Monthly Archives: July 2014

And This is Goodbye

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This blog has been so many things to me over the last 5+ years.

It has been a place to share our struggles, our triumphs, our challenges and our family’s silly stories. It has been a way to find and connect with people in the same place in their lives so that we could share our experiences and learn from each other. It has been a very important and valuable pillar of “my village” to help navigate this crazy roller coaster of parenting.

It has been fun. It has been frustrating. It has been informative and cathartic and inspiring.

It’s quite obvious that the last few months have been a slow decline to a different type of blogging and likely the beginning of a spiral that ends with not blogging at all. “Ending” the blog as been a decision I have put off many times, because there is a big part of me that loves to write, loves to read this type of writing from others and gets a lot of value out of the process of sharing and engaging with readers.

But in the end, I know in my heart that the right answer is that all good things have to come to an end, and now is the time for this good thing. It all boils down to three main reasons:

  1. The stories I want to tell don’t really feel like MY stories to tell anymore. When trying to get pregnant and throughout my pregnancies, the stories I told were mine. All mine. In the infant stages for both boys they were still 99% mine, as they were about how parenting had changed ME and the things that I thought about and how I dealt with them. But now that Owen is getting older, the stories are less about me and more about him, and little by little it doesn’t feel right to be sharing things with such a wide audience that he might not want shared one day.

    In addition, as we enter the murky waters of deciphering if any of Owen’s behaviors are rooted in a more serious disorder (something I so wish I could write more about so I can work through my own thoughts and feelings and also get help from others who have gone through the same process), I am paralyzed by the fear of what those shrouded by the anonymity of the internet will say. And how someday, in some way, it could likely come back to Owen in his real life in a way I’m not comfortable with. As much as I wish I could go through this next phase of my parenting journey “learning out loud” and sharing my experiences, I don’t owe it to anyone to be the guinea pig or the spokeswoman for these issues, and I can clearly see how that could do harm to Owen down the road. And who knows what Emmett’s story will hold. Whereas I could take the criticism in the past of my own actions in the past, I’m not willing to put my children in the same position to read hurtful and inaccurate comments about themselves at some point in the future.

    Speaking of hurtful and inaccurate comments…

  1. While I have always recognized that “putting myself out there” was opening myself up to criticism, I honestly hadn’t realized until recently just how crazy and ugly and obsessive and false that criticism could be. Sure, I watch E! news and see filthy stories about celebs displayed all over the media, but I never considered that someone would single me out as a focus for their rage. I’m just a person with a normal, busy life who posts pictures and some journal-y blog posts on the internet to connect with people. Though I know I’ve touched on some hot-button parenting issues and never expected everyone to agree with me all the time, I also certainly never expected to be on the receiving end of hate-filled rants, personal tirades and completely inaccurate claims about my marriage and my relationship with my children.

    Clearly I was too naive.

    I have been struggling with allowing these ridiculous comments to be part of my decision to stop blogging, because it kills me to let mean words from complete strangers “win”. But when it comes down to it, I’m writing this blog for me and my family. And when it doesn’t make me and my family feel good anymore? It’s not worth doing. And, frankly, those horrible claims and nasty words say far more about the writers than they do about me. I have a real life brimming with love, two amazing kids who I adore, a satisfying and growing career and a strong relationship with my best friend and parenting partner. It doesn’t get much better than that.I’m certain I got the better deal here, despite what you may read on the internet about me.

  2. Time. Time is short, my friends. My kids are changing before my eyes. Our weeks are already impacted by the hours that Benjamin and I are at work, and as work ramps up for me with no signs up stopping, having one less thing that I feel like I need to do in front of the computer can make a huge difference. As much as I value this space; this isn’t real life. I’m anxious to spend more time writing snail mail and having drinks with friends and making phone calls to people I haven’t talked to in a while than sitting in front of a computer screen writing to nobody, really. Cliche but true.

So as Emmett turns 1 today it feels like a perfect time to say “Goodbye” to you, and “Hello” to our next chapter as a family of two walking, talking, climbing, squealing, hilarious boys who are busy creating stories of their own that aren’t mine to tell.

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I’ll still write them letters as they grow, and maybe even continue to keep a journal of our happy, beach-filled summer days and silly stories. But it will be just for us.

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Thank you to those who have read, commented, emailed, tweeted and otherwise supported me and our family throughout the last 5 1/2 years, both virtually and beyond. You have been a very important part of our lives.

Run, Kate, Run

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I’ve always dreamed of one of those people who likes running. Who is good at running. Who says, Oh, I’m just going for a run offhandedly, like it’s no big thang.

The truth is, I’m not. And frankly, it’s not a high enough priority for me to actually take the time and energy needed to work on it….which is probably why I’m not the person I described in the first paragraph. Duh.

Despite running not being my jam, I exercise somewhat regularly (some weeks are better than others!), I’m strong and I’m proud of myself for fitting in what I do. A few months ago someone in my office invited my colleagues and I to join our company’s team at the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. It’s a 3.5 mile race in downtown Boston on a summer evening — a beautiful route from the public gardens to Fenway Park. Even though there was a negative, doubting voice in my head that said, “Bah! You’re not a runner”, I signed up.

