before they were my parents, they were awesome.

When I was a kid, my mom leaned in, looked me in the eye and spoke these genius words of wisdom that I’ll never forget, “Before I was a mom, I was a person.”

That really struck me, even at a young age. You see, I always held my mom up on this towering pedestal because, in my eyes, she was perfect. I loved her so much, I wanted to be with her every second and when she wanted some *gasp* time alone, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Looking back, I can see how a single mom of two (who often worked two jobs and struggled to make ends meet) really needed some alone time, some girl time, some wine time, some time to just feel like the person she was before the responsibilities weighed so heavy on her shoulders.

Those few simple words put it all into perspective for me. She wasn’t just my mom. She was a person, she was a friend, she was a daughter, she had ambitions . . . she was human. And by the way, even before she was my mom, she was awesome. Which brings me to my latest online obsession, the website My Parents Were Awesome.

The photos on this site speak volumes. Our parents had eyes filled with hope, with love, with naiveté. They were cool, they rebelled, they pushed boundaries, they weren’t jaded by some of life’s harsh realities (yet). They dove in, they blasted their music, they ran, they dreamed, they took risks. They loved, they laughed . . . they were human.

My parents drove classic cars. They cruised. My dad rigged a record player in his car, my mom threw on her scarf, and they were awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom had the perfect bangs, the perfect a-line dress and the waist of a Barbie doll the day she was married. My dad had a full head of stand-up-and-take-notice hair. Awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom had a carefree attitude (that I envy to this day), she was independent and had the most infectious laugh. She still does. Also awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you become a parent your whole world really does get flipped upside down. Sometimes we feel like our old selves are buried beneath diapers and toys and the baby-proofed furniture that used to be our newlywed home (that we swore would never look like Romper Room but, of course, now could be its body-double). But  My Parents Were Awesome and my mom’s words will always remind me that no matter how much more I relate to being a mom with every day that passes, I was a person long before I was a parent. There are many things I’ll look back on and be proud of. There are some things I’d rather hide (who dressed me in the 90s, anyway?). And along the way I’ve collected many, many photos that document it all.

Hopefully my kids will look back one day and think that, long ago, I was also awesome.

 

“happiness just happened . . . and you missed it.”

I read that in a book recently and it smacked me like a sheet of cold water across my face. I was struck by the reality that with my multitasking bad habits, my obsession with documenting everything with photos and videos, my propensity to get caught up with work and to-do lists and whatever’s three steps ahead  . . .”living in the moment” has completely escaped me.

Here’s what I’d add to that line in the book: Happiness just happened . . . and you missed it. And guess what? It’s your fault.

After all, it’s my time, it’s my life and it’s my grubby little fingers that type it all in to my calendar, that write it all down on scraps of papers with check boxes and run-on lists . . . the same fingers that scroll through my phone at every free second like I’ve lost the winning Lotto numbers and they’re somewhere in my phone.


At the end of the day, I’m usually the one that creates the totally over-planned, over-committed chaos that has become my day-to-day existence. The choices I make to be behind the camera versus in the action, to juggle a conference call in the few precious moments I’m totally alone with my baby, to check email during my toddler’s swim lesson– they’re all robing minutes away from each experience. And I’m letting them. But not any more.

While I haven’t completely finished it (guess who’s “too busy”?), this book (The Happiest Mom) has me thinking of all the ways I need to change my approach to life. Starting with . . .

  • When I feed my baby, that’s all I’m doing. You don’t want to know how many times I did that juggling my crackberry, texting, tweeting, wondering if that last tweet made me loose followers (telling myself how lame that sounds, even if it’s in my own head), worrying if I finished that email. Wait. Let me look at my phone and check. ENOUGH. Just feed the baby. Me and him. That’s it.
  • Giving my toddler Momma time. Uninterrupted. TV off, phone away, real time. At the park, on our couch, anywhere. I’m talking eye contact, real conversations (you know, of the 2-year-old kind), just me and him. It’s sad to think about how many conversations we have with our kids that all revolve around “Sure” and “Uh huh” and if they’re lucky, an occasional “Ohhh…really??” all the while texting, reading, web surfing, watching reality TV, wondering if it’s too early for a cocktail, etc., etc.
  • Getting in the action instead of always having my face behind a camera or video recorder. I might have kick-ass pictures, but I’m not in any of them. And I’m not fully experiencing what’s happening when I’m too busy staging shots like I’m running a red carpet.
  • Giving my husband my phone when we sit down to eat, so he can hold it hostage. I don’t want to be that couple . . . huddled around their phones reading Twitter, checking into Foursquare, playing video games. Let’s take it back circa 1970s where we actually had to talk to each other. Or, stare at each other. Anything but ignoring each other for our phones. This would also be a good time to have heart-to-heart with my 2 year old, so he’ll stop crashing his crayons together like the restaurant is his personal rally race.
  • Banning talking about my clients or my work when I’m not actually working.
  • Forgetting about everything else when I walk into the gym, besides how awesome it feels to be out of my house and at the gym.
  • Not worrying about things that will have no bearing on my life five years from now. If no one will get hurt and/or I won’t care about it five years from now . . . it’s not worth distracting from the hundreds of things I could be doing with that time instead (see above).

