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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The gold star.

One month and six days ago I wrote a letter to my daughters and published it here. It was just another programmed sequence of letters and symbols in webland but it meant a whole lot to me. It tugged at my heart in a way I have never felt as I drove away from their daycare provider's home, making my stomach weigh a million pounds, my eyes were so blurry. I felt like I was at once making them proud, and also failing. Olivia told me I looked "shiny and pretty". I walked into my new office feeling confident and proud. I thought of them as I sat at a gray desk with a large screen in front of me. I constantly needed the reminder that they would one day be proud of me. But, I had to do good work. I had to do it all and do it well.

Now, I have been at it and I can tell you that out of the depths of longing and missing them I found ME again. The me that was not drowning under a lack of creative stimulation, no time to write. No material other than two beautiful faces. I was immersed in tiny limbs and mini sounds and playgrounds. I loved it. And resented it. I was not me, but I love them so much.

Dare I say I am here now? Platform pumps, novel in my purse, baby on hip? Red lipstick, big words, skipping around our living room with my (almost) 3 year old baby girl? Am I really sort of pulling it off? I sit down to a solitary lunch decorated with the downtown San Diego skyline, it's really quiet. I wish I could text Olivia that I love them. I'd remind her to take care of her baby sister.

Do not judge me. Devoted mama, wife, moneymaker.

I can say I start each day with earnest ambition. I will do my best. I will strive for the gold star sticker on every hat that I try to wear every day. Some are better than others but I start all days the same way.

With lots of heart, a little style, and a hint grace. They fuel me.

Monday, September 3, 2012


To my sweet girls,

I apologize for my drama, but I cannot sleep without addressing a letter to you. You are sleeping heavily, I wish I knew what you dream of. Tomorrow our lives will be different. I will have yet another purpose, a new hat to wear. My heart feels both heavy and excited, cautious and confident. My role as full-time mama is going to shift. But, I rebel against that idea. You're the reason I chose this, for you I will work extra hard. Not only will I fight to be the best mother to you; I will also be fighting to better myself everywhere. A better wife, businesswoman, daughter, sister, friend, person.

I will no longer catch every new saying, every laugh, every tantrum. There will be things I'll miss. This awareness makes a pit in my stomach, but I also have to remember. I am the product of a career woman, a "working" mom. The strongest presence in my life, the most reliable constant. She was there now, is here now. For you, for us. From her I also draw a great strength. Thanks to her I am ready and qualified. I can do this, and I will do it well.

I carry you both wherever I go. In every pore, idea, glance at the clock.

Thank you for inspiring me.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The little mama turned one...

And we had to celebrate the first year of the sweetest baby girl this side of the Mississippi.
She has filled my life and heart with the best example of a life well lived... find joy in simplicity, happiness in a new day. Mila rises with a huge smile on her chubby face, and goes to sleep all cuddled up to fluffy pillows and her mama that loves her so immensely. Thank you baby girl.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's show time...

This blog is no stranger to the theme of the inspiration that comes from mothering and the constant ways that this role in my life has evolved me. Interestingly, I have suddenly been hit with the hard fact that although I have been at this mommy gig 2.5 years+ I still hadn't 't hit "real time" until now. My children's needs were so easy to meet. Belly fed, warm, clean, and loved. Easy to fulfill.

Now, that exact same pair of olive eyes that started this whole thing is watching every move I make. She notices everything. The way I walk, say certain words, put on lipstick, and bite the inside of my cheek. It's so cute, usually. Seeing her walk down the hall in my high heels, her tiny butt in Mickey underwear. She packs a purse before we leave and puts on body lotion.  But, there are moments when my influence on her is so apparent it shocks me. I am on stage!


It's so important to be real with my children. I do not want to feign perfection (even if I could) because it would be a lie. I want them to look up to and admire the person I am because it makes we want to be better. I idolize my mother to her core, to who she is when no one is around to see. What more could you ask for? Kids that adore you even more when they realize there are things in you that separate you from the rest of the world. I cannot believe my daughters can be even better, or worse, because of who I am.

We have come to the point where I have to stop my constant use of expletives and incorrect teeth brushing technique. Olivia seems to record every subtlety about us and now we know that one of her strongest attributes is that she is so glaringly aware of her surroundings. She's completely in tune with her environment and how everything happens. Ever since we began to maintain some sort of routine and constancy to her daily grind there are far less fits and better sleep at night. And between all of that are the days that make up this chapter of her life. Childhood. So incredibly important! This is when we became who we were meant to be, it's when we needed more from life than a hug and kiss from mom.


