snowWhat would a good mom do?

Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself that question, because if I acted solely on my own wants and desires, I would plop my oldest down in front of the TV for six hours, give my youngest a box of Honeynut Cheerios, and read a book. That’s what I would do.

But then I see these moms on FB, saying how excited they are that it snowed and how wonderful it’s going to be to take their tiny humans out to make a snowman or whatever other freezing activity you can think of for a snow day… and I think, “Is this what a good mom does?”

And I instantly know the answer – yes. A good mom will put down her (luke)warm cup of tea, put on real pants (with tights on underneath), find the snow suits for the boys, convince them to wear them, bribe them to put on warm shoes, bribe them again to wear a hat, shovel them in the car, find the dang sleds in the mayhem of the garage, and go to the dang park.

So I did. And I managed to convince two of my friends to bring their kids, too. Misery loves company.

The kids loved it. They abso-freaking-lutely loved it. There were snowball fights. There were games of tag. There was even a dog pile in the snow (wherein my son was the bottom layer) and no one even cried. Not even once. Even us moms were laughing. It was a snow-day miracle.

So no matter what happens for the rest of the day – macaroni for dinner, complete lack of toilet cleaning, 3-hour TV marathon – at least that happened. Turns out we really are good moms.


Yes, I planned a theme party for my two-year-old. No, he didn't care. Yes, it was fun for me. No, you don't have to do it if you don't want to!

Yes, I planned a theme party for my two-year-old. No, he didn’t care. Yes, it was fun for me. No, you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to!

It’s funny, being a mom. You lose yourself in wiping butts, making healthy / creative snacks, scouring Pinterest for toddler activities that will keep the two children from killing / maiming each other on a particularly snowy day when you haven’t been outside for three days straight…

And it’s hard. You don’t get time to talk to other adults, further your career, or dress like a normal human being. (Damn you, yoga pants, for being so comfortable.)

And then we compare ourselves to each other.

A friend of mine shared this list on Facebook the other day and the comments instantly piled up around “overachieving moms” – who apparently make parenting harder for the rest of us. But only if you compare yourself to them.

I feel like I’m doing a bad job at least once a day: The kids aren’t eating enough vegetables. Blaine is nowhere near potty-trained (um, he knows where the toilet is?). Cal isn’t getting enough one-on-one time. The list goes on. I also used to (less now) compare myself to other moms: They feed their kids organic foods. They make their own snack bars. They use cloth diapers. They do a sensory activity once a day. They wore their baby instead of packing him up in a stroller to go to the library. For me, these things are really hard. For me, these are “over” achievements.

But here’s the thing: I do a lot of things really well. I love throwing theme parties for my two-year-old. I love making Shutterfly books of my kids’ every milestone and vacation. I love taking photos of them every month and making a collage. I love getting them out for hikes. Not everyone does. For them, these are “over” achievements. Every once in a while, someone will say to me “how do you have the time?” I’ll tell you how: I use disposable diapers. I don’t bake my own granola bars. I only give my kids a bath every other (okay, third) night.

I’ve learned not to compare myself to other parents. They aren’t over-achievers, they’re just achieving different things – things that we perceive as deficiencies in ourselves. We are all doing our best to reconcile who we were – teachers, crafters, jewelers, travelers, doctors, etc. – with what we’ve become – moms. And we’re all doing an amazing job.

So Easy

Toss_GameOh, Pinterest. How I love you. You give me these great spur-of-the-moment ideas about how to entertain my toddler on a snowy day (when neither of them will nap and my last shred of patience has been spent on a battle over what’s for lunch) …but you inevitably fail me.

Why? Because my toddler has a one-year-old little brother.

I put the painters’ tape down on the carpet.

I placed three bowls 3 feet from the line.

I gave him plenty of soft, easy-to-throw objects to toss into the bowls.

I even cheered for him when the object made a fun “ding” sound as it ricocheted off the bowl and into the fireplace.

All went well, for 30 seconds.

Until little brother tore up the tape.

And little brother started pulling all the rubber duckies out of the bowl.

And little brother put ducks in the ball bowl and balls in the bug bowl.

And little brother stood in front of the bowls, waving his pudgy little hands.

Oh, little brother. If you weren’t so cute…

This is why sometimes you have to be a parent to understand why parenting is so HARD. On the outset, things look so easy.

Just make up a fun game for them! Childless people proclaim. Kids love games and playdough and fun snacks and being outside!