I could go on for days.

If you took a good, honest, look at the things that prevent you from really soaking in the moments as they happen– what would you change?

yummie tummie. it’s like tummie time… for grown-ups.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my tummy. Reality check: It’s mostly hate. I loved it when it carried my two (BIG), healthy, (BIG) baby boys. Did I mention BIG?

I hated it when it didn’t magically bounce back after each delivery (Via c-section. As if the whole big baby thing wasn’t enough to wreak havoc).

Now, five months after my last (BIG) bundle of joy, I’m finally getting used to not hearing things like “Oh my GOD. Your belly is HUGE!” “Are you having twins!?” “That’s just ONE baby in there!?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But–like most moms within a few months of having a baby–what I fear most is one day hearing “When are you due?”

You see, most people don’t tell you that after you leave the hospital with your brand-new baby…you still look pregnant. And if you’re like me, fortunate enough to be blessed with big, healthy babies (have I mentioned my 5 month old wears 18-24-month clothes?) but cursed by weak stomach muscles from repeat c-sections…you know that the dreaded pouch is along for the long-haul. I Zumba, I walk, I’ve lost 40 lbs…but my tummie has fallen, and it can’t get up.

Or can it?

Enter Yummie Tummie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Christina (who I’ve known since both of us were in our 20s and our Tummies had not a care in the world besides which bikini it should wear, or what we were feeding it next), told me about Yummie Tummie’s “Say Wow Not Ow Yummie Tummie Style Session” at BlogHer.

Yummie Tummie has tanks, camis, shapewear . .  super sexy underthings . . . everything a new mom with two kids could dream of gifting the tummie that sacrificed so much to give her two beautiful babies!

Here’s just a quick peek at what they offer:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to learn more, visit the Yummie Tummie Facebook page, the Yummie Tummie site or follow them on Yummie Tummie Twitter!

what birthdays are made of

This week I celebrated the big 3-6, and I have to say it was one of my favorites. For once, I woke up with no plans.  The only thing on my agenda– spending the day with my husband and kids, seeing where the day took us. When my husband asked me what I wanted? Nothing. Seriously, nothing. Have I grown up, or what!? I have my boys, I have my health, I have my family, I have an awesome husband who wanted to spend the day making me happy… nothing you could put in a box could ever top that.

Everything about that day felt like an opportunity to think about the ways my life has changed over the past few years, and revel in it.

I woke up at 8:30 (what a mom with two kids considers sleeping in late).

I was greeted by my 2 yo with a giant balloon,

(and a Spiderman mask ... go figure)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a birthday card and the cutest “Happy birthday to you, momma!” ever.  My husband came in with a giant gift bag and propped my newborn next to me.

If my day ended there, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

what birthdays are made of

The gift? A totally thoughtful nod to where I am in life right now.

A box of Clif Bars (so I have an excuse to eat chocolate and pretend like it’s healthy)
Yoga clothes (enter me chanting: I will lose the baby weight)
Workout socks (Because I’m a perpetual sock hijacker. My husband’s are always more comfortable!)
Wine (you read the part where I said I had two kids, right?)

… and some “fun money” so I can get whatever I wanted ($10 says I buy clothes for the kids. It’s like an addiction).

We ate at my favorite breakfast place, Plum (banana brulee oatmeal and a mimosa), had an awesome lunch at True Foods (so I could feel less guilty about the breakfast), and finished it with dinner at Opah.

Every stop had a happy birthday song and a dessert, and the last stop found us sitting next to a sweet man who bought us a round while my 2 yo worked the room hugging everyone.

I’m pretty sure I gained three pounds. Scratch that. I actually gained three pounds. But I wouldn’t swap the look on my son’s face every time a new birthday dessert came to the table for anything in this world.

In the end, at 36, presents in bed, Spiderman masks, happy birthday to you’s and my boys by my side are what birthdays are made of.

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