Monday, May 14, 2012

I come out of the midst of the days that are too short and too packed to keep writing on this little Internet spot of mine. There's the bossy 2.5 year old, crawling (almost) 11 month old, 1/2 marathon in two weeks, and pile of laundry that will soon enclose us as we sleep. I am too wiped to even type anything worthy. There so much I want to touch on, so many exciting/trying/awesome/overwhelming/sunny/new happenings to share. I will soon bore you with every detail of what goes on, but in the meantime, I must wish you all the loveliest of mother's days.

A day late, but every day we're on the job.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Today I left my parent's place after spending the afternoon with my sister watching True Blood. The details of our time do not matter at all since I drove off and found myself daydreaming other details. Are my girls going to have our connection? Unspoken understanding?

I should probably explain. My sister and I are just two weeks (to the day) shy of being three years apart. I remember when my mom's water broke and all the late-night commotion. Movie scenes. My dad's hurried movements as I sat on the floor in fleece footie pajamas, my mom's purple nightgown, the awful brown shag rugs. I knew something important was happening but was way too young to begin to comprehend. My sister, my DNA in another variation. We are so different.

There are two things I am curious about. One is, the fact that Paloma and I are such unique individuals. I think we understand each other yet not always agree. She boils my blood, calms my fears, is so intuitive to me. The second is, will they like each other? I mean, really. I adore my sister. I see her beautiful spirit and lightness more clearly than anyone. I know this. As I drove home, wondered, will my girls know each other's light?

Will they really see my soul divided into two between them? We are so much of where we came from.


Often they sit together, both guilty of a disaster of toys scattered all over the floors. Their little figures each sitting on the only toy-free patch of the rug. Both so beautiful to me, I am often still in awe that they are real. I love them as two but together it's just mind-blowing. Me, then one, and another. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012


her hands are bitty
as they fit over mine
i am reminded of
the small, the tiny
how truly miniscule
her life is so far

the presence of she-
a being so huge
sometimes i forget
she just got here
just started.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I sat down at the keyboard tonight and stared at my blog's URL for about 35 straight seconds. What the hell do I write about? After browsing through my usual blog reel I am left feeling sort of empty. My house isn't that clean, big, or manicured. The lighting usually sucks for photos and frankly it's not even *my* house. My creative energy is shot when I finally have time to whip up some super-awesome-DIY crafts and my children are cute but their clothes never match.* Other notable blogs make me feel lame.

Sometimes when I write I feel a great sense of fulfillment because words have always been my best friends. I discovered them early and they've since been stashed under my arm in the form of books or forced inbetween the lines of notebook paper in such a personal way. When someone writes me and says they can relate/enjoy/bother to read what I type it truly fills me with an enormous sense of well-being. Not only did I medicate my spirit with putting my emotions into sentences but someone else actually felt something from it. Wow. Rad.

So, for those of you reading. THANK YOU. I am sorry if you have e-mailed me and I haven't written back. I will. But, I need your help. How do you do it? Nurture your kids, keep your home clean, your husband satiated, shave your legs, make cool shit, cook something delicious, and feed your magnificent female brain ALL IN ONE DAY? Please. I am feeling inadequate. Either I am the semi-together mom having fun with her kids or the housewife en pointe with housework and having something ready for the husband to eat when he comes home.

Mila's bed is completely full of clean laundry that needs to put away (it's not like she sleeps in it) and last time I tried to cook with both kids awake and by myself I got all hot and bothered. Not in a good way. I think of every hat my mother wore my entire 0-22 life. Full-time career, housework, cooking, LOVING HER FAMILY SO FULLY, being the hero, generally saving the day no matter what. How exhausting. I need to be rich just to shower her with monetary gratitude because she deserves the world and I want to buy it for her someday. Show me how!


*My girl Adriana shared a similar sentiment here and so beautifully.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An appropriate muse.

I am going to come right out and say it. Having one kid is heaven, and having a toddler plus a baby is a true exercise in two very important things. One, is mothering your kid in a way that is loving and beneficial. The other is reminding yourself daily that you aren't going to fuck up your kid because your personal flaws become so horrifyingly apparent.


