One of my students was playing with Jack the other afternoon and wanted to shake his hand. This was something that we hadn't ever thought to teach Jack, so he was clueless. It was adorable to watch this fabulous 17 year old teaching my little 2 year old how to shake hands. Though Jack was clearly loving the attention of this older boy, he was not picking up on how to shake hands. So when we got home, we decided that we'd tech him this necessary (and fun) new concept.
This morning, I wanted to see if he remembered. I asked him, "Jack, can we shake hands?" and he ran over, took my hand, shook it and said "Nice to meet you!" He then giggled and said "show Dennis?" My heart nearly melted. Dennis is the name of my student! I couldn't get over how sweet it was that Jack both remembered this interaction with my student and wanted to complete it! I was so excited to run into work and tell this boy, Dennis, all about it. The best part? Dennis said that I made his day by telling him the story.
Tonight I am grateful for a smooth evening routine with my boys! The feeling of having both boys asleep in their cribs by 8:30 is awesome. It feels like a HUGE accomplishment, especially because it was just me and the kiddos tonight.
Being a Mom to two boys under two is hectic. We laugh a lot, but we're also often exhausted. But this morning, when I went to get Jack out of his crib, he asked to hold Wells. I put Wells on his lap in the crib and immediately discovered the reason why all of the tired is worth it... My boys are becoming best friends right in front my my eyes! It was awesome and so fun!
Thankfully, I deleted some pictures from my iPhone, so I had space available ;)
I am grateful for a family that I enjoy so much that I'm always sad to leave them. My Dad, my Sister, my Grandmothers, my Aunts... Sometimes tears are a reminder that life is so good that it's worth crying about.
I'm also grateful for the feeling that I get every time I drive over the 59th Street Bridge. I love the feeling of driving into New York City and knowing that I'm home.
It makes me glad to know that in one evening I am both sad to leave my family and really happy to come home.
My sweet baby won't sleep - he's never slept through the night, but now he's teething on top of it. Ugh! So my pediatrician gave me a pep talk yesterday that it's time for me to start sleep training... Shut the door and let him cry... blah. blah. Not exactly the suggestions I was hoping for. Then we had a really rough night. He cried for hours, even as we held him. So now here I am, tired and completely overwhelmed by what to do next. I just want to call my Mom.
The funny thing is that I know exactly what she'd say. She'd tell me to close the door, take a walk and let him cry. I've never wanted to disagree with someone so badly! I know that there would be more to the conversation than this... she'd support me and make me feel better. She'd probably tell me to take a bath and try and relax a little. She'd reassure me. But ultimately, she was a believer in crying it out. So ultimately, we'd disagree about this.
I'm sad that I can't disagree with her. That I can't just call her and hear that everything is going to be OK. It made me think of all the things that I took for granted.
Then this afternoon one of my dear friends told me that her Mom's birthday was coming up. They don't have a terribly close relationship. But as she was writing out her Mom's birthday card, she thought of me, and instead of just signing her name she wrote a note to tell her Mom a few things that she appreciated about her. It made my day.
It's been hard to see what the bigger lessons in all of this might be. But I am certain that if one person appreciates their Mom just a little bit more - even for one day! - some of this is worth it.
I know how lucky I was to have such an incredible bond with my Mom. I know it's not typical. I know how special it was. But I also know that no mother sets out to have a bad relationship with their kids. No mother wants to screw up. So even when your mother drives you crazy - when she tells you to let your baby cry and can't understand why you don't want to - appreciate her. Appreciate that at least you're able to disagree.
I have talked about my incredible friends before, but this requires another mention. One of my amazing friends and her husband have created a website to sell t-shirts for my Mom! They designed and printed the shirts and all proceeds will go to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.
Here's Jack sporting his "Nanny Shells shirt" :)
Thank you to Jamie & Nick.
This is truly remarkable and I am beyond grateful for your thoughtful, generous support of me and my family!
As a Mom to a toddler, I spend a lot of time trying to teach the concept of sharing... but tonight, it was one of my students who demonstrated this best! He completely warmed my heart.
Today was this boy's birthday. As his gift, he asked his parents to buy cupcakes for every person at the school. He wanted to celebrate this with everyone - not just his closest friends. I thought that this was remarkably kind and thoughtful. I was so impressed by him.
