Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Today I want to give up.
Today I want to cry.
Today it seems like nothing I do or say to my kids ever makes any difference. 
Today I sound like my mom... I find myself saying the exact same phrases, using the exact same tone that she did when we were kids. 
Today I wish we didn't live in NYC, but anywhere else in the world where we could have a backyard and a room away from me where they can play and fight all they want, and I don't have to hear any of it.

The sad thing is, this has pretty much been my life everyday for a while now.  My kids have decided that they would now like to begin their days at 5:30 am.  5:30 AM!!!!!!!  That is with their window completely blacked out with cardboard and foil.  And I can't just make them stay in there because Bart is still asleep and they apparently don't understand what the words "be quiet so you don't wake up Bart" mean.  It is absolutely ridiculous.  Especially when they are both still so tired and all they do is whine and cry and fight until it's 7:00am, which is the designated TV time.  Some days are better than others, and they will sit quietly and read or play with their toys.  But many many days, it is only 9:30 am and I done. 

But then, it's usually time to head outside, and things usually go up from there.  So that's something, right?

It makes me sad, because I love being a mom, and I love my kids so much, and I truly love it here, but man, life right now is hard.  Pretty much everyday I find myself thinking "I have absolutely no idea what I am doing." and "I don't think I can do this anymore."  I am just hoping and praying that I don't completely screw my kids up from yelling at them or grabbing their arms a little more firmly than I probably should be.

And just so I don't end this post on a completely horrible note....

I am grateful that the bad is broken up with amazing bits of good and pure joy.
I am grateful that I don't have to do it alone.  I have an amazing husband, wonderful friends who are a daily support and example for me, and a loving Heavenly Father who is just waiting for me, all day, every day, to reach out and ask for help.  And when I do, it's usually still really hard, but I feel His love, and it helps. 
I am grateful for running, because I get to be by myself... among other things :)
I am grateful that my kids go to bed at 6:00 pm.

Sometime in the next couple days I'll do a post about how amazing my kids are to make myself feel better. ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

29 years

Happy Birthday to me!
I had an absolutely fantastic day yesterday.  Nate let me sleep in as long as I wanted, which was 9:30, by the way.  The best part was that I didn't even feel guilty about it.   I woke up to donuts, chocolate milk, juice and a card from a friend.  Lovely.  I'm such a sucker for donuts.  I gave myself permission to take the day off of working out, mostly due to the fact that my body was wasted, more than the fact that it was my birthday.  I headed off to Macy's to get some shoes.  Shopped around a bit.  Then headed up to 73rd and Columbus to the cutest little cafe that I have always wanted to eat at, but is not really kid friendly.  I sat outside, read my book, ate lunch, sipped an ice cold beverage.  It was wonderful.  When I got home, my neighbor called and offered to take my boys for me, so I sent them to her house and then spent the rest of the afternoon baking a cake and cupcakes for Asher's friend's birthday party that was this morning.  In the evening, Nate took me out to Oliva, a spanish restaurant on Houston St.  It was good.  After dinner we stopped at the Little Cupcake Bakeshop for some treats.  They were playing a bluegrass cd and Nate wanted to see what it was, so he asked the girl behind the counter what the cd was, and she looked at him like he was stupid and said "bluegrass".  Nate just nodded his head and said "oooohhh" like he had never heard of it before.  When I got home, I had to make some frosting and frost the cake so it could set up overnight.  Just as I finished up, my parents called.  It was nice to chat.  

It was a great day.  I felt loved and remembered.  That was nice, and made turning 29 that much sweeter.

If you forgot my birthday, don't fret.  You can just pop right over here and leave me a "birthday present" in the name of charity.  $1. $5. $10. $20. $50.  Whatever you can give. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A great day in the city

The week before we left for Cape Cod, the boys and I headed out on an adventure with some friends.  First stop was the Taste of Parks.  They had all of the vendors from around Central Park giving out free samples right outside the Central Park Zoo.  It was pretty delicious.  

From there we went straight to the zoo and watched the seals, the penguins, and then watched the polar bear swim back and forth about a hundred times.  It was great fun.  From there, we went over to the Children's Zoo and the kids had a blast running around on the spider web and feeding the goats.  