Until the tiniest person in the room interferes with the games, the playdough ends up in the mouths of dogs and babies, nobody likes the snacks because everyone is only interested in eating chicken nuggets and mandarin oranges, and outside is covered in frost and nobody likes wearing gloves.

But they’re so dang cute.

It’s all fun and games…until someone eats the cloud dough.

07_03_2013 (4 of 27)On the list of things that I love, these two moppets fall right below Blaine and right above Girl Scout cookies. They are my dogs: Peanut and Sydney. They were my babies before I had babies, and I love them to bits. Which is why they are still alive this afternoon.

Because in the wee hours of the morning, we awoke to the sound of Peanut retching in the dining room. “Oh boy,” I thought as I grabbed the flashlight and jumped out of bed, “she’s gonna barf.” And she did. Which added to the 15 other piles of nastiness that she had already left as little presents all over the newly-carpeted room. (Coming from both ends, mind you.) Gasp.

In hindsight, it’s all my fault. I should never have let them in the backyard after the kids had dumped cloud dough (made from flour and oil) all over the backyard in a frenzy of fun times yesterday. And then we probably shouldn’t have shut them in last night…even though it’s protocol since they bark at squirrels late into the night.

Shampooing the carpet at 8:00 in the morning with a rented machine that is roughly the size of my dorm room refrigerator was not that bad, actually. It was kind of rewarding – the kind of reward that you get when something is really dirty, you clean it, and you feel gratified with your efforts.

It’s amazing to me what being a parent / homeowner / adult means: complaining is fruitless, action is quicker, and life goes on. If I would have told my younger self that I would literally have touched poo twice in one day before lunch (Blaine had quite the diaper bomb, too), my younger self would have put her hands over her ears and shrieked, “la la la la la! I can’t hear you!” But as a friend of mine recently reminded me, adulthood is the price we pay for having the authority to buy whatever kind of ice cream we want at the store…and eat it for dinner if we so please.

So Different

Baby_2Baby One was one tough customer. Don’t believe me? You know how the nurses offer to take your wee newborn baby into the nursery for the first night or so so that you can get some rest? Well, the nurses brought him back to me after an hour and told me he was waking up the other babies. That set the tone for about one year of sleep issues. (Oddly enough, after a week-long cry-it-out session at 11 months, he has slept through the night ever since. Weird.)

This little guy, however, is an absolute angel. In the hospital, they only brought him back to me when it was time to eat at night. Why? Because he SLEEPS AT NIGHT. What a concept. He also sleeps in his bassinet / crib. (We have moved him into our room in a small crib.) At nearly six months old, he goes to bed at about 8:00, sleeps until 3:30 or so, has a snack, then sleeps again until about 7:30. Bliss! I even let him sleep with me after his early-morning snack…because everyone loves a baby snuggle, especially baby.

I suspected that Baby One’s sleep habits were not of my own doing – that he slept / didn’t sleep according to his own feisty nature. And I was right. Even from infancy, we have so little control over who they are as people and what they’re like.

They are who they are. And they are so different already.

Baby photos.

Callum_small (1 of 1)

I am taking the lead from ‘Cedars and Tiny Flowers’ and posting a little ditty about our newborn photo experience. I love sending out announcements and wanted to make our own, so we did a quick photo shoot while Big Brother was asleep one day.

Despite our experience as wedding photographers, newborn photography always poses a challenge…or two. I can never get the babies into those crazy positions that you see on the interwebs, and I’m not entirely sure how comfortable they are for babies anyway, so I opted to just prop my little man up in the nursing pillow, situate him by some natural light, and click away.

We got a few cute expressions, and this was my favorite. What a personality this guy is going to have…if his baby photo is any indication. I love every wrinkle, flyaway hair, roll, and curled toe in this picture. I didn’t photoshop anything except the white background. I want to remember every dimple and tiny scratch (he wore mittens for most of the time to avoid that) on his precious body. It may not win any awards, but this image wins my heart. You may sigh now.




Remember Me?

Hey, there ME is! (Should be noted that this was pre-kiddo. Though I look happy, I didn't know what happiness was until I had my son.)

Hey, there ME is! (Should be noted that this was pre-kiddo. Though I look happy, I didn’t know what happiness was until I had my son.)

I remember me. Me is a girl who runs 5Ks on the weekends. Me is the girl who finally found friends who ride mountain bikes. Me was ready to sign up for a Tough Mudder race with her brother. Me was a mommy who threw her son high in the air just to see him giggle.

Where has Me been?


