Letting go, one milestone at a time


Motherhood is mania personified.  Truly.  One second I’m pulling my hair out, desperately wondering when getting W dressed will no longer require chasing and tackling.  The next second, silent tears of pride stain my cheeks as he proudly pulls his own undies up and down to go potty.

And this week’s mania?

W started his first art class where (soon) he’ll be in the class all.by.him.self. [GASP]  It was terrifyingly adorable.  Miniature chairs, tiny smocks and paint splattered masterpieces mixed with a little bit of sharing and learning his colors.

I faded into the background knowing that the goal was to soon leave him there alone.  I was just a silent (and proud) observer of his little personality filling the room and coming through loud and clear…a whole lot of spark and persistence, a little bit of antsy curiosity and a lot of kindness for his new buddies.

It’s exhausting.

And not always in a bad way.  But exhausting in a cathartic sense.  The other side of extreme joy and pride is seriously just as tiring as the other side of panic.  And I know a little bit about panic.  Like the mild panic I feel as I think about actually leaving him alone at his art class in the coming weeks…

But the day will come.  It will happen.  Eventually.  And whether I’m ready or not, there will always be another milestone fading away in the rearview mirror…another one appearing on the horizon.  A never ending lesson in letting go.

But real talk, this road toward a more independent child is a nail-biter of a ride for those of us in the driver’s seat.  It’s bumpy and paved with chaos, but it’s a scenic drive splashed with tiny moments of triumph, exhaustion, lots of joy and a few spilled bottles of paint.  Oops.

But the passenger seat?  Well, that’s a different story.  Let’s just say that my little co-pilot seems to be thoroughly enjoying every second of this hectic ride and happens to love speed bumps.  The more the better.  The bigger the better.

No wonder I’m starting to go gray…

Manically yours,



Go BC!


This weekend W and I hit the road with my parents to cheer on my alma mater, Boston College, as the football team kicked off the season.  I’ve gotta be honest, though.  There was something totally strange about pushing a stroller around the same places we used to drunkenly stumble at 5am exclaiming, “People are sugaring their Corn Flakes right now!”

True story.  That was actually said.

But seriously.  This past weekend I was that old person who brought their kid to campus.  That old person in the dining hall.  That old person in the Mods.  And then, of course, there were those moments when I felt totally out of place amidst a sea of cut-off jean shorts and crop tops (BC’s new student uniform, apparently).  Had me feeling like my distressed denim was all sorts of mom jean.  Lame.

That lady. Pushing the stroller.

But once I got over all that.  I’ve gotta say.  There was something absolutely priceless about having my little guy running through the quad, cheering Go BC!, dancing to the band while proudly wearing his new Eagles shirt as those same questionably clad co-eds smiled and cooed, “Awwwww” as he zoomed by them.

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I think they call it pride.  Yeah, that’s it.

I was proud.

Proud to be there with him and talk about where Mommy went to school.  Proud to be back on a campus that helped shape me in so many ways.  A campus where I met life-long friends.  I was proud to be an alum of BC.  And proud thinking that, one day, this precious little guy would be wearing his own Super Fan shirt.  (Thankfully I have 15 years to prepare for that milestone.  I’m still anxious about dropping him off…alone…at art class next week.)

And with that pride welling in my chest, I wanted to get a picture with the little guy in front of the Boston College sign at the entrance to campus.  Well.  Want to make a toddler laugh scream?  Tell them your plans.  And then take the photo below.


I was still proud.  A little sweaty from the 80 degree day and the anxiety that is holding a tantruming toddler.  But proud.  Here’s to more tailgating in our future…

Proudly yours,



Little boys and their tractors

Nothing makes W more giddy with glee than the sight of countless big, green, dirty…tractors.  I think he actually prefers the ones that still smell like manure.  Yup.  My kid is definitely from Maine.  Even though we don’t own a tractor…and never have…and never will.  Ever.

But, knowing his penchant for anything with wheels, I hoped the “Tractors and Trucks” event at Pineland Farms would be a hit.  What I didn’t know was just how much was going to love the place, too.  After making the 40+ minute trek, parking once to buy our ticket, getting back into the car to drive down to the farm…we finally came to the top of a hill…

And I was at a total loss for words….

