Saturday, March 31, 2012


This is the current state of our bathroom.


Lucky us, the kitchen is also affected, so no sink or dishwasher. Thank goodness we at least have a working toilet and sink downstairs and I can still do laundry. I mean really, who wants a break from laundry? 

And... we got a desk audit notice from the state of Massachusetts today. Awesome. I don't even know what that means. Hopefully we can just let our accountant deal with it. Unfortunately, that means no refund until it's resolved. And the federal bounced back because they didn't have Maggie in their social security database. How is that our fault? She's had a social security card since she was three weeks old. Grr... Now we have to paper file. I'm thrilled about waiting for that to be processed eventually.

But... I did get some good news about a friend's family today. So the good outweighs the bad. Please pray with me that their situation only gets better and the majority of their obstacles have passed. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Centerpiece

Stacy told Jen and I about seeing this centerpiece that someone had posted on Facebook.

Pinned Image

We decided we'd try recreate it for Easter. I found it on Pinterest, but none of the pictures were linked to actual instructions so we did what we thought would work best, knowing that there isn't a whole green thumb between the three of us, and the little bit we do have belongs solely to Stacy. Not unexpectedly, we waited for the very last minute to put ours together, so we are praying that our grass grows in time. 

We gathered our bases, plastic containers, soil, rocks, sticks and grass seed. We put soil into the flower pot base and then put in our plastic containers to make the tomb. 

Then we used a medium sized rock for a tomb door. 

More dirt and some grass seed and we had a tomb built into a hill.

We added some pebbles for a path and watered our grass seed.


We made crosses to go in them out of twigs and a hot glue gun. We had to cover them in plastic wrap and put them in the sun to help the grass grow, so we won't add the crosses until the grass has grown some.

Hopefully in a week or so it will look just like this:
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Little Moments

Motherhood can be overwhelming. There is so much to get done. So many things we are supposed to teach our kids, help them do, not let them do.. the list goes on and on. At times I lose my patience. I have moments when I would love to just go outside and scream as a form of release. I will openly admit that there are some days where I am constantly aggravated by one thing or another almost all day. However, no matter how bad a day may be going, or how tired, broken-down or defeated I may feel, there always seem to be little moments that refresh me, and remind me of why being a mom is the greatest gift I have ever been given.

When Maggie crawls right up to my face and starts bumping her nose against mine...

When Braeden asks me to cuddle with him at night. He wraps his arms around me and whispers to me the things that can't possibly wait until morning (to a five year old anyway)...

When I get to snuggle with Evan reading books before bed. I love how calm he is as he snuggles up with his blanket and laughs at a funny part when I think he's already asleep...

When I catch Braeden doing something for himself that makes him seem so grown up and I realize he's turning into a big kid...

When Evan gets so excited about something that he jumps up and down with his arms in the air yelling "I Win"...

When Maggie and I snuggle and she giggles and makes lots of funny sounds...

When I put Maggie in her crib for a nap or bedtime and she waves her arm wildly to say bye-bye or goodnight...

When I get to help Braeden practice his writing and he does a really great job and I can see the pride he has in doing it well...

When Evan drags his blanket around the house like Linus and I get to remember that no matter how much he tries to keep up with the older kids, he's still only 2...

When I hear any of my children laugh...

When they smile at me because I'm their mom...

When the boys are half asleep and mumble back to me, good night mommy, I love you...

Life is all about perspective. It can seem so hard sometimes, but my kids can make it all better in the blink of an eye. They are magical that way and I am so grateful for them and the many little moments that we share. I look forward to many more years of special mommy and child moments with all three of them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Caribbean Dreamin'

Yesterday afternoon I sat down on the couch, tilted my head back so that my face could feel the afternoon sun through the window and pretended I was in a beach chair on a nice tropical island. It lasted for about 16 seconds. Then two of my reality checks landed on my lap to "snuggle". Bye-bye moment of escape. Hello Braeden and Evan.

Roman and I were fortunate to be able to travel before we had children. My favorite trip by far was for our first anniversary when we went to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. We were care-free and all we had to worry about in the world was enjoying ourselves.


Unfortunately I don't have pictures from before Braeden was born on my computer because I have some cool pictures of us swimming with dolphins and taking a dinner cruise with fire dancers. The food was bad on that cruise, but the entertainment was oh so fun. Atlantis has so much to offer and someday maybe we'll be able to take the kids back with us.

We've also been to the Dominican Republic, but we booked that trip last minute and our accommodations could have been better. Let's just say, stay away from Juan Dolio when planning your next getaway. Unless of course you enjoy having to walk by a local in a lawn chair with a sawed-off every day. Roman had been to Punta Cana before and figured it couldn't be all that different. Um...wrong. 