Lately I have been thinking back a lot to the writer I named Olivia Simone after, and how the books I read of hers in the months before becoming pregnant (unknowingly) would now tie back into my life over three years later.

It's frightening to think that you mark your children merely by being yourself... It seems unfair. You can't assume the responsibility for everything you do — or don't do.

-Simone de Beauvoir, Les Belles Images (1966), Ch. 3

I recall reading these very words, tucked into an uncomfortable Ikea couch with a purring cat nestled under my legs. They sort of embedded themselves as soon as my eyes scanned them, I thought to myself: My children will be different, thinkers. They'll be cute and quirky, never bratty. I will never lose myself in them.


And now you fast forward and there is a yellow-haired hurricane sleeping in the next room. She breathes heavily even in her sleep, her cheeks always rosy no matter what. I wonder what she dreams of. So intense, always. I disliked the term "terrible twos" but we are in the throes of that perfectly coined term. It's a constant struggle. Sure, it's sprinkled with triumphs, great conversations, and belly laughs but it's surely tough. And tiring. It's brought some negative thoughts.


Today I wondered, as I wrangled her into the bathtub after she spilled her potty in a defiant attempt to empty it herself, what my life would be like now if she hadn't come along. I'd have time, my patience stores would be full, and I would be a lot more relaxed. The bad was fleeting. It quickly became mushy and I almost felt the back of my eyes tighten. Those knobby knees! wild eyes! neck hugs! I would not know those?! It shocked my feminist literature loving side- My daughter showed me who I am. My individuality is caught somewhere between where she starts and who I am now.

Now that I analyze this more consciously I am aware of what I want to change within myself so that I can be a better person for the girls. Examples: I (finally) stopped my disgusting habit of picking my nails and Olivia stopped biting hers. My borrowed "whisper when you want to raise your voice" trick makes Olivia actually stop and look at me, and when I just really need a breather I send my husband a frantic text to SOS, COME HOME ASAP. Every single day Olivia challenges my flawed, selfish nature and every single day I fight my errors. I guess this mothering thing is one of two teachers- the mother and child. I am hoping that my earnest efforts will help cancel out my imperfections.

And if all other desperate attempts at sanity fail, there is always the after bedtime cocktail.


Sunday, February 12, 2012


If I could use one verb to describe my mothering of Mila so far it would be: enjoy. I have enjoyed every day of being her mother. Yes, every day. Of course there are moments where I think it'd be nice to get a pedicure, or watch an early movie, sneak in a haircut- any daytime on my own. She has been at every haircut, every pedicure. She is my velcro baby, always attached to me. My theory is that this is why she is so "easy", she is with her comfort 24/7. But, I digress.
With this second child I already knew how deeply I'd fall in love. I knew how breastfeeding really hurts at first. That sleep would be my long lost lover. That she would be the most beautiful creature, right there in front of me. Olivia taught me and I was a good student. I wanted to be an earth mama because that is how nature intended. I'd wear her close, feed her my milk, keep chemicals away.
These parenting choices (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, attachment parenting) have not only seamlessly fit into our small family but also brought me into a community of inspiring women. So many amazing mamas, all so different, but with a common ground. Tiny, happy babies. Thriving off of pure mama love.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


With the popularity of mom blogs and the rapid spread of information that the internet allows I feel that mothers now have a soapbox that was never there before. A means of expressing the triumphs, failures, delights, woes, and perils of procreating. It's refreshing to see I am not the only one with "motherhood existentialism". Most of these writings that go viral seem to be written by mothers who do not work outside the home, for whatever reason. Some because childcare is too expensive, others because the financial need is not there, and many because they purposely choose not to.

I fall under a particular category. Yes, I chose to stay home in a way, but me working would make far more work for my family than we can handle at the moment. It entails so many things. What I would make versus childcare FOR TWO, needing more help from Todd while his plate is already overflowing, and the idea I have of my two babies in someone else's care for most of their waking hours.

I've done the working thing before. If you read this blog often enough you know that. And if I am going to continue writing here I have to be honest. Sometimes I find myself missing my 25 minute commute to work. Alone. My 15 minute Starbucks breaks. Alone. My paychecks. Adult interaction. Having MY THING. But, frankly, there is no ME in MOTHER.