At least until I texted all my mom-friends how amazing this place was.  But, seriously. The way the haze settled over the green hills as they rolled into crisp white fences and picturesque barns…I mean, I thought we were in Ireland.  And I never thought I wanted to visit Ireland, but after this I’m totally down…

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Ok, so the tractor part.  We walked down the road and arrived at the barn to find tractor after tractor after flatbed after bulldozer and a FIRETRUCK (have I mentioned how much he loves firetrucks, too!?).  Each and every one of them was open to the kiddos to climb in and on.

But you couldn’t push any buttons.

I know, I know!  I found that hilarious, too.  Like that was going to happen.  So, I just tried to steer him clear of the emergency brake…I figured that had to count for something?

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Then we decided to take a little walk to the Blueberry Hill slide.  We even ran into some friends in the cabin and by the tractor wheel.  Life was good.

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And we still had so many adventures ahead of us!  W said hello to the baby goat and got to feed and pet the incredible cows in the barn.  He was so proud of himself!

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It was an incredible day.  I may have already mentioned that.  But even after several hours there, the awe hadn’t worn off a bit.  We wandered back down the road, said goodbye to the beautiful horses, and our hearts were full.

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Gratefully yours,



Tasty Tuesday: Parmesan Asparagus Rolls with Lemon-Garlic Aioli

Parmesan Asparagus Rolls with Lemon-Garlic Aioli Photo credit: http://lilluna.com/cream-cheese-and-parmesan-asparagus/

Parmesan Asparagus Rolls with Lemon-Garlic Aioli
Photo credit: http://lilluna.com/cream-cheese-and-parmesan-asparagus/

I love sauce.  And I’m a saucy gal, so it works out perfectly.  And, when I was charged with making an Easter appetizer of the green variety, you can be sure I was looking for something that was worthy of some serious sauce slathering.  Tender, green asparagus bundled up and wrapped in puff pastry…oozing with melted parmesan cheese…drizzled with a lemon-garlic aioli?

Yup.  Recipe(s) found.  Results devoured.

I usually end up combining a few elements of different recipes to suit my culinary needs and then revise them a bit further.  And this time was no different.  I took the puff-pastry from one recipe, removed the butter and the cream cheese, added more parmesan cheese and topped it off with an aioli from another recipe.

Springtime perfection.

Here’s how I achieved these tasty treats…but you can check out the original recipes here and here.  Grab a box of puff pastry sheets (in the freezer section, usually by the Cool Whip) and let them thaw for at least 40 minutes.  About halfway through the thawing time I gently unfolded the sheets and then left them in the fridge until I was ready to assemble…that way they didn’t get too sticky.

For the sauce…you can prep it ahead of time, and know that the recipe makes a TON and could easily have been halved for the ten bundles I made (each with three stalks of asparagus).  But then there wouldn’t be leftovers, so don’t even bother halving it!  So…add your 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup sour cream (could easily substitute greek yogurt), grated clove of garlic, three squeezes of lemon juice and zest, a dash of dijon, a shake of red pepper and a splash of hot sauce if you like.

Mix and try to not eat the whole bowl with a spoon.  Or, use it on everything else before it’s time to serve up your asparagus rolls…

Ok, back to the recipe.  Now that your dough is thawed and your sauce is in the fridge, wash and trim your asparagus and lay to dry on some paper towels.  On a lightly flowered surface cut the puff pastry dough into vertical strips, going in the same direction as the crease that’s already there.  I got 10 strips out of each sheet for a total of 20 strips.

Next, grate a TON of parmesan cheese all over your strips.  Grab one, two, three – heck, however many asparagus stalks you want in your bundles – and start rolling them up.  I found it easiest to hold the bottom of the asparagus bundle at a 45 degree angle, flowers pointing down, at the top of the puff pastry strip.  From there, just roll the bundle down the strip and spiral the puff pastry strip from the bottom of the bundle…finishing at the top.

