Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting There

Slowly but (painfully) surely, we are getting there. We will one day move back into our home. We will get out of my mother's hair and take our shoes to a place where her puppy can't chew on them. We will have our own space again. It will happen. Right? Right. Looking at pictures like these remind me of that.

Starting work on second floor facade framing... notice there is no more front balcony eye sore/safety hazard!

And a few days (weeks?) later, a tarp, which may or may not be covering up the fact that nothing else has been done, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt since there are new windows in...


And the back. A big, beautiful window overlooking the backyard in what is now officially the baby's room.

Add some pretty windows in the master and things look less hollow and more homey... almost...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lucky Me

This is my man.

My baby daddy.

Here he is winking at me, sitting in a bay-side bar in one of our favorite spots.

He's probably had a few Bud Lights and is clearly wearing a couple days' scruff.

I love it. And him.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

All this in one Fall?

The starts and stops in my posting schedule are probably indicative of the volume of stuff in my brain clogging up the flow of words from mind to fingers to keyboard.

It's a tangled web.

Since my last post, I have quietly celebrated a new life growing in me. And also shed tears for my best friend and her daughter over a leukemia diagnosis.

I have watched our home lose more of its walls, floors, and shell. And I have watched new lumber raise up, constructed where old once was.

I have ached for various colleagues, many of whom I spend more time with than my own family members, as they have alternately contemplated divorce, prayed for their infant son's cancer to go away (again), taken in a homeless person, and buried their mother-in-law. And I have marveled at the fact that no matter what is happening at home, behind closed doors, we are a group of people who show up and perform at the top of our games and bring passion and enthusiasm, even if it's cobbled together some days, to a job we are truly invested in.

I have held my tongue and my breath while navigating the tricky waters of first grade reading curriculum as a parent of a smart kid who is bound by hurdles in his brain that he didn't create. And I have reveled in the relief of his good grades, awesome spelling tests and a teacher who is actually on his side, working with, not against, him and his quirks.

I have been reminded that I am the daughter of a selfless mother whom I don't outwardly appreciate enough. But oh how I appreciate her. She is my village. I could not _______ (you name it) without her.

I have tried to stop myself from thinking that things are going so well right now we must be in for a disaster around the corner. 

I am emotional.

I am pregnant.

I am getting fat. And dealing with my anxieties. And wondering if this will be the last time in my life that I will physically experience this miracle of humanity - that I have the ability to produce and grow another person. Every now and then reminding myself that I need to stop and be conscious of that more often, in the 21 weeks remaining of this unique time of my life. 

I am thankful.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Perfect Date

I took the smaller Hawklet on a mommy-son dinner date recently on a whim. One of us suddenly thought cheesecake needed to appear and jump into our bellies. I can't recall exactly which one of us had that hankering... hmm.

When we arrived at our booth, he insisted on sitting next to me on the same side. I nearly shed a tear at the gesture. He was the perfect date, excited about being there, about the menu choices, about being just the two of us, about the carb-loading he accomplished.

We held hands walking back to our car, loaded with take-home bags. I promised him we'd do it again.

What an easy promise to keep.

He could not be more excited to be on a date with Mommy. That, or, to choose his cheesecake flavor. Maybe both.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Home Sweet Demolition

So, this? Is (finally!) happening at the Hawks Nest. Our humble abode is in a state of, well, disrepair. But on purpose. Not that I have anything against the 1950s, but the 1950s had called so often asking for its layout and materials back and so we had no choice but to do the polite thing and oblige. Also? This is an attempt for my house to help my mind stop spinning with the constant "we should do this!" and "what if that looked like like that!" ideas that at times could suffocate me. And my poor husband by default.

Our friends and family used to share nice meals with us in this room. No soup for you here! Good bye dining room and wood paneling!

Ah, the passageway of wasted space. Be gone ye confusing floor plan!

Who doesn't love an awkwardly narrow TV/family/play room?! Uh, we don't.

Obviously it makes perfect sense to put the half bath right next to the front door. OBVIOUSLY!

Is it just me or is that NO INSULATION in an exterior wall? Tsk tsk, 1950 builders.

This used to be Reid's room; now a hump of something he'd love to climb on is living here. But don't worry, he won't.

Wishing I could have taken the sledge hammer to this - the original 1950 pink and white bathroom - myself, but the contractors beat me to it. Sigh.

That tiny master closet on the left probably took 5 seconds to eliminate. Gosh I'll miss shoving my wardrobe into that hot mess.

Upstairs, minus walls, plus mess, equals progress.

Sorry front deck safety hazard/eye sore. We will never, ever, ever get back together.
February can't come soon enough (and more so for my sweet saint of a mother who is housing us in the meantime).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ah, to Have It All! (blech)

I was in a client meeting last week when the topic of moms “having it all” came up.

