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Showing posts from 2017

Time Does Not Always Heal

Today is a local walk to prevent suicide in a nearby town. I should be there. I know I should. But, I also know that in this season of my life, I cannot be. Instead, I'm sitting in my writing space this morning, listening to Billie Holiday, drinking coffee, and writing. This notion that grief heals with time does not apply to me. There are days that are better than others, no doubt about it. There are months that are easier to manage than others. And, there have been years that are easier to plow through than others. This year is not that year.
I beat myself up about skipping this year's event for a few weeks. I told myself I really should participate, since I do take a strong public stand in regards to suicide prevention and mental health awareness, but I just could not. We're nearing the three year anniversary of my brother's death and I'm finding it much more difficult than I anticipated. Why? I do not know. I could say three is my number. Always has been. When …

Mommy to Mom

Published on The Ma Books August 2017      A few days ago, my eldest daughter left her carefree childhood days behind to enter her tumultuous teenage years. The tween years were trying. The endless eye rolls, the heavy stomping, the slamming of doors, the unexpected tears, the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. It was bittersweet. I watched the child my daughter once was slowly disappear, leaving me with this new person who no longer called me Mommy, but Mom. In all of the changes, this is what stopped my heart. The first time I heard it, I looked around, wondering who said that. No one in my house called me Mom.I shrugged it off until I watched that word come out of my daughter’s mouth, meant for me. I felt like it was a word bullet, hitting me directly in my chest. Stopping my heart, halting my breath. Mom. Was I now Mom? It may just be a word, but it was more than that for me. It was leaving behind not only Mommy, but the little person that once called me that. It was closing…

Monthly art lesson: Cubism Portrait

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While cleaning out the other day, I found the kids' school pictures from last year. We had a ton left over and I thought of a project. We grabbed scissors, glue, our Summer sketchbooks, and the pictures. We read a book about Picasso which is now out of print, talked about Picasso, and got to work. 
Cut the pictures into various shapes and begin to place the pictures into interesting cubist portraits. I loved the way these came out and it was so nice to have a few quiet moments to create alongside my kids. We talked a lot about why they think art matters, why it's important. I've worked very hard to include it in their lives since they were little because I feel that art does have the power to make you look at the world differently, makes you find your own way of looking at the world, and is a powerful agent of change. In our current world, one positive thing I'm seeing is more and more art, whether it be resistance choirs, dance troupes, or muralists, if you look for i…

Homemade Ice Cream

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It's National Ice Cream Day! To celebrate, I'm sharing two homemade ice cream recipes that are so easy and you don't need to own an ice cream maker. I use my Vitamix, but a food processor works just as well. I will say, these don't keep well but that's okay, because they are so easy, you will want to devour them the day you make them. We usually make these at dinner clean up and freeze them for an hour then enjoy! First up is Strawberry. Add a bunch of frozen strawberries, some milk, and a squeeze of lemon juice. I never measure anything, just eye everything. (Sorry, not a food blogger!) Blend in food processor or blender, freeze until desired consistency. 
My favorite is banana peanut butter. Add frozen bananas, peanut butter, and milk. Blend in food processor or blender, freeze until desired consistency. Super duper easy and so fresh and delicious.

An Afternoon at the Museum 

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Spent the afternoon at Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and loved every minute of it. Much to my children's chagrin, I'm a museum junkie. However, the ICA is super family friendly and not too large to tucker and/or bore them. We went specifically for Nari Ward's exhibit, an inspiring, meaningful, and thought provoking exhibit. As much as I love art, I love reading the descriptions for each piece and this exhibit was one of my very favorites. The found material, the symbols, the messages, the composition, the meaning, it was amazing. To do museums on the cheap, check your local library, they usually have passes and most museums in our city have many free days to offer. Check also for family guides at the front desk, a great way to distract and entertain the kiddos. Happy weekend! 

A Gift in the Gym Locker Room

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On Saturday, I completed the balance of my shoulder tattoos. On my right shoulder, I have a morning glory for my paternal grandmother and now on my right shoulder, I have a daisy for my maternal grandmother. Both women meant the world to me and inspired me to be the person I am today. They were both humble, hard working, and hilarious. They guided me through life and they continue to do so in their absence. Having them both on my shoulders is a little reminder for me to forge ahead. 
Every Monday, I head to the gym for a long workout. If I'm being honest, I mainly go so I can sit in the sauna after my workout. This morning, after my 10 minutes of scorching nirvana, I headed back to my locker to get my shower stuff. An older woman stopped me and said, "Oh my goodness, your tattoos are so beautiful." I thanked her and she continued, "I made a promise to myself when I made it to 80, I'd get a tattoo." I smiled and answered the usual questions I get from peopl…

Eyelash Adventures 

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My esthetician and I go way back. She's one of my favorite human beings on the planet and makes it tolerable to get waxed every month because I get to visit with her. We worked together many moons ago at a cosmetic counter and let me tell you, that job brings you close to people. Anyhoo, she asked if I'd be interested in getting lash extensions. I'd seen them everywhere, but was hesitant to spend the money. Seemed frivolous, but on a dreary winter day, I needed a pick me up and went for it. My goodness, I have zero regrets. It takes about 90 minutes for the initial application, but 90 minutes of laying down peacefully is a great gift. The glue she used did not irritate my eyes and I have extremely sensitive skin. I could not believe the difference. I was hooked. It's very important to follow the care instructions to take care of them, but mine lasted in tact for a good two and a half weeks. Fills can be done for a fraction of the cost. And, the cost. My lovey charges …

