carpet and craft mania.

I must begin this post by saying that I am so glad I have a reason to be indoors today.  Hayden and I woke with a tickle-tackle fest before heading out to Whole Foods for a few key ingredients for our vegan crispy treats today.  (Thanks again, Jewell, for that fabulous vegan dessert cook book!)  The 6-mile round trip was a bit more than what number-two wanted today… and who can blame him/her after such a heavy pedaling week.  We’ve done 67 miles since Monday, including today… still about 10 miles shy of my weekly goal.  Speaking of which, I just may have to buckle down and cut back on the miles… my entire body has been sore but my abdomen has been achey like never before.  It feels like I spent all of yesterday doing hard-core crunches and sit-ups and any and every other abdominal workout.  It’s uncomfortable to say the least… I have thought very seriously about getting myself a massage… my first ever.

Anyhow, When we came home, we tackled a cleaning of the carpet… thanks to ditsy Dinosaur and his foolish foolishness yesterday, Tom had no option but to rent a cleaner to clean his mess.  Because it was ridiculously late last night, Tom only cleaned the spot where Dinosaur decided to poop and essentially roll in it (SO gross!) so I knocked out the rest of the apartment this morning.

Also, in keeping up to par with my list of things to get back on track (a must with number two just 9 weeks away), I’ve been super into craft/activity time with Hayden lately.  Today’s adventure included no glitter, however.  (I’m certain Hayden was bummed.)  We’re made crazy crispy bars with chocolate chips!  So tasty!


It’s an eventful day to be sure… thanks mostly to some fussy hormones.  (I don’t remember being this sensitive when I was carrying Hayden.)  After a morning appointment, I went for a nice drive (solo… a very rare thing) rather than a stress-relieving bialahou… this does not mean I’m falling out of love with the bialahou (so not even possible.  ever.)  I opted to drive because this heat has been too intense and it’s easier to sneak out of the house with just keys as opposed to the bialahou.

My main mission was to get the ingredients needed to bake a snazzy vegan pear pie.  Then a few songs came on that totally hit the spot and I drove the long way to the store.  And the long way to refuel.  Not a driver, I doubt I’ll ever have the urge to just drive like I did today so that’s keeping me from feeling too guilty about polluting by way of the escalade.  Plus, I more than make up for that hunk of vehicle with the miles Hayden and I pedal each week.  And, because I’m an excuse-maker-extraordinaire, I really needed some tunes to go along with the miles today and I can’t do that on the bialahou without looking like a crazy lady.

When I came home, Hayden was still running around in his spiffy new Spider-Man underpants.  Perfect!  I busted out the corn starch, poured it into a bowl, and added some water as a friend suggested.  Fun!  The cornstarch and water mix made for a nice and clean-but-messy pile on the kitchen floor.  The perfect excuse to pop Hayden into the tub.  The poor guy has been avoiding a bath for a few days and golly did he need one!

The clouds are growing dark which is fabulous.  I’d love a perfectly dreary downpour-filled Saturday.  Hopefully that happens… I could totally go for an easy night in with movies and fresh pear pie.  And rain just won’t suffice Sunday through Friday because I have my week carefully planned and it includes heaps of outdoor activities, like tubing the Big Thompson with a friend (so excited!)

Nothing new on the baby front… other than upsizing various items of clothing for myself.  I really need to get on the ball with a nick-name for this baby; I think I had names for Hayden (little bugger, little monster, this condition) very early on.  And this one, this number two, about 10 weeks away from making his/her grand appearance.  What I’m getting at is nothing new is going on with this dancing machine living in my abdomen… and by abdomen, I mean the entire area.  Somehow, whenever he/she moves, I feel the rumbling from my belly through to my back and even to that area where my legs meet my torso.  The baby’s favorite dance move is anythign that involves stomping on my bladder.  And I mean stomp (or punch… at last check, the baby was in a perfectly upside down fashion), none of this “oh, it feels like butterflies” macaroni.  No, this kid gives it his/her all.
On that note, I’m super excited about maternity photos next week with my good friend, Vipasinee.  I need only to convince tomtom to join.  Wish me luck!