Even though our situation isn't always ideal, I still go to bed every night thankful that I get to be with these two all day. Every day. They are my job, my priority. What do you do? I mother. My attempts are honest and true, hopefully I'm doing what is best. Some days at the office suck, my bosses are two and 7 months and can be volatile.

So here, on my own little soapbox, I will share one thing I have learned. One aspect of this whole "stay at home mom" job that seems to transcend the tantrums, frump, stickiness, and challenges of being the queen bee.

This is a career of moments. It should never be measured by big projects, or the deadlines of milestones. Sometimes I want to scream, but have to remind myself that this is the most fleeting phase. It certainly isn't forever, but it is so crucial, even if it won't mean anything on my resume. It's just as short as they are.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Have you seen this?

I cannot believe how guilty I am!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

7 months.


I cannot even believe I am posting this. My Mila will be 7 MONTHS OLD on Tuesday. Unreal. Baffling. She is closer to 1 than 0. It feels like just yesterday I was blogging about her with a baby bump keeping me from getting too close to the keyboard.


She is so lovely, so sweet.

My letters to her were always address to "Baby Honey" since she didn't have an official name. How did I know that Honey would be so fitting? She is like sugar, smells like sweetness, her hair is the color of honey. I would eat her up if I could.


Size: She wears 9-12 clothing lately, although some 6-9 fits also. She is long, not sure exactly what her height is. She weighs around 17lbs. (I looked back, and this is what Olivia weighed at her 9-10 month check-up).

Milestones: She sits, grabs what she wants, rolls, vocalizes, lots of raspberries, smiles, laughing, coos, dinosaur noises. Still not even close to crawling. Recognizes those she sees daily, extraordinarily attached to me, thinks her sister is hilarious. Definite stranger anxiety. Mila is a mama's girl because mama has the goods.

Food: Still exclusively breastfed. Now that we have it down, without any shields or issues, I am enjoying it so much. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting to nurse, or laying to nurse. I guess there is just nothing more relaxing than her warm body pressed against mine as I provide her all the comfort and nutrition she could possibly wants. I've become one of those moms who says I LOVE BREASTFEEDING. And I do.

She hates solids. Practically gags. I have tried several things but I am in no huge rush. Honey's thriving on my milk and that is good enough for me.


Sleep: I have to say, but I am hesitant to jinx it. Okay, I will tell you anyway. She is SO EASY to put down at night. For 7 months, we have had seamless bedtimes. Yes, we cosleep and she still nurses throughout the night but I can put her down around 7pm and she just drifts off to sleepy land. We lay down, I nurse her, and that is it. What a blessing! No super long naps during the day, just sporadic cat naps.


People often comment on her extremely calm and easy demeanor. She is a bit shy, reserved. Analyzes and studies the world. Listens intently. In my opinion she is the poster child of an attached, breastfed baby that gets to be with her mom all day. Best thing ever: The giggle fits the girls have. Mila gets a kick out of Olivia, and Olivia gets a kick out of Mila giggling. It's contagious.

I love them so much I could burst.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Tonight I braided Olivia's hair. For the first time ever. She was distracted by cotton balls and nail polish but that is not the point. Tears grew warm at the corners of my eyes before I even noticed them.


Why would I get so emotional about two honey colored braids? Just strands of hair woven together. Her petite body sitting on my lap, on the closed toilet seat. It was far more significant than what it appeared to be. Just writing about it now brings back that same overwhelmed feeling. I remember my mom braiding my own freshly washed hair, my body so relaxed after the warm bath. I sort of just melted into her as we sat there. All I knew was what was apparent. Me, my mom, my wet hair between her fingers. I never considered all the things that surely ran through her mind. Life, work, money, bills, expectations.

I was so moved by tonight because it is a metaphor for this next stage of my mothering. I have realized that having a baby is relatively easy. It's the parenting a young human that gets challenging, it's rememering the person you are trying to create admist the world you trying to swim through. I have to consiously remind myself: I have two little women under my wings. I must teach them to fly, freely but with standards. Intelligent yet objective. Femenine but capable. Aware but always sympathetic.


There are moments where the sheer responsibility of creating two humans who are happy without psychological therapy and pharmaceuticals as adults is enough to make me pour a drink. Literally. The only survival mechanism I have perfected thus far is to live within the day, the moment. To take in the current warmth of her tiny legs against mine, the wet strands of her yellow hair in my palms as I weave two sweet yet imperfect braids.