Meet the new love of my life.  A vintage metal shop chair.  She’s perty huh?

Please excuse the cabinets that are under construction–and missing the counter top which will be joining us in March.

My husband had a look of horror when it arrived.  He said he would not even sit in it.  He still thinks that I am playing a joke on him and that I am going to sand it down and paint it.  Our housekeeper, Bonnie, said, “You bought that?  It looks like something you pulled out of the trash!” when I instructed her that she was NOT to scrape all of the paint splatter off of it.

If you didn’t know, we are remodeling the kitchen–well everything.  But she will live in the kitchen.  My inspiration is farmhouse-industrial-fabulous.  And I love this stool because it embodies that feel–to me anyhow.

This store has so many stories.  Scott would say that it tells the story of a messy painter.  But I love those splatters.

The green drips remind me of a time long ago when I had finally ended an abusive relationship.  I was living in FL and was longing to do something drastic.  On a whim, I went and had a gallon of very, very green paint mixed up and painted my kitchen.  I called it “justice green” as my ex was finally being held accountable by the law.  Anyhow, the color turned out to be awful.  But it felt so good to paint those walls something completely different from what they’d been.  And they were the visual embodiment of the thirst for change I had quenched.

The red drips remind me of a bedroom that I painted red.  On another whim, of course.  I was in a red phase.  I was angry with the world.   The red was so red, and I really think it fed my anger and I ended up repainting it shortly after.  It was already a firey time of my life and I kept on seeing hot red when I really needed to be seeing a cool blue.

Back to my stool.

I don’t just love it because it is splattered with paint.

I love it because it has withstood the test of time.  You have to admire anything that does that in this world.  It managed to escape being dumped in a landfill or sold and melted down into something else.  My chair is a trooper and a survivor.

I am sure this chair has lived in many different places and served many different purposes.  Like me, ahem.  I picture it being passed down through a family–from some 1940’a workshop to a pair of newlyweds, given to a sister to help furnish her new apartment, back to the newlyweds ten years later and used by their children to anchor a blanket fort, moved to the garage as a seat at a worktable.

Eventually, she was sold for $1 at yard sale to some person meaning to refinish her.  But she just sat there and was subjected to a leaky roof which caused her to rust a little–okay a lot.  Thankfully, someone recognized her sturdy beauty and rescued her curbside, from the waste haulers.  She sold her to me for $75.

My girl has been around the block.  Sure she is covered in patina and paint splatters.  But her imperfections make her all the more beautiful to me.  She has only just begun telling stories as I am a very messy painter…and I paint things…often.  She is strong and substantial and will be a reminder of the little things that might, otherwise, be forgotten.


thought policing

Scott had one of those down in the dumps days today.  He was feeling blue and out of sorts.  As such, he was feeling frustrated with the kids, the dog, me, and I’m sure himself.  He made a comment that he was feeling upset about Evelyn.

Alarms sounded in my head.  My heart started skipping beats.  And I got that sinking butterfly wings beating furiously deep down in my gut.

I have this problem with people having anything but 110% positive about Evie.  Especially my husband.

I can’t stand the thought that someone would think, for a moment, that her disabilities have any negative influence on her propensity to be happy and whole.

I can’t even articulate the extent to which this penetrates my soul.

I don’t allow myself these thoughts.  And selfishly, I don’t allow the people close to Evelyn to express them in my presence without going to the moon and back to discredit their feelings–out loud and in my head.

I tell them, I tell myself, that they have a problem.  A big one.  How could anyone not recognize that Evelyn’s life is beautiful every moment of every day?

I was sitting here thinking about how I could convince Scott to think like I think.  He doesn’t call me the prosecutor for nothing.  And I started thinking about how I must win this argument.  Every single time.  I am relentless.

I’ve convinced myself that my way is the right way to feel.  And that no moment of doubt is acceptable for anyone else.  Not ever.  Evie is happy and that is all that counts.  End of story.  Scott’s flawed thinking that Evie will feel frustrated sometimes because she cannot speak like most of the population must be anihalated.

Somehow, I started thinking that maybe I am the one that has the problem.  You see, I almost never let negative thoughts creep into my head when it comes to Evie’s disabilities.  At first I told myself that it is because I am so evolved that I simply don’t have them.  But I couldn’t sell it to myself.