Finally, after prying them away, we headed out and walked north along the east side of the park for a bit, until we came to one of the most awesome parks we've been to in NYC.  Well, really it was just a really cool slide.  We were probably there for about 2 hours, and I kid you not, the kids did not stop going down that slide the entire time.  

Barty slept in the stroller.  Eventually, I dragged them away and we caught the cross-town bus and then the subway home.  It was one of my favorite NY days with the kids.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Let's keep going!!

Wow.  I am completely overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have donated to the cause of Muscular Dystrophy so far.  I have already surpassed my goal, but more importantly, a large donation has been made to this worthy cause.  I am so incredibly grateful to those of you who have already donated.  Just because my goal for the triathlon has been reached, doesn't mean that anyone has to miss out on the opportunity to give to this wonderful cause.  I know there are many of you who would still love to honor Timmy's memory, help fight against SMA and support those struggling with SMA, so don't let the fact that my goal has been reached stop you.   Lets keep going and see how much we can do!!  Remember, every little bit helps.  People giving $10 helped me to reach my goal-- no amount is too small, and no amount goes un-noticed.

Thank you all so much for your love and support!! 

Click here to help!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

An opportunity...

On August 7th, I will be jumpin' in the Hudson River off the 98th street pier, along with some three thousand other people, for the mile long swim that is the first leg of the New York City Triathlon.  

"Slather your body with vaseline" 

is the advice that I have received thus far, in response to me swimming in the disgusting water that is the Hudson River.  I figure if thousands of people do it every year, it can't be that harmful, right?  Let's hope so.  In the meantime, if you hear of something particularly nasty about the Hudson river, kindly keep it to yourself until after the race.  Or forever.  Thanks.

I actually have the incredible opportunity to race for a charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  I have known a few people with MD throughout my life, one of which is someone that I remember with great fondness and affection, who had an impact on me during his short life. 

I am doing this Triathlon in memory of Timothy Fegan.  

Timmy was born on February 27 1985, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of one, and was my neighbor.  I have very distinct memories of going over to Timmy's house to play or babysit.  Most of those memories usually involve him at some point, wheezing or coughing and me freaking out and asking him if he was ok, to which he would reply, in a rather annoyed and impatient voice "I'm fine!!"  It makes me laugh just thinking about it.  I always thought of Timmy as having a rather dry sense of humor, as well as having a pretty accepting attitude about his illness.  I had the opportunity to talk to his mom, Tricia, a couple weeks ago to find out a little more of what life was like living with this disease, for both her and Timothy.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) basically means that the nerve impulses that your brain sends to your muscles to grow and strengthen never actually make it to the muscles.  So Timothy really had no muscle tone and couldn't do much of anything for himself, including holding his head up, sitting up, rolling over, and he had a hard time moving his arms and legs around.  Tricia said that it was like taking care of a newborn, all the time.  She even had to wake up in the middle of the night to change his position to a more comfortable one.  SMA affects all muscle groups, so it also meant lots of respiratory problems, especially when he was sick with a cold, it was very hard for him to cough and clear out his lungs making it difficult for him to breathe.  He was in and out of hospitals quite often, which contributed to his not doing that great in school as his education was disrupted so much. 

Despite his shortcomings in school, Tricia says he was a bright kid with a great sense of humor.  She related a story that her father often tells about when he was babysitting Timmy.  
Timothy says: "Grandpa, I need a red crayon" 
"Ok," grandpa says, "just a minute."  Still no crayon.  Timothy asks for the crayon again and grandpa again asks him to wait just a minute.  
Finally, Timmy says: "Hey, grandpa, does your head hurt?"  
Grandpa says: "no".  
Then Timmy says while holding his fist in the air: "Well, it's gonna hurt if you don't get me that red crayon!!"

She also told me a story about Timothy looking out for his younger brother Sam, who was 6 years younger than him.  Sam was getting picked on by some older kids at a playground, so Timmy called him over and said:
"Sam, I'm gonna teach you karate"
Sam was all ears as he awaited his big brother's advice.
Timmy goes on: "You gotta kick your feet and go hai-YA!"
So apparently, he was also an expert in karate and taming bullies. ;)  Whether his advice was useful or not, it's clear that he loved his little brother, and wanted to do what he could to take care of him.

