With Love, Becca

My dear friend Becca, over at With Love, Becca is sort of a rockstar.  She is hilarious, like big belly laughs hilarious because she is willing to show you the real side of life as a working mom. We all know that it can be quite unglamorous, full of hustle & bustle, feelings of success, and often feelings of failure. I sometimes imagine that life is like the quintessential circus performing song on in the background while you spin 2 dozen plates of “the many demands on you” in endless circles. But then maybe that is too melodramatic. What I do know to be true, is that Becca’s stance on life is finding the humor in the moments when you are ready to throw your hands up and scream “My life is a dumpster fire.” And to me that is pretty magical. We all know that life gets in the way of life, when you are running late from work and need to do daycare pick-up and then get home and find a mouse on the floor in your house and think great add it to the pile. So when I get an update from Becca’s blog, I know that she is about to share a glimpse into her real world and that this glimpse will be full of humility, kindness, insights, guidance, and belly laughs. I hope you go and visit her site and stay there for a while. It is good for your soul, trust me. Sometimes now when I see Becca, I get a little starstruck. It is silly to say out loud, but she is doing such amazing work with her blog and becoming more and more retweeted, and shared, and growing her platform because her sh*t resonates so much.   Add to this all the ways in which she is supporting women through her guru work in career development, entrepreneurial guidance, branding, and marketing and I forget that I have known this crazy, cool lady for almost 2 decades and no matter how many more people in the world get to see her amazingness and no matter how many people love her for all she gives out and shares, that she is still my dear friend and timelessly available to laugh and connect. She is the realest deal and has helped me shake off my “imposter syndrome” around my pottery by giving me a platform on her blog to share like a professional potter because she is that kind of friend.  You know, the kind that believes in you when you are covered in self-doubt. She is the person in your corner always. Whether you need a hug or a kick-in-the-ass, Becca is the person you want in that corner and you want to be reading her blog starting today, right now, go over there!

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 3.21.58 PM

Thursday moment & a broken leg

This one has to go out to little Henry who found himself at the hospital on Thursday with a broken leg! Our sweet little dude jumped from a cubby at school on Monday and then had a normal day. At bedtime, he started to express discomfort but we hugged him and loved him and wished him sweet dreams. In the morning, things changed. We woke to him crying out from his bed that he could not get up. Not sure what was wrong with him, I carried him downstairs and set him up on the couch with a little snack, a little blanket and a little TV while David and I got dressed and ready for school. A few minutes later my mom arrived and sat with him and the two of them started their morning with Owen joining in shortly. We kissed goodbye and backing out of the driveway, David and I headed out for a normal work day. About 15 miles from home, my mom called and said that Henry was inconsolable. This wasn’t just a bruise or a pulled muscle. He was crying on the floor and unable to take himself to the bathroom. Immediately turning around, it was time to bring Henry to the hospital and his pediatrician agreed. After a long walk from the parking garage to the hospital entry, in which Henry was quite uncomfortable, we finally made it to the doctor’s office. A few Xrays later and Henry was getting his “hulk leg” cast to stabilize and immobilize his leg which showed signs of a break at the growth plate of his femur. For the next three weeks, he will be donning this new look. He was so brave throughout the process. He waited so long in multiple doctors’ offices, then had to experience his first Xrays, followed by a full leg cast, and having to be carried in the pouring rain back to the car with a bag on his leg. Not once did he complain or fuss. He just cuddled and played with his toys and answered all the questions that the doctors asked as his team worked to locate and understand the problem. He even laughed a little while we tried to make it to our car as quickly as possible while the heavens poured down on us. It is crazy to say this, but seeing him tackle this and conquer this just makes me fall in love with him all over again because he is crazy brave and crazy cool and just the sweetest little guy.

Fall in New England

Yes, we had the most beautiful and basic New England fall days this weekend. We have less then 14 days until the end of the school term and what I like to think of as the official kick-off of the holiday season and this past weekend was a glorious lead-up. From time spent together, to time spent outside, to a date night finished off with a kids ice cream sundae for each of us, it was a quite good one.

When is Christmas?

At least 3 times a day, Henry and Owen ask if today is Christmas. We have tried giving them the numerical time frame between today and December 25 but the number is too big and abstract. We have tried to share that first comes the celebration of Halloween and then Thanksgiving and then Christmas so you have two holidays before TODAY is Christmas. But both of those other holidays are not as exciting as Christmas so they are easily skipped over. We tried using the temperature and trees as way to tell time with your senses: the trees need to be naked and there will be snow on the ground at Christmas time. But again that excitement factor for Christmas to just be here trumps all logic, reason, or cues.