Gah. I want to stop typing right there. “Having it all” makes me want to throw up a bit in my mouth. It’s SO OVERDONE. Overused. Abused.

I’m going to forge on now as I did in that meeting; bear with me.

The topic actually came up authentically in the course of this client’s business discussion. It wasn’t a side conversation during a break in the meeting among the working moms in the room who were lamenting over which one couldn’t get her 5-mile run in this morning because she had an early board meeting to zip off to after dropping her three perfectly coifed and ironed children off at Montessori to continue on their path towards presidency.

Nope, the topic came up in the course of ideating a new strategic platform for the client, whose primary focus is on the mom consumer. (You do know what I do for a living, right?)

I personally have been accused of “having it all” in the past and while outwardly rolling my eyes, internally secretly loved the accusation because, well, that competition thing. It’s real, it exists, and don’t think I have gotten to this stage in my career because I’m not competitive. Why do you think the “mommy wars” exist? (Oops, throwing up in my mouth again.) Because moms are competitive. News flash!

For Pete’s sake, at my son’s soccer game last weekend, I showed up (un-showered, mind you) wearing a t-shirt, skinny jeans and a long necklace and another mom in workout gear pointedly asked me why I was so dressed up. She wasn’t joking. “Have you been to church or something this morning? Seriously, why so dressed up?” Uhhh…

Do I really have it all? Psshh, child please.

I yell at my kids. I have no patience for helping with homework. I’m late. They’re late. Sometimes I’d rather escape to Starbucks with my laptop than be at home. I’m stressed and anxious and have decided I’m probably thin only because my heart is constantly racing. I’m sure I project my stress onto my wee ones (one of whom has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety, okay?) and my workaholic tendencies are probably giving them self-esteem issues. Does that make you feel better?

Sounds like a dream, right? Just another day in Having It All! Whee!

Do you think we can just decide we should not be so competitive? That we can just decide to stop the drive towards trying to have it all? I’m telling you, it was mentioned in the meeting that day. People who are very smart and strategic, at the top of their games, and who work with moms every day allow this idea to spill out of their mouths too easily, in my opinion. I’ve heard it. Like, “let’s just help American moms off this path of destruction called perfectionism! Easy peasy, done and done!”

God, if only that whole sentiment came in a pill.

Instead of talking the tired talk about how “we don’t have to have it all! (wink!),” because God knows we love to beat a dead horse, let’s have a REAL, blunt, head-on conversation about the fact that yep, we do all want it all and we do want it all to be just like we imagined and we do want it to be better than the mom next door to boot.

If we (and the brands we love) really want to help moms, how about feeding into this innate drive, this wired-in competition, and flip it so that the drive is towards who is the BEST about shutting off (or attempting to?) the laptop at 5:00 most often? Who does the BEST job of encouraging her child to learn through play the instead of doing anxiety-ridden worksheets? Who is the BEST about asking for and leaning on help from her personal village? Who is the BEST about talking most openly and honestly about her fears and insecurities when it comes to motherhood? Who is the BEST at making others around her feel like their no. 1 goal should be to achieve perfectly imperfect? Who is the BEST at not gossiping about other moms and the way they manage, acknowledging the fact that none of us knows what’s really going on at home, in families and personal lives, and God bless us every one. Whew.

Own up to it and then figure out what works for you. What is your “all.” And then work it, mama. Not just for you but also for your need to show Suzy next door that yes, you indeed are going to rock those hot pink skinny jeans and let them mask your anxiety about the fact that your demanding job and the needs of your offspring are in a constant state of war that you will never admit to Suzy.

Because God help you, you will persevere with ALL the drive you have. All.You.Have.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Soon I will be here. My soul reviver. My happy place. My beach. 


Monday, August 27, 2012

A Dinner in the Life

Mom, it's a Mexican restaurant. What's with the camera? Seriously. What's the big deal? I'm tired.
But not too tired to get crazy! Which obviously requires a tongue sticking out. Graham, look at me! My tongue is so funny!!!!

Where are my shoooooooeess? Did I wear shoes here? Why do shoes always jump off my feeeeeeet? I don't need shoes!

Graham, put your arm around me. Look how cute! Let's put our heads together. We are cuuuuuute! Ooh, chips! Chips! CHIPS!
Okay, NOW let's be even funnier and cuter by making CRAZY faces! We are so cra-zeeeeeee!

I know! Cheesy grins! Oh. So. Funneeee!!!  I can't stop laughing at how funny we are! And cute! Did you get that, Mom? Oh, what is this food on my plate? Am I supposed to eat it? Nah. Prob not. Let's get boxes! We need lots of boxes! Does anyone know where my shoes are? I'm going to go use the bathroom BY MYSELF! Wheeeee! GOING OUT TO DINNER IS SO FUN!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm Alive!

