Sunday, November 10, 2013


I have always been a mama's girl. My mother worked when I was little and when she was not working, she found plenty of things to keep herself busy, like sewing our clothes, baking cookies for our class, and working on taxes. I remember needing to be close to her and lying curled around the legs of her office chair as she punched numbers into an ancient and loud calculator. I would feel safe and warm and eventually fall asleep there.

When I met your dad, he gave me the same feeling. He, as a slightly scrawny skateboarding 17 year old, made me feel like I could just float along holding his hand and that his hand in my hand was all I would ever need. I remember 5 months after we met, planes slammed into the World Trade Center and he held me, as I cried in my living room. We were so young but I remember thinking, none of that bad can reach me as long as I can find this safe place again. So I kept him and 12 years later, he is still my safest hug.

When I became a mother, I expected that hugging my children would feel that same, safe way.  In the beginning, your children don't "chose" to need you. They just do and you are the one that can feed them, keep them warm and put them to sleep. Now that you are both older, the best feeling is when you willingly, without me asking you to, run into my arms. You both give such tight hugs. But the tables have turned. Your hugs do not make me feel safe. They make me feel vulnerable. Having children is the most terrifying thing I have ever done, making me lie awake in the night, listening to the rain fall and wonder how I can ever free myself of this blanket of worry and fear that something might happen to one of you. Or to me. That I might leave too soon and miss it all. When I hug you, I a send a silent wish into the air, "Please let me hug these beautiful creatures for my whole life. Please let them stay healthy. Please let me hug them when they are mothers themselves. Please let me hug them when they are grandmothers." 

But I can see in both of you, the way you relax when I hold you, the way your bodies go limp in our hugs that you are both mama's girls as well. So I have to push all the worry away and focus on the way your arms barely reach around my neck and your feet hit the same place on my jeans because in not so many short years, the hugs will come less and less. I do hope though that you both know I have never done anything as magical and fun and beautiful as having you and even though the love I have for you makes me feel very vulnerable, I would not trade it for anything. I will always be a safe place to land. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fighting the mama body battle.

I was walking to the park to meet my girls, who were hanging out there with their grandma while I worked out, there was a mom walking hand in hand with a lanky string bean with sawdust colored hair bouncing just below her shoulders. She reminded me of Elle, except she was maybe 8. I was hit by that wave of sentiment that hits all mothers, whether it be of the feeling of nevermore when we see a tiny baby after we are decidedly done having kids or the feeling of time slipping almost visibly through our hands when we see grown children. We will be there soon, Elle and I, walking together through a park, and I will be able to look almost right into her grey eyes instead of down at her long, baby eyelashes.

When my focus shifted from the girl to her mother, I had a couple thoughts hit me at once. She was thin and dressed nicely and I thought, "I have a few years to get that thin/stylish/perfected as a mom/woman/wife". Ugh. I am beyond sick of my brain.

I will say that I do workout and I recommend going to the gym as a mom for a couple of reasons. 1. It always makes me FEEL good, no matter how much I did not want to go. 2. My child insists on being held pretty much all day and I need to put in after hours work to get the muscles to support this needy child. 3. A much needed break from my children. Has going to the gym made me look like the celebrities in the magazine who just had their babies six weeks ago and are, by some act of one god or another, in a bikini at the beach? No. Not at all. Am I stronger? Yes. Do I feel better? Yes. Do I look like a mom when I am naked? Yes, flubby little belly pouch, small pancake-ish boobs, two asses (one big one, one small one hanging out under the big one), arm flap that waves when I do. It's all there.

It is a been a tremendous struggle not to hate my body. Like when I get out the shower, I see it and say out loud, "ughhhhhhhh....". The weird part about it is, I am the only person that seems to notice how "horrible I look". My husband loves my butt. My kids don't care at all about the softness of my belly. Strangers on the street do not gasp in horror when I walk by. In fact, the person I look the most  like are other moms I see out and about.

I am trying desperately to accept myself. To be proud of my body and the know that it will never be the same as it was before kids. But that being a different body, does not make it a bad body. This has of course, all come to the forefront of my mind as summer and bathing suit season it upon us. We are headed to San Diego at the end of the summer and you know what I really want to do when I am at the beach? I want to wear cute shorts and tank tops. I want to lay in the sun in my bathing suit. I want to RUN in said bathing suit and play in the waves with my kids. And you know who is stopping me from feeling like I cannot do that? Me. I am the jerk.

