Monday Mantra #44

Someone asked me recently what was my biggest regret in life.  

Being in a hurry, I said.  

Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all that rushing.

Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.

-Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Your Sabbath


image via Herman Brinkman

38 Beads of Gratitude



Today is my 38th birthday.

Today I count my blessings and thank this wonderful, crazy and beautiful life for all that it has given me.

  1. This morning, I woke up.
  2. All of my basic needs are met without struggle or even recognition.
  3. Whatever it may be that hurts or slows me down physically is only temporary.
  4. I was born to parents who love me with their whole hearts.
  5. I was taught by example that integrity and kindness matter. Because they do.
  6. I have two younger brothers whom I’ve looked up to my entire life.
  7. I was gifted with an education without limitation.
  8. I was gifted with teachers who, without limitation, encouraged that education.
  9. I have swam in some oceans and I have climbed some mountains.
  10. I have laughed laughs from the pit of my belly.
  11. I have cried tears from the pit of my heart.
  12. I have a husband who loves me in a perfect kind of way.
  13. I have a husband whom I love in a perfect kind of way.
  14. I have traveled.
  15. I have opinions.
  16. I am able to speak my opinions to people who believe those opinions matter. Because they do.
  17. I have good friends who aren’t afraid of the trenches.
  18. I have good friends who are always up for dancing.
  19. I have read some great books and watched some great movies.
  20. I have a little rescue pug who embodies unconditional love.
  21. I have made many mistakes. Each and every one has taught me something.
  22. Sometimes I make the same mistake over and over again, but at least I’m still learning.
  23. I have loss and I have regret.
  24. My loss and my regret are anchors of my character.
  25. I’ve had a broken heart, but that broken heart led me to a perfect kind of love.
  26. I have an extended family that has circled me with love since the day I was born.
  27. When I got married, that circle grew.
  28. I have three beautiful, healthy and happy (most of the time) children.
  29. Those children have opened my eyes and my heart in ways I never thought possible.
  30. I live in a world filled with promise, and that gives me hope.
  31. I have a faith that balances and restores me, and that gives me hope.
  32. I have opportunities to make contributions.
  33. I am reminded on a daily basis of the goodness of people.
  34. Miracles happen.
  35. Many of my dreams have already come true.
  36. Many of those dreams that came true were dreams I didn’t even know I had.
  37. Every single day has a little extraordinary in it.
  38. And no matter what, it’s never ever too late.





Spidey Shoes

My five-year-old son wears Spider-Man shoes that light up when he runs.

He also wears Angry Bird socks pulled up to his knees.

He hides a Peyton Manning jersey two sizes too small in the corner of his closet every night so that I don’t wash it and he can wear it again the next day. I’ve tried buying him other jerseys but he prefers that tight-fitting, stained and smelly one to anything else. He says it helps him run fast.

He has three different varieties of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas in orange, blue and red as to represent Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael. Sorry Donatello, but purple is a girl color.

He has a Spidey hooded sweatshirt and the hood hangs down over his eyes like a Spidey mask. He stays warm while also preventing his identity from being revealed. Genius.

Years ago I met a woman who told me she never let her boys wear clothes with characters or words on them.

I think of her every time I fold the laundry.

When my son started Kindergarten this year, we had almost daily wardrobe wrangles. I’d choose a plaid button-down shirt. He’d want a Superman t-shirt with holes in it because it has a cape. I’d pick skinny jeans. He’d choose soccer shorts. I’d suggest a striped Izod shirt. He’d beg for a shirt depicting various kinds of poop at the zoo. (I’m not kidding, it’s literally a shirt with pictures of poop at the zoo.)

Some days we compromise, which generally results in a “business up top, party down below” (or vice versa) ensemble. And some days it’s just a cute little hot mess. In very bright colors.

For all of you amazing moms who somehow manage to get your boys in cardigans, berets and bow ties, I truly tip my hat to you.

Your kids look adorable. Your kids are what my MiniBoden and Crewcuts dreams are made of. Your kids are the kids in the posters in the windows at the mall.

My kids are the kids in capes running around in those windows.

Sometimes I look at my darling little ragamuffin at the bus stop and I can’t help but cringe.

And then I pray that it’s not picture day or assembly day or a day in which the national news just might be spotlighting our school.

But then I smile.

And remind myself that he’s five years old.

There’s only so long in a life that you can get away with wearing a mask or a cape or shoes that light up when you run. And there’s only so long that in a life that you want to wear a mask or a cape or shoes that light up when you run.

So I say, let him be five.

Let him be a superhero every day. Let him think he looks like the coolest kid on the block. Let him make some little choices about his life, the kind of choices that really don’t matter at the end of the day.

Because soon enough he won’t want to look like a superhero anymore. Soon enough he’ll exchange his role models for ones that aren’t so super and aren’t so heroic. Soon enough he’ll just want to fit in and wear what everyone else wears and do what everyone else does. And soon enough he’ll have to make some big choices about his life, the kind of choices that do matter at the end of the day. So he better start getting some practice.

Of all the battles with my kids, this is one in which I sometimes just have to wave the white flag. Honestly, I’d rather he eat the carrots than wear the button-down.

So if you ever wonder what kind of mother would let her kid out of the house in soccer shorts and a dirty jersey, with shoes that light up, a cape flying behind him and a mask over his eyes, I’ll tell you.

It’s a superhero’s mom.

