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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why I gave up Facebook, for my chidren

“I don’t like Sally, she’s mean…” my daughter said to her younger sister in the backseat of our car.

“She didn’t say hi to me in the lunch room the other day.  And when I said hi, she made a face at me”

I couldn’t help but giggle to myself as I hear these words from my 9 year olds mouth.  I know Sally, she is kind of mean.  I didn’t disagree with her comment. 

My husband was driving our family of seven, 4 daughters, and 1 son to a hobby store that day.  We were going to get rocket parts, we had decided to start a family hobby of building and launching rockets.  It was just a day after Christmas and we were all still feeling jolly.

Until that conversation in the backseat was overheard by my husband.

“Anna” he said, requesting my daughter’s attention.

“You are better than that, don’t be petty” 

Silence filled our SUV.

I sank into my seat. 

“Who cares if Sally made a face” he continued. 

“What does it matter that she didn’t say hi?  That doesn’t make a person mean…maybe she didn’t see you.  Maybe the face that she made had nothing to do with you.”

My husband was right, and his insight couldn’t have been wiser. 

I chimed in with my two cents supporting my husband, suggesting that Sally may have had other things going on that day that we didn’t know about.  Never admitting that I myself was being petty too.  That moments earlier I agreed with my daughter, and also thought sally was “mean”.

We continued on our journey that day, stopping for burgers and ice cream and later launching our very first rocket at a park by our house.

Later that night I couldn’t stop reflecting on my husband’s comments. I was deeply disappointed in myself, not because of how I felt in the car or even for briefly agreeing with my daughter.  I was disappointed in my daily pettiness and the affect that it may have on my children.

I immediately wanted to cut any area that may create gossip or judgment out of my life.

There was one place in particular that I knew I had to escape from.


I have had a love/hate relationship with that little blue icon on my phone for years.  I have connected, disconnected, reconnected, liked, friended and unfriended more times than I am proud of. 

The love part of the relationship is based on the ability to be informed about what’s going on in people’s lives that I truly care about.  I catch adorable moments posted by my brother featuring my nephew, hilarious posts from my brother in South Korea, live vicariously through my adventure seeking brother and share brag worthy info about my crew with my mom.

The hate comes from the things I cannot unsee, the false lives that are portrayed, the status updates that are offensive, uneducated and entitled, the selfies that I too am guilty of, the TMI posts, the who cares posts, the political posts that are posted by people who know very little about politics, the #my(insertanyword)isbetterthanyours posts,  the  time wasted and most importantly the social and personal affect it has had on me.

Each time that I logged onto facebook, several times a day, I got caught up in seeing what everyone else was doing, what they had, what they wore, what their homes, cars, friends, families and careers looked like.  I saw “perfect” lives, I saw sad lives, I saw things that I was jealous of and things that made my life feel superior.  Facebook made me petty.  Facebook created gossip for me and my friends.

The decision was easy, disconnect. 

I hope to stay disconnected this time.  Some of the friends that I have lost on facebook will still be around, some will not and that’s ok.  It’s OK if I don’t know what a girl I went to highschool with does or doesn’t do, in fact it’s probably better that I don’t.  It’s great that I may run into that girl in real life, and reconnect based on actual things we have in common, and learn about who she is because she told me, not because I read all about it and came to my own conclusions. 

There are many other areas in my life where I can improve, but I think this is a good start.  My husband and I won’t raise perfect children, but we can set examples to show them how to be better people.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

first comes life, then comes love

First comes (lots of) babies, then comes marriage.

Wait isn't it first comes love, then comes marriage...then something about a baby carriage?

Whatever the saying, as of about 2 months ago, I am officially a married woman!

And in my case,  life came before love. 

My husband and I have been in a relationship for a little over 6 years.  In our time together we have merged our families into one, created a baby, bought our first home, started a business and most recently got married. 

I remember when I was a teenager and I wanted be "in love", I wanted to be swept off of my feet and have butterflies in my stomach. This sounds magical, and its what is portrayed to us in movies, books, on TV and all over social media.  The image of romance that everyone wants and feels they deserve is plastered everywhere.

