March 30, 2012


my delicious, lemony birthday cake
I'm not a huge fan of New Year's Resolutions.  Maybe I'm becoming more cynical in my mid 30's.  Perhaps I'm becoming more wise.  Let's call it wisdom.  I don't have an issue with resolutions.  I love the idea of resolving to become better: challenging myself, becoming stronger, cultivating good habits.  It's the New Year's part that I have a beef with!

Just getting through winter is a huge challenge (at least for me, in this season in life)!  In the deep, dark winter I work hard to just hold onto my self, my old self.  The last thing I need is a list of unattainable resolutions staring at me all winter long.  Guilt can be a vicious thing, especially when you aren't feeling great already.  So this year I consciously decided to not make any resolutions, of any sort, when the new year rang in.  Instead I waited.

And I'm glad I did.  It was a hard winter on me, physically and emotionally.  We all took turns getting sick, all winter long.  I slept very little.  And I felt downright awful most of the winter.  It was a doozy!

But then spring!  Glorious spring began to arrive.  Dare I say she's actually here?!  It's only the end of March but feels like the end of April.  Daffodils and crocuses are blooming everywhere.  The fragrant blossoms are intoxicating.  It is beautiful.  It is invigorating.

And with the warmer, sunnier days I am beginning to feel like myself again.  That happy, patient, creative mama that I missed these last few months, she's coming back.  It feels good.  And now I'm ready and excited to begin my resolutions.  I want to be a better person, stronger, healthier and wiser.  I am determined to be the woman I want to become.

Here are a couple of my goals that I am working on right now:

1--Exercise every morning.  Run or walk in Central Park for at least 30 min at 6am.  I am registered to run in a women's half marathon on April 15th.  And then a month later I will run the Brooklyn Half with Erica.  I'm nervous and excited.

2--Go on a sugar fast (refined sugars, that is).  The day after my birthday (and cake indulgences) I started a sugar fast.  I have done this in the past and it is great.  I am a much better person when I don't eat sugar.  I feel stronger, healthier and happier when I control avoid my incessant sugar cravings.  My goal is to do this until Oliver's birthday on June 11.  I've had a couple slip ups (usually the days I haven't slept), but I'm doing quite well.

Those are the two big ones.  I'm also working on getting to bed by 9:30pm, writing in my journal or reading every night from 9-9:30, planning and organizing meals and more city adventures.  But those two, exercise and no sugar, really help me to feel so much better.  Being a mama to three busy, wonderful kids is extremely hard work and those two tools seem to help me the most in being the mama I want to be.

March 29, 2012

On Becoming

Cinque Terre, September 2004
When post-Christmas winter hit I felt down in the dumps!  Completely unhappy!  It was awful!  One day it all came to head.  I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  My pity party lasted all-day-long.  And my poor family had to deal with it.  I was at my whit's end with so many things in my life. I was done with myself and all my inadequacies.

I had angrily concluded that, "There is no way I will ever be able to become the person I want to become!"  I threw out tons of projects I had hoped to accomplish someday. Hoping that action of tossing stuff would stop me from dreaming of that idealistic person.  I wanted to stop dreaming of that person I thought I should be.  That perfect woman that is not me.  I had hoped that throwing out stuff would be cathartic and heal a piece of me that felt wounded.  It did not.  I still felt anger, bitterness, frustration.  I was in the depths of despair because I was not who I wanted to be!

That night I slept.  And, though, it was only the usual few hours, I felt a bit better in the morning.  The kids and Brian were still sleeping so I took some moments for myself.  I grabbed an old notebook off the shelf and sat on the sofa.  With my pen in hand I thought about what I needed to do to find myself again; how I might find peace with myself.

I opened that notebook, thumbed through some old pages, looking for a fresh one to jot some thoughts on.  One page caught my eye; a page I had written some notes on nine years ago.  It was a page full of thoughts, similar to what I was about to write.  It was a simple brainstorm of potential goals--about 30 items.  It was January 2003; I was a newlywed, living in Pittsburgh.  I had titled it Things I Want To Do & Become.