Timothy also enjoyed drawing and watching movies.  Some of his favorites included Free Willy (his headstone actually has the free willy whale on it), The Rocketeer, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park.  He loved to have visitors.  Tricia said that he wasn't always the most charming or gracious of hosts, but he did love it when people came over--his grandparents in-particular.  His bedroom overlooked the front porch and his bed was right by the window, so he could always see when people were coming and going.

He was enrolled in a special ed program at one of the local public elementary schools.  Tricia remembers going to visit and helping out in the classroom every once in a while, and it struck her that there were many kids that couldn't speak or communicate in anyway.  She got very emotional when she expressed how blessed she felt that at least Timmy had that--the ability to talk and express himself.

Tricia said that doctors told her that most kids with SMA don't live for very long, and my research showed that the majority die before the age of 2. Timothy lived to be 9 and 1/2 years old.  He passed away on October 1, 1994, when his lungs collapsed due to an obstructed airway.

When I asked Tricia what the hardest thing about being a mom to a boy with Muscular Dystrophy was, she said that it was feeling like no matter what you did, it would never be good enough.  She would never be able to change anything.  She wondered how it would be to be able to give part of herself and actually have it change the outcome of his life.  Even now, she says, she still thinks back and wonders if she could have or should have done something differently, or better. 

I for one, greatly admire Tricia for the time and energy and love that she devoted to Timmy.  I can't imagine the emotional and physical stress that she experienced on a daily basis, although it was not anything that I ever noticed.  I remember Tricia being very together and generally laid back about Timmy, letting kids play with him and push his wheelchair around at fast paces in the cultural hall at church.  The only thing I remember her being uptight about was when I would ride my bike over to their house and drop it on the walk-way, causing cracks in the cement. :)  Sorry Tricia and Craig!!   I saw for myself that despite being so limited physically, Timmy was a happy, fun boy, who had a mind and personality of his own, and family and friends that loved and adored him.  I'm grateful that I was able to know him and spend time with him.  I think his little voice, proclaiming, "I'm fine!!" will forever be ingrained in my mind.  To this day, it still makes me smile, as it is a great representation of how I remember his personality.

I am so happy to be able to share a little bit of Timmy's life with you and to have the opportunity to race in his memory.  I was very nervous about doing this, but it has ended up being a wonderful experience, to reach outside of myself and my family, to be a part of something a little bigger than me.  All of the money I raise will go to MDA, specifically for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  It will go towards research for treatments and cures, supplying families with needed equipment and support, or helping to send kids to a camp specifically designed with their needs in mind.   I need to raise $1000, and have $900 left to reach my goal.  Please take this opportunity to be a part of this cause, to make a difference in the lives of those who live with Muscular Dystrophy everyday.  Any amount that you feel you can give will make a difference. 

Click here to donate!!

Thank you so much for reading this post and for your support!  And thank you to Tricia and Craig for sharing more of Timothy's life with me and allowing me to share it with others!!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

4th of July

We had a wonderful 4th of July.  It started out with a picnic breakfast in Morningside Park with some families from the ward.  After some delicious fruit and crepes, we headed up a few blocks to 115th and Morningside, where a fire truck and ambulance parked and let the kids climb and sit inside.  My boys were in little boy heaven.  Asher probably took about 20 turns sitting in the fire truck.  The firemen were so nice and they even let Asher put on their fire hat.  It looked like it weighed about 20 lbs, so I can't believe he could actually lift it, but it made him so happy.  Sayer was scared to get in at first, (that is so him, always the cautious one until he feels comfortable, then he is good to go) but he eventually took a few turns as well.  But he made me take him back and forth between the 2 vehicles a bunch of times so he could get his fill until he was ready to jump in.  Eventually, the firetruck started it's engine, the kids grabbed their scooters and we all walked up a few blocks and back, for a little 4th of July parade.  When we got back to 115th, the fire truck hooked up to the hydrant and sprayed water for the kids to play in.  It was such a great morning, and such a great neighborhood experience.

