It’ll All Be Okay.

A year ago I completed the last assignment of the last class of my masters program. For our final assignment we had to write about whatever we wanted in whatever form we wanted. Of course, I immediately knew that I would write about Clementine.  I wrote my first draft frantically, pouring out the details, bleeding all over the page, tears running down my face.  When I finished I felt lighter and extremely nervous. I shared my story with my group the next day and they suggested I turn it into a poem. That night I sat back down and began deleting anything that wasn’t essential. I tore it apart, turning three single spaced pages into 15 lines. Once more I felt a lump in my throat and tears running down my cheeks. It was completely different and yet exactly the same.  It told our story beautifully and accurately. The next day, when I shared it with my group, my teacher listened in.  When I finished reading it she remarked, “What is it called?” I’ve always been pretty terrible with titles and hesitantly responded: “Clementine?” My teacher shook her head and said, “It’s not about her. It’s about him. Were you there for him like he was there for you?”

I thought about what she said on my ride home, I stayed awake all night thinking about it, and I was still thinking about it the next day. I read my poem again, and realized that when I pared down my story, when I removed anything extraneous, it WAS about Joel. It had always been about him. It was about the strength of our relationship and our love for each other. It was about something amazing and terrible and beautiful and horrifying, and how the months leading up to, surrounding, and following the birth of our daughter, left us stronger and more in love than ever. It was about the birth of our first and then second son. It was about how 10.5 years ago, when I opened my heart to him, I was making the best decision of my life.

As I watch my husband laugh with our two boys, I am reminded that my life is exactly as it is supposed to be. If Clementine hadn’t left us, this life that I know and love would not exist. I wouldn’t have my sweet, inquisitive, generous Wyatt, who told me the other day, “Mommy, I’m going to go to heaven to say goodbye to Clementine, but then I’ll come back to you.” I wouldn’t have my carefree Calvin who smiles endlessly and is the light of my life.


And so, even though I wish, wish, wish I could hug my baby girl and smother her in kisses, and hear her sweet voice, I know that I can’t. Even though I’d give anything to hear my daughter say something that makes her two little brothers break out in giggles, to hear her regale us with her kindergarten achievements and woes, to see what my darling girl looks like as a five year old, I know instead I must thank her for giving me this blessed life. I must tell her that I am eternally grateful that she is my daughter and that she has helped us shape these two beautiful boys. I miss my sweet, darling girl every moment of every day, and I know that some day I’ll get to do all the things listed above. But, today, on her 5th birthday, I must instead be grateful. I love you baby girl. Thank you for giving me so much.

My ode to the beautiful, tragic, perfect life I have been given:

It’ll all be okay he said to me. I believed him.

Let’s have a baby he said to me. I agreed.

I’m going to love being a daddy he said to me. I smiled.

I can’t wait to meet this baby he said to me. I cried.

It’ll all be okay he said to me. I believed him.

Go to the hospital the doctor said to us. We hurried.

Something’s wrong with the baby the doctor said to us. We feared.

We need to deliver the baby now the doctor said to us. We hugged.

Your baby is ill the doctor said to us. We worried.

Your baby is dying the doctor said to us. We sobbed.

Our daughter is beautiful he said to me. I smiled.

Let’s name her Clementine he said to me. I nodded.

It’s over now he said to me. I mourned.

It’ll all be okay he said to me. I wondered.

We should try again he said to me. I stared.

It’ll all be okay he said to me. I believed him.

It’s time he said to me. I grinned.

It’s a boy he said to me. I laughed.

Our son is beautiful he said to me. I smiled.

It’ll all be okay he said to me. I believed him.

Happy Camper

I’ll admit it, as a kid, I despised, loathed, HATED camping.  It was pretty much the worst thing my parents could do to me.  Maybe second only to cross country skiing (I’ll save that story for another day).  The bugs, and the being dirty, and the squatting to pee.  *shudder*  I have very vivid memories of feeling rocks burrow their way into my back as I lay on the cold, hard ground, counting the seconds until it was time to wake up and go home.  (Melodramatic, much?  Ha.  I was a teenager… what do you expect?)