And then I ran it.

My first race.

With 12,000 of my closest friends.

My goal was to finish with 10 minute miles or less (no speed demon here; but what I lack in speed I make up for in determination). By sticking with a younger, slightly speedier friend, I was able to run farther and faster than I ever had before!

#proud

I may never be a runner, or brag about my mileage or my speed, but I went out and did it. And it felt good.

She Says… Vacay 2014

Ahhh, home. It’s good to be home.

No matter how much fun we have while we’re away… it’s always good to be home.

We skedaddled for a little vacay last week! I went from full throttle work to full throttle “closing the computer and leaving the phone turned off”. Didn’t think once about blogging or checking Facebook or anything more than a cursory glance at my personal inbox. Barely even Instagrammed or Tweeted, which is kind of unlike me.

It was, in a word, freeing. And relaxing. And fun. (Ok, that was 3 words). Not that my vacation couldn’t have been all of those things WITH the computer/phone connection, of course. I’m not one of the “you have to get rid of your phone in order to enjoy life” types of people; there’s a time and a place for all types of social interaction. But it did remove an element of “oh, I have to just do this one thing” from my day, and it felt good.

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The boys’ school is closed every year for the week of July 4th, so it has become our annual family vacation week. Since we’re still very much in the throes of scheduling our days around kids’ needs (naps, meals, snacks, bedtimes), I find it more comfortable to “vacation” somewhere that feels like home rather than an exotic locale where we’ll all be sleeping in the same hotel room or something equally as inconvenient.

And nothing feels more like home than… my sister’s home! As I’ve mentioned in the past, my 3 siblings and mom all live in the Delaware/Philly area, and my Dad still lives in Baltimore, where I grew up. I’m the only one who flew the coop to come up north, so all it takes for a real family reunion is for me to say, “We’re coming to visit!”. And that’s exactly what happened.

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It was a COUSIN PARTY.

– 6 kids under the age of 7
– 5 days
under 1 roof

To say that we need a vacation from our vacation is an understatement. But it was a blast!

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The last time the bigger cousins saw Emmett, he was only 2 months old or so (for my little sister’s wedding last summer). This time they kept saying, “Can I hold him in my lap on the couch?” and I’d have to remind them that he’s in charge now. And he doesn’t sit for very long in anyone’s lap. He’s toddling and cruising everywhere… even despite all of the cousins picking him up, knocking him down and otherwise impeding his wobbly steps.

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Our week was chock full of playtime, playtime and more playtime. We took 1 field trip to a nearby potato chip factory (fun!), and 1 day trip down to Baltimore to see one of my dearest friends, but other than that we stuck around my sister’s house and ate and played and ate and played and ate and played some more. It takes a lot of carseats to get a group of this many people out the door!

Biggest perk of vacationing there? THE POOL.

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Benjamin took an underwater camera and captured some awesome footage of our little fishies. I’ll share that once it is edited.

Thanks to following his big cousins around, Owen learned how to hold his breath underwater and REALLY SWIM! We just started swim lessons before vacation and when we went back on Monday his teacher said we need to move him up a level or two because he can actually swim. What a difference a week makes! Perhaps he WILL be the next Michael Phelps.

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This year marked the very 1st 4th of July when we let Owen stay awake for the firework festivities. I was nervous about how he would react to a bedtime several hours later than normal, and the loud noises and unpredictability of the fireworks themselves (as one gets after having a “spirited” child for nearly 4 years!), but as it turned out, he impressed me yet again.

He stayed awake, acted like an angel waiting for fireworks, was mesmerized by the display of lights (and shielded from the noise by Aunt Kim’s magical headphones — GENIUS) and went right to bed when we got home.

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Thankfully my sister’s husband offered to stay home so Emmett could sleep right through the excitement. Hallelujah.

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As if staying up for fireworks wasn’t enough for one day, we also went to a parade! Again, the headphones were key for the sensory sensitive.

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It was also the first year I felt comfortable with handing my wild child a lit, burning stick.

Once again, it went fine. Better than fine. It was fantastic.

Pajamas + glow sticks + sparklers + fireworks = best night ever.

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We capped off the almost week-long festivities with our annual crab feast to honor our Baltimore roots. If you’ve never had Baltimore crabs… you’re missing out.

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Even Emmett thinks so.

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We may have been pushing our luck on this one, but we closed out the crab feast with post-dinner swimming (when it’s usually bath time), s’mores and setting off fireworks of our own right in the back yard (aka another very late night). Once again, I was thankful to be able to put Emmett to sleep so he never knew what he was missing, and I could enjoy the fun without a squirmy baby in my arms.

 

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It was a week of firsts, especially for Owen.

  • First time swimming underwater and coming up for air in between
  • First time staying up super late and partying with the big kids
  • First time having s’mores (we found gluten free graham crackers!)
  • First time seeing fireworks
  • First time doing sparklers
  • First time LIGHTING fireworks
  • And many, many more memories

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It was a very happy and full week. But nothing like a trip away to make you appreciate being home.

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