I scanned the list.  Within moments big, huge tears rolled down my cheeks.  The anger and frustration vanished.  I was humbled.  The peace came.  The answer to my longing was right on that page I had written nine years ago.
I had accomplished almost every item on that list.
I became the woman I wanted to be.
I am that woman!  

That spry, young, 24 year old, who wrote those goals almost a decade ago has become the woman she wanted to be.  She became someone greater than she ever thought possible.  I know she would be amazed.  I know she would be proud of me. 

And, so with the blessing of that forgotten page, I begin again.  I have learned a lot about progress, patience and how God works quietly and constantly in my life.  He is in the little details; shaping me day by day.  God is ever present and it is only with His help and guidance that I have accomplished so much and become who I am.*

And now I'm ready to continue to conquer the world.  I can and I will! tiny step at a time.

*I have reread (and love) Dallin H. Oaks' talk The Challenge to Become.  He says, "We must not give up hope.  We must not stop striving.  We are children of God, and it is possible to become what our Heavenly Father would have us become.

After publishing this post I decided to publish the list I had made nine years ago.  You can find that list here.

March 25, 2012

Isabella's Amazing Race

Yesterday we went to the New York Road Runners Youth Jamboree held at the Amory (a huge indoor track in Washington Heights, about the size of a city block).  The Youth Jamboree is a free track and field event open to all the kids in the city.  It was insanely busy with thousands of kids and even more crazy parents.  Since Isabella is a good little runner and her p.e. teacher encouraged her to attend we dedicated that morning to her and two races.  She ran the 55 meter dash and the 200 meter dash.  She competed with girls who were in Kindergarten and 1st grade (her division).

She started the morning with her 55 meter dash at 9am.  It was the first time she ran a race like that so she was a little slow to start, but did great.  We had a 2 hour break before her 200 meter race so Spencer (Brian's brother) coached and practiced with Isabella (all in fun and games) to help her do a little better on her next race.

With so many kids participating there was a lot of waiting involved, but when it was Isabella's turn she looked ready.  We had to stay up in the bleachers and watch.  Brian caught most of it on video, but I'm going to try and explain what happened.

A little background: Since there were so many events going on simultaneously different guns would go off and kids would often dash out at the wrong time because the gun was fired for a different race.  This problem happened over and over again.  

From my perspective:  The kids were getting lined up, Isabella was put on the outside lane.  An official was escorting two kids around, a gun went off.  Isabella dashed out, the official (with the kids was right in front of her) stopped her.  Isabella went back to the start.  (We all assumed it was another false start.)  But the other officials were yelling at her to run.  And all the other kids were already 1/4 of the way down the track.  (I couldn't believe it.  I felt so angry and frustrated for her!)  Isabella shot out like a firecracker.  She ran so fast and hard!  Half way through she was passing all the kids, one after another.  It was amazing!!!

She almost placed 2nd or 3rd, but she wasn't sure how to get around the two girls in front of her, who were running shoulder to shoulder, so she slowed down.  I couldn't believe how fast she was!

Part of me wanted to go yell at the officials, but I remembered to keep my cool and show Isabella how excited I was for her.  She was so strong, so fast, so determined.  I am so so proud of her!

And now, the video...

You can see her behind everyone and her speedy recovery.  See the person on the track in black, on the far left of the screen, that's the official blocking Isabella.  It's hard to see Isabella at the finish, since she's right behind the other girls...but enjoy.  I think you can enlarge the video so you can see her better.  And the photos below show the story as well.

And here are some fun photographs from the event:

At the ready for the 55 meter dash.
Dashing 55 meters
Lined up for the 200 meter dash
This shows it all!
The other runners have already started; the official, and two kids, are walking right in front of Isabella.  
I'm saying, "What the $#%^@?!?!?
Full speed ahead!
3/4 of the way there and passing everyone.

She's stuck right behind those two girls!  GO ISABELLA!!!
Victory Cone!
I'm so impressed and proud of her!!!!  You go girl!

March 20, 2012

Right Now: Macaroons

It's free macaroon day in NYC! Each of these tasty treats usually goes for $2.50 each. Score!

P.S. Pistachio is my favorite!!!

P.P.S. Lemon is also awesome.