And yet, now that I have some kiddos of my own, when Joel suggested we take the boys camping, I immediately jumped at the chance to subject them to the same torture my parents had inflicted upon me expose them to the wonders of nature.

The weekend prior to our camping adventure, Joel and I did a little Set Up the Tent dry run, which really proved to be helpful in allowing us to set up the tent on actual camping day without A) Wyatt running around and on top of and inside the tent the entire time and B) knocking Calvin to the ground. And hey, a giant bag of marshmallows turns out to be exactly the right thing to keep a toddler happily occupied.  So, there we were, winning at life, enjoying the weather and the lake and our picnic lunch.  We magically convinced the kiddos to nap, taught Wyatt how to pee on a tree (I’ll give the credit to Joel on this one), made dinner over the fire and ate s’mores.  (side note: Wyatt seriously kept asking, ‘some more what?’ no matter how many times we explained that no, that’s just what they’re called:  ‘Do I want some more WHAT?’)

And then we turned in for the night.  Aaaaaaannndddd, cue worst night sleeping in a tent ever.  Seriously.  I wanted to go back and find my wimpy. whiney teenager self who whimpered and cried because, ‘camping is so haaaarrrrddd’ and tell her to shut it.  Because well, one, it was cold!  So so so cold, and we had not prepared for that.  And, before you even ask, yes, we had sleeping bags, and no we couldn’t use them properly because I was sleeping with Cal in my bed and I was afraid of smothering him the entire night, so I lay there most of the night shivering and covering his freezing hands and ears and making sure his face didn’t suffocate in the blankets.  And, all night long I wanted to cry and kept thinking, no way in hell are we staying another night, I am FREEZING.  But, then came morning and sweet Wyatt popped his head up and looked so dang adorable and Calvin started laughing at his awesome older brother and I shut my trap.  I turned to Joel and said, “Well, morning is nice.  We can stay another night if you want to.”   And, darling that he is, he said, “No way.  I’m not doing that again.”

So, we ate and we packed and we drove home.  But, believe it or not, I want to do it again.  Just maybe with a pair of socks next time.

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Life As Of Late

Life with two boys is amazing and hilarious and wild and awesome.  Wyatt is 2.5 going on 30.  He loves a good book and will read for hours in his room.  He’s a chatterbox and a knowledge addict.  His favorite question is “why?” and he bounces back and forth between loving and hating his new brother.

Things you’ll hear around our place these days:

In the mornings: “Daddy, can we go get a latte?”

If Calvin fusses or cries: “Mommy, can you go feed Calvin?”

At the playground: “Dammit, that girl’s on the swing!”

When he’s ready for the bedtime routine to end: “Ummm, can you go sleep in your own bed?”

He runs at all times, usually shouting “Hey!  I know…” before beginning some new adventure.

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Calvin is hilarious and feisty. He hates when I talk, read, eat, breathe while I am nursing him. He loves to be the center of attention (wrong birth order kiddo!), and talks A LOT. He’s already hard at work keeping up with his brother and lights up when Wyatt walks into the room. Just today he started laughing deep belly laughs. He is BIG and strong and a total momma’s boy.

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It’s busy and loud and out of control over here. Read: exactly as it should be.

My Pal, Cal

A little over three months ago, there I sat, trying to mentally prepare for the birth of our second son.  I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought I’d be, but I was uncertain how I would feel tomorrow, how Wyatt would react to his new brother, how our family would change with this new addition.  The next morning Joel and I got up before the sun and walked to the hospital hand in hand.  It was cold and it was dark but we were ready to meet our son.

Fast forward a few hours of sitting and waiting and all of a sudden it was time.  I was scared and I was hopeful that Cal’s lungs would be strong, that he would be healthy, that I’d get to hold him right away.  At 9:13am Cal was born and he cried an enormous cry, peed all over the floor and was the most beautiful thing in the world.  He was big and strong and healthy and before I knew it, he was in Joel’s arms and laying by my face.  We sat like that for a long time, just the three of us, snuggling and whispering and feeling just completely full of joy.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birth story.  Calvin George, with his perfectly round face and full head of blonde hair, fit in my arms perfectly.  He was healthy and strong and nursing him for the first time felt like we’d been doing it for years.  It was strange to see this little baby in my arms and know that he was so similar to and yet so different than Wyatt, but at the same time he felt like he’d always been a part of our family.  When I’d gaze at him sleeping in my arms he looked so much like Clementine and Joel that I couldn’t help but smile and feel my heart swell.