Instead of this:
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Think this:
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Obviously this was not inside of our resort, but I could have yelled to the guy with the shotgun mentioned above, who had a lovely home like this, from our hotel window. 

I dream of returning to sunshine and palm trees. My aversion to flying plays a major role in our staying stateside. Well that and the fact that we have three children and very little money these days. But oh, what I would do to lay on a chair with my face to the sun for even a few hours uninterrupted. For now I'll spend my time Caribbean Dreamin', but maybe someday I'll get to go back...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Newer Me

I've been through a lot of self-evaluation and introspection over the last few years. It seemed necessary to take some kind of inventory of the person I was and decide if I was the kind of person I would want my kids to grow up emulating. There were definitely characteristics within myself that I was proud of, but also some that I needed to change before they noticed and began to follow suit. I want the absolute best for them. In order to help them on their journeys, I need to feel comfortable in who I am, and personify a confident, loving, compassionate lifestyle that will teach them responsibility, love, generosity and kindness towards others.

The key to my own personal change has been understanding who I am and where I belong in the life I'm living. It seems so easy. I live in a small town close to family. I am married and have three children who amaze me every day. I stay at home and care for my kids. I think this idealistic scenario is actually where a lot of us get caught up. I know that not everyone is like me with the internally wired worry and anxiety plus a dose of mediocre self-confidence. But I do think that we all, most particularly stay-at-home moms, get lost inside of the identities of our children and their needs. I have learned that there has to be more. I need to be me first. Where will I be when my kids are grown if I still identify myself as Braeden, Evan and Maggie's Mom?

I knew there were several areas that needed my attention most. Making friends and maintaining friendships, taking risks, and accepting failure when it's necessary. These three things have always been complicated for me due to my many issues with fear. Attempting to make friends meant the possibility of being rejected and I've always taken rejection way too deeply to heart. Risks again mean putting yourself out there and trying something that, gasp, may end in failure. A two for one special. Because I've always been so shy and anxious, I couldn't deal with the end results of any of these possibilities. I think that's what growing up is about. In my thirties I have become far more at ease with who I am and started to embrace the many qualities that make me valuable to those around me. It probably sounds egotistical to speak about my impact on others without any one else's input, but if I don't value myself, how is anyone else supposed to value me?

Friendships have been the key to the success of my transformation thus far. Spending time with my friends has given me something else to do that is just for me. I can talk about anything, laugh over my mistakes, and enjoy the company of people I don't live with 24 hours a day. I have reached out more to others, no longer waiting at home for someone to seek me out. I pushed away the shell and started to involve myself more in the lives of those around me. What a beautiful, fulfilling experience it has been. Face-to-face interaction I'm learning, is food for my heart and soul. I love being able to write a quick note to a friend through Facebook or share with a friend who lives far away over email, but those interactions lack the human experience that is so necessary for all of us. I wish those email connections were close enough to spend the face-to-face time with, but they are a level of friendship that enhances my life in a different, also useful, way. Being able to hang out on my couch or someone else's for even an hour can make a whole day better. I am a happier, kinder, and far more confident person now thanks to the friendships I have tried much harder to maintain.

I'm still working on the risk-taking. It is one area that is truly a stretch for me. I don't like unpredictability or uncertainty. I need to be able to foresee an outcome and that outcome needs to lack danger. However, I have been more willing to try doing new things and even enjoy the new experiences I have had. It doesn't mean that I'm not nervous or worried about what may or may not happen, but I force myself to try. I would never have offered to coach t-ball a year ago, but I know I will enjoy it so I'm taking the chance. Not very risky right? Probably not, but it's a decision that doesn't come without second thoughts for me. Admittedly though, these choices are becoming easier as I learn to accept myself and the potential outcome. Instead of immediately answering no to things, I think about them first and actually often say yes. Failure could still happen, but I also could find great success and as I read somewhere yesterday, you're guaranteed to fail if you never try.

I love the newer me that I have become. Honestly, I am probably the happiest that I have ever been in my life. There are people around me to offer support, encouragement and some excitement. My family gets to benefit from more interactions outside of our house, and I don't go stir crazy trying to entertain them all by myself every minute of every day. I have discovered strengths that I knew I probably had, but didn't want to test, and have become willing to share them with others. I have found self-confidence. I have learned to love who I am, at least for the most part. The journey is far from over, but I'm actually excited to continue along the path. Woot woot for living life!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Roman's Birthday Weekend

Roman got to celebrate his birthday several times. I personally believe everyone should get to celebrate their birthday for an entire week. Aren't we all worth it? We started with a small cake for just our little family on his actual birthday. Then we had a real cake to celebrate with my family at pizza night on Friday. It was fun to see some friends of my brothers who were visiting from New York so we had two reasons to celebrate. The grand finale was on Saturday night when we went out to dinner with our close friends, Neil and Melissa. 