I only wish I were brave enough to wear the shoes.


Monday Mantra #41 (and a Happy Anniversary)


I wanna make you smile,
Whenever you’re sad.
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad.
All I wanna do,
Is grow old with you.

I’ll get you medicine,
When your tummy aches.
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks.
Oh it could be so nice,
Growin’ old with you.

I’ll miss you, kiss you,
Give you my coat when you are cold.
Need you, feed you.
Even let you hold the remote control.
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink.
Put you to bed when you’ve had too much to drink.
Oh I could be the man,
Who grows old with you.

I wanna grow old with you.

-Adam Sandler 

(Reading from our wedding on October 6th, 2007)

Happy Anniversary, Ted. Love you. And still want to grow old with you.



Not So Bad

Yesterday was one of those icky days. The kind when you wake up and right off the bat you’re wishing for a redo. Nothing even close to catastrophic happened, just a bunch of little things in a row that had me on a warpath by noon.

I woke up early and picked up the family room, took greater than usual care to vacuum, fluff and arrange the pillows on the sofa, fold and lay the afghans and pick up and put away the toys, books and thousands of itty bitty pieces of plastic.

I left the room for no more than two minutes (to go to the bathroom; of course it always happens when I go to the bathroom), and my hooligans had destroyed every single last bit of my handiwork. They pulled every cushion, pillow and blanket off the couch to make a huge pile in the middle of the floor and were standing on the couch frame hurling the aforementioned itty bitty pieces of plastic at each other…and then at me.

After dropping one of the three monkeys at the bus stop, I headed to the gym with the other two. I was rejected at the door of the Kids’ Club for “alleged” (aka “We don’t want to deal with your kids”) reasons.

Trying to salvage the morning, we headed to the park.

Have you ever tried to use a porta-potty with 2x two-year-olds? I’ll just leave it at that.

Next we drove to the pharmacy drive-thru to pick up a prescription. When told I had to wait for an hour, I said this: “Why are you being so rude to me? Do you know I have two screaming children in here?” Then I followed it up with a dramatic entrance into the store and onto a soapbox (twins in tow, yet still able to make spirited hand gestures) and an “I. Would. Like. To. Speak. To. A. Manager. I. Will. Be. Taking. My. Prescriptions. Elsewhere.” Wow. Someone call Broadway.

I came home, fed the kids the $15 worth of food I bought in the Starbucks drive thru (thank God for drive thrus) because I was so exasperated from this no good day and the thought of swiping peanut butter seemed like way too much. Although, truth be told, that Starbucks grilled cheese is pretty out of this world.

Three poop diapers, two water fights atop our kitchen island and one thankfully unsuccessful attempt to actually SWING from a light fixture, I put the ruffians down for a nap and went about trying to recreate the picturesque family room, sighing and wah wah-ing along the way.

And then my mom sent me this photo of herself:



My brave and fierce mama began her fifth round of chemo last week. She was already losing her hair and decided to take the bull by the horns, shave her head and meet the inevitable with courage and dignity.

She was bald, she was smiling and she was beautiful.

God bless my sweet mama. She feels so bad but then has the grace to apologize for complaining about it. She’s the one person who truly knows what a truly bad day is because she’s had more than her fair share. She stares it right in the face and says: “Is this all you got?” Then she shaves her head and goes out for Italian food to celebrate.

And just like that, my day didn’t seem so bad after all. Just like that, all of my silly problems seemed extra silly.

Isn’t it crazy how a little perspective can come at the exact moment when we need it most?

Of course, this is not to say that we aren’t due our fair share of bad days. Or that our problems aren’t problems or that our mini tragedies aren’t tragic. Because they are. We can’t always compare and minimize our lot because there’s always someone with a trump card. And sometimes we just need to give ourselves a little room for a little self-pity and have ourselves a little wah wah.

But every once in a while, it helps to get a little gut check. Sometimes we need a little “in the grand scheme of things” reminder that a messy house, a missed workout and a little extra wait time aren’t really the fixings of a bad day.

And maybe a little poop isn’t so bad when we think about someone else who might have a whole lot more crap on her hands.

Thanks, Mom. Again.

Love you.


A letter of thanks to my faithful

Dear Readers,

I want to take an opportunity to thank you for sticking with this blog for the past two years.

When I started this journey I really didn’t know where it would go. I knew I wanted to document some memories and communicate with family and friends about our adventure as a fivesome. But this blog has evolved into something much more. It has become a haven for me, a great perspective check and a source of authentic joy in some less than joyful days.

I know my statements and stories run the gamut, but I’ve discovered that I find the most meaning and inspiration in the little things and often the littlest of people. Those little nuggets remind me about what is important and what is so very good in life. And I wanted my blog design to better reflect this chorus and umbrella these themes.

So here you have it.

I hope you will continue to support me in this endeavor. There are few greater compliments to me than if you tell me that my words affect you in some way. Please add your comments on the site or reach out to me directly. I welcome all feedback, as this evolution business has no end date.

I want to personally recognize Ted Danielson (my bouncing wall), Lindsay Lumpkin (who knows all things commas AND conjunctions) and Nancy Intagliata (for her unconditional love of my writing and everything else). And a heartfelt thanks to my three little nuggets for all of the inspiration and material they provide.

With gratitude,


Monday Mantra #40

Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end. –Pico Iyer


image of Cadenabbia, Italy, taken on September 11, 2014