Cheers to Jamie and Matt!


8917_131078293230_5268074_nMy older sister and lifelong best friend married the perfect guy for her in September, 2009. I was so honored and flattered that she asked me to be her matron of honor. The weekend that I flew to Orlando to help her pick out her gown, I also found out that I was pregnant with William.

This was the first pregnancy in our family, so as the months went by, I tried to get through this pregnancy and still be an awesome long distance support for Jamie. I was so bummed that I couldn’t do more for her, but we were both so excited that I would be expecting (and huge) on her wedding day.

William must have not wanted to miss any of the action because he came five weeks early, just in time for the big wedding. Although the invites clearly indicated “no children”, Jamie was happy to include her new nephew. Unfortunately, through my baby brain and touch of postpartum, I completely slacked on writing a toast for the newlyweds.

I was the maid of honor for my younger sister just two years earlier, and I’m not ashamed to say that my toast rocked. Of course, Jamie and I collaborated on it, but it was perfect. I couldn’t just write a subpar toast for Jamie, I mean we’ve been extremely tight since birth.

I knew that I wanted to tell a story of how their joint awesomeness greatly impacts others, and specifically me. I thought that I would tell the story of how I found out that I was pregnant while visiting her and how much their support meant to me. I never imagined that I would find out so far away from Jason and of course the positive test triggered numerous feelings from overwhelming joy to complete anxiety.

I must have written this toast a million times and it just never came out right. I just couldn’t seem to express how wonderful these two are, apart, but especially together. And then something happened recently that changed my entire outlook on my toast. So, here you go Matt and Jame. I know that I am a few years too late, but I hope that it’s worth it.

To Jamie and Matt

I feel like I’ve witnessed quite a few loves in my life. Either by observation, or my personal experience. I am grateful that I married a wonderful man and completely blessed to have my two children and an undying love for them. Even with these great loves of my life, I haven’t quite seen a love like I see between Matt and Jamie.

They are each others everything. They are best friends. They are incredibly supportive with one another. They are the bar that most couples strive to reach. They just click. And it seems so effortless.

I’ve always known this, but I got to witness it fully a few weeks ago. Matt had a surgery scheduled to help with his sleep apnea. I know that he was really excited because this has been a battle for him for so many years. I also know that Jamie was so happy since this was obviously going to improve his health. From my understanding, the procedure isn’t incredibly invasive, although he would have quite a bit of pain afterward.

It was shocking to everyone (but especially Jamie) when Matt had some complications. Not with the actual surgery, but with the anesthesia and intubation. Matt was put in the ICU and the somewhat simple outpatient surgery quickly turned to a more serious ICU visit. Whenever Jamie was able to visit him, he would get so excited that the nurses had to ask her to leave because he became so restless. Her visits had to be short and since he needed his sleep, she decided to go home for the night.

The following morning Jamie confessed that she lied. She couldn’t go home and leave him, so she spent the night in the uncomfortable waiting room. My heart instantly went out to her even though I know them too well and this was predictable. Of course she couldn’t leave him. Even if she couldn’t be in the same room as him, she had to be there. They are each others everything.

I know that their love will only grow in the future and I honestly can’t imagine how, they already love each other so much. I wish Jamie and Matt this continued awesomeness in their future together, but I especially wish to everyone that they get to experience a love like Jamie and Matt’s, even if it is for just a moment. They are the couple that we all want to be. And I am incredibly lucky to have Jamie as a sister and Matt as a new brother. I am unbelievably blessed to be a part of this love, even just from the sidelines.

Let’s raise a glass and cheers Jamie and Matt and their awesome future together!


5 years ago today…


weddingI married the most wonderful man.  Ok, I know that every happily married woman claims that, but at the time I honestly didn’t have a clue.  I knew that we were good together, but I also knew that we already had some issues and that this union is going to be work and lots of it.

I didn’t notice any significant changes after our wedding.  We lived with each other prior, so we went back to the same house, the same jobs, and the same life.  Besides a nice vacation, we really didn’t feel an immediate change.

And then William arrived.  Before children we were pretty much two single people that happened to share an address.  Now we had to actually live together.  This transition was not pretty.  Things that seemed so easy in the past were an obstacle.  Before kid, if you were hungry, you ate.  Now we’re coordinating meals, eating together, and trying to bond into a family of three.  Our lives just shifted.

As we were forced to team up and work together, purely for survival, I felt something change within us.  We were no longer individuals working toward individualistic goals, but we were in this together, to the end.  As time lapsed and we continued to get our groove, and I realized that there is no one that I would rather do this with.  We don’t always share the same opinions, or see eye to eye, but he’s my rock.  He compliments me so well and I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else.

I am so thankful for the day that Jason entered my life.  It is so evident to me that we are meant to be together.  He’s the one.

Happy Mother’s Day!


photo(9)As Mother’s Day approached, I saw numerous facebook posts regarding being respectful to women that are not moms on this day.  I immediately felt compassionate, thinking of women that struggle with infertility and other obstacles preventing their dream of motherhood.  I had two miscarriages and remember how emotional and sensitive I was during that trying time.  There are other incidences of infertility within my family and I know how heartbreaking they’ve been.

