Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Most days

Most days I am not 'killing it' as being a mom.  Most days we resemble a hurricane of craziness.  Maybe we're over scheduled.  Maybe we need to slow. it . down.  Most days I'm pulling jerseys out of laundry piles... begging my kids to take a shower (because I smell something funky and well to be honest I can't remember the last time they showered but I know it wasn't yesterday)... yelling to turn off the electronics because they've duped me and gone longer again!... hastily "closing' the basement (the basement that we finished FOR THEM, yes that one) for fighting...

But today...Today, the stars have aligned.  My house is clean... People were dressed and ready and dare I say happy for drop off.  The little people all had their appropriate folders and lunches and hats and coats...  There was even fruit on their breakfast plate... and it got eaten! I hope when my kids remember their childhood they remember today and not yesterday or the craziness that is inevitably tomorrow.

So for the 6 days I'm not winning at being a mom.  The one day I am feels GOOD.  REAL GOOD.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where can I find a envelope?

I. Can't. Even.  I can barely get this kid to sit still and read a book for 7 minutes... But suggest he asks the CEO of apple for an iPad cause he has a better chance of that happening than us buying him one... and this is what we get.  Solid effort.  "Mom, did you notice I used two of my spelling words?"


Do you know what I call #winning?  Helping my third grader with his math homework and it not ending in tears.  From him.  Or Me.  Take that Singapore math.  Take. that.

Killing it in 2015.  Killing it. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Be awesome and do awesome.

To my children,

Oh my dear babies... you drive me crazy on most days that end in 'y'.  "I can't find my pants, oh wait here they are in my pants drawer..." "I'm starving, but wait, I don't want what you made for dinner...", "I hate spanish but listen to this Duke's exchange student taught me how to count from 30-50." "AGGGHHHH not church clothes... AGAIN (It's Sunday, isn't it!?)" "Nooooooo! I showered last week!" are only the tips of the iceberg...You should know that your shinanigans have no effect on my love for you because when you are 'wronged' in any stretch of the imagination... I feel it in my core.

If you are reading this, now would probably be a good time to thank your father for "yinging" out my "yang."  For being the voice of reason that saves you from the embarrassment of a mother bear like actions throughout your youth.  He is the calm cool and collective that you need to be your biggest advocate.  He reminds me that life isn't supposed to be perfect and that there are plenty of lessons, big and small, to be learned.  It might sting for a short while but what isn't going to kill you will make you into a stronger much more awesome person.   It is the kids whose parents take care of everything and make excuses for them... that can't cope as adults.  You will not be one of those kids.  So while watching you learn a lesson that truly isn't fair... it's painful for me.  You're going to be great. You're going to turn out just fine. You're going to be awesome and do awesome.

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We thought it would take a drive by!?

It's no lie that keeping up with this blog is more than I am capable of at this point in my life... I wish you could see the countless posts that I've started and haven't finished... or maybe they are finished... and I just need to be more ok with "complete" and less ok with "perfect."  But this is a place for memories and one of my greatest memories has gone to a better place this week. 

Heaven has gained a character! This I know! My kids will remember Catherine Barry Higgins as "Great Nana"...the lady we went to visit.  The old woman in the wheel chair who bragged about their drawings, pictures and accomplishments.  The one who giggled, smiled and nodded as if she could hear the very important information they were telling her about their camps, strawberry picking, bike rides or books from RJ Julia each time we visited. But I, however, will remember her for SOOOOO much more. 

What an amazingly feat those 98.5 years she lived were! Maybe I love her most because she lived through all my favorite decades... She was too young to roar in the '20s but my guess is she made a decent effort trying with her aunt Doo Doo and Nell? and 5 other Barry siblings that lived with her.  In 1916 the president was Truman (she lived through 12 Presidents! She voted in 12 elections. Let's hope she voted in that Eisenhower election since women could finally vote! Prize to whoever can name them: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama).  She met my grand father Daniel Higgins and married when he came back from War.  Then he went back to War! They got married and he went to war! I mean let's be honest... I freak out when I have to pull clothes out of the dirty laundry pile for my kids (ok, and maybe me) to wear again before washing... (work with me, everyone does that right?!) This woman lived through sending her husband to war, a Depression, Prohibition (God love her), the first flight, the invention of the credit card (can I get an AMEN), a man on the moon, the assassination of a president, the invention of TV, dishwashers, microwaves (how she cooked dinner I'll never know), computers, email, cell phones, iPods, iPads, facebook, selfies and the list goes on and on. 

During this time she managed to raise three amazing kids: Danny, Patty and Ricky and love countless neices and nephews.  I don't remember all the stories from their generation but I know Higgins' playground was a place everyone was welcome to play as long as they had a good attitude and played fair.  Pop-Pop had no time for naughty words or bad attitudes (see: Making it through a World War.  I guess playground fights pale in comparisson).  I'm guessing it's during this time she looked out her kitchen pantry door while she perfected her orange jello salad, pumpkin bread and cheese cakes on a backyard full of kids having fun. There is no doubt in my mind that she made all the girl cousins wear different bathing caps summer after summer at the Jersey shore so that she could repeatedly count them from her chair making sure they were all there.  I didn't have to be there to see that to know its true.   As amazing as she was nervous was her middle name.