Wyatt, to be expected had mixed feelings about his new brother.  I believe his first words were: “I don’t want it.”  But, he eagerly held his brother for the first time, hugging him and kissing him in the way only a big brother can.

It has been three months since we brought Calvin home, and I can’t even remember life without him.




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Hell hath frozen over

Ready for a laugh?  Let’s all go back to that time approximately 7 years ago when I loaded up the last of our things and flipped AZ the bird and swore up and down and left and right that I would never, NEVER, not ever, move back to Arizona.  (Okay, I didn’t ACTUALLY flip AZ the bird, and when we came back for a visit a year later I cried enormous tears because I missed AZ so much… but let’s not focus on that part).  As far as I was concerned, Arizona and I were over.  It wasn’t you, Arizona, it was me.

Well, here we are.  Back in our old stomping grounds, living with my folks.  Wait, what?  Oh yeah, remember that time I said it would be fun to buy an old house and fix it up?  Oh man, I’m hilarious.  Okay, no, it was super fun and exciting buying a house on a total whim:


See how happy we look?  We were going to move back to Arizona, live in our cool new house and then who knew what would happen.  And then we went crazy:


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Very, very quickly became this:


And this:

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became this:


And this:

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turned into this:


And, we became this:


A very happy, albeit very homeless family of four bumming a place to stay and wearing the same pair of pants over and over again.

Belly Series III

So, where was I? Oh yeah, it was the middle of summer and I was spending all my time with Wyatt and I was blogging and winning at life. (Does writing 3 blogs in 4 months count as blogging?  Don’t answer that, it’s my blog and I can pretend if I want to).

Anyway, back to my story:
I got bigger and more tired while Wyatt got bigger and more energized. Then, I got bigger and went back to work. Then, I got bigger and went on maternity leave. Then, I got bigger and Wyatt and I became attached at the hip.  Then, our miraculous Calvin was born.

And now, I have tons and tons of time to get everything in my life done, including blogging!   Hahahaha. I’m kidding.  I can’t even remember the last time I showered.  (What day is it, anyway?)

I do, however, have a few minutes right now in which I can pretend to be a blogger again and post some pictures from the last 9 months.  Ladies and gentleman, I give you Belly Series 3:




“Do you think you’ll try for a girl?” is probably the most frequent response I get after telling people I’m having another (gasp!) boy. A good friend of mine with two boys told me that when people would ask her if they were planning on having a 3rd child she would respond, “Yep, we’re going to try for another boy.” Haha.

The thing is, I already have a daughter. And, I suppose in fairness to the strangers who are asking me really personal questions about my reproductive plans, the fact that I have a daughter isn’t obvious. However, I do have a daughter. I conceived and carried her. I delivered and held her. I fell head over heels in love with her and love her more today than I did the day she was born. Of course, she isn’t here with us, and so that makes people confused or uncertain about whether I actually have a daughter or not. No, I don’t get to comb her hair and pin back her curls with bows. No, I don’t get to paint her nails. No, I’ll never see her in a wedding dress. But, are those the things that make me a mother? I don’t think so. I think motherhood is about loving someone with every fiber of your being, and knowing that they love you too. When I think about Clementine and motherhood, my biggest worry and concern is whether I make her proud. Whether I am raising her brother (soon to be brothers) the right way. Whether she knows how much I love her. Whether I’m doing a good job.

Do I miss having a daughter? No. I miss having MY daughter. My son is amazing. My love for him is so much more than I ever thought possible, and as my other son’s birthday approaches, I feel Clementine’s absence even more. She is such a fundamental part of our family. Would another daughter remedy that? Of course not. 1000 more daughters wouldn’t replace the one that we lost. That’s what makes asking me if we’re going to try for a girl such an insulting question. Insulting to Clementine, insulting to Wyatt, and insulting to this new baby boy I’m growing. I love my children, and feel honored to be their mother. I am proud of my family and hope they are proud of me.

