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

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

Running Scared

5491796838_9e91366626Today was Patriots’ Day in Boston, a day marked by its predictability and routineness. A day that begins April break for many Boston school children; the heralding of spring; a home game for the Red Sox, sometimes a win; and always the running of the Boston Marathon. In fact some people know today first as Marathon Monday, and second for the holiday commemorating the Battle of Concord and Lexington, fought in 1775, marking the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

Today things changed.

I’m thankful that I took my kids away for April Break. Away from usually safe, predictable, routine Patriots’ Day down to our Nation’s Capital, where just about anything can happen. Yet here I sit, feeling safe and unthreatened while I watch news reports of fellow Bostonians feeling shaken and upset.

Two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon today and at least three people are confirmed dead so far. More

The Fragments of Divorce

I’m the product of divorce. Not one, not two…FIVE.

My parents’ divorce was the first, then, like zygotes, they kept splitting until they landed on their third and fourth spouses, where they seem to be very well matched. I think it’s safe to say that they both have settled in for their golden years with partners for life. Thank God!

I was seven when my parents separated, my brother was 10. By the time the divorce was final and the papers signed, my dad was just weeks away from his second marriage and my mom had moved clear across the country, from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, to pursue her next union.

When my parents split in 1979, it was highly unusual for children to remain in the custody of their fathers but my dad sought custody of my brother and me. In between the separation and next marriage, we went More

Do You Speaka My Language?

I’m married to a really great guy. No, I mean it, he’s a  r-e-a-l-l-y   g-r-e-a-t   g-u-y. He’s an involved father, a loving husband, and a thoughtful son. He’s tall, athletic and easy on the eyes. He has strong ethics, a deep-set of values and is one of the most trustworthy people I’ve ever met. But we don’t always see eye to eye.

Take our ways of expressing love, for example. As I’ve recently leaned—thanks to the good doctor, Gary Chapman, and his exceedingly popular book—I express love through giving things to people (and spending time with them) while DH expresses his love through doing things for others and by giving praise.

Chapman suggests that most of us speak one (maybe two) of five Love Languages: Acts of More

Happy Birthday from All Your Friends at Facebook

My birthday is on Sunday.

In the past—as in pick-a-year BC [before children]—I would have started celebrating five days ago, a whole birthweek leading up to that special day. Carte blanche to dine out, grab drinks with friends, pamper myself, get a pedicure, maybe even take a day off from work. Instead, this year I’ve been working overtime.

DH has been pulling crazy hours at the office, sometimes rolling in at 1 or 2am, then gone again right after breakfast. I’ve been dining in, drinking cough medicine alone, pampering my offspring and keeping my feet in slippers. Writing deadlines have eaten up all of my kid-free time and instead of getting a pedicure, I got pneumonia instead.

It’s a far cry from birthdays past and certainly nothing like last year, when at least I had a surprise birthday More

I Can Read!

My oldest child has loved books for a very long time. In fact, for her whole life. Before she was born, I didn’t know what to look for in board books and children’s tales, all I knew were classics from my own childhood but the kid lit world had exploded since then and there was so much to discover.

To get me on the path of knowledge, I joined a book club, entirely devoted to reading and reviewing picture books. Through it, I discovered many fantastic books like this, this and this, as well as a whole children’s publisher that I really liked.

Trips to local libraries always result in massive acquisitions.  My kids pick books by themes of interest (rockets, trains, nature, school) and we stockpile books, which temporarily reside on shelves, already More

Butterscotch: the Century’s WORST pet!

[A post in two parts]

Last year, our daughter asked us for a pet mouse. I, who grew up with every ilk of rodentia, found her request charming. DH, on-the-other-hand, whose most exotic pet was a cat, said no. His reasons were simple, you can read about them here.

He and I discussed her request for the better part of a month and finally agreed that Santa would deliver the encampment for her ward, her parents would help her determine the resident. We settled on a Roborovski Hamster. She named it Butterscotch.

In hindsight, I wish I had done a lot more research on Robos than I had. Instead, in my eagerness to fulfill my child’s wish, I concluded: they’re small, cute and from Asia; terrific, so was she. What I discovered, post facto, was: 1. Robos are the fastest of the hamster family; 2. they’re nocturnal (in other words, the moment More

Kindergarten Eve

I made it! I’m the mom of a kindergartener!! I don’t know where the time has gone…no seriously, you’d think you’d be able visibly to see time oozing out of my closets and dangling from my drawers; from anywhere one might try to shove something she was trying to hide, like piles of dirty of laundry.

Over the past five years, there have been many days that dragged on without end in sight. At times, it seemed the clock stood still. In those time-intensive, patience-testing, full-on-attention-demanding days of early childhood, time felt more like a wounded sparrow; it was hard to imagine that she actually might fly again some day. Yet fly she does.

Back in the spring, during a momentary lapse of sanity, I wondered if perhaps I should homeschool my More

Far Away

This past Sunday, DH drove our five-year old up to her grandmother’s house in Maine to spend the week. It’s not the first time she’s been away from us—she did the same thing last year too and various overnights here and there since she was two—but for some reason, this year, I’m the one feeling homesick

Perhaps it’s the sheer magnitude of transitioning my first-born into kindergarten this fall, the sudden realization that these slow-going, past-five-years actually have been careening by at mach-5 all along, or perhaps it’s because she so easily separated from me on Sunday. But whatever the reason, her absence has left a palpable void in our home and I miss her terribly! More

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