National Guard. He’s gone one weekend a month, two weeks a year (at least in theory… because sometimes he’s gone a lot more and he occasionally travels for his full time job). He was recently two weeks and I swear he took half my brain with him.

It has been busy, crazy busy. In addition to finishing up one of the biggest projects I have ever worked on, an art history textbook for a program in California, we have had all of the end-of-the-year carnivals, field days, parties, preschool graduations, piano recitals, and gymnastics expos.




Oh, and we also had our Daisy troop bridging to Brownies at my house. This was supposed to happen on my deck but it was the one rainy day all month. So, we set-up in the basement.

Did I mention I am also over 5 months pregnant with baby #4?


Maybe it was because I was feeling like such a super mom after shuttling all the kids to all their various events, generally staying on top of the housework without my husband there, and throwing a magical Brownie Bridging that I overreached.

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You Never Know Just How You Look Through Someone Else’s Eyes

A friend’s husband urged her to stop following me on facebook because my daily activities with my kids made her feel bad. Another mom messaged me asking how I do so much.

I’m not interested in telling you what a bad mother I am. I’m not. But neither are you. And I’m torn up inside thinking that my decisions and choices might make any mom I know feel bad about hers.

I once told my friend that I thought about renaming my personal blog Mama Good Enough and she laughed at the idea.

But really, there are many, many areas I just let go. I don’t keep a good house and I can’t stand laundry or ironing. I don’t grow an organic vegetable patch or make my own baby food (back when my kids ate baby food). I don’t always make optimal green choices.

And I don’t update you every time I lose my temper at my spirited four year old because I forgot for a moment that I am the adult and she is just a child. I may tell you about my impish son and how he just won’t stay in his seat during meals, preferring to leap from lap to lap…but I don’t give the running daily commentary about my failure to find a discipline technique to consistently solve this challenge.

Before I had kids, I was heading to a volunteer event with a friend and told her I needed to run into the supermarket to grab some orange juice I had left at home. “Good to know you aren’t perfect!” she exclaimed. “You are always too organized!”

Me? Organized? A well-crafted illusion, I assure you. And by “well-crafted” I mean shoving everything in a box and hiding it right before guests come over. Don’t stop by my house unannounced or look in my closets if you want to maintain that notion.

The truth is that every day is a marathon of ups and downs and everything in between. Because that is real life. And the zeniths and nadirs make for good reading. But the in between? That’s just life.

What Simple Things Make You a Better Parent?

I’m sipping tea right now and thinking about how better I parent when I take just five minutes for myself in the morning. I haven’t always done even that–”me time” falls by the wayside if you have newborns or you do not have family support (either temporarily or long-term). Still, it really does make a difference in how patient and present I am throughout the rest of the day.

Currently I am drinking a mix called “Spring Thunder” from a local tea cottage: Assam and China Green Teas, coconut, and lime and sunflower petals.

In a few minutes I will start slicing fruit to take the kids to a play date. But for just a moment, I am recharging my own batteries.

What’s your cup of tea?

May-December Teenybopper Crush

What’s up with the mom crushes on teen-aged “heart throbs”?

Maybe it is because I was a high school teacher but I just can’t look at a guy under 30 and think, “what a dreamboat!”

They just look like little boys to me.

Frankly, I didn’t even like 16 year-old boys when I was 16 years’ old.

I can’t even make an exception for teen immortals, who, I suppose, are technically “older men”.

What do you think?

You Say It’s Your Birthday!

The day before my birthday I found out that I won a trip to Lisbon! Yes! To Lisbon! from my new BFF’s VoyageTV thanks to some 140 character Twitter poetry. And yes, I played the married to an Iraqi vet card. A girl desperate for a dream vacation has to do what a girl’s gotta do. You could win, too.

On my actual birthday, my husband found a crafts festival. Yes, I am truly a sucker for a good craft festival. And he bought me this fun, red, enamel, flower cuff bracelet. A little more bold and dramatic than my usual but I think it is fun.

Then, my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law showed up to play with the kids. Since Junior actually did not scream his lungs out as soon as I moved two inches away, Captain Commander Dad and I ducked out and went to an adult restaurant! with low lights! ambiance! real china! Sorry for the absurd number of exclamation points but eating out without having to clear a two-foot radius around the baby or answer the preschooler’s questions about how her food “got dead” is truly noteworthy in my life.

And the birthday fun did not stop there! The next day we went out for Indian food, my favorite (although this meal was interrupted by the antics of our children). And today I got to got to another local favorite, the Tea Time cottage, home of delightful tea, delicious scones (I had the seasonal pumpkin raisin), heavenly lavender, friendly goats, and a charming garden with ponds (a perfect place for searching for fairies with a fairy-obsessed preschooler).

The NYT is Good for Something, Or Why I Got Roses Just Because

Newsflash: The New York Times still serves a valuable purpose in the lives of ordinary Americans.

My husband came home one day this week and presented me with a lovely bouquet of flowers. Why? Just because…

He explained he was reading this article about how children increase marital tensions and he just wanted to let me know that he appreciates me and all I do for our family.

The articles discusses how children bring happiness, but they can also bring stress into your relationship with your spouse.

My husband and I love each other, and we adore our children. Sometimes all of the juggling of doctor’s appointments, and household chores, and daily routines on top of our careers can become overwhelming. It is definitely important to have a reminder now and then that we need to set aside quality time for each other.

How about you? Do children bring couples closer together? Or did you have more time and energy for your mate before the babies?