But this evening, he came to see if me, Nick and Jack would like a cupcake too. It was such a thoughtful gesture, it completely made my day!
Tonight I am grateful to get to work with selfless, kind students. They give me faith that there is still good in the World.
They give me faith in my children's' future.
"I think that if you're lucky enough to get old, you should celebrate it!" - Iris Apfel, MAC Cosmetics model
Last week I saw this story on the Today Show and it really got me thinking about age and beauty. If you have a few minutes, it's totally worth watching! The basic premise of the story is that advertisers are finally catching on that 50 isn't the new 40; 50 is 50. 50 is beautiful, and so is 60 and 90 for that matter! The piece highlights Iris Apfel, who is a new face of MAC Cosmetics and 90 years old. Apparently the lipstick that she's selling sold out in 2 weeks. People love Iris. I love Iris! She was beautiful and so insightful about age. She really got me thinking...
My Mom was only 57 when she died and she was incredibly beautiful. She was striking. She wore her hair as short as short gets, little to no make-up and a big beautiful smile. She radiated beauty, to me, until the day she died. When Iris says "if you're lucky enough to get old, you should celebrate it!" I nearly cried. What a poignant thought! Why shouldn't the lines of experience on our faces be celebrated and embraced?! Isn't that celebrating our lives? Why are we so afraid to celebrate a 50th or 60th birthday for fear of getting old? Isn't that the goal? I will promise you right now that if I have the privileged of living until I'm 6o, I will celebrate!
Lately I've looked at my reflection and seen someone old. My face seems to have aged 10 years in the last 12 months. Life has been tough and I am tired, so I suppose it only makes sense. But still, I haven't enjoyed the feeling of looking old. But Iris (and Valerie Ransey who was also a guest on the show) got me thinking... Those lines around my eyes, they're lines of laughter and tears. Lines of strength, perseverance and worry... Those lines are me! Now, I'm not certain that I can fully embrace the dark circles that have permanently taken up residence under my eyes. But perhaps I can embrace the fact that while life may age a person in some ways, it can also rejuvenate you in others.
In the past year I have slept less - a lot less! Anxiety, worry, grief and a hungry newborn are not a recipe for good rest! I have worried more. I've had to face some of the most difficult challenges I could imagine. I've carried and delivered a baby, nurtured a toddler and said good-by to my best friend. I've encouraged and supported my Husband as he earns his Master's degree. I've worked full-time. I've done a lot... All of these things have aged me in many ways. But while my face is looking old and drab... my imagination is more alive than it's been in decades!
After watching this piece, I went and had breakfast with Jack. While we waited for our oatmeal, Jack colored. He told me that he was drawing a penguin and a polar bear. He knew which was which, even though to me it looked like scribble. Watching his creativity and imagination really made me think about age. I think that seeing life through the eyes of a toddler does wonders for your soul! It has helped me find humor and compassion. It's helped me to feel really alive in otherwise drab and boring moments. It's helped make life more of a fun adventure than a stressful chore. I assure you, my imagination is much younger than the lines on my face and the dark circles around my eyes!
I'm working towards appreciating that all of my experiences make me who I am. I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be. I have more love than I thought was possible. And I am determined to find gratitude for all the things that could be worse... My lines represent my life and life is worth celebrating!
"... the real beauty comes from, above all, from confidence and from having courage to be ourselves. From the wisdom that we have acquired within ourselves over the years. From vibrancy; excitement about being involved in life. And it's when all of those things are on the inside and shine through on the outside. That's what real beauty is all about" - Valerie Ramsey, 72 year old model
Today I put Nick's Graduation on my calendar and I was so proud I felt like I might burst. He is getting his Master's from Teachers College of Columbia University and I seriously could not be prouder! He has worked tirelessly over the past 2 years. During this time we've brought home 2 babies, worked full time and battled cancer. Nothing about this has been easy. But I love that my boys get to see such an outstanding role model. I tear up every single time I think about my boys watching their Daddy graduate!
I am SO proud of my incredible partner and best friend.
Saturday we met friends at the Children's Museum of Art. It was awesome! It's a wonderful space for kids of a variety of ages. We hung out in the toddler room, which had one table after another of fabulous art projects. The kind that you would never want to do in your own home, but that your kids love! I took about a million pictures, but here are some highlights...
This was a table full of magnetic blocks. Jack loved them and built a castle!
