Thursday moments: the carnival addition

Yesterday we snuck off to a little carnival in the next town over. We had driven by it for two days and the boys looked longingly at the lights and spinning metal. It was a really good choice to go! They loved it. While most rides were geared toward the older, more adventurous, and less prone to nauseous rider, there were 6 the little boys could do. They bounced and twirled along happily, although the little roller coaster gave them a bit of a scare. But their favorite ride of all was zooming down the super slider on a burlap sack. They both surprised me so much with what they were willing to try. They had both had their eye on that slide and I hesitated thinking there was no way they would climb the tall ladder let alone go down the slide itself. They proved to me that as a parent my job may be to keep them safe but it is also important to get out of their way so they can step out of their comfort zones all on their own! The night ended in ice cream and those are the best nights.

The summer solstice was 2 days ago

Tracing my finger lightly around Henry’s chin, cheeks, and forehead and down his nose and across his lips, he giggles and I remember doing this with my Nanny. It is a silly little game and, at the time, I thought it was the most luxurious thing to get your face tickled endlessly. And it is. I used to think, how did my Nanny have the stamina to tickle my face for what seemed like hours while I  laid in her lap and laughed and relaxed. Then sitting there with Henry and Owen, it dawned on me. Here I was with her endless stamina to tickle their little faces because I love them so darn much and they were clearly enjoying the little “spa” treatment and because I was SO DARN tired from the day, days, and weeks of the past month that I would have tickled those peanut faces for the whole day if it meant I too could rest a little.

Exactly 30 days ago, we packed up the family and went to LA to join in my father’s retirement flight from Unite Airlines. After working for 35 years in aviation, it was time to hang up his wings. The FAA regulates that at 65 years old, captains and co-pilots must step down from the flight deck and this legislation pained my father. A truly passionate and gifted captain, he was not exactly ready spiritually to comply. We spent a few days in SoCal with family celebrating this momentous event. As a chief pilot said to my father, “The sign of a great career in this industry is an uneventful one, thank you for for having a great career.” While there together as a family, we tackled jet lag, a desire to really go all out and all in for this special lifetime event, and a spectrum of emotions as we watched our dad come in to LAX for the last time at the helm and prepare for his return to his base in EWR. The morning of, our dad saw a number of friends in the terminal who came to shake his hand and clap him on the back. He boarded the plane and took control of the ship for 5 hours. The landing greased into New York and he received a round of applause not only from the passengers who each shook his hand but also when he came up out of the jetway. More family came to celebrate and it was a really good time.  It was such a beautiful and incredibly proud moment for him and for us. One day, and not in the proverbial way, my dad and I will have to sit down and write his stories of flight down. I imagine something titled “Confessions from the Flight Deck,” in which we curate his hilarious tales from 35,000 feet because my dad was not only the epitome of professionalism in flight but also a character and a truly a humorous raconteur!

Once we got back to Boston, it was time to close out the school year. The last week and a half of school is obviously incredibly exciting because summer vacation is so close BUT standing in between a teacher and a much needed break is a mountain of grading, a pile of finals, a heap of comments to write, and way too many meetings to sit through. The workload always feels insurmountable and the pressure of the final due dates makes me grow “Bertha.” Who is Bertha? Well she is more of a what. Bertha is my shoulder knot. David has often commented after an encounter with Bertha that I have a lump of cement in my shoulder blade. Every end of the school year, I sit at my desk with clamped shoulders while grading furiously. This position and those stress levels form Bertha who causes me literal sleepless nights and takes away my ability to turn my head from side to side. As the graduates of the class of 2018 threw their caps off, some tears fell down my cheeks, and I pushed “submit” on all the grades and finals, only then can Bertha slowly dissipate.  Goodbye Bertha, goodbye this school year, and hello to the next 11 weeks!

And then summer started!

10 days into summer and this feels like such a good one. Obviously summer vacation is always a good thing and time off with family is truly a gift that this profession gives in exchange for the high stakes and demands of the academic year. Jessie, Avery, and Smith arrived minutes after my final faculty meeting and stayed with us for 5 days. My underlining goal of their visit: Convince them that one day they should move to Boston because the city rocks, the people rock, and because we love them so much and just wish we had more family closer. Of course, leaving beautiful SoCal (or Florida for David’s side of the family) makes moving north a bit of a hard sell. Neither of our families’ current locations have snow or what I like to call wintry wonderlands, but Boston does have us and you can’t find that anywhere else, right? In wanting to show them the best of Boston we bit off a lot: Fenway Park, duck boats, Boston visits, Strawberry picking, late nights, 6 bottles of wine, lots of eating, even more snacking, and even more laughing making it hard to  say good-bye to them. It almost felt like we just live together now.

After teary goodbyes, the boys and I headed into our first 4 days of “Mom is at home season!” This year a bucket list of fun and breezy summer activities will guide our time. And we already ticked off two items: a trip to the Roger Williams zoo and a morning at the lake. The beauty of this year’s summer bucket list is that it is short. Potentially only 10 line items but most of them will definitely be repeated especially if they involve the oceanside. So stay posted because now that I have returned to this page, I am planning on documenting more effectively this summer’s shenanigans and my next pottery class starts in two weeks so there will be more updates from the “artist’s” studio as well as some really cool new pieces I am trimming and glazing right now.