While I know my kids will remember her, and I am feel so blessed and thankful for that, I realized in the last few weeks in times they caught me sad or crying and didn't understand why, that there are so many things they won't remember of "My Nana."  We'll start with something she has told me many times... "I was there when you were born, you know!" They won't remember sleepovers in their house in Roselle watching Family Ties (it's true, mom, she let us stay up till 9:00!) eating ice cream sodas at the kitchen table.  They won't remember shopping trips and surprises of the coveted Esprit shirt and Jessica Mclintock dress.  The words "drenched in holy water!" and "Bless yourself" mean nothing to them! I'm going to tell my mom to bring that back! It's priceless.  They won't remember her eating toast, butter and jelly every morning for as long as I can remember.  Or being embarrassed of the white Chevy Nova and its slow drivers that dropped me off at soccer or dance during the 1 of 18 million times they were there to babysit us.  Thank God that chevy nova loved some McD's-- always a reward when they were here.  Crocheted blankets, kleenexes stuffed up her sleeves and proclamations of "and how!" are forever etched in my mind.  In college nothing brought a smile to my face quite like an enveloped taped up tight with a random quilted bear or knights of columbus sticker on the back placed solely to ensure no one was going to steal my card of sweet words, random updates and most importantly my $20 'mad money"! Was anyone more surprised to see you? Throwing her head back and hands up and saying "Oh my..! I can't believe it! You're here!" even when she knew you were coming.  I don't think I realized at the time just how amazing it was that my Nana was not only at my wedding but rocked that pink suit and killed it on the dance floor! 

There are a couple things that are for sure. I know that we can hardly pass a Dunkin Donuts or talk about the Yankees without a reference to Great Nana.  I know that in her later years we laughed about things like "Patty, I didn't have a heart attack, tell them I didn't have a heart attack" and "Have you seen how OLD all the people in here are (as she shakes her head!)? I know that somewhere along the line we realized she wasn't going to die of a broken heart after Pop died and it was indeed going to take more than a broken hip, heart attack or bacterial infection to take this tough cookie out...  We were thinking somewhere along the lines of a drive by or gang fight...  And I know that there are very few things that can be constant over 98.5 years.  But her love for her family and friends stood the test of time and will be felt for many more decades to come.   And now the perfectionist in me wants to find the "perfect picture" ... the one of my wedding or four generations with her holding Jack for the first time... or thomas... or kate... but now i'm going to press "publish" because sometimes finished is better than perfect.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sometimes just when you don't expect it...

you learn from your kids....

I feel like my heart has been learning from my kids since 8/18/05.  It grows and grows and loves them so fiercely.  Feels pride when they accomplish, sad when their feelings get hurt and excited and nervous for them when they face opportunities for the first time... Not too long ago my buddy showed me how to be mature and I thought my heart was going to burst.  I doubt I will forget this but I want to capture it so that one day when he reads this he will be proud of himself and how he dealt with disappointment.

Things come easy to J.  We showed him the word "the" and next thing I knew he was reading chapter books.  He picked up a golf club and hasn't missed the ball since.  With the exception of having to have a quick chat about "celebrations" after making a basket this winter (I blame NBA2K ;)), he is not cocky or obnoxious but humble.  I have been surprised by emails from his coaches complimenting his sportsmanship and leadership on and off the field.  He's an old soul.  However the truth is things come easy.  This Spring he tried out for the travel team he did awesome! He made the B team.  It's a really competitive league so we were so proud of him, but we thought he might be disappointed when we told him because his best buddy is on the A team.  And he was disappointed...  For 1 minute.  And then he walked in the kitchen and asked me if he could see the email from the coach.  He looked at that email and turned to me and said.  "Mom, I'm going to make that A team.  I am going to work really hard and I'm going to move up to the A team." And.... Bam.  Sometimes just when you don't expect it.... you learn how to put your big girl pants on and face life from your 8 year old. Go get 'em, J.  Show them what you're made of!  

Friday, March 21, 2014


We LOVE Kates teachers Mrs. O and Mrs. L. They are the most caring women I think I've ever met.  She is having the best time and I am having a hard time believing she's ready for school!  I got over that quickly (when she locked us out of the house on the first day of school and I had to push her through the back family room window that happened to be open.  Thank God she is a girl and can focus long enough to meet me at the back door and unlock it! The boys for sure would have found something along the way to play with complicating the situation even more)  I am now enjoying my free time and my tennis game loves that she is in school. 

I love this letter.  They have captured her personality perfectly-- fiercely independent yet so sweet and helpful (in her own time!)