It's been a fast summer. So fast, I never did find time to tell you about it here.

But I'm back now, looking forward to the fall and many changes in our neck of the woods. More to come on that. In the meantime, feel free to start visiting me again more regularly and I'll promise to keep the cobwebs clear here.


And while we're agreeing, I hope you'll agree to come check out my latest post at ModernMom.com where I revisit my undergrad (ahem, honors-level, ahem) two-year independent study on the effects of advertising to kids in perpetuating gender stereotypes. It's a topic that has stuck with me, and now as a marketer and a mother of two little boys, it pops into my brain time and again. I'm talking about a recent observation of that research in my real life and would love to know what you think.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The patience of a funny bunny

Fast asleep, he clutches the same bunny I clutched 30-some years ago.This kid. He slays me with his heart, bigger than his little body. He balances out the crazy chaos of our Hawks nest.

I like to tell myself he loves this bunny so much because it was once mine. Even though he wanted to cut the bunny's whiskers off with scissors. I noticed recently the bunny now has whiskers on just one side.

To me, the bunny was Jelly Bean. To him, Funny Bunny (and sometimes Margo). How funny that this bunny, claimed and saved from the depths of Mimi's basement storage boxes could be so revived. His musty smell now gone. Instantly best friends with this big-hearted kid.

Funny Bunny waited patiently on the driveway last night while Reid rode his bike all around the cul-de-sac. Then he waited patiently outside Reid's door in the hallway while we read bedtime stories.

"Where did you find him?" he asked, relieved, after I brought him to my tucked-in little man.

"He was waiting for you, right outside your door," I smiled.

What a patient bunny. He certainly had been waiting. And now he is so loved, clutched tightly just under the peaceful breath of a little one, once again.

Friday, May 4, 2012

You're Doing a Good Job

There was something I needed to hear. I didn’t realize it until an average weekday afternoon, when I heard it and my eyes surprised me by getting wet. Like unbeknownst to me the tears had been gathering behind them for a few strong weeks but those words put a big crack in the dam.

“You’re doing a good job.”

When is the last time you heard it? That you are doing a good job as a mother?

For me, it came not as an obligatory Mother’s Day golf clap, but on a random Friday afternoon in the midst of specialist appointments for both boys. The school principal and I had A Conversation. And it was mostly about how I have no more capacity for negative. Even if you never told me one time how difficult my child is, I would still know. I know my child. I know he bounces off the walls and marches to his own drummer and gets stuck on things inside his mind that other kids would never even notice. I know his energy can zap that of adults around him. Tell me something you like about him.

Since I was pregnant with my first hawklet, the downright-scary-at-times labels have come: “Spina bifida.” “Non-stress tests.” “Speech delay.” “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” “Perfectionist.” “ADHD.” And with the other one: “MRI.” “Albinism.” “Nystagmus.” “Esotropia.” “IEP.”  Welcome to parenthood.

The negative is not exclusive to labels and to Different. The negative is all over the news. The Mommy Wars have perpetuated competition and finger pointing and judgment for decades. If you work, you must not love your kids as much as I do. If you don’t work, you must be over-involved in the PTA with an inability to understand guilt and trade-offs.

The self-doubt.

The wondering if what I’m doing (or not doing) today is going to drive him to drug addiction later.

The anger that the time I have to put into this takes away from that, and vice versa. Falling short. Chronically late.

Those are all scary labels, too.

A lot of what we have to do every day just to get through the motions is So. Exhausting. Sometimes I can’t help but be mad at my own child for making everything harder than it has to be. This is a huge admission, one that I am not proud of, but I’m putting it into words here because in spite of this, in spite of everything related to this, I am still doing a good job. And one reason I know that is because I can still step outside of this and remember that it is not his fault. Sometimes, stepping outside of the moment in motherhood is a herculean feat.

And I also know this is true because someone else said it.

Maybe it was the fatigue that Friday afternoon. But when this person on the periphery looked me in the eyes and told me she’d noticed that we’ve been dealt a lot with both kids that most families don’t have/know/understand and that she sees that we’re on it, that we make it a priority to keep on top of what our kids need and look for the tools available to figure it out… I exhaled. I hadn’t noticed that I had been holding my breath. I think I’ve been holding my breath for six years.

“Thank you,” I responded. I meant it. I needed to hear that. I needed to exhale.

What I want you to know is that you, too, are doing a good job. We are all given a hand of cards that doesn’t match each other’s. We only show each other the backs. All the backs match. But that only makes us eyeball each other to attempt to figure out what we’re hiding on the other side. I don’t know your cards. But I don’t have to to know that you are managing your own dealt hand in your own way with its own unique intricacies I can’t understand. You are doing a good job.

And so am I.