I wonder where my thoughts go?  The ones that I don’t let myself have.  I guess I bury them way deep down in the pit of my stomach and they only threaten to rise up when someone else gives them words.  Maybe somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I have told myself that it would be unfair to Evie to ever express a moment of doubt that she is, indeed, the happiest person on the planet.  That her disabilities do not matter.  Not in the least.

So maybe when I fight so hard against Scott’s fears, I am really fighting against my own.

And maybe, just maybe, there are times when I am doing Evie a disservice by not allowing myself to think the hard thoughts.

Maybe I’ve built this super defense mechanism that is damaging the people that I care about.  Damging myself.

Don’t get me wrong.  For the most part, I am super duper right when it comes to keeping everything in perspective.  To  thinking positively.  And really, not allowing anyone to entertain doubts and negative thoughts for too long.

But maybe, just once in a while, I should allow people–allow myself a moment to be human.  A moment to acknowledge Evie’s unique challenges without treating it like an attack on her happiness and going into warrior mode.

While there are some thoughts that need to be quashed without hesitation, there are others that should be considered in effort to enhance Evie’s happiness.  And while I might not be able to speak them, maybe I need to learn to make room for others to do so.  And maybe I need to give them the occasional space to roll around in my consciousness and feel their weightiness before I shove them into the underbelly of my mind.


But maybe not.



choice words

Maxine has some stuff going on with her speech–probably some sort of motor planning issue.  Anyhow she is working with a speech therapist and is coming along really well.  But I am not writing to talk about speech therapy.

I am writing to confess that I secretly love her irregular speech patterns.

I love that for some reason, she calls ice cream, “B.”  Yes, B.  Just B.  And shhhhh…but Scott and I have taken to calling it B as well.  I’m sure that is detrimental to her speech development on some level but hey, cute is cute.

I love the way “ham” sounds when she says it.  “Hem” She says it often because she loves it.  It makes me smile everytime.

And then there is, “hayah.”  Hair of course.  Loves it!

And now for the shocking part.  I may let an occasional shit or f-bomb slide out.  Yes, it happens in front of my kids.  And okay, I have made little effort to filter.  In all honesty, I would rather the girls use these words than many others that flow freely from the mouths of children–dumb, stupid, hate, you get the picture.

Anyhow, so Maxine may or may not have started repeating some of these choice words.  “Dit!”  and “Uck!”  What?  I’m clumsy and I stub my toes, bump into shit things, and otherwise do bodily harm to myself.  Often.  And the words just slip out.  And Maxine is sort of impressed with the passion with which they are articulated.  So she mimics from time to time.  Allegedly, of course.  Ahem.

Today she started to sit on her potty and sort of missed.  “Dit!” And then she looked at me, proudly maybe?  Like, “hey mom, I used your favorite word in context for the first time!”

Eep!  I really don’t have the problem with using words like this.  But I don’t want to offend other people since I am sure she won’t censor when in the company of those that would not be amused.  So, I am trying to find replacement words to encourage her to use instead of my two favorites.  Somehow, “oops” and “ouch!” just don’t have the same ringing satisfaction as a good old fashion eff or shit.  The things I sacrifice for my kids…..


It is birthday babble

“To Gillian on her 37th Birthday”  ‘memba that movie?  It keeps popping into my head because I turn 37 today.  It came out about 15 years ago, I think.  I remember thinking how positively ancient 37 sounded.  And here I am.  37.  Married, stay at home mom to two kids, a mortgage, a dog, a cat.

My early twenties self would scoff at my 37 year old self.  I had no intention of ever getting married–buying into that silly piece of paper that shackled two people together.  Bringing children into a world full of suffering, poverty, war, and unhappiness?  Selfish and irresponsible.

It is funny that I was in the twilight of selfishness at that point in my life.  I thought of little more than designer clothing, partying, and falling in and out of love with all the wrong men.  I know that I didn’t have a concept of how to really care about another human being in a meaningful way.

I used to want life to speed up, to get on to the next moment that held all the promise of being better than the last.  Now, I would give anything for life to slow down–to be able to savor these delicious moments spent loving my family.  How could any moment be sweeter the one spent cuddling my girls, watching Evie’s face light up, or seeing Maxine learn something new?  I find myself fighting my tendency to mourn the passing of time and the death of each precious moment.

