Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Night

For some reason I can't seem to totally kick this cold, so John's going solo on the toddler bedtime routine and I'm hanging back and drinking lots of tea and binging episodes of Call the Midwife. Does anyone else find that whenever they watch that show they want to have all the babies? Well, that and every time I see those women giving birth in their beds at home I can't help but imagine myself doing that--and delivering the 10 pound baby I wound up having...

Anyway, so all that to say that I'm taking it easy tonight, especially since we're headed down to Sherry's tomorrow for some much needed Nemmy, Luca and Lexi time and a trip to Sesame Place. I'm actually excited to go to the park (who have I become?), so I'm hoping the rain holds out.

So on that note, it's back to tea drinking for me.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Summer to Fall

There’s a part of me that’s blaming all this on the change in seasons. Maybe it’s the extra light that comes with the summer, the longer days, the fact that there’s always someone in the office on vacation. It all feels a little more free, doesn’t it?

Things didn’t feel that crazy this summer, not in the way they did last summer, at least. We did a million things and we went a million places, but there were lots of other days when we hung out at home, in the backyard, walking to the park and around the block. I worked out and we grilled burgers and we went on vacation.

But then quickly, it all kind of changed. Fall is always busy for us, with birthdays and long to do lists that involve apples and pumpkins and changing leaves and buying big, bulky scarves. They’re good things, for sure, but they’re all things that kind of snuck up on me. One day we’re bbq-ing and the next we’re ordering butternut squash soup and wondering why it’s dark at 6:30.

I can wax poetic all you want about how much I love fall and how I’m happy to wear plaid anything. (Catholic school forever!) But it just feels really fast this year. Like the rug was pulled out from under me or something. The routine I had going has changed and my workouts are all over the place (slash non-existent at the moment), we’re doing lots of leftovers and I still haven’t folded the laundry from last weekend.

Mostly, the idea of just sitting on the couch and watching lots of TV sounds super appealing. Maybe it’s the all-over-the-place-ness of the summer that’s finally catching up with me? Maybe it’s just my body gearing up for a long winter spent mostly inside? Maybe it’s just me making 1 million excuses?

Last week when I was eavesdropping on listening to some conversations in the nail salon, one woman asked another if she liked working and having a baby. And the woman said it depends on the week. I can relate to that on a few different levels—but mostly to the fact that these days, things in general just seem to change week to week.

One week we’ve got it all under control, the next week we’re down to the last diaper and hoping that the “emergency” one you keep in that pocket of the stroller is still there.

I’m trying to get back on track—crossing those small things off the list that feel like they take up the most mental room and making decisions that will hopefully free up some more time for us.

And then mostly I’m trying to remember that one week it’s this, one week it’s that. That fall comes with it’s own feelings. Maybe the days are shorter and maybe we need more layers, but maybe there’s a freedom in that, too.

[photo via unsplash] 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Taking Stock this Week

Cooking: If heating up counts as cooking, then we’ve heated up soup that my mother-in-law made this week. so good and so needed. 

Drinking: Tea, orange juice, seltzer. I’m not feeling that well and it totally shows. 

Reading: I ditched Commonwealth for a second and started My Brilliant Friend—Miriam and Joe got it for me for my birthday and I couldn’t wait to read it.

Wanting: To get back to the gym—since I haven’t been feeling that well I haven’t gone and it’s about time.

Looking: For those photos, still. Did I mention my thoughts on procrastination?   

Wishing: That a chef would magically appear in our kitchen every day and make us super healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners and also have snacks just out and ready to go when we walk in the door. A girl can dream?

Enjoying: Fall clothes. I went to a couple stores with Luca today after work and got him some new pajamas and a fall jacket, and then I got myself a couple new tops.

Watching: How to Get Away With Murder. Pitch. New Girl. Bring on all the fall shows!

Wondering: If Luca being in school means we’re going to be sick all year

Loving: What a small world it is

Hoping: It doesn’t rain this weekend

Needing: A clean house

Wearing: My new leather jacket. It was my birthday gift. (And also on super sale, which made me happy) 

Noticing: That there are three different sized trucks on my coffee table

Knowing: That things will work out the way they’re meant to. I think I always say some form of this, though it often relates to different things. This time, I’m feeling like we need to take a step back and look at the whole picture and what we can do to streamline some things—and then we need to actually do them.

