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Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Survive Your Twins This Summer

WHOOP WHOOP! It's June! It's SUMMER!

Oh wait... you are a mother and every day is exactly the same as it was the day before. There is no summer break. There is no break even ahead in sight. Even a bathroom break happens with someone staring at your vajajay at all times. So what do you do when you need to escape the house before you lose it? Somewhere that could be entertaining to any one of you, somewhere overall free of danger and a place that doesn't have to completely welcome but won't turn away your cute yet destructive "angels." Does such a place exist? My warrior friends it does.  My twins are now 5 years old and these are the places that helped us all survive each and every summer.

1. The Water Park of an Amusement Park. I'm kidding. I'm laughing so hard at that one. Sorry about that. Just don't do it. The best time to take twins to the stressful circle of hell that is the water park is when they are old enough to drive themselves there. A much better option for young ones is the splash pad. Sprinklers and running, have at it mini ones. You'll actually be able to see them and look mom- no drowning!

2. Grandma's House. It doesn't matter where your mom or mother-in-law live. Go to them. Find a way. Not only does this woman adore your children, she allows you to do something amazing: sit down. She may even cook for you. She may even help you fold laundry. She may even have wine. Bonus: she babysits. My mom and mother-in-law are the reasons I've kept any shred of sanity in having four kids. If they weren't already taken, I'd want to marry them. Yes, both of them.

3. The Mall Play Area. Don't knock it until you've tried when it's free of snot. A lot of malls open before the stores for employees and high speed mall walkers that will want you and your cherubs to stay the hell out of their way or you will get stomped on. Don’t make eye contact and just beeline it to the tot area. There may even be an open Starbucks at that time. You can sit with a macchiato and live the dream baby. If you go during prime sun hours, please proceed at your own risk. One time long but not long enough ago, our pastor was walking by and I talked to him for approximately five seconds while I was confined with my twins inside the sweet, safe play area when he says to me, “I think she just stole something.” And there it was: my Sophia had escaped the play area, ran into Gymboree and was standing there smiling, holding a new tank on a hanger like we had brought it from home. So proud. Go before the stores open. Trust me. 

4. The Beach. Fo real. That place will wear your babies out which will equal the best nap ever. Go early (again, this is the theme of your entire successful summer) and avoid the crowds. It will be much easier to get a good spot and to be able to see them while they run in opposite directions. Those brilliant arm floatie things that strap in the back will be your best friends. I’m pretty sure there were two solid summers where my twins never took them off. We also used to bring a small inflatable baby pool to the beach that we nicknamed “the baby cage.” Throw a little water in it to entertain and cool them off and until they realize they can escape it, it will be bliss. And at that point hopefully it will be nap time.

5. Your Own Backyard. I know you want to get out, I know. I do too. But think of it this way- bubbles and a baby pool = you being able to sit down. You can even put some Kahlua in that iced coffee in a judgement free zone. And your commute will be so short when it comes to that nap; no one will be falling asleep in their car seat on your watch. And one day your twins will be five and their siblings will be eight and ten. And you will be so excited for summer days that begin and end in your own backyard. Instill that love of being outside at home early on and they will never fall short of what they can discover within it. Nowhere to be with time to be can sometimes feel like the best gift ever. The first key though is surviving it. The second key is enjoying it. It helps to always have a happy drink in your hand. 


So keep on treading dear mommas, you’ve so got this.

Happy summer and cheers to you…

Katie



Pre escape baby cage... actually this is one of my twins with my nephew. Sophia did already escape.
Two out of three ain't bad.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dear Girls and Boys of the World


Dear Girls and Boys of the World,

There are a few things that I think you need to know. The things that you aren't going to find in a textbook or a church or maybe even your own home. There is power in the dos and the don'ts in this world. And it is imperative to know the difference.

Don't apologize for your wildness.
Don't apologize for your voice.
Or what makes you different.
Or what makes you the same.
Don't apologize for your style
And your smile
And all that makes you feel alive.
Don't apologize for saying no.
Or yes.
Don't ignore your gut instincts
Or the things that make the hair on your neck stand tall
Or the things that make you feel fear before any other emotion.
There is an endless strength in listening to what makes you afraid.
Please do not blanket your fear.
You are not alone.
If you have never felt at home in the body that you are born with
you can grant yourself the strength, courage and power to change it.
Your body is yours. Your mind is yours. Your soul is yours.
Love out loud so long as you love yourself first.
You owe nothing to anyone.
If no one listens do not give up.
Do. Not. Give. Up.
You have a voice and a choice
and you deserve to be heard.
Please don't apologize or make excuses for the people that weigh you down and tear you apart.
It doesn't matter if this person is blood, honey or water.
They have no right.
You do.
Burying your own secrets has the power to break us.
And you have far more important things to break:
molds,
ceilings,
hearts,
expectations.
Own that voice.
Scream if you have to.
Whisper if you must.
Just don't be silent.
Be who you are.
Release the you that demands to be seen.

You are worthy of so much.
You are a spark in this world.
You bring the light.
You overcome the dark.
This is your time, your story, your stage.
Your life.