#WomenforSyria

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I'm three days back from a whirlwind, wonderful trip in Paris with my husband and no children. It was nothing short of magical but what I brought home with me was not a souvenir, but a story. I'm going to be honest here and say that writing this is hard. I know it will invite comments that will upset me, but I just can't keep this inside. Too many of us turn our heads, scroll past, or choose to ignore tragedy staring us in the face. I am not a politician, a policy maker, or a diplomat. However, I am a mother and this exchange I had with another mother changed me. It was our last night in Paris and we were exhausted from walking 30 miles in 3 days exploring such a beautiful city. Rather than go out for dinner, we chose a dinner in. As I sipped wine, looking out our hotel window, I watched a woman sweeping the concrete as her toddler and baby ran around her. I had seen many women all over Paris, holding signs saying "Syrian family, please help." As we entered the …

Packing for Four Days in Paris in a Carry On

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Headed to Paris with the mister sans children and keeping with my minimalistic goals, I wanted to only take a carry on the plane. I know, sounds crazy but I was determined.  We are flying overnight so I brought a comfy outfit to sleep in and a shirt and shoes to change into once we arrive.  3 tops and a casual dress for the days exploring  Crossbody bag, watch, necklace, and earrings for accessories The weather is mild right now so I can get away with my moto jacket and a scarf. This jacket can be casual for the day or paired with a dress for dinner. We are only doing one fancy dinner, but I like to dress for dinner and get out of my day clothes.  I think what works best is sticking with a neutral palette or a complimentary colors, so you can multi purpose each piece. Another tip that works for me is I get my hair professional blown out, which lasts at least 2 solid days for me. With the magic of dry shampoo, I can skip my bulky hair weapons, which take up so much room in the c…

My Big Magic Moment 

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I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic” and in it she talks about how the universe serves up magic and mystery all the time if we are open to it. In recent months, I’ve had some seriously big magic that made me believe in the mysterious magic of the universe. I have to go back years (okay, decades) to my sophomore year of college. I was stuck in the mire of indecision about my major. Accepted into the well known business school, my path was set but, it was not serving me well. I hated the classes, was bored to tears, and cringed at the thought of sitting at a desk looking at numbers the rest of my life. Numbers have never been my thing, but I had the grades to land a spot in the Accounting major. I slogged through because the prospect of having a job right after graduation was my carrot. My heart, though, was within the pages of books in my literature courses. I had a few of them in my beginning years and I’d pass on the finance homework just to read one more page. I’ve alway…

Small Change, Big Difference

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A while back, I was frustrated about my children complaining about something or other and felt they needed a little dose of humility. Now, more than ever, I think it is imperative that we all understand our privilege and how that privilege should not shield us from making a difference, but rather, it should drive us to foster change. Even if that change is collected in a small glass jar. 
I dug in the pantry and found this jar and we collectively decided that we would put our pocket change in it every day. For the month of January, we raised $9.50. Yes, it is not a lot. But it is something. At my childrens' school, they are collecting change to donate to the efforts of building a new school in Pakistan. The Grants are happy to contribute their change on Monday. 
These two cuties have birthdays this month and when they were little, I decided each year to donate to a charity that best reflected their passions. This year, we've decided to collect sports gear (mainly soccer and b…

Costa Rica Round up

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It is hard to believe that nearly six months has passed since we were in Costa Rica. Even harder to believe it has taken me this long to blog about it! This was our first big international trip with the kiddos and they were nothing short of amazing. They are great travelers, having flown to the West Coast so many times, and continued to be patient, occupied, and behaved the entire trip. A few people have asked for a recap of our trip so here it is. I will say, Costa Rica is one of the most family friendly and accommodating countries I've been to. We opted out of the resort experience and chose to rent a house in Playa Portrero, a little ways away from the tourist trap of Playa Tamarindo. Our neighbors were a mix of locals and expats, puppies, kittens, and we even had a nightly visitor, a black lab that would just come to hang out and get some attention from my animal loving kids. We would go back in a heartbeat and because we went in the off season, we saved a ton of money. All i…

The New Year

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I'm not one for resolutions, I always end up breaking them and then I feel super bad. Not worth it. However, this year, we decided as a family to pick an overarching goal for 2017. I thought long and hard about this one. I need to be more disciplined in many areas of my life but again, I know myself. What I came up with is this:  In 2017, I will be nicer to myself. Sounds a bit ridiculous right? Hear me out. Being nicer to myself means many things and touches on many avenues of my life. 
For one, I'm kicking self-doubt out of my brain. Every time I doubt myself, I'll remind myself of an accomplishment I am proud of. 
Secondly, no more self body shaming. I am who I am and I love myself. I've worked very hard to get to where I am in life and I'm no longer letting unreal expectations filter into my happiness. 
Thirdly, I'll listen to myself more. If I need a rest, I'll take it. If I need to drop everything and mop the floor, I'll do it. (Yes, I know, but l…