So instead of tempering their excitement for the winter holiday, I am just going to fully embrace it. They are only this little for a short blink so if they want to gear up now for Christmas let it be!

We have started a list of all their “to-dos” for embracing the winter wonderland: make snow forts, build a snowman, eat snow, hold icicles, go for a sleigh ride, see Christmas lights, visit Santa, see a reindeer, eat cookies, bake cookies, eat cookies (they really want to eat their holiday joy!), wear hats and gloves, make a snow angel, make a snow ball, wear cozy footie pajamas, stay up late with mommy and daddy, open presents, and start a list of presents for Santa.

Their list though they refuse to write down. Instead, they get an idea for something that they would love to open on Christmas morning like: Batman Lego mini-figures or any number of little toys they saw in the Lakeshore Learning magazine that came to our house and they immediately run to the chimney. They grab ahold of the fireplace hearth gate and say, “Hello Santa, could I have a Batman Lego mini-figure for Christmas, please? ::they pause::  “Thank you.” And off they scamper back to the playroom and share that they think Santa will say yes. It is the cutest little thing and it is getting me really really excited for the season they are longing for so much.

Alkire00020Alkire00037

One time I saw a psychic

I thought about that one time a lot this weekend. About 10 years ago, on a super rainy afternoon (I think maybe even a tropical depression was sweeping across Boston), David and I and a friend went to see a psychic downtown. It was a creepy event: gray skies, torrential rains, and the storefront sitting directly across the street from a colonial period burial ground. What brought us there? Our friend had shared about her previous experience in which the psychic saw deep into her past in explicit and concrete ways and even made not-so-soon-into-the-future predictions that rang true with her head space for the decisions that needed to be made. As a total skeptic, I thought it would be more fun than anything else to get my tarot card read and check out that one-time experience of psychic predictions.

The space was exactly as you might imagine it. Dark lighting, some old thread worn carpeting, and lots of decor of stars, moons, and other celestial bodies filling the room along with various pillows of what was supposed to be lush and plush ornamentation but read more like a Pier 1 clearance aisle ransacked. We sat on chairs, that reminded me of seats from the local Columbus Hall,  in the waiting space behind a silk screen partition for our turns. The psychic was a heavy set man, probably in his mid thirties. I was beckoned over to his folding table covered in a tapestry tablecloth where he asked me to cut the deck of tarot cards to begin.

That is when things got weird. I remember at the time begin taken aback by many of the claims and insights he shared. The ones that have stuck with me throughout the years were:

  • Are you lactating? You are giving off a “milk making” vibe.

WTF!! This is crazy. Who has a milk making vibe? Did I smell like milk? I was not. Nor was I planning to have a baby any time soon since David and I only started dating.

  • You have a thyroid problem.

I do? Whoa….my recent blood work had not revealed this issue.

  • You live in Southborough.

I lived 10 minutes by T from this dude’s psychic location, not 20+ miles from downtown Boston

  • You will have four children but two of them will be girls’ and they won’t be your children.

Huh? I don’t want four children, that is just too many. Also, what does “won’t be yours” mean? Like will I steal them? 

I left the session dismissing all the crazy. While it was fun, it was also an apparent waste of my time. But his prediction sat with me because they felt so bizarre in how direct and confident he was in delivering them. Every time they crept back into my mind, I would remind myself that of course he needed to share confidently whatever crazy story he was spinning because otherwise he would not have a “job.”

So ten years later, perhaps if I bend around the tale a little you can make the argument that all of his predictions ACTUALLY came true.

  • I nursed both boys and it was a relatively easy experience though exhausting. It felt really awesome to accomplish that despite early troubles getting started and working full-time.
  • When I was pregnant with Henry and Owen, I did have thyroid problems and now who knows potentially I might see my thyroid crop up again on to the “naughty” list of organs not doing their job.
  • While I don’t live in Southborough, I do live way outside of Boston. Perhaps he got the town’s name wrong but knew that my true point of settling would not be within the confines of the metropole.
  • I have two sons. This should come as NO surprise to anyone. BUT I do have 2 goddaughters. When Avery was born, my brother and sister-in-law asked me to take on this super special role and then just this past weekend, I was asked a second time to be the godmother to my bestie’s baby, Juliet. So I have 4 children but the two girls are technically “not my children.”