Thinking: About how far we’ve come.

Bookmarking: This commercial. Yes, I realize it’s a commercial—for Ikea no less—but it all goes by so fast, doesn’t it?

Snacking: On Toblerone

Giggling: At how everything is “great” to Luca these days. And mostly to the little conversations he has with himself. He’s just such a happy kid, and I really hope he’s always that way. 

Feeling: Comfortable

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

This Is 33

I turned 33 yesterday and I’m not really sure where to start. The truth is, maybe I don’t have as many thoughts on this as I thought I did. It’s not a milestone, which we’re taught to reflect on and measure against and so I’ve been writing and deleting sentences for the last half hour.

Some start with today: It’s early and I’m on the couch with some tea and not enough hours of sleep. John left for work already, a long drive to meet a client, and Luca is still sleeping. I can hear him turning over in his crib, sighing just slightly. He’ll wake up and there will be Sesame Street episodes and sippy cups full of milk.

Some start with a reflection: Yesterday, I was buckling Luca into his car seat as we were leaving for school and work. He was talking to himself, as 2 year olds often do, and I was running late, as 33 year olds often do. And I stopped, thinking that this is what life looks right now: breathless and always running a few minutes behind, caught up but also as in it as I can be.

Some start with nostalgia: I am in a dorm room at the start of a new semester and we are sitting cross-legged on the floor. I am wearing heels and buying a “going out” shirt, it was blue or black and paired well with jeans. I am waiting in line somewhere, reminding someone of a reservation. I am dropping expensive drinks and I am dancing and I am laughing. I am wine tasting and cake eating and I am in a furniture-less room, in a new house, with my favorite people.

Some start with lessons learned: This past year has been all about settling into a routine—what works and what doesn’t and what we can change to make it work for the moment. I’ve slowly, slowly, slowly started to realize some standards I need to let go of, some expectations that don’t need to be met. Some messes that are ok as is.

You probably know where this is going: maybe this is what 33 looks like. All these sentences taken together, the then and the now, jumbled up to come up with something new. And I have to tell you, as flawed and tiring as it can all be, I really really like the way it looks from here.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Weekend Scenes

I'm not proud to admit that I wound up falling asleep while watching the 2014 season of the Real Housewives of New Jersey and when I woke up close to midnight I just couldn't bring myself to write anything. Or look anyone in the eye. 

The weekend, though, has been great. Coincidently, great is Luca's new answer to everything. Luca, how was school? Great. Luca, how are your trucks? Great. Luca, is that ice cream good? No...great. Here's hoping his enthusiasm doesn't wane in the coming years. 

I had to work on Saturday, but afterwards we went to my cousin's house for my little cousin's birthday. There were burgers and hot dogs and pastiere. Pastiere is basically a spaghetti pie, which looks like this. And also this. So we call it pastiere, but I just looked it up and it seems like other people might not call it that? Italians, what's the actual name? Pastiera di pasta? Frittata di pasta? It seems like it, according to that Chiarapassion blog I just linked to. Anyway, I have to get the recipe from my grandmother because it's amazing. 

After the party, we walked down to this outdoor concert (birthday boy is on the right!) and hung out for a bit before Luca passed out in the stroller. 

My birthday is on Monday and on Sunday, JB and L gave me an awesome birthday gift, plus this wonderful surprise right here, which I tend to take full advantage of this week. ;) 

We went to brunch at Rivermarket in Tarrytown with my family to celebrate and wound up spending about 4 hours hanging out, talking and admiring Carmine's new car. (The car's up on my Instagram story...) 

I don't take for granted for one second the fact that not only do I get to be related to these awesome people, but that I'm lucky enough to love spending time with them too. 

As might be expected, I have lots of thoughts on turning 33, which I'm hoping to actually collect and write out tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'm spending my last night of being 32 drinking tea and hanging out on the couch. It doesn't get much better than that, friends. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

4 Things I Learned Today

There is no point in cleaning when you live with a toddler. Before leaving this morning, I straightened up the living room, did the dishes, put the clothes away etc. This afternoon, Luca was home for maybe 5 minutes, and all the pillows were off the couch, his trucks were on the floor and his little motorcycle was tipped over in the middle of the living room.