Monday, April 23, 2012

When Schools Market to Moms

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a group of PR folks who communicate to parents on behalf of their kids' school districts and it served as inspiration for my next post at ModernMom.com, which I hope you'll check out and comment on! Remember that it's not just brands trying to capture moms' attention, but schools, churches, non-profits, libraries, civic organizations, and all those places where a cash register may or may not exist. And there is most definitely room for improvement, even in the absence of commerce.

What do you think schools do best when it comes to communicating with Mom? What should they change? Come on, this class is in session!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not Exactly How it Happens

Sitting in the comfy chair in his room, Reid and I got completely off-topic in our pre-bedtime-stories conversation.

Him: "Mommy, I want a dog. A dog and a baby."

Me: "You want a dog AND a baby?"

Him: "Yes, I love babies. I want Henry's baby."

Me: "You want Baby Margo to be yours?"

Him: "Yes."

Me: "You take good care of Baby Margo."

Him: "Yes. I say, (in his best baby voice) 'Hiiieee Baby Maaaahhhgooooo!'"

Me: "Well I don't think we can get baby Margo."

Him: "We can buy our own baby."

Me: "You want to go buy a baby from the store?"

Him: "Yes. Like Aunt Sara buyed Margo."

Me: "Where do you think Aunt Sara bought Margo?"

Him: "I don't know. Where do you buy babies?"

Me: "Do you think I bought you at the store? Remember how we talked about how God put you in my belly? Maybe you should talk to God about it."

Him: "I'll go talk to God and he would put a baby in my belly? I don't want a baby in my belly!"

Me: "Well I'm glad we've cleared that up! And now on to the books!"

Friday, March 9, 2012

No more Winkles Dinkles

Reid decided this morning he is so over being called "Winkles Dinkles."

I have no idea why. Obviously Winkles Dinkles is a very fine nickname and it makes no sense as to why he wouldn't welcome being called Winkles Dinkles right on into his sunset years.

Luckily we still have his other various nicknames, including:



Reidy-Bo William


Doogie Pants



Doogie McGavin

But Winkles Dinkles? Don't even think about it.

As for his brother, for some reason he's always been Graham, or the abbreviated version of his one-syllable name: G.

So glad we've cleared that up. As you were.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Backseat Philosopher

“If the world is round, why does it feel flat?”

“If God made everything, who made God?”

“What is gravity? What makes gravity?”

“Why are rats disgusting? If there was a whole house of rats, but no people in the house, would they still be disgusting?”

“How do workers [at the water treatment plant] separate pee out of water?”

Why is it that deep thoughts seem to bubble out of a wee one’s mouth most often when he’s riding in the car?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make It Stop

You turned six yesterday. Six years ago you made me a mother. Today I reflect on the fact, once again, that this crazy ride feels like it just started and like it’s been part of me forever all at once.

On the eve of your birthday, you asked me to lie down next to you, all tucked in under your fire truck quilt. I told you how excited I was for you to turn six, and how I remembered the day so clearly that I met you for the first time and held your little baby body in my arms. You love hearing that story.

Then you said you wanted to tell me something.

Oh, here comes a wonderful bonding moment, mother and son, I thought.

“Mom, I’m in love with Addie,” you declared, as our heads lay on your pillows in the dark, the hall light reaching in through your door.

Oh God. How is this already happening and who is the influencer in your daily environment poisoning you with these thoughts that you should already be thinking about girls as girlfriends?? my mind immediately blurted out inside my head. Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety… followed by… actually kinda cute… followed by… way too soon!... followed by… yet still cute.

“Weeeeellll,” I started, “You know you can have friends who are girls but you don’t have to be in love with them. Being in love is really for grown-ups and mommies and daddies.”

“Well, I’m in love with her,” you protested. “Anyway what about teenagers?”

I know you’ve heard the story of Mommy and Daddy dating in high school. In this moment, that high-school-sweethearts thing appeared to be working against me.

“Well teenagers go on dates, that’s true,” I offered, while also wondering how I suddenly found myself in a conversation with an almost-6-year-old about dating.

“Did you tell Addie this?” I inquired, trying not to pass judgment one way or the other against my sensitive, loving son, and also trying to steer the convo away from what teenagers do on dates.

“Yes,” you stated, before recounting the moment: “I said, ‘Addie?’ and she said, ‘Yeah.’ And then I said, ‘You know I’m in love with you.’ And she said, ‘Yeah, I know.’”

“And then what happened?” I was almost afraid to ask.

“And then I went back to my seat because we had just come in from getting a drink.”

“Oh okay,” I replied.

“Anyway I’m also in love with Abby,” you said. “But I haven’t told her yet.” AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO, CHILD!!

And then, most likely sensing my uneasiness with the whole thing, you offered up: “Don’t worry, Mom. I still love you best.”

Happy birthday, dear 6-going-on-16-year-old son of mine. I love you best, too.