Friday, November 21, 2014


There have been some changes in my life over the course of the last year or so (#understatement). One of the biggest changes has been my ability to be a mother to my children. Trying to define what being a “bad mom” means isn’t easy and is highly subjective. My kids have always been loved and cared for, but when I was still married I wasn’t winning any Mom of the Year awards. I knew it, my ex made sure I knew it, and that only made things worse. The feelings of inadequacy, knowing that you are being judged by your spouse, the stress and anxiety of dealing with a bad marriage, it all combined to make me less than present for my children. I knew I wasn’t doing the best I could, but I also couldn’t bring myself to fix it. I hid from it, from them. Everything had me on edge and I couldn’t handle the little things. I know now that a very big part of it was that I wasn’t allowed to have “me” time. I was made to feel guilty about liking different things or wanting to do something that didn’t involve them. I knew in my heart it was ok to want to take care of me, but that didn’t help the guilt (I was raised Catholic after all!) when I was constantly told I must not love them if I didn’t want to be with them at all times. That’s all pieces of why I ended my marriage. I couldn’t be the person/mother/wife I knew I could be. I wasn’t allowed to be the person/mother/wife I knew I could be. I felt like I was always gasping for air.

I am a new person. Or, rather, I’m finally the person I knew I could be. Happiness is a powerful state of being. Not only can I BE THERE for my children, I WANT to be there for them. I can actually enjoy them and revel in those “their only small once” moments. I am able to step back in those stressful moments and smile and joke and ease the tension. I can show my kids how to deal with stress and how to love each other whole-heartedly. They are learning to love by example and it’s because I’m present now to show them.

A lot of my happiness stems from being with a person who respects me, appreciates me, and encourages me to be myself, with all my faults...and he loves me anyway. He does not ask me, nor expects me, to define myself in relation to him. It’s such a simple thing, but it has completely changed my life.

I finally feel like I am acceptable the way I am, I can mother the way I know is best for me and my kids, I can explore new avenues of myself without fear of judgment or backlash, and I am becoming a role model for my kids. That one is the most important to me. I can show my kids that happiness is the norm, acceptance is good, narrow-mindedness is not a virtue, and finding yourself is the most important thing you can do.

There is one more change that is coming down the pipe. I am finally going to be settled in a way I haven’t been for over 14 years. I’m finally going to have a home that I will live in for a very long time! I don’t want to say anything about the house specifically because things are still in the beginning stages, but I need to comment on the significance of this next step.

Shortly after my sister died we moved to a new house, and very shortly after that (two weeks) I went away to college. Looking back, I can see I have never felt settled from that point on. I’ve owned two homes and rented numerous places in the last 14 years, but none of them have felt like home. I was never fully invested in any of those places. I never fully unpacked in any of them. One place in particular, I never even hung a single thing on the walls and boxes remained in almost every room. I couldn’t bring myself to invest in furniture or d├ęcor or do anything to make it feel like something other than temporary. I got close in my last house. We renovated it from top to bottom, and there were a few stamps of ownership there, but it was still lacking something. It was lacking happiness.

I haven’t even closed on this new house yet, but I already feel settled. I feel ready to let go of all the things I’ve schlepped from one place to the next, always hanging on because I didn’t know if I’d need it in the next place. Nothing has happened yet but I already feel lighter. I know this will be where I live and where I raise my children to be well-adjusted, happy adults. This is the last step to pass into the next chapter in my life. I can close the door on the transient lifestyle I somehow found myself in. I can put down roots, finish the things I’ve wanted to accomplish, and really invest in my future.

I am so excited for this next chapter, to close the door on the transition phase and finally live in the present. It’s so simple, yet has been such a long journey. It’s been quite the journey, but I’ve made the right changes to get onto the path that’s meant for me. **Deep exhale** 

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Piseco 2014

Today we made our annual trek to Piseco (in the Adirondacks) to hike Panther Mountain! It's a family tradition that I am determined to carry on no matter what our family configuration is! (And the current configuration is almost more than I could ask for!) Today was a great day for a hike! Last year it was cold, foggy, and rainy. Today was partly sunny, mild, and just about perfect for a hike! 

The kids were so excited to show LC all the highlights of the trail. LC is always showing them new things that he knows a lot about, so they loved being the ones to show him new things this time!

Bud was our "leader" and did a great job scouting out the trail (for muddy spots). Thankfully there weren't too many bad spots. 
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He took his job seriously!

The hike is .6 miles. It's the perfect amount, with plenty of great places to stop for a rest. We come to our favorite resting spots about half way up. The legendary Big Rock and Chair Rock!!

For the last three years I've taken the kid's picture on the "chair rock" as close as I can to the same position each year. I think it's so much fun to see them grow from year to year. 
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Chair rock - 2013 photo Piseco2013_zps0faa8b57.jpg
(Too wet to stretch out like usual)

Chair rock - 2012 photo Piseco2012_zpsed57ab5e.jpg

We decided we needed to start a chair rock picture series for ourselves too. 
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Hopefully we don't "grow" for next year's picture!

And of course we have to take a picture on the big rock!
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Big rock - 2013 photo Piseco2013_2_zpse13e3a13.jpg
(again, too wet to sit!)

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Big rock - 2011 photo Piseco2011_zps90995664.jpg
(Could they be any littler?)

We had a great view from the top this year! Thankfully, there is always people at the top willing to take a picture for us. 
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This one is my favorite!

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Bud took this one. 
We need to give him lessons on how to take straight pictures. Until then, we'll call his work "artistically angled." 