The love my husband and I share has grown tremendously in the time that we have been together, but we did not fall in love "at first sight" like in some fairytale. 

When I first met my husband, I was a single mom.  I also became a mother figure to his 3 little girls, who had lost their mother a year earlier.  It was my first time ever playing "house".  I had never been a wife, I had never even moved out of my parents house.  I wanted to be married. 

After I got pregnant with our son, I wanted marriage even more.  I thought having a husband would make life better.  I thought being married would mean I had found "true love".

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Our relationship took time to grow into love, and every experience that we had together bonded us into a stronger couple. 

I am not endorsing having children with a person and then seeing if love happens between you.  I am however implying that pursuing love without expecting there to be instant fireworks may prove to be more a affective approach.

We live in an instagram world, with social media play by plays of our favorite celebrities, sports teams, political leaders or whatever topic that peaks our interest.  We expect what we want, exactly when we want it, with as little of our own time committed as possible.

Love takes time. I can honestly say that I love my children deeper today than when they were first born.  I loved them immensely when they were infants, but through watching them grow into individuals with their own quirks, strengths, and goals I have gained an affection that only time could reveal. 

I once knew a man from another country who said Americans use the word "love" too loosely.  He argued that we say we love food, material objects and other things that aren't logically loveable.  I was in my early 20's and thought that statement was so harsh.   I remember thinking, "But love is good"

Love is good, but I think what my friend meant was that we can be happy without love.

I believe that love doesn't create happiness, happiness creates love.

I of course, love my husband, more today than the first time that I said I loved him, I would not be as in love as I am without the time that we have had together, without living life together and allowing our happiness to create love.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Time is a tickin'

If I could have more of anything, it would be time.  Everyone always says they want more money, food or excitement, all of which are attainable but time is one of the few things in life that you are guaranteed to lose. You can't borrow more time from friends when you run out, or put some in a savings account for later, we each have a certain amount and we have to use it right now.

I feel pretty aware of the importance of time, which is why I constantly beat myself up about not spending more of it on the people and things that I love.  I envy those who can fit everything into their schedule, I tell myself they don't have as many kids as I do...and if they do...well then I tell myself that they are perfect, and perfect is weird.

When I am not around my children I think of ways that I could spend more quality time with them, creating a mental note to go out of my way that day to make time for each of them.  Sometimes I suggest to my FiancĂ© the idea of taking turns spending one on one time every week with the kids.  The reality is though, we are a big, busy family on a pretty tight schedule that includes school, activities and events, quality time cant be kind of has to happen.

I had an "aha moment"  over the summer that made me realize, "I am spending quality time with children!" more than I realized.   I was at my parent's house with all the children, it was late and I was laying in bed.  My oldest daughter came in the room that I was staying in and said she couldn't sleep, she asked if she could lay with me for a minute.  At home, we don't really have moments like this...mostly because if I allowed them to get in my bed every time they "couldn't sleep", I would end up sleeping on the couch most nights.  Since we were on vacation, I let it slide. As she lay next to me I pulled up the calculator on my cell phone.  I typed in the number 14, flipped it over and showed her how it spelled "hi".  She was really impressed.  We spent the next 20 minutes coming up with as many words as we could. 

We do quirky things with our children all the time, and its genuine quality time.  My other daughter makes me leave goofy poems on her dry erase board in her bedroom at night, it takes me only a minute to do but its our special thing. My son asks me to lay with him before bed every night, and when I'm really busy I only stay for 30 seconds, but they are OUR 30 seconds.  My 10 year old and I made up this really funny game where we only talk in song lyrics, she is so good at it, it annoys everyone else in the family but her and I love it! My 8 year old showers me with hugs, and I do the same in return for her.  She reminds me everyday that being loved creates more love, that may not sound like quality time but it is to us. 

Time is passing, and tomorrow will be here before we know it.  Don't spend time wishing or wanting, realize what you have already done! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blended and Mended

Please check out my new blog post

I hope you find this blog relatable and share it with other parents and families :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

So this is 30....