The evening started like this:
Melissa determined that Roman MUST have a birthday hat. We spent some serious time at iParty looking at the many hat choices. We eventually decided on the boa and the rest progressed from there. I see a pimp, though I think he's channeling a lot of Elton John's vibe too. 

We had a great dinner, even though the guys were apparently less than satisfied with the food. When I get a chance to go out without kids, it's far more about the company for me, so I very much enjoyed myself. We talked and laughed for far longer than we ate. Oh well, no one kicked us out so I guess it wasn't bothering anyone too much. I think all parents need good friends to be able to go out and let go with. Life is too short to not take moments out to let loose and have some fun. 

By the end of the night, I had acquired the fantastic get-up. I think I look pretty awesome. I hope you had a great birthday weekend honey! I know I enjoyed it all.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I saw this this morning on Kelly's Korner and I just love it so much. 

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one." - C.S. Lewis

I have made so many friends this way. I am so grateful for all the women out there who have been so accepting of me and willing to let me be a part of their lives. Stacy and I were just talking about having to put yourself out there into uncomfortable situations to help broaden your world and that of your child's. Talking to others, and sharing and confiding the good and the bad, certainly can create bonds that you otherwise never would have known existed. Friendship is one of life's very biggest blessings. I have been able to reach out and add so many people to my circle in the past few years and I am beyond happy about that. I am a better person because of my friends. I look forward to years and years of wonderful memories to come with both those I already know and the friends that I have yet to meet. And how funny that it's a quote by C.S. Lewis. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Post Partum Depression Story Part 2 - Fighting Back

This is a follow up to the post The First Time Around in which I wrote about coming to the realization that I was suffering from Post Partum Depression. Unlike with most illnesses, depression related medications do not bring immediate relief. It is expected that it will take up to a month for the medication to build up in your system enough to reach full strength. There is also a trial and error process that takes place as the doctors try to get the dose adjusted correctly. Fortunately for me, I was able to stick with the dose that they started me on. But the healing process is so much more that that. While medication is great, and in my situation necessary, it can't do the job alone. I had to do a lot of work to help make myself better and let me tell you, at that point I really didn't know if I could do it. I knew I had to, but every day was such a struggle. With very little sleep at night and being on edge all day, my mind had little to no down time. I became aware very quickly that I needed to focus on one day at a time and simply managing that day as it came.

I felt humiliated and embarrassed to admit that I had Post Partum Depression. I was overjoyed and so amazingly in love with this little boy, yet at the same time I had failed at being a mom and let my mind take me apart one piece at a time. I couldn't be around loud noise and confusion because it simply overwhelmed me. I didn't want to go anywhere, but I also didn't want to stay home with Braeden by myself. I would watch him playing and will myself not to get up and go to him because in my own mind I couldn't be trusted. It was my greatest fear that I might do something to him (which I never, ever did) and that fear just kept producing more fears and worry. Knowing the medication couldn't work right away only made it all worse. I was caught in a constant storm of fear and guilt.

I was so fortunate to have a wonderfully strong support system. Once I came forward with what was going on, my family jumped right in and played whatever role I needed them to at any given time. The first night my parents kept Braeden at their house overnight so I could try to get some sleep and begin to process my situation. I couldn't wait to get to him the next morning and returned to their house by 7:30am to see him. My irrational sense of guilt made it feel like not being near him would ruin his life and make him know that something weird was going on. I'm doubtful that he thought anything of it that night. It wasn't his first sleepover and he was happy to stay. For the next week or so, I spent the days at my parents house with my dad and brother hanging out with me periodically throughout the day since they both work right there. I could manage okay each day until 4:00. After that, the panic would come back and I'd have to fight harder for the rest of the day until bedtime. I'm not sure if it was exhaustion or being able to let my guard down because my mom and Roman both got home from work around that time. I was also seeing a holistic chiropractor every couple of days and it was like therapy for me. I could talk easily with her and she did something with my energy that calmed me down and helped me to continue to move forward.