29 miles and two solid downpours later…

What a busy day!  As many of you know, even in the heat of summer and 30 weeks along with number two, I’m still bialahou’ing like a mad woman.  Yesterday morning started out easy and cool (compared to how it has been anyhow) but the temperature quickly climbed.  No turning back though; Hayden and I were already at the credit union, opening an account for my photo stuffs (exciting!)  So onward we went to Old Town and the playground by The Farm.  The place was super crowded… perfect for Hayden.  He loves playing with other kids… and it’s really the only time he has to practice his sharing skills (of which he is super fabulous!)

Then… art class at Juiced On Imagination.  He is crazy for painting and gluing, and glittering anything and everything.  Today he and his buddies made produce portraits in the fashion of Giuseppe Arcimboldo.  At the end of class, after play time, art time, and snack time, Miss Julie reads a story or two to the kids.  As the mom that arrives early every time to pick up her little man, my heart swells (and I’m sure Memi’s does, too) when I hear Hayden ask, “Another one?” at the end the story.  Whenever I read to Hayden-a-saurus at home, it’s always, “one more!”
After class, as Hayden and I were leaving the art studio, we entered a deluge (my second of the day.)  With Hayden holding my hand, and the bialahou still comfortably locked at the rack, I decided it was the perfect time to fully enjoy the rain… we splashed through puddles and laughed as we headed to Big Al’s for a hot dog (for Hayden, not me.)  I can’t say enough how much I enjoy walking in the rain… and I’m so glad Hayden was on the same page as me!


Back to number two… I had my first bi-weekly appointment Tuesday.  With that comes the poundage… average weight gain for the third trimester is a pound each week.  Zoinks!  And this is the first time I’ve actually been on schedule.  And I’m not stressing… too much.  With all that’s happened in the last seven months, I haven’t been gaining regularly so knowing I’m on track for these last two weeks is nice.

Overall, I’m still very tired, needing an afternoon nap most days.  But I think that also has to do with this crazy heat… I can’t remember a day with temperatures lower than 90 in a while.  To top it off, some ding-a-ling decided it would be a great idea to bring a glass container to the pool the other day.  Of course the thing broke… in the pool.  So this week and part of next are pool-free while it is drained and vacuumed.  Stinkin’ jerk!  Hopefully this means the office will crack down on all the foul behavior that happens at the pool, which is conveniently located right beside the office.  Talking with other moms at the pool and in the complex, I know I’m not the only one tired of people smoking and drinking poolside.  An anti-smoker to the extreme, I’m even worse when I have a condition such as I do.  Between Hayden, this baby, and my distaste for that rank stank, I’m not at all quiet about my distaste for smokers (though I am as passive aggressive as possible… not so effective, but it makes me feel better.)


Anyhow, Hayden and I are off to run some errands and enjoy a nice play date.  Have a fabulous day!


Stay tuned for photos later this weekend of some more fabulous adventures!  And check out this weekend for a few sneak peeks at some photos from this week!


With all the adventures and new things happening, I am quite tempted to reignite this blog.  Not with the theme of travel (though I do so wish that were the case… I’ve been thinking of the grand Trek West so much the past few weeks), but with the tales of becoming a parent for the second time and balancing all that comes with this shift.  Because, as exciting as it is, this is also a time of big change which translates as stress.

Most of you know we’re due the 3rd of October.  And I’m already compromising my idea of the ideal birth.  Colorado has crappy options for birthing; an idea I was quite surprised by considering the overall green-nature-earthy vibe that the majority of people seem to have streaming through their inners.  The only place to have a water birth is Englewoood, which is pretty much a dump.  Having such an above-and-beyond birth with Hayden on the North Shore of Massachusetts, where Tom and I were able to sit at Dane Street Beach and pass time until my contractions became more than slightly uncomfortable, seeing the setting of the birth center in Englewood was a huge disappointment.  Huge.

Still, I opted to give the place a chance so Tom, Hayden, and I sat through the orientation before going on a tour of the facility.  Dark and dingy, the rooms were less than comforting.  And the tub, WHOAH!  a put-up-take-down tub.  No way!  The room where i delivered Hayden was nicely lit by the sun, open, and comfortable.  And the tub… was a true fixtire in te rom, only steps from the bed and toilet, and deeper and longer than a conventional tub, it seemed made for the sole purpose of water births.