Well I made the big 3-0, the dirty thirty.

Truth is, I have felt beyond 30 for a while now. I mean, I have 5 children, am (almost) married, have been to school more times than I should admit, have had more jobs than should be legal, tried things that I will never talk about on this blog and have been a mom for 10 years... TEN YEARS!  I feel old...and tired.  I thought 30 would be more...different.

For the past few years I have set all of these goals for 30, the hot bod, the New York times best seller, the career...none of it has really panned out.  Except the hot bod, I would post a pic of my 6 pack abs but I don't believe in bragging. 

Being so consumed by my daily life, I have often had my sights set for the future.  The lifestyle that will start "tomorrow" or the hobby that will happen when my kids don't need me as much.  It's mostly about later, and rarely about now.  

Yet, when I see my children yearning to grow up, itching to turn another year, gain a new privilege, it breaks my heart.   I tell them to enjoy life now, because shit's about to get real...except I don't say shit....I say sweet words, because they still have sweet little ears and pure little minds.

Like every mother on the planet, I wish I had a time machine.  That moment when my daughters come down stairs wearing clothing that I may currently have hanging in my closet but would not allow them to wear, looking 10 times more beautiful than I ever was, waiting to be picked up by Mr. right-now... I would shove them in that time machine, instant rewind and immediate boyfriend heartbreak remedy.   The second my son doesn't give me on the spot affection because its become not OK to have a "mommy"...yeah his ass would be in the time machine. I'm terrified of those moments.

Until 30 happened, I wasn't phased much by getting older...I had tomorrow, later...whenever.  I wasn't taking my own advice of enjoying the now.  I haven't stopped and smelt the roses, and sometimes I am so worried about the thorns that I don't even notice the beauty of the flower. 

Not to say that I haven't accomplished great things over the years, or had very proud moments, because I have, but just as a child I have done so with the feeling of wanting to get to the next part in the story.  30 is just that, a part, no better than another age. just different. 

While I do think that growing is wonderful, I think growing up is over rated. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, Same YOU.

Happy New Year!  Its time for change.  Change in diets, lifestyles, decisions, relationships and so much more.  Of all the changes that will happen, there is one thing I hope stays the same...YOU.

I don't want to see my friends change, I picked them for who they are.  I have bounced my craziest ideas off of them, consulted them for words of wisdom and spilled my most embarrassing secrets, all while under the assumption that they will always be a part of my life.  Some I have grown up with, and others I have been lucky to meet along the way, equally important, completely different yet perfect exactly as they are.

I hope my family doesn't change, because I have grown so comfortable, too comfortable with them.  It would be a huge disappointment if my dad wanted to have long phone conversations and not immediately hand the phone over to my mother when I call...what in the world would we talk about, we don't have phone conversations - we spend time together in person, on the couch, laughing, usually at each's who we are.

I could not handle my children changing.  They each bring a different ingredient to my life, and if one of them altered their personal additive, our family pie wouldn't be the blue ribbon quality that it is.  I depend on my son challenging my flexibility and keeping my heart rate up with his overactive personality.  I actually enjoy debating with my incredibly stubborn, too big for their britches,  know it all daughters, I hope they never stop asking "why?" and continue fighting for what they want. 

If my FiancĂ© changed, I would be in big trouble, for I am certain that not many men would have the patience for all that I exude.  He has to be the "fun parent", good cop, the level headed dude in public places, I count on him to pick up my slack.  He is not perfect, yet perfect for me.

Instead of changing, I hope we can all figure out how to be the best us. I wish everyone success, good fortune and prosperity all while being YOU.

I have many goals, but none of them include changing me, if anything I hope to get back to who I truly am. 

In 2014, I will laugh more, and try to share laughter with others, as that is a part of who I am, silly, fun and sometimes inappropriate. I plan on being more productive with my passions, and not allow anger, jealousy or insecurity to fuel my decisions. I plan on helping others while staying true to myself, and my beliefs.  I will be more empathetic, a better listener, and find that patience that I know I have - these are things that I can do, all while staying the same old me.

