Expecto Patronum!

Why do moms have such a propensity for guilt? patronum

Why does this guilt seem to surface most visibly around our children’s birthdays?

I have a secret to share: I suffer from a lesser-known anxiety disorder. It’s called Party Compulsive Dysfunction. I’ve had this affliction going on nine years now. It is a wholly personal affliction that usually sets in 8-12 weeks ahead of either one of my children’s birthdays.

I suffer from PCD because I am under the false pretense that having in-home birthday parties is more low-key and easier than the expensive, elaborate off-site parties so prevalent these days.

(how very wrong this assumption is) More

Educating Girls

This post originally appeared on World Moms Blog February 8, 2015 as part of a three-part series supporting #aPathAppears and @SavetheChildren

malalaI have long been an advocate of girls education. It is something I want every girl, wherever she is in the world, to have access to. I deeply believe educating girls is a key piece to improving our world.

So when my daughter was born eight years ago, I committed myself to ensuring that she would always have access to and the support she needs attaining the best education my husband and I can give her.

But along with the paramount importance her education is to me, so too is her understanding of how valuable having an education is and how lucky she is to have safe schools and many choices available to her.

But how do you impart this on an eight-year-old? More

Confessions of a Former Addict

birthday cakeI admit it. I’m a junkie. Not on drugs or alcohol nor really anything that’s bad for me (unless you consider aging and self-indulgence vices). I’m addicted to birthdays. And not just anyone’s birthdays…MY birthdays.

I don’t doubt that there are people out there who suffer this addiction far worse than I—in fact, I’m sure Pintrist will prove me right—but hey, I’m a Scorpio and my kind are notorious for basking in the limelight. Just ask any of the former Scorpio Fest members from the late ‘90s (Dani Ghiradella, Ari Kambas, you know who you are).

But you don’t need to worry about me, I’m in recovery. More

Enjoying the Journey

happy anniversaryBack in my early twenties, when the internet was still in its public nascency and using e-mail was pretty novel, I used a quote in the auto-signature of all my outgoing mail.

“Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.”

It was a quote I came across while preparing for a nine-month journey home from Japan, where I had been living for the past two years. As someone perpetually focused on the outcome, I am consistently guilty of “achieving the product but missing the process.”

I’m not a live-in-the-moment sorta gal. In fact, quite the opposite, I’m more of a busy-myself-in-the-moment-by-planning-for-all-future-moments kinda gal. So you can see how the concept of enjoying the journey as well as the destination would be a novel one for me.

I have since matured out of using this quote in my auto-signature but I continue trying to follow its mantra.

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, DH and I took a journey.

More

Out of the Weeds

IMG_4155I have to move on from the somber subject of my last official blog entry here. There Are No Words was a cathartic piece to write but the experience of my friend’s loss rattled me more than I realized. As a result, I’ve spent much of the time between late November and now reflecting on the brevity and uncertainty of life.

It’s time to focus on the many positives that have occurred since last year’s tragedy. For one thing, my youngest child turned 5 (and the parents among us know that 5 is a huge milestone in the parenting world).

Once your youngest child turns 5, my husband and I refer to it as the point in parenthood when you finally get to “come out-of-the-weeds.” Five means we are just months away from full-day kindergarten, and isn’t sending your final child to kindergarten the chance to reclaim self again?

When DH and I brought our first-born home from the hospital in 2006, life as we knew it turned on its head. When your first baby comes home, everything in life has to adjust to a new baby. When your second baby (or third or fourth) comes home, the baby has to adjust to its new life as part of your family. More

Promoting the Inner “Bossy”

bossyJoin me over at World Moms Blog in support of leadership in girls

http://www.worldmomsblog.com/2014/03/24/massachustetts-usa-promoting-the-inner-bossy/

There Are No Words

candlelight vigilYesterday my husband and I buried our good friend, Mei Kum Jones.

On either side, we also buried her twin baby boys, Colt and Cameron, who would have turned one today. It was unspeakably difficult on many levels.

A week ago,  my closest friend called me from her home in Arlington and asked me to confirm Mei’s address. Not one for sensationalism, this friend told me nothing had been finalized yet but that a family of four was reported dead at that address, which was just around the corner from her house. This information was both shocking and chilling and since I was behind the wheel of my car at the time, I called my husband.

After all, if it hadn’t been for Mei, my husband and I might never have met at that fateful Christmas party 13 years ago. More

Tri, Tri Again

Title 9Until I competed in a triathlon last year, doing so had been on my Bucket List for at least eight years. The notion got into my head when I befriended some very likable, totally approachable and completely unassuming triathletes while living in the DC-area.

I was at a cocktail party when I got talking to one of these friends—who had worked her way up the ranks into the Iron-Woman category—about what it took to train for something like a triathlon. I commented on how impressed I was and how I felt that I could never achieve those sort of distances in any single event, let alone all three (swimming, biking, running) together.

This is when my friend told me about a beautiful, far more manageable version of an ITU Long triathlon called the Sprint. More

Our Bags Are Packed And We’re Ready to Go

suitcasesIn fact, I’ve been halfway there since we booked our first, family overseas trip back in September. Because for me, one of the hardest things about settling down and starting a family has been, well, settling down…

Truth be told, I’d much rather be traveling the world, meeting new people and exploring different cultures, or at least still doing that WHILE having a family. Don’t get me wrong, the kid journey can be pretty amazing too but I’ve been eagerly waiting to have them participate in the bigger journey pretty much since I first conceived our daughter, 8 years ago.

Prior to that time, the world was an open road waiting to be explored. In our twenties, both DH and I did a fair amount of traveling in some pretty extreme locations, predominantly Asia but some in the Middle East too. We carried backpacks and our Angus MacGyver tool was the multipurpose sarong (which doubled as: a dress, a scarf, a sheet, a towel, a curtain). We thirsted for third-world travel, where we found life stripped away at its rawest and yet most complicated state.

Traveling became part of who we were and what drew us to one another, then also how we grew together. Now that we’re married, kids do the same thing for us. More

A Writers’ Room of Requirement

loft2

The Writers’ Loft
Sherborn, Massachusetts

When I tell people I’m a writer, some of them have a hard time believing it. I’d like to think it’s not because they think I’m incapable of writing but rather because I’m an incredibly social and outgoing person…not very bookish.

Thanks in part to Hollywood—which paints an image of writers as people who need to move to Tuscany or at the very least to a sprawling, New England farm, complete with pond-front writing studio—it seems the average person assumes writing is a profession best pursued in solitude.

A common misconception.

No question, there are many successful writers who do have dedicated, solitary, creative writing space, like Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, Gore Vidal (who’s writing retreat is on the Amalfi Coast). The operative word here is successful. No doubt the lucrative benefits of a prolific and extensive writing career have afforded them such comfort.

But, not all aspiring writers have the luxury of dedicated writing space consisting of more than a flat surface at home or even beyond their computers. Instead, many writers find solace in public libraries or coffee shops, where they can simultaneously be in the company of others as well as alone. Such spaces, however, are not always conducive for channeling inspiration nor even connecting with like-minded souls. More

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