My next choice was a birth center in Boulder.  A nice office, but the midwives deliver at the Boulder Community Hospital, the Foothills campus.  I’ve never been keen on a hospital birth, but given the other options (and I’m only highlighting two here… another was a home birth but with all that can go wrong, I’m a believer that close proximity to medical care is always a safer, smarter idea), this would have to suffice.  Plus, the rooms are nice, I’d work with my midwife (though I’d still be stuck to the every-half-hour monitoring that hospitals do), and the view in most rooms is the Flat Irons.

Back to the pregnancy, even this hasn’t gone as smoothly as Hayden’s.  An anomoloy was discovered at our first ultrasound… the news hit just as some other pretty heavy stuff was happening.  Adding all that to my haywire hormones and I was a wreck.  We had to have a level-2 ultrasound to scan the sizes of important organs in the baby (the heart, the kidneys, the brain) and a fetal echocardiogram.  Thankfully, everything with our two-vessel cord is fine.  But those two weeks of extra tests and not knowing weighed heavily.  I was a mess.  We still have more than the usual number of ultrasounds (we have our last one in two weeks) to make sure everything continues to go smoothly.

With this pregnancy, Tom and I have opted not to learn the gender or to share any solid name options.  With Hayden, the gender surprise (for me) was ruined so I’m looking at this as another opportunity to be truly surprised.  And I’m really excited.

With all this going on, I’m still bicycling… about 75 miles each week, significantly less than my pre-Hayden days and somewhat less than my after-Hayden-but-before-this-one days.  And with the heat blazing in the 90s on a regular basis, I’m thinking it’s time to cut back again on my miles.  I am seven months into this, too.  There is limited space for the baby to frolic when I’m pedaling.  And last night I had a solo hammer fest which left the bottom portion of my belly a bit too tight for comfort… I felt as if I’d done a zillion crunches.


Now that I’ve updated you all on our journey with number two, I’m planning to keep updates about hte baby as well as my adventures with Hayden-a-saurus, and my toils in trying to organize and regroup… I’m still adjusting to life as a mum even three years after Hayden’s arrival.  I want to be as prepared as possible for this life-change.  I need it.  Tom and I need it… to keep us sane.

Speaking of Hayden, our little superstar turned three this past Friday.  We took him (indoor) skydiving.  Despite his hesitation and micro adventure in the tunnel, he had a great time.

So, check back in a few days (and keep following me on my photo blog to keep up to date all all the adventures in that area of my life) to see what craziness the men and I are up to next.

slow and steady wins the race…

… although driving home in the snow with a Christmas tree strapped to the top of one’s monster truck.  But, then again, what do I know?

Let me start at the beginning…

The men and I were in need of a Christmas tree when a friend of mine told me about Red Feathers.  For only a $10 permit fee, people can cut their own tree.  Wonderful!  Tom and I have never cut down our own tree so we just had to take on this adventure.

The drive to Red Feather was uneventful and we arrived with only 20 minutes to drive the snowy and slick 5 miles into the national forest.  20 minutes, you say?  Just enough time to drive into the tree-cutting area considering the roads were so slippery.

We found a nice spot, parked the escalade, bundled up, and began the trek into the forest to find the perfect tree.  Hayden, sitting nicely in his fancy blue sled, Diesel leaping and bounding, trying to break free of his leash, Tom spotted a lovely lodgepole pine.  While he sawed away, Hayden, Diesel, and I watched as the snow began to fall… then Tom, in his blue flannel shirt, hollered “TIMBER!” in full mountain-man mode.

Hayden and Diesel were amazed…We made our way back to the truck to find a nit-wit had chosen to park directly behind us even though there were ample spots just 10 feet ahead.  No worries, though… this gave us a few moments to warm up inside the truck while they cut their tree and loaded their monster truck.