Nail salons are the best places to hear people’s life stories. I went to get a manicure after work and listened to a couple different women talking about their jobs, the small apartment their kid lives in, how much their husband works, who takes care of their toddler, where to go on vacation and a whole bunch of other personal/interesting details about their lives. Way better than watching the local news. 

Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a walk outside and leave your phone at home. This article in New York magazine was so interesting (thanks for passing it on, Julia!) and while I don’t think most of us are going to let go of our phones/TVs/computers/ipads completely (or anytime soon), the idea of just the complete bombardment of constant information is staggering. This is particularly crazy: “We almost forget that ten years ago, there were no smartphones, and as recently as 2011, only a third of Americans owned one.” I wish I could take a class on the impact of this constant stream of media on people. Anyway, this is worth the read.

Do not speak too soon. I gave Luca a bath, read him two books and put him in his crib, turned off the light and walked out. LIKE A REAL PARENT. I gloated to John and 10 minutes later, he was standing up in his cribs asking to play with trucks. I should have quit while I was ahead.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Luca wasn’t feeling well, so he was up at 5 this morning—and even though he seems fine now, I’ve been going ever since. So for the second time this week, I’m using my two-sentence pass and calling it.

The truth is, there are a whole bunch of things on my mind. Things I started writing over the last couple days and never really finished. I’ll get to them eventually. In the meantime, I did manage to take some time to get my hair cut/colored today. Ugh, it’s at that point, guys, where I have to get my hair color done otherwise you see a whole bunch of grays. We are squarely out of the stage of dying red streaks in your hair in Joyce’s basement. 

Life still feels like we're there sometimes, though, no? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Taking Stock This Week

Making: Something with apples? Our friends dropped off some apples yesterday from Saturday’s visit and I’m thinking maybe I can find a few minutes to make something out of them. The much greater likelihood is that they’ll wind up as part of our breakfast and/or snack.

Cooking: Our first spaghetti squash of the season. Wasn’t fooling pasta-loving Luca tho.

Drinking: Pomegranate seltzer. Fall-ish?

Reading: I just started Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. This book looks so good too.

Wanting: To be more creative

Looking: Forward to the weekend

Playing: With watercolors. I picked up the $2 pack from Target over the weekend and Luca and I went to town. He didn’t totally grasp that you had to put paint on the brush after you dip it in the water, but you know…art takes time.

Wasting: Time watching the Real Housewives. I can’t help myself.

Wishing: For daily naps

Enjoying: Slightly cooler weather

Watching: This is Us. It filled my Parenthood void and sorry, but overwrought dramas never get old in my book.

Wondering: About, about, about (It’s not an answer, I don’t think.)

Loving: The top photo, which my brother Carmine took on a recent hiking trip with John. He has so many good ones, I can't even tell you.

Hoping: Luca feels better. He wound up with a fever this afternoon and he’s sleeping on the couch as I type

Marveling: At all the things I want to remember. I make up lists in my head sometimes, even though I know I should just record it all here. But there’s so much I want to make note of—what Luca says and how we react. When he started doing this or that. I look back on pictures from even a year ago and it feels so fast.

Needing: A haircut, which I'm finally getting tomorrow. 

Wearing: The post-work uniform of sweats and a t-shirt. Though I really need some new shirts to wear to work—I always wind up buying new ones for spring/summer and fall/winter but I don’t know if day-to-day shirts are even worth investing in or if it’s better to stick to the H&M staples?

Noticing: Chipped nail polish, crumbs on the counter

Knowing: What’s meant to be will be, always

Thinking: About turning 33 in 5 days. The jumble feels like it’s starting—the years where you’re “in your 30s” instead of focused on a specific number. I’m sure there will be more to say soon.  

Bookmarking: This piece, over on Design for Mankind. If you don’t read Erin’s blog already, it’s exactly what blogging should be.

Snacking: On Trader Joe’s dark chocolate almond bark. So good.  

Giggling: At Luca singing Happy Birthday in the car over the weekend. He went through the whole list: Mama, Dada, Nonno, Nonna….

Feeling: Distracted

[photo by Carmine