You can see the little one in the background taking a nap in his wrap.
There was a room filled with these exercise balls. Jack had so much fun that at one point he stopped and just screamed with joy. It was hysterical to watch! The best part is that the kids are seperated by age. There are 20 minute time blocks for each age group so we didn't have to worry about Jack being too small.
I got an early morning text today that our babysitter couldn't come into work. Her son was sick and she needed to take him to the doctor. While my initial reaction was frustration, I quickly came around to realize that this could be an unexpected fun day with my kids!
Nick and I have a rule when it comes to these types of issues - we take turns and divide our time away from work evenly. We've agreed that neither of our job is more or less important than the other. Of course, we have to be flexible depending on what's happening at work for each of us. But for the most part, we're a 50/50 team. I appreciate this and often hope that our employers do too. This time it worked out that I took the morning off and nick took the afternoon.
A few weeks ago, we visited the New England Aquarium in Boston and had such a wonderful time! Jack was fascinated by all of the fish and I could not stop taking pictures. I was so excited by all of the fish, I felt like a kid again. I highly recommend a visit. So far, this was our favorite aquarium!
When you enter, the penguins are right in front of you. There is a huge open display that houses three different types of penguins. Then in the center of the building there is a giant shark tank that is about 5 stories high with a walkway that wraps around the whole thing. So as you walk up around the spiral, you can look down and see the penguins. Right in front of you is the giant shark tank with rays, sharks, eels, turtles and tons of fish! Then on each level there are exhibits around the outside, too.
These are some of the smaller tanks.
Jack loved it all! He was mesmerized by the fish, it was awesome!
You can see that Nanny Sue had a good time, too! :)
This is the awesome shark tank. At the very top, you can actually see in from above the water, which is so neat. We happened to get up there just in time for feeding. Two guys actually dove into the tank to feed the fish. It was really cool to watch. Each type of fish was fed something different. Some ate fish, while others ate veggies. It was really such an awesome thing to see!
And then there was a turtle. My dear friend, the turtle. I couldn't get enough of this guy.
Seriously, there was about 40 pictures on my camera just of him (her?).
It was really awesome to see him swimming through the tank.
Seriously, it's one of the best things about being a Manhattan Mom! No one has storage space, so people are willing to sell gently used things just to make space! Additionally, my neighborhood seems to be full of seemingly rich people who are willing to sell things at a ridiculously reasonable price! It's awesome!
I have purchased 3 strollers from Craig's List - yes, I said 3. We don't have cars, instead we have strollers. There's the big comfy one that we love for schlepping around the City, the lightweight single one, and, of course, the lightweight double (that we've yet to use). Hey, I got all 3 for the price of one brand new one! I also got a lovely wrap that my little one loves to snuggle in and a jumperoo that Jack went wild for and Wells can't wait to test out!
The list goes on... But tonight I scored a video monitor for $50. I literally almost bought the same one for $180 on Saturday. $180! I'm so glad that I consulted my friend Craig first.
Thank you to the lovely Australian Mum on the Upper West Side who sold me her gently used monitor for a steal since she's moving. We are using it well and appreciate your kindness and the great deal :)
And just for fun - here's a pic of the little one enjoying his wrap. He loves that thing!
A few weeks before she died, I asked my Mother what she thought heaven would be like. Without opening her eyes, she paused for a moment and said: "Bergdorf Goodman without needing any money!" I laughed so hard! It was so quintessentially Shelli.
So today, I am at Bergdorf Goodmans having a lunch and a glass of champagne with my Mom.
Happy Birthday, Mommy! Thanks for teaching me to appreciate the finer things in life, while still keeping grounded to who I am. And thanks for teaching me to appreciate a nice glass of champagne now and again ;)
Tonight my family will all come together for a dinner to celebrate! But for now I am so grateful for my quiet lunch with you. xo
Some days are tough. Sometimes it's hard to find gratitude or comfort in anything... Today is one of those days. Tough.
But that's ok... I will still consider it a success that today is the exception and not the norm.
Tomorrow is my Mom's birthday. Though I fully believe that it is a day worthy of a wonderful celebration, I can't seem to shake the feeling of despair and sorrow. It just seems cruel. And what's worse? I can't remember what we did for her birthday last year. Could it have gone unnoticed and uncelebrated? That makes me sad all over again. It's hard to not harp on those wasted moments now. But I have to let the past be the keeper of memories and not the demon of regret.