After loading the fabulous tree, we began the drive home.  The snow still falling, creating road conditions that begged for caution, we were a bit surprised to see a speed demon in a monster truck zip by us and the five cars in front of us… in a no-pass zone.  That sort of stupidity always gets on my nerves because that jerk is not only putting himself and his passengers at risk, but those he is passing and anyone coming in the opposite direction as well.

So, about five miles up the road, the sun fully set, it was hilarious to see that ding-dong on the side of the road, his improperly secured tree having fallen off his truck.  As Tom began a jolly, Santa-like laugh, Hayden chimed it, having no idea what Tom was laughing at, but assuming it was the proper thing to do.

As I find myself inevitably rushing about this holiday season, I’ll do my best to remind myself of the monster truck man and his sad, over-sized, under-strapped Christmas tree… and I’ll slow down and savor the season.  I hope you all do the same.



Wow, I can’t believe the year is so close to ending.  I was just talking to a very good friend of mine about my annual year-in-reflection and I realized that I have quite a bit to be thankful for this year.

To start, I couldn’t be happier living here in Colorado with my main man and Tom… the weather, for the most part, is beautiful and very conducive to bicycling with Hayden.  And I honestly could not have wished for a better husband than Tom… and its obvious that life would be very dull if it weren’t for our superstar Hayden.  I love waking up to his little face every day.  I suppose Diesel and Otis are pretty snazzy men, too.

Reconnecting with the aforementioned good friend also tops my list of great things worth pausing to be thankful for.  Since getting together with Adam for the first time in probably ten years, we’ve been chatting all the time and I couldn’t be happier.  Our conversations have opened up parts of my brain that haven’t been exercised in a while and I find myself coming up with some great ideas as a result.

I’m thankful for having a job… especially one where Hayden is more than welcome to accompany me.  Hayden is always so excited when he finds us pulling into the parking lot at the First Presbyterian Church; he shouts “friends! friends!” and darts up the stairs all on his own to the nursery.  And when the others arrive, he is sure to call them by name or, should he forget a name, he welcomes them with a peppy “Friend!”

And, of course, I’m thankful for the friends and family I have both near and far.  This year, being so far from the bulk of my friends and family, the convenience factor is gone and it has really become evident who is and who is not there.  And I’m happy to say that the people I really hoped would keep in touch (and not just through facebook… calling that connected is a bunch of crock) did and that makes all the difference.

(also, I’m quite thankful that the semester is coming to a close so I can focus more on Hayden and the other things I enjoy, like bicycling, writing and photography.)


So, as you chow down tomorrow on your tofurkey or turkey, be sure to take a moment and think not just of the great food before you, but of the great things that happen throughout the year that make life what it is.


meatheads and mariah in the morning…

There’s nothing quite as painful as being without a bicycle, especially the bialahou.  So this morning, to quench that thirst, I drove over to LA Fitness in Saugus for a spin class.  As soon as the employees unlocked the gym doors at 8am, meatheads young and old charged the door and headed to the weights, talking politics with a thick Bah-stin accent that oozes into the air in a more offensive way than nails on a chalkboard on the way.

The 8:15 class turned out to be more of a comedy show with a bit of exercise on the side.  The lady was spunky as she directed the riders to “TUCK!  UP!  TUCK!  UP!”  I think she thought that moving one’s upper body to alternate hunching and sitting up was good exercise.  But that’s not all… she instructed people to have rigid arms, something I’ve always heard to avoid when exercising.  But, not being an instructor, and I use this term very loosely, I may not be up to date on the all things fitness.  Oh, and have I mentioned that the instructor was spinning out on almost everything she did… everyone was.  Hello!  Add resistence to prevent that terrible jiggle that we all develop as we grow older or after we have kids.

Not at all satisfied with the “climbs” during Mariah Carey ballads (who can be energized by that?!), I opted to stay for a portion of the second class.  That girl did a complete 180… she brought the club music from the night before to the gym… if nothing else, I learned that even the talented Adele has remixes that any meathead could bust a move to… if you call that bustin’ a move.

Also, I was under the impression that stretching after working out was important.  Again, not a professional, I may be wrong but upper body stretches before cycling, which emphasizes the lower body, may not be the most beneficial.