Later in the afternoon, I met up with some friends at the 70th street pier on Hudson to stake out some spots for our families.  We got there around 4:30 and got a great spot.  Our family came around 6:45, and the fireworks started about 9:30.  It was a long time to be sitting on that pier.  Thankfully we had great company, beautiful weather, and awesome views.  The kids stayed entertained by watching the boats and airplanes and playing with each other... for 3 hours!  I thought they all did pretty well.

 It didn't take long for Bart to find the food

 Someone was supposed to be going to sleep.  He never did by the way.  He sat in his stroller pretty much the entire time, and barely made a sound.  I think he was tired and zoning.

 Gorgeous light when the sun was setting
 Some kind of water show that was going on before the fireworks
 The sun setting behind NJ

 Asher and his friends playing "baby wolf" or something like that
 The moms... proof that we were there :)
 Boats and the GW bridge in the distance
I thought all their little heads together were so cute

The fireworks were very impressive and we had a fantastic view.  The kids loved them at first, Asher was even heard shouting "this is the best. night. ever!"  All the adults got a kick out of it.  But towards the end they got scared.  When the show was over, it took us about an hour and a half to get home.  From the crowded Riverside park exits, to the ridiculously packed subways, there really wasn't much we could do about it.  Our kids were so tired.  Asher fell asleep on the seat on the subway.  I had started out standing next to him, but ended up getting pushed to the other side of the car from him.  When we got on, there wasn't enough room for Nate and Bart to squeeze in, so they caught the next train.  When it was time for me to get off, I had to ask someone to hand Asher to me because there was no way I could get to him.  Thankfully, everyone was really nice and helpful.  We made it home in one piece and the kids put themselves to bed at 11:45 or so.  Poor things.  But I will say that it was all worth it.  We had a very fun night, and it was worth all the effort.

 All the little kids look so cute!
 Barty was pretty into the fireworks.  According to Nate he was wow-ing and yay-ing the whole time.
 Waiting for the subway at the 72nd st station.  He was so tired he just couldn't stand. ;)

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th!!!

A summer Saturday

Summer so far has been so wonderful.  I honestly love this city.  There is always so much to do.  I don't pretend to even come close to doing it all... way too exhausting, but I am doing my best to get us out there to experience as much as possible.  The best thing about the city though, is even low key days are awesome.  On Saturday I had big plans to make it out to the Highline an Rainbow City down in Chelsea, but I just wasn't feelin' it.  So we stayed local and had a wonderful day.  

Later in the day, the kids and I headed down to the gardens and playground at St. John the Divine.  We saw the peacocks, climbed, played a little basketball (Asher got extremely excited every time he made it into the hoop), ran, and just enjoyed being outside in such a beautiful place.  

Later that evening, Nate and I went to see the play, The Normal Heart.  

It closes in a week or so and wanted to make sure I saw it.  The cast was absolutely amazing, and it was so exciting to see many of them live.  I'm not gonna lie, I was most excited to see Lee Pace, of Pushing Daisies.  Let me tell you ladies, he is just as tall, dark and handsome as you would imagine.  He wasn't a bad actor either. ;)  The play itself was actually a little much for me.  It started out light-hearted and funny.  Towards the end of the first half and basically all of the second half, it just got very angry.  So. Much. Yelling.  I'm not sure if it's the actual events that were frustrating or the way the story was told, but it was very victim-y, and it felt very much like they were trying to make every person in the audience have a very specific response, which I didn't like.  By the end, everyone around us was so somber and quiet, with many actually in tears.  It was a little much for me.  Like I said, it might be because I had certain opinions about the subject matter that made it hard for me to have that kind of response, but either way, I left feeling like it wasn't my favorite and I don't ever need to see that again, nor would I necessarily recommend seeing it.  It was, however, very interesting to learn about the outbreak of the AIDS "plague" as they called it in the play.  A lot of the facts were new to me and very interesting.  Anyway... I don't really want to get too into this because I have no desire to get into a debate about gay politics, so that is all I have to say about it.  No matter what, it was fun to have a night out with the hubs, and I always enjoy going to see a show.

