September 30, 2014


When I was 13 I had a master plan on how I could become popular. Step one was to ditch a friend whom we thought was holding us back. To this day, it was the meanest thing I have ever done and I regret it still 26 years later. Step two was to become a cheerleader. I am proud that I actually followed through with the tryouts but I am clearly not cheerleader material. The facts are I was VERY quiet and shy and I looked like this, so popularity was no where in my future.

When I think about raising girls, there are so many things I want them to know. I want them to be true to who they are. They will find friends who love them and in those friends they will belong. Do what inspires you and like minded people will be drawn to you. Being brave isn't about doing what everyone else is doing. It's about listening to that internal voice and doing what is right for you.

I was lucky. I had good friends. Really good friends who would look out for me and who supported me. I was in the marching band, and in those 'geeks' I found my home. A place I loved to be. A place that didn't try and change who I was.

I don't know how to teach these lessons to my girls. They are a little young for the "choose a boy to love because he brings out the best in you" speech but I know when they are old enough to hear it, they won't want to hear it from me. Moms are enemy number one to a teenage girl.

More than anything, I want them to be kind. I want them to know that they are beautiful down to their souls because their hearts are open.

September 28, 2014


Even though I was married very young, I still spent a lot of time by myself. My husband was either going to school while working nights and weekends or working jobs with odd hours or busting his butt in law school. Before kids, I loved wandering around by myself. Depending on where we were living, I could be found perusing the shops on Newbury Street, hiking in the hills of LA, wandering around small town America, or riding my bike on the Mohawk-Hudson bike path. After kids, I don't get a lot of time for me.

When I planned to take a weekend for me, my husband couldn't figure out why I didn't want to go with someone else. My best explanation was that I wanted to do what I wanted, when I wanted, without having to think about anyone else. And I've done just that.

I took a lovely hike, wandered the gardens at Edith Wharton's house, people watched at the local Apple Squeeze festival, saw a movie, walked around the trails behind the inn, drove around aimlessly enjoying the beauty of where I am and read a lot. My bucket is full.

No one can understand just how hard my buddy has been lately and how exhausting it is to be around him all day. You walk on egg shells never knowing if an outing would go smoothly. Every moment you assess his mood trying to avoid the melt downs. Until yesterday, I don't think even my husband quite got it.

So now I leave this sanctuary, feeling refreshed, and head home to give my husband a break for the afternoon.

I did learn one thing - while I enjoy taking pictures of lovely places, I'd much rather take pictures of lovely people.

September 22, 2014


I want to be that person who wouldn't change a thing about her kids. But, let's face it, that's not reality of life with my buddy. I love him so very much but I wish things were different. He's in another rough place between back to school and having a cold. His behavior is beyond what I am capable of handling right now. He is out of control and I can't help him.

We are mostly home bodies but we love a Fun Family Outing. At this moment in our life, there is no way my buddy could handle a fall fair, truck show or playground grand opening. He couldn't even handle a trip to Target. I will spare you the details but I left with my ears ringing from the screaming and my arms bright red from being slapped over and over. He is just about as strong as me and I know things need to change very soon. 

The good news is that the behaviorist comes to school tomorrow and I will meet with her then as well. And she will come and do a home visit, which I can hopefully arrange soon. I have confidence that he will go back to himself once he feels comfortable at school and more in control of his life. 

Today I am grateful to send him to school and I took rara to our happy place to decompress.

She calls this statue "Teddy" (her name for big sis) and chats her up every time.


September 17, 2014


All the kids are down with a nasty cold. So far it's just a cold, but we are searching for any signs of scary super virus. This particular cold has a fair amount of junk hanging out in little chests making them feel like they are choking at night when they are trying to sleep. Each time a little one wakes up - usually crying, coughing and muttering nonsense - I climb into their bed and wrap my arms around them. Just the act of holding them close to my body instantly soothes them. As they drift back into sleep and I listen to the steady hum of their breath (and gurgle in their chest), I marvel how they used to fit in my belly. Then my mind drifts to the future. Some day they will be grown and I won't know about every little cold or cough they have. As tiring and filled with worry as these days can be, I know they are numbered. So I will spend the night lulling them back to sleep and the days playing quietly in the house until the coughing stops, and regular life resumes.