I’m sure you had to read that twice.

This isn’t a food blog, so sorry my culinary descriptions aren’t on point.  But.  Look at the picture above and you’ll figure something out.  Or, you can wrap it some other way.  You’re smart, I know you are.  And, it will all be delicious no matter what you do.

I promise.

Next up, bake at 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes.  That’s generally how vague my cooking times are.  Just check on it and figure out when it’s done!  When they’re cooling, add a little more fresh grated parmesan on top so it melts over the buttery puff pastry.

Then, obviously, add sauce and enjoy.

This would be amazing even without the puff pastry, if you’re looking for more of a legit vegetable side dish.  Just bake your asparagus, grate parmesan cheese on top to melt and then drizzle with the lemon-garlic aioli.  And, you could even substitute the mayo or the sour cream for greek yogurt for a more healthy drizzle.

The options are endless, but this was an awesome flavor combination that is perfect for spring and summer.  Definitely making this again🙂

Yours truly,



Xanax with a side of birthday cake, please?

Oh man, where to even start?  I guess they always say, At the beginning…so here’s how my life seemed to change in the blink of eye on January 24th.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it was dramatic.  So it’s totally called for.

So, January 24th.

It so happens it was my dad’s 70th birthday, but that’s neither here nor there.  January 24th was the day we were scheduled for a 6am departure for a super amazing family vacation to Turks and Caicos.  I’d been neurotically packing for weeks now.  Every possible medicine was neatly packed in our toiletry bag.  Each of W’s mix-and-match outfits were labeled, color-coded and vacuum sealed in plastic bags for easy retrieval.  We’d managed to get everything we could possibly need into three bags…including our carry on.  I was impressed.  This was a packing job to be proud of.  We were just hours away from hot sun..warm sandy beaches that stretched on for turquoise miles after turquoise miles…tropical drinks…and relaxation.

We were all in need of some relaxation, for sure.  It has been the L.O.N.G.E.S.T winter evah and our vitamin D levels were depleting as was our patience for being stuck inside due to frigid temps.  We needed this vacation.

And what we got was anything but a vacation.

It all started the night before we left.  It’s not unusual for me to have trouble sleeping before a trip, or at all for that matter.  But, usually I get a few hours at least and whatever, I make it work.  Well, not this night.  I couldn’t sleep and as the minutes ticked by, my heart started racing a bit more…and the possibility of a few hours of sleep were slipping away.

For anyone who has ever had an anxiety attack, you probably just read that and went, Yup.  Been there before.  Except I didn’t quite know that that was what was happening.

So, when the alarm went off at 4am it just about made my heart leap out of my chest as I shot out of bed and scrambled into the bathroom like a madwoman.  I remember looking in the mirror and my eyes were that of some lunatic…big, dilated, puffy and darting around the room as I muttered about not getting any sleep.  And a million other things.

I barely managed to get dressed.  I couldn’t eat anything because I thought I was going to puke.  My heart was still racing and my hands were shaking.  I couldn’t even get W out of bed and dressed because I was so weak.  I remember climbing up the stairs on my hands and knees and sitting at the top waiting for my husband to come out of the bedroom.

The look on his face was all it took for me to declare that something just wasn’t right.  Something was happening to me.

Thankfully he was able to get W all ready and load our remaining gear into the car while I jus tried to get my shit together.  Much easier said than done.  I barely managed through security.  I struggled as we waited to board…still unable to eat anything due to nausea.  Like a zombie, I put one foot in front of the other and got into my seat.  My husband, again, holding down the fort and schlepping W and all of our gear.

At that point I was starting to realize this was anxiety, but still hadn’t labeled it an anxiety attack.  And I most certainly didn’t have any tools (medicinal or mental) to get me to a better space.  So, I closed my eyes and just tried not to throw up.  Or explode.  Or have a heart attack.  I knew I needed to eat, too, so I tried to choke down a banana I had in my carry on.

But it wasn’t happening.  Two bites in and I turned to Jason and said, I’m really not doing well.  I grabbed the air sickness bag and before I knew it I was waking up surrounded by concerned passengers, my husband and flight attendants.