But now, Me is coming out of hiding. I got my staples (18 of them, if you want to know how brave I am) removed yesterday and I couldn’t help but feel relieved, excited, and optimistic. I can’t express how much I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life: mother of two little boys. But I feel like I can’t really start this chapter until I am truly myself, which I’m not. I’m like a bruised, stitched, weak version of myself that can’t lift over 10 pounds and can’t use her ab muscles.

In five weeks, it’s game on. I am working really hard at not working really hard (although giving up vacuuming was pretty easy) so that I can heal as fast and as completely as possible. And then I can do this:

  1. Pull my babes in my sweet new bike trailer along the Riverwalk.
  2. Go snowboarding for the first time in three seasons!
  3. Sign up for an all-girls mountain biking clinic.
  4. Strap my itty-bitty baby to my back and hike my favorite trails.
  5. Pull Blaine in a toboggan while cross-country skiing for the first time. (I’m sure he’ll love it…)
  6. Run in the Santa Dash and watch my Little Buddy do the kids’ race, too!

So many wonderful things in store for me and my sidekicks. So many…

Welcome to the World, Callum Leroy!

On October 1st at 8:22 in the morning, we welcomed our second (miracle) son into the world. Despite feeling extremely nervous about the C-section (only 18 months have passed since my last one, so I wasn’t up for a VBAC), everything went very smoothly and we were out of the hospital after only 48 hours. It felt good – much better than last time – to get him home and start healing / growing.

I will share the gory details of the birth later (in case anyone is keen to know more about what a C-section entails or how stubborn I can be when it comes to taking / not taking painkillers)…but for now, welcome my little boy:

His Most Honorable Callum Leroy Sack, Esq.

His Most Honorable Callum Leroy, Esq.

I Feel Pretty.

09_12_2013 (1 of 1)Many moons ago, when I was pregnant with Blaine, I got up every morning for work. I had a lot of fun wearing cute maternity and large non-maternity clothes, and chronicled my growing bump on my blog (now defunct due to proclivity toward yoga pants, tank tops, and ball caps). So I have lots and lots of attractive photos of baby Blaine growing in my belly. (If you’re particularly curious, check out this post: A Beautiful Day).

This baby? Not so much. I’m not a huge fan of being photographed sans makeup, shower, and general aesthetic upkeep. But yesterday, I made my husband snap a few photos (sick baby in tow in the stroller) after I got all dolled up. It made me feel pretty, and it gave me a nice photo to pass on to Baby 2. (As if to say, “See, darlin’, mommy wasn’t a total slob all the time.”)

It’s amazing what a mood-booster a nice photo can be. So as I sit here on this rainy day in my pijamas (at 10:00 in the morning) and unwashed hair…I can look at this photo and think, “Yeah, mama’s still got it. Occasionally…”

Only 17 days left!

Stealing Moments

08_19_2013 (203 of 1)We live many, many miles away from any of Blaine’s grandparents. My parents come out from California to visit a fair amount since they have a place about 2 hours away in the mountains. But they don’t visit often enough for Blaine to really, really know them. When we do see them, Blaine doesn’t seem to remember them and the results just break my heart. I envy those who not only have free childcare, but children who know and adore their grandparents. Blaine? Not so much.

But we may have turned a corner last week. My mom came to visit for three days (mind you, we just got back from two weeks of visiting in July) and stayed to play. At first, Blaine was nervous about being left alone with his Nonni, as if she was going to steal him away or, even worse, I would abandon him to her care so that I could get a haircut or go to the grocery store without bringing a pacifying cup of raisins with me.

By the second and third day, however, he was pretty happy to play with Nonni while I went off to (gasp!) visit the restroom by myself, work on dinner, or even run a quick errand. And the highlight of the weekend was watching my mom dance with my baby boy like she did with me all those years ago. He loved it. She loved it. I loved it.

It is so hard to see your children not appreciate your parents (and their unending grandparent love) like you want them to. I am desperately hoping that when my dad comes in a few weeks that Blaine will take to him like a monkey to a banana, but I know the odds are slim. He’s a shy little guy, and grandpa is not much more than a stranger to him. I know that later on in life, when he’s older, he will recognize my parents more readily and he will be more excited to see them…but for the time being, it breaks my heart when he cries as they try to love him.

Oddly enough, my sister said that she applied techniques that she read in ‘The Cat Whisperer’ to meeting Blaine:

  1. Don’t make eye contact at first.
  2. Let him come to you.
  3. Use a soft voice.
  4. Don’t try to pick him up.
  5. Offer up a treat or toy.

Seriously, my kid is like an ornery kitten. But it totally works. He loves her.