Then I read an open letter to pastors begging them to not publicly identify mothers within the congregation on this day.  A lot of reasons were understandable, and I felt valid, but then she began to explain her own experience.  She is not a mother by her own choice, but she felt pressure around her when all mothers were asked to stand because she was of childbearing age and without kids.  Whaaaaaaaaat?  I know women that do not want children who feel secure in their decision.  I know that a lot of people question them, but they have enough sense to explain that it isn’t their calling (and that is truly what it is) and they decided to live their lives as they feel best.  I guess this viewpoint was just absurd to me.

I decided to get to the bottom of Mother’s Day.  Where did this day originate?  What was it’s original intention?  I assumed that I would find a story of an amazing mom that created such an impact, the world decided to celebrate her life.  I wasn’t even close.  In 1908, Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother by passing out a white carnation to every woman that attended her church that day located in West Virginia.  She then lobbied for the second Sunday in May to be observed as “Mother’s Day”.  She was very specific that Mother’s should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world”.

I was instantly touched that Mother’s Day began as a memorial.  My mother passed away when I was 23 and even after becoming a mother, this day is still difficult for me.  Now that I realize the original intent of Mother’s Day, I also realize that the author of that letter had a valid point in not publicly recognizing moms.  This day is for the celebration within families.

That’s what I wish for every mother today.  The chance to hug your kids a little closer.  The opportunity to reconnect with their children.  For children to dedicate their day to their mothers by making her the center of their attention.  Cards and flowers are nice, but cuddles and hugs are even better.

Me and C


945683_10200700028599276_1673943874_nCollin and I had an incredibly strong bond immediately after he was born. I’m not sure if it is because we are both second born, if I wasn’t just terrified of him, or if we just got each other, but either way we were inseparable. We were so close that when he was just a couple of months old, I had to suggest that Jason spend a little more time with him because Collin had no idea who he was.

Not long after my surgery, I noticed my closeness with Collin slipping away. I’m sure that he couldn’t possibly understand that I went through something and that it was only temporary, and therefore was not happy with me. I could at least explain to William that Mommy has owies and although he didn’t fully understand, he could relate them to his cuts and bruises. Collin just became more and more frustrated. He didn’t understand that when he needed held and comforted why I only offered hugs instead of full on cuddles and being picked up. He didn’t understand that when he was hungry I would make him wait for Jason to be lifted into his highchair. There was just so much he didn’t understand, that no 18 month old possibly could. It made me sad, but I forced myself to shrug my shoulders and just hope that we would one day reconnect.

Thank goodness that day came last week. William was still sleeping during his nap, but Collin was awake and playing. I saw the opportunity to have some Mommy Collin time. We ran an errand and he was in heaven. He was being silly and squealing and just overall enjoying going bye byes and being the sole focus of my attention. I didn’t really think much about it at the time, but looking back, that is the first time that we spent time together like that since January.

When we returned home, William had woken up from his nap and all was normal. Later that day we were getting ready to go to Nana and Bapa’s for dinner and trying to load the boys in the car. Jason tried to pick up Collin and he screamed “No, Mommy!” and reached for me. There have been quite a few times that this scenario was reversed and he asked for Jason over me, but I can’t remember him ever asking for me. He made my day and I happily carried him to the car. We still aren’t where we were, but I think that we are definitely taking steps in the right direction.



mom-holding-sick-toddler-girl-photo-420x420-ts-87634166I’ve had two different conversations with two different friends recently about connections with our children. Our discussions covered from the moment that your child arrives to our relationships with our parents as adults. It’s amazing the bonds that can form in such a short amount of time…and the guilt that happens when they don’t.

I’ll admit it. After William was born I did not immediately bond with him. I was a classic terrified new mom and my fears inhibited my feelings toward him. He terrified me and the easiest way to deal with that was to give him to someone else, whether it was nurses, Jason, family, friends, etc. When I was alone with him I couldn’t get past the idea that he was solely my responsibility enough to enjoy him.

Then the guilt hit, making everything so much worse. I replayed my friends experiences with their newborns and it sounded so picture perfect. The immediate bond, feeling an abundant amount of love for this person that you just met, and I couldn’t help but to ask myself, what is WRONG with me? Now my fear was coupled with doubt and lack of confidence and William and I didn’t have a chance.

After a couple of weeks I realized that I wanted to step outside of my house again and see people and do things that I enjoy, and of course I had to bring my baby with me. My confidence grew with each outing and soon we were inseparable. Thankfully our story has a happy ending, but we had to work for it.

Our experience made me realize that it’s not always instant with everyone, but sometimes amazing bonds form out of our control. My very close friend Kate at Mom I Am told me that whenever her boys were hungry, she could feel it in her stomach. Of course she was nursing. Even she was amazed at how her body reacted to theirs even though there was no longer a physical connection. That always astonished me and I’m a little bummed that never had anything like that with either boy.