For a while, every day was a fight. I always made sure I stuck to a routine and didn't vary from the way I had always cared for Braeden. It helped me to stay focused and busy. If I was doing something, I couldn't think. I needed to stop thinking for a while. After the first month or so, the panic was gone. Thank you God! I was far more able to function closer to the way I had before the PPD started. I still didn't enjoy much, but I  felt much more like myself. For the months that followed, I tried to add more activity to our days. I joined a playgroup and interacted with others more. It was helpful for both Braeden and I. We also went to a public playgroup offered in a nearby town. I found my inner strength and I pressed on and made myself get better. There was no choice in my mind. I wanted to not be only be a good mom, but a great mom. I wanted to be a fully functioning part of my community of family and friends again. And I did it. As Evan says so often these days, I won.

I started to wean off the medication after six months. This was another process that made me very nervous. Again the question of, what if I'm really crazy and it just took having a baby to bring it out? What if I need medication for the rest of my life to continue to feel sane? I had learned enough about myself by that point that I knew I could do it. I had made it through the very worst and come out on top so I could do this part too. As it turned out, I'm not permanently crazy. Phew! Going off the medication did change things a bit. I had to go back to controlling my mental state and emotions all on my own, but I was happy to get that part of me back. As I had begun to feel better along the way, I had really started to miss feeling things. On the medication I couldn't go low, but I couldn't go high either. So the joy of milestones, etc. was missing. The weaning off was effective and I realized I could be the old me again, actually even better. I had learned a lot of lessons about who I was, the strength I had, and what I really wanted out of life during the whole PPD experience.

Over time, I started to understand that it was not a situation I had any control over. I couldn't have stopped the PPD from coming and I wasn't a failure. I became proud of myself for getting help and kicking PPD's butt. It took a couple of years, but eventually I was more willing to talk about it freely and share my experience with others without feeling the need to apologize for it. And now, I am completely willing to share my story with anyone. I am hopeful that my experiences can help someone else who might not recognize what they're feeling. I made it. Take that Post Partum Depression.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Day to Celebrate

This beautiful baby girl has two very good reasons to smile today. 

She has finally started crawling! When we finally get her to go forward for more than 1 or 2 crawling movements at a time, she's going to realize how big the world really is and be all over the place. She's been working on the various motions with her arms and legs for days and today she finally put it all together. Yay!

Today is also her Daddy's birthday. She's so excited to celebrate with him when he gets home from work. I'm sure she saved her new moves as her present for his birthday. Smart girl. Bring on the birthday fun!

Maybe as a birthday gift, I should start getting some more recent pictures of him with the kids..

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Easter Door Sign

I always pin a ton of holiday projects on Pinterest, but very rarely do I follow through and actually try to recreate what I pinned. Well, as the title of this post would indicate, I went for it over the weekend. I ventured out and bought the necessary supplies to try and make a cute Easter door sign. I think it turned out okay. As my mom said, "... it's just right for a child's home". She said some other nice things too, but I think that particular comment describes it most accurately.

The actual project from Pinterest:

My attempt:

I had to make some modifications to the original due to some technical difficulties. I added the black dots to take up some unused space since I didn't start the name far enough to the left. Then I had to add the black dots everywhere or it would have looked really odd. If I were to do it again, I don't think I would add the writing at all, although maybe I would change it to Happy Easter. I also chose to use a square canvas instead of rectangle so I don't have as much open space. The kids recognized it as a bunny so I'm going to leave it as is instead of trying again like my adult self would like to do. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

T-Ball Time

Is there really any season better than spring? Not only does it bring warmer temperatures and the chance to get outside, but also baseball season. This year officially marks our family's entrance into the great American pastime. Preschoolers were allowed to play soccer this past fall so we asked the town's Recreation Commission if they could also play T-Ball. As long as we could provide a coach, they could play. No problem. Another mom and I decided to take the plunge and we are all anxiously waiting for the season to begin! Sign-ups were last week. There is a coaches meeting this week and after that we can start practices. Michelle and I haven't played in a long time, but I'm fairly confident that we can handle the introduction to throwing, hitting and running the right direction around the bases.

We've been doing a bit of practicing at home since the weather is so amazing. Braeden needs to loosen up and relax a little (his life story actually).

Ethan looks like he's been playing for years. 

Evan was content to sit and watch. He's not quite ready to play with the big boys just yet. I think it's probably safest that way. 