It is not society, as in the actual people who live in the real world, because when I am at the beach or the park now, I never really have a seen a mom of small kids busts out her bikini and looks like a super model (even though that is how we somehow feel we are supposed to look). Us moms, we all look very much the same. Covering our various lumpy parts with cover-ups or hiding under the umbrella. And when I honestly think about it, the women I am the most jealous of at the beach are not the ones who look super good in their swimsuits. It is the woman laughing, playing and running around with her kids. I want to be THAT woman. And I am the only person in the way of being just like her.

It is a tough battle. I know all of this. I can write these words. I know that if I went to the beach tomorrow in a bathing suit and played happily with my kids in the lake, nobody would never bat an eye. No one would walk up to be and ask me to PLEASE cover up my cellulite or laugh at my arm flub. So I am trying win this battle. I am trying to BE the mom who can be in pictures without hating herself. To wear fun clothes without worrying. To be the type of woman I want my girls to see me as and grow up to be.

I am.... a work in progress. But I WILL be in a bathing suit the next chance I get and I will have fun. C'mon brain, you can do it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

In a funk.

For the past month, we have all been in a bit of a funk. This is the time of year where I start to feel a bit cabin feverish. The weather in Washington at this time of year is simply....dreary.

Your dad and I have run out of ideas. We visit the kid's museum about once a week, the indoor gym once a week, walking the stores downtown once a get the idea. It is the same old. We have a bit of unique family situation since your dad only works 8 days a month. Most days it is all of us here. Which is fine, but occasionally your dad starts to feel like a third child, asking me questions like, "what is there to eat?" and "let's do something, I am bored" or he just starts to lose his mind and we all drive each other crazy.  We also have the stress of house build in the back of our minds. AND we hate our rental. So it does suck when you don't even like your home and cannot do anything to make it better (landlords say NO ART ON THE WALLS and NO PAINTING!).

The other day after a particular boring day, your dad asked me "are we good parents?" My first instinct was to say yes. But I thought instead. There a million ways I wish I could be a better parent. I wish I had more patience. I wish I was more creative with the activities I think of for both of you to do. I wish I could read more books. I wish I could just bundle us all up and have magical outdoor adventures all day. But we don't. Still we do lot's of snuggling, read a few books, watch a few shows, have some fun play dates, eat some yummy food (is it all perfectly healthy and no) and sometimes we just give up and drive in the car until everyone starts yelling and we head home. But I think that is similar to how most parents do it. So yes, I think we are good parents. No, we are not perfect parents. But I strongly believe the perfect parents only exist on pinterest.

So I hope warmer weather brings us out of our funk. Until then, we will continue on in our funk since I do not know how to get out of it.

Photos from a recent beach adventure.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


{A letter to Elle}

We have arrived at three.

It was, overall, a very good year.  We had some stressful life things going on (selling a house, buying a land, renting a house that is now up for sale, starting to build a house) but you have handled most of it like a champ.

I forget how little you were last spring until I look at old photos. You still had traces of baby in your face just months ago. All those traces are gone. I am now the mother to only one baby.

At the end of the summer, we started pottytraining. I was very nervous because you are picky about your diaper and you can be nervous doing new things. But you did so awesome! You were fully trained in about 3 days (although you still wear a diaper at night). However, your favorite place to pee is outside "like a bear". You are like me that when you have to pee, YOU HAVE TO PEE NOW! so we have pulled off the road a couple of times.  Does anyone else do that? Probably just us.

You are now also painting, drawing smiley faces, trying out letters and talking like a five year old. You make jokes and learn new words instantly.

And then you also have the occasional tantrum. You do a fair share of whining and wiggling (when you are mad instead of whining, you will sort of contort your body around in frustration). The actual tantrums can be quite surprising. The worst one was a couple weeks ago. We were out on a hike with some new friends and suddenly, for no apparent reason to anyone, you just lost your mind. It was one, two, three, SCREAM. And we walked along with you trailing behind screaming like a wild banchee and then we kind of got lost, all while passing people who were trying to enjoy the outdoors but instead listening to your wails. We came around closer to the car when you announced you had to pee. Before I could pull your pants fully down, you peed all over your pants, shoes, my hands and my shoes. It was awesome.

I have to tell those stories or I will forget them. When you are not whining, wiggling, or screaming you are such a joy to us. I am being serious. You are thoughtful and loving and snuggly and creative and funny.

I am very excited to see what three has in store. However, it will be awhile before we attempt another hike.