I had passed out.

To make a long story short(er), my anxiety attack had peaked and I was starting to feel better.  Weak and embarrassed. But better.  An EMT had been sitting behind me and monitored my pulse while I was out and was telling the flight attendant that it was normalizing now and there was no need to make an emergency landing.  But, of course, I had to be greeted by EMT and police upon exiting the plane.  I got checked out and told I should probably go to the hospital.  We pushed our connecting flight back and had a family meeting about what to do next.

Thankfully we’d purchased trip insurance, so we decided that whatever happened was pretty serious and that it could happen again on our next flight or on vacation or on the way home…and that it’d be best to go home and get it figured out.

We were bummed to say the least.  And scared.

I was still feeling week and shaky but functional, and was able to get on our flight back home.  It wasn’t until a few days later when I had another small anxiety attack in the waiting room of my doctor’s that things really went downhill.  For the next two weeks I was pretty much a hot mess.  I mean a non-functioning ball of constant anxiety who couldn’t eat.  Couldn’t talk.  Couldn’t shower.  Couldn’t fucking function.  It was terrible.  I literally thought my life had changed forever and I was going to be someone who couldn’t leave the house.  Who couldn’t care for their child.  Whose marriage would end because of anxiety.  Anxiety that I never knew I had until like forty-eight hours ago.

What. The. Fuck.

Thankfully I’ve got amazing family and friends who literally stayed with me 24 hours a day when my husband went back to work.  Who did everything for W’s birthday party.  Who recommended amazing therapists.  Who told me I was OK when I started to get anxious.  Who sent me inspirational cards.  Who checked in with me when I needed it and gave me space when I needed it.  With a little bit of Xanex to help me sleep for a few nights, weekly therapy sessions, multiple meditation session a day, Melody Beattie’s book A Journey to the Heart and some good ol’ fashioned time…I started to have more “good” minutes than bad ones.  They built on each other…gaining positive momentum…and outweighing the negative momentum and negative spiraling that had consumed me just days – hours – before.  Slowly but surely I could see glimmers of what life had been like a few weeks prior.  Life that, at that point, seemed like years ago.  Life that I honestly didn’t think I’d see again.

And W’s birthday party was another turning point.

I mean, I could barely shower and feed myself let alone host a party for 25 and be cheery, friendly and social.  Gag.  I knew that the show must go on, but I was dreading it.  Family and close friends would be there.  But they all knew.  They were all supporting me.  If I needed to leave I would.  But I worked up the courage and confidence to take one step at a time and move through it, as my therapist says.  The night before his party I took my last Xanax, and as the minutes passed during his party, I started to really feel like myself again.  I could have a conversation.  I could laugh.  I could sing happy birthday and blow out candles with my son.  I was proving to myself that I could do it.

But ohmyfuckinggod.  That was the longest 14 days of my life.

I now see my therapist twice a month and haven’t had any other major events since this one.  But, I’ve realized I’ve got a lot to work through and work out as I start reconciling the person I used to be with who I am now as a mother, a wife, a person.  I’d spent so much time caring for and worrying about others that I’d missed a lot of signs that I was needing to take care of myself and unfortunately…or fortunately…this made that a necessity.  Life is different now, and that’s OK, but I need to reflect and take steps to make it what I want.  What I need.

So, there it is.

I’ve been avoiding writing this because talking about the event used to be a trigger.  And, avoidance is – for anyone that’s been in therapy – the essence of B.A.D.  So, the more I talk about it the less power it has…that’s what my therapist says.  And I love my therapist.  So I do what she says🙂  Except for when I don’t.  I still don’t like exercising for exercising’s sake.

Did I mention that we’ve booked another vacation and are giving it another go?!  Yeah. Most definitely the subject of my next therapy session…

But, more to come about the ways I’m taking time to weave more “me” back into my life…personally and professionally for this SAHM!

Calmly yours,



Easter hands and feet

Some bunny loves you!

Some bunny loves you!

Spring ducks!

Spring ducks!