Summering at the Cape

We had a marvelous time in Cape Cod with our little family (and Jillian ;).  It was all really last minute.  I was looking around on Craigslist and there was a last minute house rental special for the rest of June since no one had rented it yet.  It was the perfect size, price and location for us, and after I contacted the owners, it all fell perfectly into place.  Of course, I completely forgot to take a picture of the cute house, as well as our totally awesome gangsta' rental car.  It was one of these babies:
That's right, we were riding in style!

We left on Thursday afternoon with every spare inch of the car packed with clothes, food, carseats, kids, and whatever else we thought we could possibly need during our week away.  I can't describe how big of a pain it is to get out of the city when you don't own a car.  First Nate had to take the train and bus to Teaneck, NJ (over a hundred dollars cheaper than getting a car in the city) to get the car, then he had to drive it back.  Then we packed the car.  We don't have any carseats out here, so we piled in the car with Bart on my lap.  Thank goodness the back windows were seriously tinted.  Driving the 10 minutes to my friends apt to pick up the carseat felt like a lifetime with the kids crawling all over the place and touching everything.  Finally, with the kids strapped in their carseats, we were on our way.  We got in around midnight and went straight to bed to gear up for a week of beach fun.

Here is our trip in pictures...

First up, mini golf.  The kids were SO excited to do this.  It was super expensive, but I think it was worth it for the fun they had.

 Sayer's golfing was awesome.  He would basically put the ball right next to the hole, and then proceed to take about 4 or 5 shots to get it in.  Eventually he would just push the ball in with his club.
 Waiting patiently for the people in front of us to finish
 The obligatory picture of me, to prove I was actually there

The obligatory picture of Bart.  He seemed pretty bored in the stroller, but he was so good.  Not a peep from him the entire time.

I can't remember what this place was called, but it was sure pretty.
 We were going to go to the beach there, but it was pretty un-impressive, so after we had our fill of scenery, we headed to Seagull Beach.
 Seagull Beach.  This beach was about a mile away from the house, but it cost money, so it was a little bigger.  The kids loved it.  Asher made tons of friends that day.  He probably talked to the lifeguards for a total of an hour.  Asking them all kinds of questions I'm sure.  I wasn't over there with him, but they were really nice and talked to him and answered his questions and showed him stuff.  I made sure to thank them for being so nice to him.  I said he likes to talk, and they said, yeah, he likes to talk a lot!

 Bart was completely fearless at the beach.  He would just walk straight out to the water and walk in.  The water was a little cold, but not too unbearable.  There weren't really any waves, which I was sad about at first, but then I was really glad because it made it so much easier for the boys to swim.  And swim they did, whether it was warm or cold outside, they didn't care.

 Bart also loved to stand on the beach chairs.  Don't ask me why, but he spent a good portion of his times on the beach scaling the chairs and lounge.  Isn't he just a doll?!  He had lots of admirers at the beach.

Private Beach.  This was the private beach down the road from the house that we had access too.  It was actually really nice.  Very small, but really calm and shallow waters.  Not to mention beautiful homes to look at!
 Bart loved the water.  He would just sit there and splash and throw rocks for 20 minutes at a time.
 The boys made lots of friends on this day as well.  I was so impressed with how brave Sayer was.  I expected him to be too scared to swim, but he would just head on out there.
 On this particular day, Asher was standing on a fence by the beach houses and couldn't get down so he started calling for me.  Right before I reached him, he slipped backwards and hit his forehead right on the corner of a rock.  I was so worried that he was going to need another round of stitches, but it barely broke the skin, although it bled plenty.  Poor thing.  I was able to remain calm this time though, so that's progress. :)
 Jillian arrived on this day and met us at the beach.  The boys were so excited to have her there, and she was so great to play with them.

 The view from the beach
Look at those beautiful houses.  Not too shabby!

Dennis.  This was my favorite place in Cape Cod.  It was this cute little town with beautiful homes and parks and fun restaurants.  If we ever go back, that is where I want to stay.  This beach was a great beach too.  Nice and big.