I will do my best to let go of what I am not, and embrace who I am.  It is a new year, but it does not have to be a new us, as there is so much greatness that already exists in all of us.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Buy some happiness

Imagine your child is sick.  Some of you may not have to imagine.  Only once, briefly, I experienced having a sick child.  My son Jacob was in the hospital for a week, he had a raging fever and no other symptoms.  He was barely 2 years old, and unable to comprehend why he was in a small room, unable to interact with anyone other than the masked staff who poked and prodded at him.  It was scary for me, and I am sure even more terrifying for him.

My son got better, life went on.  My children are all healthy and even the common cold seems to come around less often.

Our biggest complaint as parents seems to have to do with feeling overwhelmed, with work, school, activities and whatever else occupies our time. Children are challenging and most of time oblivious to the hurdles that we face in our daily lives.

Now, as I said before imagine your child is sick.  Really sick.  Not the cold and sneeze kind of sick, but the live in a hospital kind of sick.

I would assume that you would be less overwhelmed by work, school and activities.  Those things would no longer exist.   You would be consumed by one thing, getting your child better.  What if that wasn't possible?  What would be your next wish for your child?  Happiness.  Oblivion, the idea that what was really happening, wasn't.

You may think I'm a jerk for bringing this up. Its uncomfortable.  Why would anyone want to think about their child being sick?  Any child being sick for that matter.

I'm talking about this because of my amazing brother, James.  Luckily he is not sick, however he works at a place whose mission is to give sick children the opportunity to enjoy life, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is an amazing place that every sick child deserves to experience.

My brother first told me about this place this past summer on a camping trip.  He was excited and proud of what he was doing.  Anyone who knows my brother James, knows that he works best with children.  He's funny, daring, brave, and can literally imitate almost any television or movie character to a T!   Listening to him talk about The Whole in the Wall Gang Camp was exhilarating, it sounded like a genuinely enjoyable place and for a moment I forgot about why the children were there, or at least what was wrong with the children there. My brother didn't talk about how sick they were, he spoke about their unique personalities, their normal child like behavior, their off the wall antics, and without saying it his love for them. 

I have thought about my brothers job off and on for a few months.  When anybody asks about him, I reel in the opportunity to speak highly of his position.  Ironically he and I usually tend to give each other a pretty hard time.  Mostly because I'm cooler than him.  Regardless, I am beyond words proud of him.

James is now trying to raise money for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp via running in the
Boston Marathon  next year.  I donated a small amount towards his cause.  I know it isn't enough, and this has weighed heavy on me for days.

This morning when I walked my son Jacob to his classroom I noticed the lights were off.  I went to the room next door and a woman inside said that Jacobs teacher was out sick, she would be substituting.  I have never seen this woman before.  She wasn't as warm as Jacob's usual teacher, and her voice was a bit harsh.  I felt like she was rushing me out of the room.  My brother James had mailed "Hole in the Wall Camp" stickers and all of my kids wanted to wear one to school today, even Jacob.  The teacher looked down at Jacob's shirt and asked what the sticker was for.  I began to explain that my brother worked at a camp for seriously ill children.  She nonchalantly said  "Oh we do a fundraiser every year for my son who died of cancer".   I was speechless.  I immediately felt horrible that I misread her, I of course have no idea when her son died but my heart still hurt for her as if it just happened.  I immediately wondered if he had moments of happiness while he was sick.  I literally cannot stop thinking about The Whole in the Wall Gang Camp.

The first thing that came to mind was to blog about it...this isn't my typical "mommy post" but it is by far the most important one I have ever written.

So here is my plea, if you have a healthy child, or know a healthy child please donate to my brothers cause.

If you have a sick child or know a sick child I hope that they will be able to benefit from this wonderful place.

Sometimes the best medicine is happiness, and in this case your donation can buy some more than deserving children that much needed happiness.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you will share this with others.