For some reason, I don’t need much of an excuse to make seasonally themed artwork using my toddler’s hands and feet and various mediums…usually paint and some sort of glitter.

But seriously.  Crafting with a toddler?  I know, call me crazy.

Aside from the utterly adorable outcome that I usually frame and place on our entryway table, doing paint-related arts and crafts is anything but clean and simple with a toddler.  Especially when you’re covering pint-sized hands and feet (that are constantly moving, running, touching, grabbing, climbing, stomping and smearing everything…everywhere) with paint.

So, I always try to be prepared.

I get the kiddo down to his onesie or diaper.  I put him in his old high chair to limit his mobility.  I put an old shower curtain down on the floor as an easy-to-clean drop cloth.  I situate him out of reach of anything.  I make sure I’m not wearing anything that I remotely care about.  I get paper towels or dish towels damp and ready for immediate wipe off.

Oh, and most important, I tell myself to CTFD and relax.  It’s really not a big deal if stuff gets messy.

So, with spring here (err…somewhere under the 2 feet of snow we still have) and Easter just around the corner, we added a few other seasonally themed animal hand and feet prints to our repertoire.  Let’s see.  Reindeer feet?  Check.  Turkey hands?  Check.  Cottonball snowmen?  Check.  But the barn seems to be shy a few characters so…

Why not add a bunny and a few ducks?

Artfully yours,



And just like that, we were done

It happened so slowly that I barely noticed it.  But in hindsight I guess I also grieved it slowly.  Every day.  Across months.  And said good-bye minute by minute, session by session…until, finally, my little nursling was no more.

A little more than two years and little W is, I’d say, officially weaned.  For the last several months my energetic toddler has nursed less and less, and still less.  Our once three-times-a-day sessions dropped down to just morning and night.  And, when he was just as eager to wake up and eat breakfast we dropped another session and just nursed before bed.  And finally, when he was just as eager to start reading books with Daddy…

We were done.  There were no more nursing sessions left to drop.

And much to my surprise, I was OK.  I am OK.

There were so many times leading up to this day that I’d look down at him while he was nursing and my heart would just about burst in my chest.  Explode.  Threatening to scatter tiny fragments of my soul across his serene nursery.  I know.  That sounds so dramatic.  But two things: (1) if you’ve ever self-sustained a tiny human (from the breast or bottle) you know what I’m talking about and (2) nursing makes you all sorts of hormone-induced-crazy.  So, it was the silent kind of catastrophe that usually just resulted in big, silent tears seeping from my eyes while my little one happily nursed away none the wiser.  I was already heartbroken and dreading something I knew would come…

But I just couldn’t imagine the day we’d no longer nurse.  The day we’d no longer share this indescribable bond.

It was, after all, a bond forged over engorged, bloody nipples…clogged ducts…and mastitis.  A bond forged through what seemed like endless all-nighters, cluster feedings and days where we spent more time nursing than we didn’t (and I have the app to prove it…).  Across a seemingly endless journey from 32As to 32Es..every size in between…and arriving at my new boobs that more closely resemble tiny, shriveled grapes.

But it came and went.  As I knew it would.  As it had for many of my friends, whether it was before it ever started…or sooner than they would have liked.  I’d grieved with them, too, and felt joy for them as they found new ways to connect and keep their special bond alive.  But I was so surprised that I almost didn’t even notice.  It happened so gradually.  So peacefully.  Not at all the dramatic explosion my anticipation foreshadowed.  Thankfully.

I know that, each and every day, he’s growing and changing and developing and evolving – just like our relationship.  But, nursing or not, I know that our bond is just as strong.  We just express it in different ways now.  A running hug from across the room.  A kiss on my imaginary “boo boo.”  A snuggle before bed.

And, you know what?  It kind of feels good to be wanted just for me.

But, honestly, little W will still ask for milk every once and a while…even though these shriveled milk-makers aren’t making anymore milk.  And I happily oblige because I miss having his little head lay on my chest as we snuggle.  So when it happens, I breathe in every second of his warmth and am grateful for just one more moment.

Gratefully yours,