My twenty something self wasn’t wrong in a lot of ways.  The world continues to be the home of so much sadness.  And yeah, it probably is selfish in some ways to bring kids into the world.  But with the passing of the years, I’ve been able to see beauty and hope in even the darkest moments.  I’ve learned to go looking for light and promise.  And I’ve learned that alongside the horror and darkness, it is always there, waiting to be discovered and worn as a protective shield around my heart.

I’m not so evolved that I don’t get angry or judgmental.  But my hard edges have softened and have given way to a more malleable me.  I’ve chilled.  A lot.  I’m sure that I owe a shout out to my good friend Paxil.  But I’ve also put in the hard work to become a person that I’m proud of on most days.

It is really hard to be good.  To swallow my pride often.  To forgive–usually myself.  To go easy on other people.  And to look for that thread of goodness that is always woven into the tapestry of life.

Good god, I’ve become a cheesy sentimentalist.  But in becoming so, I’ve opened the door to real honest to goodness love and unimaginable happiness.  I’m a work in progress capable of smiling with context.  And as I nurture my spirit, I try not to think about whether or not I will have another 37 years to marvel at the evolution of myself.  And I try to let each moment be fulfilling and enough.

Mae Mae the Great

Meet Mae Mae.

So much resting on these golden little shoulders.

First of all, sigh….I can’t even handle her cuteness.  Seriously.

It’s been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to go gaga for a dog.  For those of you who know me, you know that I used to have three dogs.  Three, yes, three.  When I was 5 months pregnant with Evie, my dog, Aristotle got sick.  He was only 4 years old.  He had an acquired shunt in his liver and they couldn’t do anything about it.

I hauled his little butt all the way down to Angel Memorial in Boston for a second opinion.  The second opinion was, unfortunately, that the guy in Vermont actually trained the people at Angel Memorial and wrote the book on the subject.  The really awful book.  Suck.

So I ended up trying to give him the very best last few days of his life–to let him go out guns blazing.  And when it was clear his guns weren’t blazing anymore, it was really clear.  I bargained, begged, and pleaded with a god I didn’t even believe in for him to be healthy.  And I took him to the vet in the middle of the night and held him as they euthanized him.

I didn’t take the moment alone with his body that they offered.  I just turned and left.  And I cried, and I cried, and I cried.  And in my head I knew I would never be able to be happy again.  My husband had the foresight to put away his pictures and his things.  And I instructed him to call anyone that might be tempted to mention his name, not to.  Not to offer sympathy.  No.  I couldn’t handle the mention of him.  He was already occupying my every thought.

As it turns out, I could be happy again.  But I am not being dramatic when I say that something changed inside of me and I emotionally withdrew from my other two dogs, Molson and Jacob.  Slightly, but I did.  It is amazing how we instinctively protect our organs–including the emotional barriers we put around our hearts.

So back to Mae Mae.  She reminds me of Aristotle in looks.  So, so much.  There is a good five years to cushion the pain but my heart still hurts a little when I catch a glimpse of him in her.  But I also remember how much joy there is in loving a dog.  And I want that joy for my children.  And for myself, again.

I have lofty hopes for Mae Mae.  Not only that my heart will finally mend from the loss of my Aristotle.  But that she will become Evie’s service dog.

We are going about things unconventionally.  Of course, that’s how we roll here.  We are raising her and training her ourselves rather than waiting for years on a waiting list to get a service dog.  Of course, this means Mae Mae won’t necessarily have the stuff it takes to become a service dog.  And we are totally okay with that as she is already a lovely part of our family.

Maxine is borderline obsessed with Mae Mae.  As in, individually feeding her each kernel of dog food.  As in, holding her little fluffer head and bending down to kiss her.  Heart melts.  As in, laughing hysterically and pointing at just about everything Mae Mae does.  She is not so fond of the puppy nipping and scratching but we are working on that.  Maxine has been saying “don’t bite” CONSTANTLY and over and over again.  Even when Mae Mae is tucked behind the chair taking a noozer.

So little Mae Mae is settling in so nicely and nudging her little way into our hearts.  There’s just something so magical about having a puppy and watching my girls with her is more fun than I could have ever imagined.  Welcome Mae Mae!


Maddie, Emily, and Evvoon

I’ve been wanting to blog something so meaningful to me for a while.  Evie doesn’t bring home pictures she has drawn from school.  She doesn’t tell me about her day.  But about a month ago, this card from Maddie came home in Evie’s folder.  Call me sentimental but I will cherish this until the day I die.