The world is ready for you.

Katie











Thursday, May 14, 2015

A May Love Note

I still have moments when I feel like I'm drowning. I know I shouldn't. But I do. Because it doesn't always get easier; it evolves into another place with higher expectations. There is so much running around you forget to breathe. I am so ready for all of the sports to be finished and all of the commitments of school and lunches and reading logs and making projects with hot glue and homework to be finished. I'm not so much ready for the kids to be all up in my grill again but to have open days and open nights and nowhere in particular that we have to be. That is bliss. And ironically it is the same thing that I had when they were tiny and I felt like I was drowning in a different type of way. Oh motherhood, you are one crazy bitch how you turn those tables. So in the inbetween and the trying to wrap up all of the things that need to happen in these next few weeks, if you stumble upon a love letter that one of those wild ones wrote and hid it among the chaos of your office with no other intention than to make you smile, allow yourself to do that. 

Smile. Breathe. Repeat. 

Know that you are loved deeper than you will ever realize. 

We got this. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

PROTECT THIS HOUSE

I am a Maryland girl. I grew up about an hour north of Baltimore in the small town of Perryville. I currently live about 40 minutes south of Baltimore, outside of Annapolis with my husband and four children. My husband is a developer who works tirelessly to improve and restore worn down areas and buildings to beautiful structures of affordable housing and several of his projects exist in Baltimore. My brother-in-law is an Anne Arundel County police officer, one of the best in fact, with a wife and three young children to come home to and he has been working the streets of Baltimore for the last 8 days and nights.

I couldn't turn off the news until well after midnight last night because it isn't every day that a city that you know and love is on a national stage, albeit for horrific reasons. If there is ever a time to wake up and pay attention, it is now. My brother-in-law was at Mondawmin Mall. My sister-in-law didn't have contact with him for hours.

There are billboards and ads around Baltimore for Under Armour, a Maryland born and based brand that read "Protect this House" and the answer that follows is "I Will." Freddie Gray's family again and again asked for peace, to protect this house. The police have worked around the clock to restore peace, to protect this house. There were several Baltimore residents, former police, a Vietnam vet, lawyers and politicians interviewed that are doing everything possible to protect this house.

Those who seemed to not get the message were not all, but some of the media, coming into town for a day, maybe two who seemed like what they most cared about was who to blame for this happening, and it wasn't the ones destructing. Which politician let the ball drop? Who in power let Baltimore down? Who should we run over with our media buses again and again? It wasn't about the acts of the "protestors" but the acts of the politicians that seemed to take the forefront in their coverage. It wasn't about how we go forward but how we keep looking backward, casting stones at the mayor and those who want more than anything than to see Baltimore thrive.

Was it handled perfectly? No. 

But I will say that I was with my children at Camden Yards on Sunday, joining thousands for Little League day and the mood of Baltimore was of hope. It felt that the worst was over. It felt that people heard the family of Freddie Gray and protestors would back down and not match an eye for an eye. It was not anticipated that Monday would bring devastation of historic proportions. Our politicians are not perfect but they are not the ones that have set the city ablaze. By grilling them and looking backward you are only fueling anger and separating those with power and those that destruct all the more, dividing a city that yearns and needs to join together. You have a choice in what the public hears. You have the microphone. You can choose to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.

My brother-in-law said that there were 8 year olds throwing rocks and bricks at the police. He has an 8-year old and so do I. The image of a child destroying their own neighborhoods to attack the ones that are trying to protect it is not one I will ever understand or soon forget. 

Dear media, if you are looking for someone to blame for these events please blame those who have the rocks in their hands. The ones who teach children to throw the stones. Please don't be the ones caught with the rocks.

I tell my children when they are looking to cast blame in an argument that it doesn't matter so much who started the argument, but the one who is the bigger person and ends it. It is time to move forward on the road ahead, unite and be part of a rebuild, a rebirth. It is time Baltimore. It is time.

Let's protect this house.

I will.

Katie



Sunday.

Monday.


Today.




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You Are Not Just a Mother

I need a favor from you, queen bee. I need you to stop saying that you are "just" a mother. I need you to stop right now. I need you to stop saying it in your future. Your child is so much more than just. Your life is more than just. You are so far beyond just... just doesn't deserve you.

Here is what you are (just in case you need the reminder):

You are
strong
stunning
amazing
nurturing
powerful
bold
a hope
a light
a vault
a believer
a dreamer
a warrior
the love
the glue
the glitter
the future.

And this is what you do (again and again and again):

you chauffeur
you work
you pay
you cook
you clean
you fold
you teach
you build
you create
you laugh
you play
you call
you answer
you listen
you speak
you inspire
you believe
you remember
you release
you forgive
you endure
you hold
you lift
you climb
you carry
you glow
you dream
you sacrifice
you cry
you bleed
you bandage
you spill open

you show up.

There is nothing slight about it. There is nothing just about it. You do not have time for the justs, the justifications and the judgements. You are doing the best that you can. And you are killing it.
Rock on momma.
You are extraordinary.
Thank you for showing up.