September 9, 2014


This hasn't been the best time for my buddy and therefore for me. After an incident at school where he lost his marbles and ended up hitting and kicking his Special Ed teacher and demolishing the kitchen center, I've talked to a few of his teachers and have learned that the past two weeks haven't been that great for my buddy. He won't participate in group activities - he doesn't even want to sit at the table with the other kids doing morning work. He chooses to work at a separate table by himself. He's more aggressive than he was last year. And on and on.

I know that change and transition is very difficult for my buddy. I understand that for him, school is a place where he has to follow rules and do what others expect of him for 7 hours. I love that my buddy is who he is regardless of the setting or who is around. Of course, that means he'll throw a fit at school and refuse to listen to his teachers. School is stepping it up - mapping out his hard times of day and trying to see a pattern, hiring a behaviorist that specializes in Down syndrome, looking into a sensory diet and brainstorming with me on ways to help him.

For me, what it comes down to is just another slap in the face of how I don't understand him. I can't even begin to understand how he feels when he is at school. Obviously, he isn't thrilled. It also brings up the second guessing - if only I did x,y and z at home then he would be better at school. What kind of parent has a child who pushes other children and hits teachers?

I also started watching a show called The Specials which follows a group of intellectually disabled young adults. While the show is great and it helps me envision what my buddy might be like as he grows, it also reinforces the feeling that I will never really understand him. How can I begin to relate to what his life will be like or how he will think and feel when it is so foreign to me? I find myself feeling sad - I didn't choose this and the hard parts are just so hard. Fortunately, these feelings always pass. My buddy will adjust. Life will go on.

September 8, 2014


One day, our daily routine will be just a memory. The everyday of this age will be forgotten. I know I can't remember it all, but with the help of my photos, I can remember so much more.

A quiet Saturday:

6:15am cartoons

7:00am breakfast

7:45am yoga

9:00am Mommy's Home!!!

10:15am fresh air vrooming while rara enjoys Daddy time at the library

11:00am fun on the stairs

12:10pm nap time

1:50pm fun in the girl's room

2:45pm last warm summer-like days

4:45pm quiet play while Mommy makes dinner

5:50pm play with Daddy

6:30pm half a movie then bed

Not to misrepresent our life, but I choose to remember the fun happy moments - not when everyone is whining and crying and fighting. I have very few pictures with all the kids playing nicely together because it just doesn't happen that often. In our house, 3 is the magic number for things going badly. I prefer to focus on the good.

September 2, 2014

little things

For some reason, I can handle the big things. But those little things. They really get to me. My buddy is the Star of the Week at school. I'm excited that he was chosen first and I think his teacher does an amazing job of involving him as well as making the other kids excited that he is their classmate. But at the same time, I hate it.

There were a series of questions that he came home with Friday for us to answer together and send into school along with some mementos, photos etc. The questions were easy... if you are a typical kid. Favorite color, food, hobby, family members, pets, favorite place to visit, friends, what you want to be when you grow up, etc.

First off, my buddy can't answer an open ended question. Secondly, I don't know who his friends are at school or if he has any. Thirdly, what he is going to be when he grows up worries me constantly. Fourthish his only hobby is playing Angry Birds on the iPad.

So big sis and I came up with some choices for each answer and asked him to choose one. Sometimes he did and sometimes he didn't. I reviewed the answers with him before school and sent in a Signing Time DVD - I figure he can sign better than any kid in his class!

Today he refused to walk to the gym for parent pick-up which turned out to be a good thing. I was able to see his teacher who told me he loved being Star of the Week and was great in front of the class talking the best he could and pantomiming the rest. The whole class watched the DVD and she wants to keep it for a few weeks so they can watch it again and make sure they learned some of the signs.

I was feeling better, relieved that he participated the best he could and not feeling like a parent failure that I actually put down his hobby was playing Angry Birds. Then I got the daily email that goes out to all the parents of his classmates and saw that all of my buddy's answers were included in it. Great.

Keepin' it real: in the rocking chair, feet up, lapdesk on, playing some Angry Birds.

In other news, the hubby will be gone more of September than he will be home, but he cut out of work early today for a little surprise quality time. The way she looks at him melts my heart. And the way she says, "No, Daddy do," if I try and do anything for her when he is home.

Big sis has been reluctant to do art projects lately. But when she gets her creative juices flowing awesome things always result.