This year was nice because we didn't start up the mountain until the afternoon so we were the last ones left at the top and had it to ourselves for quite a while. That was a new experience that made it even more fun. The kids were able to really explore and have fun, without me following behind making sure they weren't being rude or disrespectful to the other people. 

Now please prepare yourself for a photo dump. I think they tell the story better than any words!

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Trail head
(which requires a boxing stance?)

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This tree was uprooted before our trip last year...perhaps another annual picture is in the making

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Jumping is fun!

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For everyone!

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I mean everyone!

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Even me!

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Bud insisted I take their picture on the jumping rock!

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Love this one!

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And this one

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Why do it yourself, when a big strong guy can lift you right up?

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She's getting so grown up!

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This guy too!

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There's some serious friendship between these two

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Notice Bud is always right next to LC

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Another very successful Piseco Trip!
("Artistically angled" and otherwise!)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

First Day of School -- The Better Late Than Never edition

I like a trend to really take hold and sort of be on the way out before I latch on. I don't know why but it's always been my way. I first realized it when Pogs (remember those) hit my school. I scoffed at the stupid new game and proudly held to my non-pog playing position. And then I realized I was kind of missing out and I humbly asked my mom to take me to the drugstore to buy my first set. Henceforth a full-fledged pogger I became. 

So much like my pogging story, I like to arrive late to the party and so I present you with my 3 week late First Day of School post.  

Kindergarten and 3rd grade. WTF dude? I have a third grader! And my baby is in full-day kindergarten. [Insert mind exploding here]

I wasn't scheduled to have the kids that morning and I frantically and pathetically begged their father to let me have them for the night so I could get the ready for their first day and do our traditional first day of school activities like freak out that Bud's pants don't fit him because he grew 7 feet overnight and scream at Babe to find out where she put her damned lunch box that I told her not to play with. Thankfully he took pity on me (since he leaves for work so early he wouldn't be the one to get them ready anyway) and I was able to salvage one of the few traditions I've established over the course of their short lives. First Day of School pictures at grandma's house! You'd think "grandma's house" would be my mom, but no, it's my ex's mom. We still have a fabulous relationship, and possibly an even stronger relationship now, and we are still very much a part of each others lives. I don't know what I would do without them! But enough of that. It's picture time!!

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Do I have beautiful children or what?

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Bud says: "Let's be lions!" Babe says: "I'm too cute to be a lion!"

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Still a lion. Still a cutie.

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I told them to get excited! Bud's more worried about not looking into the sun.

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"Seriously mom, I can't look into the sun anymore!"

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Babe says sun is no excuse to hold back on the sass! 

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My non-baby-OMG-when-did-you-even-become-real-kids kids

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He's finally coming around to the whole posing for the camera thing. 
(It's because he secretly hopes I'll post stuff to Facebook)

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Kindergarten. Just...kindergarten. Whoa.

I am so proud of these kids! They've had to deal (and are still dealing) with a lot over the past year and a half, but they are both amazing individuals. Bud is so smart it's scary. He understands things that he has no business understanding at 8 years old and he just craves knowledge like no child I have ever met before. He's funny and silly and so compassionate. Babe brings vibrancy to every dark corner. Her personality and exuberance for life and fun is unrivaled. She is sassy and smart and thoughtful. They both make me laugh and make me strive to be a better person and a better mother. I couldn't ask for more. I think it's going to be a good year.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Great New York State Fair - A Review!

We spent Saturday at The Great New York State Fair! It was awesome, as usual! I chose to spend my birthday there and it did not disappoint! We bought the bracelets (for rides) and it was totally worth it! We waited on one really long line so we didn't get as many rides in as I had hoped, but thankfully the ride we waited for was a good one and we got to all the ones I was hoping to get on! 

We started by walking around and checking out the butter sculpture and the sand castle. Two of my favorites! 
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I'm always amazed at what they can sculpt in butter!

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This year they did a tribute to Dr. Seuss and it was awesome! The detail is unreal!

Then we headed for the rides. The kids had an absolute blast! Before we even got to the Fair, it was determined that we would be going on the trampolines. I cannot say no to that request! I think I'm more of a kid when it comes to trampolines then they are! LOVE THEM! They cost a little extra but they were so worth it!
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Bud was doing double flips on each jump! He was amazing!

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Babe was flipping too! She's so light that it was hard for her to get around...but she didn't give up and was a pro by the time she was done!

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And, of course, I couldn't be left out! Who doesn't love to flip?! 

Bud also brought some of his own money to spend and decided to do the rock wall too. No surprise, he was amazing at it! He kept going up and down and switching lines and generally having a blast the whole time! 
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My little monkey up at the top!

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Babe had to take advantage too! She's a little dare devil as much as he is!

Bud also couldn't resist the hammer/bell ringing thing. You know what I mean, the strong man thing. I'm sure there is a name for it but I have no idea what it is. It's where you use the heavy hammer to hit the thing and ring the bell. He got it on his second try and came away with a new toy...
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Don't mess with this guy

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And Babe got in on the action too. 

We really had a blast on all the rides and with the games, but my all-time favorite thing to do is see the State Trooper K-9 and Repelling demonstrations. The. Best. We cut our time at the rides short so we could make it to these shows. It wouldn't be the Fair without them. 

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Waiting is for the dogs!

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We were lucky to get a spot in the shade!

And here are a few more fun shots...
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Let the excitement begin!

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Babe insisted on going on the merry-go-round

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Wish I had gotten this closer up

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This one too. Oh well!

So as you can see, another GREAT time at the State Fair! If you are ever in the Syracuse area in late August, you should definitely check it out!!

I received free tickets to the Fair for my preview and review posts. I'd have done it for free because I love the fair so much, but getting tickets makes it even better!