Who would have thought that a kooky visit to a psychic might turn out to have been 100% valid over the course of a ten year landscape….or perhaps I am just remembering it that way, haha.

Alkire00019

By request

Last night was this crazy sweet moment. The four of us were sitting at the dinner table sharing some grilled chicken and veggies and a side dish of silliness. Henry shared about his memories of preschool which sometimes blends multiple days’ experiences into one and Owen shared about his time with Mema visiting the new puppy and bringing Henry to school. It was a sweet scene peppered from time to time with a little hysteria over whether or not someone will taste every item on their plate. We try not to make the dinner table a battlefield but we do encourage everyone to taste everything…this trend tends to turn the highly objectionable item into a substance approvingly (and sometimes delightfully) consumed because, wow, that thing actually doesn’t taste like poison after all!

And last night while running through these family norms, Henry asked if he could come down and watch me “do pottery.” Then Owen mimicked the request and I thought for a moment how awesome it would be to bring together these two worlds. So often, I wait and wait and wait until the kids are asleep, the house is picked up, my students’ worked is graded, lessons are planned, emails are sent before finally giving myself the time to find my pottery wheel. Late and alone, I do one item and feel both elated and guilty that I am not in bed and guilty that I don’t figure out a way to navigate this hobby better into a daily practice. How do I do all the things? But, last night after dinner was eaten and picked up, the boys came downstairs with me and to watch “the pottery.” They helped me cut the clay and they asked questions about why I was doing what I was doing. They shared little amazements about the simplest things, like when I used a sponge to bring water onto the spinning wheel and ball of clay and it shot out like splatter plaint art. When I pulled the walls, they were both so excited and shouted, “Look at that!” And then Henry got nervous and asked, “How tall can it go!? Will it be bigger than our house.” And all I could do was smile because sharing this with them and seeing their wonderment was so freaking awesome. We are moving into this new phase of life where David and I can share in real ways our passions and hobbies with the little ones and they want to grow and expand on these little introductions and get their hands dirty and share together more as a family experiences because the basic survival mode of life with tiny babies is fading.

Bedtime routines

Bedtime: (n.) sometimes a verb too..

  • The perfect time to ask meaning of life questions, to take multiple trips to the bathroom, to request food & a couple of different kinds of drinks in varying cup distribution methods, to require additional nightlights, to request a full musical of songs, and to give heart-melting amounts of cuddles.

But silliness aside, we are pretty lucky with the routine-ness of our bedtime routine with the little dudes.  Each night around 7ish, it sort of depends on a weeknight versus a weekend night and what sort of fun shenanigans we are up to as a family, we clean up the playroom together and march ourselves upstairs. The boys either take a bath or slip into their pajamas and nowadays they get themselves potty-ed and dressed which is pretty stupendous. We chit chat about our day and share our favorite moments and then there are some stories piled next to the chair and a snuggle and a trip into the imaginative world of Paddington or Curious George or another fantastic heroine/hero before we head to Owen’s room for the first slumberland express drop-off. Three songs are on this little man’s daily list: ABCs, I Love You, and How Much is that Doggie (because he is crazy for all things dog related). Then it is time for a little tuck in to bed. Owen nestles under his crotchet blanket, requests that he is surrounded by this three stuffies, and then gets one last lullaby before it is kisses and lights out. Next door, his big brother follows a similar routine. Laying in his big kid bed, David and I sandwich him with hugs and sing three songs of his choosing. Sometimes he picks the exact same ones as Owen, and sometimes he chooses something new or something we have to create on the spot like “The Mr. Potato Head Song.” And then he too gets his final lullaby, kisses, and squeeze and lights out.

But what happens after this is far cuter in mine eyes. At some point in the evening, probably right after we leave Owen’s room, he has one final element to his bedtime routine. He gets up and tosses out every blanket and stuffy he had just two minutes before needed placed in its “perfect spot.” Then with nothing but a naked bedsheet he settles in, tucking his arms in under his body, and facing down in to the mattress. It looks a little bleak and the position is a little scary, but he seems to find comfort in this very simple final sleep routine element. Henry too emerges himself from the covers and flips upside down on his bed with only his precious “Maggie dog” alongside of him. Neither child wants a blanket or the “correct orientation” and I love to sneak in and steal one final peek at the boys before going to bed myself, just to confirm they each flipped and flopped into their preferred position.  It is so cute the ways in which they settle themselves for the long night’s rest until they open their eyes at promptly 5AM to start their new morning…