March 17, 2012

Right Now

Enjoying the St. Patrick's Day Parade on a beautiful spring day with my boys.

March 14, 2012

Favorite Things

One of my favorite things about being a mom to little ones is finding random things put in random places.  They are kind of like little, fun surprises.  Surprises that make me smile and remind me this home is very much their home.  I love it!

Like, the magnetic letters I found the other day, in the mixing bowl, deep in the cupboard.  Or the little pair of shoes placed perfectly in the closet opposite the shoe closet--no wonder I couldn't find them.

This one, below, made me smile this morning.  These little legos were played with right up until it was time to go to bed.  They were placed so attentively under a table at the top of the stairs, waiting and watching for the little one to wake up and play with them again.

These little ones of mine bring so much magic into our home.  I love it!  I treasure it in my heart!

March 9, 2012

My Numbers

Years lived: 34
Number of children: 3
Years I've been married: almost 10!
Years I've known my awesome husband: 15
Number of siblings: 6
Number of siblings I share my birthday with: 1
Number of nieces and nephews: 15
Number of houses/apartments I've lived in: 19
Age when I got married: 24
Age when I became a mom: 28
Number of cars I've owned: 2
Number of strollers I've owned: 2
Number of countries I've been to: 5
Years I've lived in New York City: 7
Years I originally planned on living in New York City: 1

And, yes, today is my birthday!  And, my older brother, Seth's birthday!  It is a wonderful day and I'm grateful for my amazing, abundant life.

Yesterday Isabella whispered in my ear, "I know what you want for your birthday.  Lots of hugs and kisses...and flowers."  She is so right!

March 8, 2012

Right Now

Spending an amazing, beautiful afternoon on the Staten Island Ferry.

I {love} ramen!

Ramen is awesome!

No, not that $0.25 packaged brick of noodles that can keep for a million years.  I'm talking about real ramen.  It seems to be the new food fad here in NYC and I am loving it.  (Much better than some of the overhyped, overpriced dry cupcakes that were/are all the rage.)

Last weekend we went to Ippudo.*  A Japanese food chain that recently came to NYC.  If you want to venture there be prepared to wait a long time.  As in, bring a snack and go wandering around the hood for two hours.  Yes, you might wait as long as two hours.    Ippudo opens for dinner at 5pm, we got in line at 4:30pm to put our names on the list.  We were seated around 6:30pm.  I guess I'm not the only one loving this ramen craze.

The food is totally worth the wait.  It is so delicious!  Ippudo was surprisingly accommodating and child friendly (with special kids dishes!).  The kids behaved so amazingly well and we had a great time.

I ordered the Shiromaru Hakata Classic
Spencer ordered Kasane Black (the current special)
Brian ordered Akamaru Modern with Bakudan  (Ippudo's original spicy paste) on the side.  They were all delicious. For the kids we ordered edamame and plain noodles.

One of the things I love about Ippudo is Kae-dama*.  If you've devoured all your noodles but still have plenty of broth you can order more plain noodles for $2.

*We are also big fans of Totto Ramen in Hell's Kitchen.

**I love how they explain Kae-dama on their menu:
Kae-dama is a system that offers you an extra serving of noodles.  When you have almost finished your first serving of noodles, order by saying, "Kae-dama, please".  In a few minutes the server will bring you another 'ball of noodles', and put it in the soup. At that time, you must have enough amount of the soup in the bowl to accommodate the new noodles, that is, you shouldn't drink much of the soup if you are going to order the Kae-dama.

March 4, 2012

California Recap

I have so many beautiful moments I want to record and remember about our trip to California this year.  It was a beautiful vacation.  But, for now, here are some of my favorite photos:

purely adorable
a blue bellied lizard
almost all the cousins on my side (4 of the older ones--most in college--are missing)
soaking up that sweet spring sunshine
Grandpa and Grandma Jones (Brian's grandparents) in San Luis Obispo
horseback riding at "Paula's Ranch" in Monterey
Happy Hollow (in San Jose) with cousin Sabrina
Dillon Beach, one of my all-time favorite places
Simon is two days older than his cousin, Marek.
 They were due the same day and share a very sweet, smiley disposition.
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