I did have a realization recently, though. Both sons have been in a child care setting since they were 10 or 12 weeks old, so not home with me. Some days when I’m at work, I get a very strong, almost overwhelming feeling that I need to hug and cuddle either one or sometimes both of my kids. At first I thought that it was just my brain missing my boys and needing a physical connection with them at that moment. Then I started paying attention to these feelings and realized that there was really no pattern to them. Sometimes I was busy at work, sometimes it was slow. Sometimes I was talking to someone, sometimes alone in my office. They seemed so random that I couldn’t find any trigger.

That’s when it hit me, maybe this was them needing me. It could be for so many reasons – a scraped knee, feeling ill, just needing Mommy, whatever, but it’s them thinking of me. I hope that this theory is true and we have this connection when we’re apart.

The great toy purge


photo(1)Before William had even reached the age of one, I heard my friends and fellow parents’ warnings that toys seem to multiply mysteriously. We don’t know when it will happen (maybe as we sleep?), but one way or another they end up taking over your house. At the time we only had a few blocks, stuffed animals, and rattles for Will to play with, so I couldn’t even imagine what they were talking about.

Even after his first Christmas and throughout his first year, we just didn’t seem to collect toys. In my naivety, I threw William a huge first birthday celebration with the intention of greatly expanding our rather small toy collection. It went as planned and now our toys were getting more interesting, but still not overwhelming.

Fast forward a couple of years…now two kids, a few birthdays, and of course Christmases and our toys are officially taking over our house. During these years, Jason and I made another fatal mistake in the toys v. humans war – we created a room solely designated for toys (aptly called the playroom). You might be pondering how this could be a mistake. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you and hopefully you will learn from us. Now that we have a room that we could just throw everything into, we quickly lost track of the toys and they seemed to multiply even faster. It’s a lot easier to overlook the quality and quantity when it’s in a room that you can just throw it into and close the door. Not to mention, we just gave them a breeding ground.

The other day I looked around and realized that we had toys that had never been played with. We also seemed to be hanging onto broken toys, toys missing pieces, and toys that were no longer age appropriate. Jason and I easily agreed that it was time to go through and weed out.

I’ve heard that some parents go through with their children and explain that they are giving to children less fortunate or even more age appropriate and teach a valuable lesson during the purge. Jason and I are not those parents. We put our boys down for a nap and got to work. It was quickly obvious our individual downfalls. Jason was reluctant to remove anything that had been played with in the last two years. If he ever witnessed either boy playing with a toy, he was quick to defend it’s rightful place in the playroom. Mine was all sentimental. Favorite toys from years ago that neither child has touched in ages. Toys that took me forever to find, but that I knew Will would love (and he did). It was just too hard to get rid of things that once brought so much joy.photoWe made a smart move and decided to divide some toys to take to each grandparents house. Now things that weren’t favorites, but we just couldn’t imagine parting with yet, remained with our kids and found a home, but not ours. And yes, we did donate all the other toys that no longer had a place in our home.

Even though we felt a little saddened to see some of these toys go, now that they’re gone I don’t miss them a bit. The room is still not as empty as I’d hoped, but we did make a nice dent. Neither boy has even noticed a difference.

During the purge, Jason and I discussed the future of gifts. Since last Christmas I’ve been rethinking our traditions in gift giving. The boys have more toys than they know what to do with. I really don’t mind the spoiling on the day, but lugging everything home and finding a place just seemed so crazy this past year. There was just too much stuff.

I understand that toys will come and go. There will be favorites that will change with age and preferences. New movies will premiere and new interests will evolve causing toys to rotate, go out of style, or just general loss of interest . This is the first purge of many to come. How you decide how much is enough and when does it become too much?

(Random) Acts of kindness


photoI had this post ready to go for Monday, but after the Boston bombings I became a little disheartened with humankind.  It was a tough day all around.  On the  same day, one of my best friends moved to New York and it was the anniversary of her father’s death.  I knew that it was a difficult day for her and was preparing for our good bye when I heard about the bombings.  It was just too much and I felt empty.

Now after a couple days have passed, I’ve realized that we need acts of kindness (random or not) more than ever right now.  We need to support and love each other.  That said, here is my original post:

Here it is…another potty training post.  Not intentionally.  Unfortunately, this time I have to talk about the potty.

Saturday was a potty training break through…we had the first poo poo in the potty.  I bribed promised Will that if he did that, we would go for ice cream.  We celebrated at Dairy Queen.

I wanted to make sure that William knew why we were there, so I told anyone within ear shot that we were celebrating poo poo in the potty.  Although completely embarrassing (and I’m sure the teens going out on a date were not appreciative), I made a huge deal about William and his accomplishment.  We ordered our ice cream during this constant praise and sat down to enjoy.

It wasn’t until I was entering the receipt into my budget a couple of days later that I noticed that the cashier gave me a discount.  I was truly touched.  It wasn’t a lot, but it was definitely a little act of kindness for my accomplished son.  He didn’t make a big deal about it, but just extended a little bit of benevolence our way.

I’m turning 35 this year and decided a while ago to celebrate with 35 acts of kindness.  I already have a few ideas in my head, and it will probably take the entire month of October to do, but now I am so excited to do this.  I just know how I felt when I saw that receipt and hope to extend those feelings to someone else.  I’m still looking for ideas, so please pass them my way!