This tells me everything about what Evie is doing at school. She is connecting with people. She is making friends.  She is learning the very best thing there is to learn.

I’ve underestimated my child and I’ve underestimated her peers.  I’ve never been so beautifully and wonderfully wrong in all of my life.

You see, we love Evie so very much.  But I was too afraid to hope that her young classmates would be able to see past her disabilities.  I couldn’t imagine them putting in an effort to try to connect with Evie when Evie connects in a way that is so foreign to most.

Evie can’t keep up physically.  She doesn’t speak.  She rarely makes eye contact.  She’s been known to steal food from peers.  And she occasionally bites.  That’s a lot to swallow for a five year old.  But these kids reach out to my daughter.  They reach across all of the differences and the obstacles and they find a way to be a friend to my daughter.

And it is not just Maddie.  I’ve been dropping Evie off at school for a little while now.  Almost everyday, a young girl named Emily meets Evie.  Her eyes honest to goodness light up when she sees Evelyn.  My eyes honest to goodness fill up with tears and I get that gulpy-holding back the cry feeling in my throat.  Yes, every day I get a little heart lift from seeing this exchange.  And every day I fight the urge to hug Emily and cover her face in my tears and kisses.  This would be frowned upon by admin and Emily alike, I would venture to guess.

I’m learning to expect the very best there is from children.  Evie’s friendships give me hope for her future, they give me hope for our family, and in a really sappy maybe-overreaching-but-I-don’t-think-so way, they give me hope for humanity.  Her friendships remind me to look for the best in people and to try to find common ground–even if they bite.  We can still love people that do things that we don’t like–stealing snacks or otherwise.   Okay, don’t worry.  Quashing my urge to go all peace monger on you and will just say that we all could learn a lot from kindergarten kids.


I often find myself feeling a little blue this time of year.  The holidays are so special to me–time off, more time with family, welcoming the light back into the world, lots of reasons to be grateful, joyful and celebrate officially built into the calendar.  After January 1st, I find myself focusing on all the ways that I have failed to be the mother, wife, and person I wanted to be in the previous year.  Depressing and hardly the way to start a a new beginning.

But gosh darn it, I love a clean slate…the promise of a new beginning.  Why do the blues always creep in at this time of year?  A time where I should be celebrating the chance to let go of my failures and embrace some of the feelings that I love best–hope.

I’ve been soul searching.  Looking at my life.  Being honest with myself.  It isn’t easy for me to acknowledge the flaws in my character, my faults as a human being, and even my personal weaknesses.  I think I tend to set my goals without thought to how these imperfections because I don’t want to believe that they are there–a constant threat to waylaying me on my path to human perfection being a somewhat decent and productive person.

I am probably never going to evict them.  My dirty little defects are a part of me.  This year, or at least for the first two-three days of 2012, I’m going to try to overcome them–to achieve in spite of them.

So the hardest part for me is to admit ’em.  Best just rip the bandaid off.

1.  I am disorganized.  Terribly so.  Even if I have a place for everything–it seldom ends up taking residence there.

2.  I procrastinate.  Sinfully.  Sometimes this is okay–like procrastinating vacuuming so that I can play with my kids.  But too often my procrastination looks more like not sorting through the pile of paper so that I can burn up google looking for the perfect article on how to sort through the paper.

3.  I love starting a project.  I don’t know if I like to finish a project because I don’t have any experience in doing so.  I think I would like it though….it has to be better than having thousands of great starts.

4.  I blow off social commitments.  Yeah, sorry about that.  Does it help that I tend to convince myself of the veracity of the excuses I make up in my head about why I can’t do x,y,z with you even though we planned it three weeks ago?  Didn’t think so.  It doesn’t make me feel any better either.

5.  I’m obsessive.  I fixate on my latest worry/project/notion almost to the complete exclusion of everything else.  It is bad and does nothing but enhance flaws 1-4.

The list goes on…and on and on and on.  But these are the major ones and I think I need to set attainable goals for once.  I think I have a plan for flaws 1-4.  Pretty basic.  But 5 kind of stumps me and I have no idea how to work with this deeply ingrained demon.

So, even though my plan is flawed–in that I don’t have a plan for number 5.  I am going to embrace the fact that I am the eternal hope junkie–the fact that I always think things will turn out for the best and allow myself to feel optimistic at the prospect of making personal improvements.

Oh yeah, I’m going to blog every single day in 2012 too…if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you….