So now, I take deep breathes and focus on the sunshine and making it through today.
Again today, someone stopped me to tell me how much I look like you. I suppose it's a combination of my short hair and the fact that everyone is missing you...
Every time someone says this to my, I am completely flattered. It is such a compliment.
But then I instantly hope that they don't just mean that I look like you, but that I have the same warmth that you had. I hope that I can make people feel at least a fraction of the way that you made them feel... like they mattered.
A few years ago Gray's Anatomy had a storyline between Meredith and Christina where they would dance it out. Mainly, whenever they were stressed, they would turn up the music and just dance until they laughed and felt better. I think it came out when I was in grad school, because I remember relating to the idea and having a few fun dance parties. I also had a fabulous friend in San Diego who loved to dance it out - typically that happened on a Saturday night at the W hotel. Good times. Well Monday, I got to go to a fancy work event. Mind you, I had to work for a good portion of the night. But after those responsibilities were done, it was so fun to have a glass of champagne and dance it out. I don't go out dancing very often. I know, you're totally shocked by that, right?! But when I do, I always have so much fun. And I always feel better - aside from my feet, which are aching. This party was no exception. It was a ton of fun!
I'm grateful for the opportunity to go to these fancy events - even when I'm working them!
I'm grateful that I got out for the night and had some fun.
I am also totally grateful to my sister for finding me a fab dress! ;)
Today, as I was sitting on the bathroom floor pushing my boys "peepee" down to avoid being shot... I realized that parenthood is choc full of moments when you wonder to yourself... "who am I?!" I never in my life thought I'd do this... but there I was!
At the same time, I could have burst with pride for my boy who is asking to sit on the potty!! Being a Mom is weird. But it's also so fun. I never fully understood how your children could become such a huge focus. I balked at people who let their children become the center of their worlds. I think I get it now. Though they are not the sole center, my children are the core of who I am. And that doesn't mean that I have lost myself. It means that I have changed... evolved.
I love the moments when I laugh at something because I can't believe that I am doing it. Like sitting on the bathroom floor, helping my toddler aim. I love it.
Mom, I wanted to call you to tell you all about it so bad... My baby is getting so big! What happened?! I am so proud of him. I just wanted to tell you...and now I did. I love you.
Tonight my family all came over for dinner. My sister was here and then my Dad, Aunt, Uncle, cousin and Grandmother all came in. It was so nice! I love living close enough that everyone can come over for dinner.
I am infinitely grateful for the love and support of these incredible people.
My family is overbearing and crazy, but they are also so thoughtful, loving and compassionate towards one another. We all know that each other is hurting, but everyone does what they can to be supportive and helpful.
It's so nice and inspiring.
I couldn't imagine coping without them.
I love sharing a meal, some wine and my home with them. It was a wonderful evening!
She came to visit this weekend to hang out with us. We had such a nice time! My boys absolutely adore her. Jack was beyond thrilled to see her walk through the door on Friday night! She arrived in time to read him a book before bed. It was great. She's beyond helpful to have around! She is always going out of her way to pitch in; changing diapers or playing a game. She spoils me just as much as she spoils the boys, if not more!
We took the kids to story time, went shopping, went out to dinner and hung out. I just love being with her. I sometimes miss the pre-babies visits, when we'd get manicures and go out for cocktails, but one day we'll do those things again, right?! Once my little one starts sleeping more at night...I hope! ;)
It's hard for both of us, because it often used to be the three of us... Jen would come down to the City, then Mom would come meet us for dinner, shopping, drinks or a trip to the Met. We had many girls days/nights like that. Though we enjoy each others company, it's hard to not notice that something is missing sometimes.
I couldn't imagine going through this without her. This past year has taught me just how special siblings are.
Jen is not only my oldest, dearest friend. But she is also my past and my future.
Today I am grateful for my beautiful friendships. I have mentioned before, that the past months have taught me just what friendship means and my gratitude continues today. I am blown away by the outpouring of love and support that people have shown me.
I finally decided to share this blog with my Facebook friends. Prior to today, I had only shared with a handful of people. I am truly overwhelmed by all of your responses and your beautiful comments.
My life is so full of love. I can't imagine anything better than that.
Thank you for reading, for sending prayers, for your support and most of all for your kind, beautiful words.