Are we going to try for another baby after this one? I should like to think there’s another baby in our future. Heck, maybe the next pregnancy will be twins. Twin boys!

Wyatt: Bringing Us Joy Since 2012

“I’m TWO!” said Wyatt, before holding up his hands to demonstrate this fact using his fingers (he held up all ten). When I asked him what he’d like for breakfast he said, “Birthday cake!” He ran and splashed and squealed and hugged his cousins and giggled until he couldn’t giggle anymore. He smiled when I showed him his Elmo cake, and when I asked him to pick out two candles to put on the cake, he grabbed one and immediately tried to eat it.

Tonight as I put him to bed, he turned to me, lifted my shirt, rubbed my belly, and said, “I love my baby.”

He’s the sweetest, kindest, most amazing person in the world. And, just like that, he’s a two year old.










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It’s that time of year again: Summer vacation. When every day is the weekend and I get to spend all of it with this guy:

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This guy, who won’t leave the house without either his sunglasses or his necklace (still trying to get photographic evidence of his fondness for costume jewelry).

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This guy, who learned that splash pads and fountains are exhilarating.

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This guy, who is a mustache growing, tank top wearing, lady killer.

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This guy, who wakes up every morning yelling, “Mommy Leah!!!”

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This guy, who tries his hardest to get out of trouble by repeatedly asking, “What did Mommy say?”

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This guy, who sits in my lap every day and yells, “Mommy hilarious!  I LOVE you Mommy!”

Best summer ever.

When the cat’s away, the mice will play

A few weeks back Joel was out of town and left me and the little mister to our own devices.  First order of business:  Ride the subway train.

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Then, consume as much sand as possible:

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Next we tried our hand at being a cashier…

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And, a bus driver.

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Finally, we went to the park:

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But mostly, we just missed Daddy:


Mother’s Day

The day Wyatt ran up to me, and with no prompting or guidance of any kind, looked me right in the eyes and said, “I love you Mommy!!”

The day Wyatt ran and grabbed a book and when I asked him if he wanted Daddy to read it said, “No! Mommy read it!”

The day we took Wyatt to The Cloisters and held hands as we ran the entire way there.

The day I took this adorable picture and realized for the one millionth time how lucky I am.


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Marshmallow Peeps, Egg Dying, and other Easter briefs

-Wyatt learned two new vocabulary words this Easter season: Marshallow Peep and Chocolate Bunny

-Egg Dying is the least exciting Easter activity in the world when you’re a year and a half.

-Finally being old enough to keep up with your older cousin on the playground is pretty much the best thing in the world.

-An Easter Egg hunt with a 3 year old and a 1.5 year old is a great study in patience and sharing.












Many months ago, because he’s awesome, my husband took me on a surprise trip to Florida. Did I tell you this story already? Yes, yes, I did, because, that’s right, this is the second time he has surprised me with a trip to Florida!

This time we brought Wyatt along and introduced him to the wonders of Ft. Lauderdale, sunrises over the water, and how incredibly amazing it is to get out of NYC in the dead of winter.

We went to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, and let me tell you, anniversary celebrations with kids are slightly different than without kids.

We woke up early and watched the sunrise on the beach.

We woke up at 5:45 and hung out in the hotel room until it was light enough to actually go outside.

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We watched Wyatt discover the joys of playing in the ocean, eating sand, squawking at sea gulls, and making fish faces.

We went to bed every night at 7pm. But, since we were in a hotel room… that meant me hiding in the bathroom while Joel put Wyatt to sleep in the crib and then ran out of the room to order us dinner and sit at the bar by himself until our food was ready. Then, he’d creep back into the room, sneak into the bathroom and we’d eat dinner and watch a movie on the bathroom floor until we were ready to go to sleep.






It certainly made for a memorable, and truly incredible way to commemorate 6 years of married bliss.