Cheers to us.



Thank you to The Honest Body Project for their stunning work and celebration of truth and motherhood.
This is beautiful Amiah with beautiful James. Not just a baby. Not just a mother.
So. Much. More.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Love Letter to my Mother-in-Law

Dearest Yia-Yia...

I feel like there are too many things that I haven't told you. I think that is the thing with super women. We just assume that they know how extraordinary their super powers are that we forget to voice them out loud. We forget that everyone needs to have their cup refilled (yes, your exact words that you've said to me). I think it is beyond time that I expressed my gratitude out loud for the way you love out loud. There aren't enough words or pages for all of the things so here is just a beginning.

You love my children. You say yes to them and dedicate whole days to the word yes. They know Yia-Yia is synonymous with laughter and play and swinging and all that is important in childhood. And adulthood. Whenever I am in doubt about the right decision of how to handle a situation with my kids I usually ask myself What Would Yia-Yia do? And that always finds a way to bring me to the right path; the happier path; the path of yes.

You love me. You love me like I was one of your own children which makes me feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world. You have been a therapist, a friend and a mother. You not only watch my children but you have slipped me money when I've gone out the door for girls weekends. You give the best gifts from shoes to clothes to Anthropologie happiness. I know love has nothing to do with the material but I am astonished by the thought behind each and every thing. I know that I haven't thanked you enough because I am the worst ever at thank you cards but I know your generosity is lined in it all. I myself am stitched together by flaws laced in hopeful intentions but you never point them out. You never make me feel like not enough but instead like I am a light and I am not alone. You have an understated way of making everyone feel like they have gifts in this world that need to be shined for all to see. You see all of our children's strengths, all of their gifts. Not to say that they don't each have their faults, of course they do, but what a hopeful world it is to just look for the good. That in itself is a gift of yours. It is not a slight thing to be able to see everyone's light.

You've shown me the love that is food. And that there isn't a situation in life that couldn't be improved by a glass of Chardonnay. You are a brilliant, bountiful and beautiful chef. You make the type of food that people yearn to be in your kitchen. You provide the company that people don't want to leave. And when they do they will not leave empty handed. I have not left your kitchen without at least 3 tupperware containers of your delicious food in the last 15 years.

You've given me your son. He is of course both of ours, for better or worse and I still call dibs on you should we ever get a divorce but when we got married, you handed him to me with grace. You handed him to me with hope. He will always be one of the best people I will ever meet in this world and that is to your credit. He is a strong man and he was raised by a strong woman. I am in awe of the tenacity in those genes and am grateful that blood that thick is coarsing through my children.

And there is you. Resilience personified. You take nothing lying down and you take it with a smile. You find humor in what others would hide from. You bring laughter with a side of spanakopita. Dirty jokes with wine. Strength with spirit. You do not let things break you. You overcome.

I hope that when I become a mother-in-law that I do half as good a job as what you have done for me. That would be the ultimate success. I know I never have called you Mom but that doesn't mean that I would ever consider you as anything else. Thank you. Thank you for everything. You will always be more than I could hope for.

Love you.
Always.

Katie


Friday, March 6, 2015

F#ck You Winter

Disclaimer: I am an eternal optimist. I see through rose colored glasses at a glass half full. I believe that everything will work out. Always.

But there comes a time every year when I stomp on those rose colored glasses and drop f-bombs out of my children's range of hearing. It happens around one of the last (sweet Jesus it better be) snow storms of the season in March. MARCH.

Fuck. You. Winter.

I curse Mother Nature and her angry bitchy ways. My kids had a two day school week this week. The last time they went 5 straight days was in mid-October. The weight of winter carries a burden that the heat of summer could never contend with. Winter feels limited and heavy. Summer is all things light and free.

I don't live in New England or Chicago or Alaska or a land that is known for a crazy long ass snow filled winter; I don't know how those people do it (seriously how do you do it?). I live in Maryland, a state of mild lovely seasons that embraces warm; a drinking state with a boating problem. I want to hear a bird chirp and a flower emerge and feel that moment of unzipping your coat and breathing in the light of the sun without the bitchslap of a chill to your bones.

I would have an orgasm today if that happened.

Today it is too cold to feel your face. Today your eyelids may freeze to your eyeballs. Today it is too cold for my husband's ATV to start so he can plow the driveway. He and my sons are old school shoveling it. It is actually orgasmic that he is outside and I am not. Thank you husband. I'm so glad I didn't stab you the other day when you asked what I did all day when all of the children were home on snow day #217.

So I've declared this day a day of gluttony and I will eat chocolate with a vengeance and drink wine like bikini season will never come. Who knows maybe it won't this year... fuck you endless dark stupid winter.

I've heard that you should wish for the people that you love enough cold days that you appreciate the warm ones. Done and done. Do you hear that Mother Fucking Nature? We surrender. You've granted us the winter wishes now we are ready for the spring ones. And we promise to be eternally grateful.

Until next winter.

Love and hope and red wine in the meantime...
xoxo
Katie