I am so excited for this first T-Ball season. It's always so special to watch them participate in a team sport for the first time. The great part is that the team is mostly made up of the kids in Braeden's class so he'll know everyone he's playing with. Michelle and I have lots of fun and exciting things planned. We can't wait to start!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Letter of Discontent

**This post was written last night after a troubling visit from some relatives. I try to extend positive energy through my blog. Truth mixed with gratitude mixed with real stories of how I have become the person I am today. Unfortunately, situations like yesterday are also a part of who I am and I feel that it is important to write about them as well because ultimately they also play a role in our family life. I also think that there are others out there unfortunate enough to face the same struggle within their family. Maybe you can relate, hopefully you cannot. I have calmed down significantly today and am enjoying a nice Sunday with those that mean the most to me. I hope you are as well (spending time with loved ones that is).**

As I mentioned in this post, the relationship with my in-laws is less than desirable. I am sitting here tonight next to a softly breathing Evan who has drifted off to sleep while I am typing, wondering in amazement how anyone could not see what I see when I look at him, or Braeden, or Maggie.. My feelings of hurt and anger on their behalf are raw at this moment. I have had time to calm down after today's visit and yet I still cannot find the peace within myself to move on. Why were my children given this burden? Why must I suffer with this hardship that defeats me to my core? Why, why, why?

A letter to "them"..

I aspire to rise above the feelings I have towards you. I wish I could limit my emotional reaction to a simple "this too shall pass" feeling. However I am not so fortunate or pure of heart that I can just let it go without a natural human response. I strive to protect my children from what I consider evil or dangerous to them. I spend every day focused on their overall well-being and keeping them safe from unnecessary physical, mental and emotional harm. Yet I am powerless to completely protect them from you. You know who you are. Even though I hope you never find this blog, if you do, you will know I am talking to you. Or maybe you won't. Maybe you are just that arrogant and selfish that you will assume I must be writing about someone else. I pray for my children to grow up inheriting nothing from you. How your son/grandson turned out to be the man that he is today I will never understand. It is obvious that you had no role in who he has become. He believes that God saved him from a life of destruction at 17 years old. Ironically, this is approximately the same time that you chose to abandon him for veering from your ways. He needed you. He couldn't walk or talk on his own after his stroke. And yet you chose to force his hand to choose between becoming a better person and living the rest of his life like you. Lucky me, he chose the right path. You are mean-spirited, deceitful and disrespectful to myself, my husband and our children. We deserve better. Unfortunately, you are allowed the title of family simply because you are genetically bound to us. There are many people in our life far more qualified to hold that title. Our kids don't even understand who you are to them and today when given a clear opportunity to clarify the situation, you told my two year old to call you by your name rather than by your relation to him. To him you are just another visitor. Please stop complaining that you don't see them enough. If you wonder why we limit our contact, it is because you make our lives far more difficult than they should be. My beautiful baby girl does not deserve to be called a butt by anyone EVER. I don't even know what you were really saying since you never speak to them in English, but I do know it was unkind and inappropriate. If I had the ultimate decision making power in this family, today would have been the end. But for some reason, we continue to play the game even though we always lose. You should consider yourselves very lucky.

I can't believe I am writing this out in a blog post, but honesty is hugely important to me and brutal honesty is sometimes a result of that choice. I pray every day for this situation to resolve itself. Either through some sort of understanding between us or my own ability to rise above the anger. I've tried in so many ways to be the bigger person. To not let you affect me to this level. But I am a mother to three amazing children who deserve so much better, and for them I will never. stop. fighting.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Luck 'O the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

We started our festivities yesterday with some green baking at my parents house. We made St. Patty's Day cake pops.

Start with a green cake..

Crumble the cake..

Add 3/4 container of frosting..

Roll into balls and then put in the freezer for 15 minutes..

Dip them in melted chocolate and decorate!

The process was closely watched by our favorite rooster.. (this is King for anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of meeting him)

While I was doing the cake balls, this leprechaun returned from a St. Patrick's Day party.

Then Roman decided to pose for the boys to draw a leprechaun.

Today we are all wearing our green and I hope to get some Irish soda bread made. I hope you all enjoy your day as much as we are. The Luck 'O the Irish to You!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Flashback - Baby Pictures

We got a little better with each child about what pictures to take at the hospital to really capture the moments. With Braeden, we were so overwhelmed with becoming parents that we only have a few pictures from those first couple of days that are mostly of us feeding him and who came to visit. Evan's album is a little more complete capturing his original weight check and even a picture of me before he was delivered. We didn't get one of those with Braeden. I was so far into labor by the time we got to the hospital with B that it was immediately go time. There was no time for posing for a last picture of him inside of me. Again with Maggie there was a time crunch, so no before picture for her either. But with her we do have some pictures immediately following her birth (no worries, I won't be posting those) and some posed shots in the hospital. All in all, I feel like the pictures of all three capture the memories of three amazing days that I will cherish forever. The pictures in this post are from the first few months of the kids lives.



I can't help adding this one. I love this picture of the two boys. Braeden was so thrilled to be a big brother!


This is as good as it gets with all three. If anyone has any great suggestion for taking pictures of kids in a group, please feel free to share.