I was looking through the blog yesterday and realized the last time I posted anything was before Christmas. It was last YEAR. What the heck have I been doing?? Oh yeah, that’s right, I’ve been in the semester from HELL. What is the semester from HELL (imagine a booming, echoing voice) you ask? Oh, it’s just this really dumb idea I had to take winter session and then 9 credits in the Spring, because, you know, I love never seeing my husband or son or getting more than a few hours of sleep at night. Here’s what happened: In January I took winter session, which was 3 credits over 3 weeks. It was awesome. I wish all of my graduate courses could be over that quickly. So, then, when it was recommended that I take 9 credits in the spring rather than the measly 6 I took in the fall, I thought, yeah, classes 3 days a week will be fine… just like winter session. Right? Wrong. Big. Fat. Terrible. Wrong. I failed to take into consideration the fact that it’s 3 classes a week for 15 excruciating weeks. And so, here I sit, on the eve of my much needed, much anticipated Spring Break, and all I want to do is cry a little bit when I realize that I’ll have another 4 weeks of hell after Spring Break. Lucky for me I have an incredibly patient husband and incredibly supportive parents and an incredibly amazing son who doesn’t lay the guilt on too thick. Although some of the time (a lot of the time) I say, “Hi Wyatt!” and he will respond “Bye bye Mommy.” Sob. And then there are the times when I say “okay buddy, I have to go to class now” and he says, “NO, mommy home! Mommy HOME!” Double sob.

So, in my busiest semester of all time, I have neglected to document all the amazing things we have done since Santa terrified the crap out of Wyatt (literally). I thought about how to best correct this terrible thing I have done as a mother (failure to document every last thing my adorable munchkin does in his life!!!) and I realized that I just can’t. Oh well. I’ll leave you with a handful of my favorite pictures from the past four months and we’ll just have to leave it at that. 11636657384_63f8843232_o




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Nightmare on 34th Street

There we were, standing in a line that wrapped around the block. Childless passerby stared and some even leaned in with a, “What’s this line for?” Well, it’s December 22 and EVERY person in this line is holding a baby. Santa. The line is for Santa. Obvi. And then, one such passerby responded by leaning in even closer, looking directly at Wyatt and proclaiming, “Santa’s overrated.”

Oh no he didn’t.

Santa is exactly, perfectly rated. He is the stuff Christmas dreams are made of. Obviously, since my child is 15 months old, I mean the stuff MY dreams are made of.

Last Christmas Wyatt was 3.5 months old. He was still trying to hold up his own head and was a master at the enormous diaper blow out. And Christmas with him was AWESOME. Just so super amazingly awesome. We showed him the Christmas tree and the lights. We helped him open presents and we took him to see Santa. And it was only about 1000x times more amazing than the Christmas when I was super worried Santa couldn’t find us at Grandma’s house in Ohio, but HE DID!!!

This Christmas Wyatt is awed by the tree and the lights and the ornaments. He walks into the living room and proudly points to the star, proclaiming, “Stahh.” He takes ornaments off the tree and kisses them. (And, his fondness for pickles resulted in an unfortunate glass pickle ornament getting a giant bite taken out of it…).

So, yes, there we stood, waiting to place our sweet son in Santa’s welcoming arms. I had Wyatt laughing up a storm in line and I knew this was going to be such a delightful experience.

And now it’s time to share the results:

Wyatt HATED Santa. No, hated is probably the wrong word. He was terrified. Just completely, utterly terrified of the sweetest, jolliest man on Earth. So terrified that when I took Wyatt to the bathroom to change an enormous blowout (at least some things never change) he refused to let go of me when I tried to lay him on the changing table. His arms clenched so tightly around my neck I had to just lay there on the table with him while he held me.

Let’s take a side-by-side look at the difference a year can make:

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Seriously buddy? The creepiest Santa of all time has you sitting there chill as can be. And, sweet Father Christmas turns you into a hysterical mess.

(Did I mention the second Wyatt began screaming in sheer terror EVERY OTHER PARENT IN THE ROOM BURST OUT IN HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER. Not even kidding.)

Well, Santa wasn’t a big hit this year, but, because Wyatt was so terrified, he spent most of the night crying and refused to sleep without me or Joel in the room with him. So, even though it’s been ages, much to my delight Wyatt revived the old Family Bed, and he and I snuggled all night.

All in all, I’d say it was a complete success.