But back to face tracing. Sometimes when you do a lot in a short amount of time or when you are transitioning from the fast-paced, routine-based school year into summer you need a little buffer time to slow down, kick your feet up, and trace your babies’ faces. Maybe if I do this I can commit to memory their lines and curves more deeply and slow down this season.

Salem

This past weekend we took a family trip to Salem. It was so great!! Spring is definitely about to hit Boston and Henry is in such a playful stage of his toddlerhood that running around and watching him explore is truly the best.

He is such a little toddler who is invested in deep discovery and tactile experiences. Picking up rocks, splashing in puddles, and running in the wind help him learn about his world and remind me to take a pause and pay attention to things. I go through each day too fast and I love that Henry is slowing me down because when was the last time you explored the under side of a clam shell and really took in its beauty?







Cheddar, Broccoli, Potato Frittata

A lot of mommies will tell you to eat what you crave, it’s a way of your body “telling” you want it wants while growing that little human. I like this idea although I am not entirely sure it is true. Those times when I was craving Sour Patch Kids did my body really want sugar to compensate for a deficiency, or was I just being a hungry mom-to-be in that moment? Gray area, perhaps?

Truthfully though most of my cravings have not been for “junk” food which has been helpful. And right now, I cannot seem to get enough eggs. So on this rainy Boston day, while Henry naps, I cooked up a delicious cheddar, broccoli, potato frittata by Sarah Waldman. It hit the spot and I am not sure if I can care it with anyone else!

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That time my brother came for a visit!

SoCal is SO far from Boston! And this makes me sad because it means we cannot see my brother and his family as often as we would like. Ah, if only they would move to the east coast! But, of course the weather is too nice out there and the winters of Boston are not tempting enough. So instead of seeing each other every week and growing tired of one another, we savor our short visits. 

This visit may have been the shortest. A mere 4 hours was our window. My brother flew in Friday night and had to catch a 5PM flight back on Saturday. But when your sibling comes to town, you drop everything and race in to see him. We packed up Henry and squeezed my parents into the car and into town we went.

The weather was amazing! Typically it would be in the 30s and miserable to walk around but today (because my bro was in town) Boston held firm at 60! We had lunch, walked through the North End and along the sea wall, checked out the new Boston Public Market, watched the harbor seals at the aquarium, and window shopped in Faneuil Hall. Henry thoroughly enjoyed laughing with his uncle and sneaking bites of cannoli.

It hurt to say goodbye after such a short visit, but I am so thankful we got to see my brother today. It truly was a special!

  
  
 
  
  

the best summer

So….this may just be the best summer ever!

Why? But, what about last summer when you had a baby!?!

Yes, yes last summer was AMAZING! I got to meet my tiny human and it was beyond incredible. BUT I spent a lot of that summer inside recovering physically and being an emotional wreck because I had a TINY HUMAN!?!? And I was just so clueless on how to feed him, comfort him, and everything else. So last summer was tremendous but it was also very very intense.

This summer though has been truly the very best. Henry has SO much personality. I LOVE this kid (you may have noticed based on my Facebook and Instagram accounts which are entirely consumed by the little dude). He is just so darn playful and funny. We have little “inside jokes” now too. When we are upstairs in his room, he will flash me that mischievous smile and dart around the glider, then he pops his head out from behind and wants to play hide and seek. When I “find” him (which is so hard, where ever could he be?), he laughs and laughs. My little boy is a little fish and can hardly stay out of the water. From the lake to the baby pool, he wants nothing more than to dunk his head, splash, and stay in there ALL DAY long. He speed walks through the house and even likes to sit on the potty and pretend his is using it. But mostly he just wants to laugh and flush the toilet or pull all the toilet paper off the roll. I remember thinking before I had a child that I would never be able to tolerate messes and play that “destroyed” my things. And, what is hilarious is that I love watching Henry explore so if that means pulling out an entire box of kleenex because it is just magic. I will watch him laugh his way through the box. They all fit back in anyway, right?

When I went back to school after maternity leave (summer vacation), I was a mix of emotions. I was scared to leave my son primarily and angry that I had to return after 8 weeks and overwhelmed by the daunting school year ahead. I felt alone, isolated, and sad mostly. But, looking at this approaching school year, I am sadder but in a different way. This summer has been so great exploring New England with my little boy and having so much mommy-son time that it is going to be very hard to say good-bye to our routine. The mornings in the park and afternoons playing and evenings picking up David from the train and being completely carefree together before bed have been just awesome. I guess having the best summer makes the end of summer quite bittersweet. These August days will have to be savored then. Henry is going to get lots of kisses, hugs, and trips out and about because I am just not ready yet to say good bye to this.

happy mom

I am so blessed to come from a long line of moms. This Mother’s Day this basic reality overwhelmed me on Sunday. As I sat on the glider in Henry’s nursery snuggling my baby, I thought about the many mommies in my family who similarly caressed, loved, and cherished their little ones. I am so grateful to these women for having the courage and compassion to raise their daughters and sons. Surely there were difficult moments and harder circumstances but because of their capacity to be selfless and loving, I have this amazing opportunity to be a mommy myself. My mom, my grandmas, their moms, and on and on and on were all here in this moment, rocking their babies, loving their babies, and thinking about what the future held for their babies. It is a true blessing to be Henry’s mother and to continue this cherished existence. On Mother’s Day, I hope we think about those mothers who came before us, those mothers around the world who are doing their very best to care for their families, and those women who may not be mothers yet but who are mothers nonetheless.