 We discovered boogy boards in the garage of our house and brought them to the beach and the kids were in heaven.  They had been trying to steal other kids boards the previous days.
 Sayer said: "mom, I's like yours babing suit!" and then gave me the thumbs up.  Such a cute kid!  I actually bought a new swimsuit for this trip.  The process of buying it was made even sweeter due to the fact that I was able to buy it in the size I wanted to be wearing!!  Happiness.
 I loved this rock jetty, or whatever it's called.  I wish I could've stood on it and gotten a picture of the ocean.  This was one of the few beaches that wasn't a cove, but a huge span of ocean.
 Barty had no problems entertaining himself.  On this day, he did get super cranky.  He was so tired, not to mention covered in sand.  It made for one sad baby boy.

 Playing in the mud.  Doesn't get much better than that for little boys.

 I don't know what he was doing on the boogie board-- some sort of yoga/plank poses.
 This was a really cool area.  It was like a sandbar or tide pool area.  The water had gone out and there were lots of little crabs and fishes that the kids could pick up.  They loved it of course.  I love this picture of Sayer in his hat. It reminds me of my dad and how he sometimes wears his hats just barely touching the top of his head.  He looks like a little truck driver.

 Bart-- wet, sandy, licorice faced... it wasn't long after this picture that he started to lose it and Nate too him to get showered and change.  He was done.  I love his belly in this picture.
We had seen this really cool playground on the way to the beach, so we decided to go there after the beach.  It was in such a pretty area and had really cool things to play on.  The kids had a blast.  Right after this we walked down to the ice cream parlor and had some of the best ice cream I've ever had in my life.  I think it was called french raspberry truffle.  mmmmmm... it was SO good!

Provincetown.  Otherwise known as P-town.  We drove about an hour to get there, and despite Jillian having to hold Asher on her lap the entire time (again, thank goodness for those tinted windows) we were not sorry that we did.
 First stop was the Lobster Pot.  It was delicious.  An older couple on their way out stopped to admire our adorable children and to say how well behaved they were.  Ha!  I had to tell them that our secret was that they were actually watching Kipper on Nate's iphone.  But, happy and well behaved they were.  And they ate all their food, which is always a bonus.  Bart stayed happy with crackers and bread before I fed him his lunch and left to put him to sleep in the stroller.  On my walk to put him down, I was able to pop into some stores and get some christmas ornaments to remember our trip by.
  I am not a huge lobster girl, so I played it safe with the lobster ravioli, but Jill and Nate went all out, bibs and all!

 After lunch we decided to hit up another playground, which the kids loved.  To be honest, we were waiting for it to get a little later so that we wouldn't have to pay to go to the beach.  How cheap are we?!

 After the playground, we went to the National Sea Shore visitor's center which was actually really cool.  Beautiful views, a cool movie and lots of fun books for the kids to peruse.  We finished up there around 5pm and headed straight to the beach.
 This was one of my favorite beach times.  There was practically no one there, the sun was setting, it wasn't too hot, the boys were having a blast,
 It was beautiful,

 and I got this adorable picture...
 Bart in his diaper, sitting next to his dad, playing with rocks and water.  I think they sat like that for about 30 minutes.  It was such a precious sight.
 and then he made his way back up to me and Jill, saggy diaper and all.
 Taking a little break for some Trader Joe's cereal bars.  Love those!  I think we went through about 5 boxes during the week.

 Again, the token picture of me.
I think we would have stayed here a lot longer, but the kids were getting really hungry so we had to head out.  It was so beautiful and peaceful though.  We went to the grocery store, got some dinner, took it back to the playground for a picnic, then piled in the car to head back home.  We got back really late and the kids went right to sleep.  It was the perfect last day.

The next morning we packed up and left around 10am.  It was a long drive home, and it took the kids a couple of days to get over their sleep deprivation, but it was all worth it.  A week full of beach days and absolutely perfect weather was just what our family needed. 

Adventures that were not pictured include Nate taking the boys to Cars 2, which he was disappointed with, but the boys had fun seeing their first movie in the theaters.  Nate says he thinks their favorite part was the popcorn and lemonade.  Not surprising.  I think he took them on Sunday.  I stayed home with Bart that day and read an entire book from start to finish.  It was nice!

Also not pictured are our fun-filled evenings, which consisted of a lot of reading (I read 3 books), 
Ok, so I guess we have this one picture of me reading.
movies, brownies and ice cream, and my personal favorite, Tosh.0.  A tad on the crude and inappropriate side, but man, I laugh so hard at that show.