That said, Hayden and I are having a fabulous visit here in New England… despite the stinkin’ jerks that make their own lanes to turn right and honk to tell the front driver to trun even though there are two signs telling drivers “No Turn On Red.”  I’m sure I’ll have a more upbeat post by the end of the trip… until then, enjoy your day and, remember, cars have ‘Rs’ and they hate to be neglected.

boston bound…

Listening to my “super hanson!” playlist, the men and I are headed to Boulder before Tom takes Hayden-ator and I to Denver International Airport.
Our little stud-muffin is thrilled to ride a “spaceship,” with “helmet on.” (Although we aren’t really wearing helmets… we’ll be wearing seat belts though.)
We both look forward to seeing all those folks we love so much. Oh, and we are super excited to go apple-picking… because, as I may have mentioned, apple-picking in Colorado means choosing apples from the bins in the produce aisle of the local King Soopers.
Stay tuned for more reports from the road… or sky. Oh, and Tom, expect a postcard or two.

Losing Bampa.

i don’t know that i’ve posted this anywhere… but i’m posting it now.  i am putting together a collection of pieces about important events and important people in my life. included in this piece will be, obviously, the birth of hayden, and some highlights from the trek west… also a few pieces which are in the works now about the people that are closest to me… the tough subjects.

after going over this at my writers’ group tonight, i came home and went straight to work on filling this out.  it’s good timing, too, because father’s day is coming up.  and so is bampa’s birthday (29th of june) and the day he passed away (12th of july.)  it’s funny, hayden was due on the two-year anniversary of bampa’s passing… but he was a bit late.  nevertheless, hayden carries a small piece of bampa by sharing the same middle name.  and i have a piece of bampa with me every day in the form of his wedding band.

i’ll be posting pieces as i complete them so check back every once in a while.

losing bampa.

It is a warm July afternoon.  My phone rings, displaying a number I do not recognize.  It is Christina, the cousin I rarely speak to, and she sounds upset as she asks where I am.

“I’m in my kitchen.”

“You should sit down.”

“I am,” I say, as I continue to put the dishes away.

She breaks the news that the doctors do not think our grandfather will make it through the weekend.  The floor falls from beneath me and, as thoughts flood my mind, I ask if they are sure.  I ask how bad she thinks it is and if I should come now.  Christina says it is up to me and wants to know who would drive me to the nursing home; I say that I will ride my Vespa.  She suggests that I call someone for a ride, but I do not want to wait any longer than I need to.  I quickly change my clothes and head out the door.

The ride from Beverly to Melrose is about forty-five minutes along back roads; despite my speed, it feels hours long.  I arrive at the nursing home and park on the sidewalk by the front door.  I do not waste time locking my scooter; all I want is to see Bampa.  After living with him for 16 years, I know he is aware of how much he means to me, however I need to tell him once more that I love him, that I appreciate his visits to have dinner with me when I was at Boston Children’s Hospital with anorexia more than he could ever know.  And I want to apologize for being such a headache during that time.

I think of all he will miss: my graduation from college, walking me down the aisle, and seeing his great-grandchildren.  By the main entrance, I see an older woman sitting on a bench.  I find it difficult to think that others are going about their day when such an important person is fading away.

In the room a crowd of family stands around Bampa’s bed.  Memi stands near the door, her four children and their families at the foot of her husband’s bed.  My Uncle Johnny is on Bampa’s right and my twin sister, Jewell, is on Bampa’s left.

My grandfather is wearing what has been his uniform for the last year: a well-worn white undershirt, blue cotton pajama pants, and his black slippers that I  would borrow and wear around the house when I still lived with him.  His misery is obvious as he attempts to pull the oxygen tubing from his nose; he knows that will end his life sooner.  My sister offers her seat and I cannot sit fast enough.  I hold Bampa’s wrinkled hand, now so thin he has used tape on his wedding band to prevent it from falling off.  I feel his strength as he raises his hand toward his nose.  I try my hardest to hold it down, but I am weak from heartache and have to use both my hands to keep him from taking out what has kept him alive for so long.  There is no easy way for him to go.  All he wants is the suffering to end and no one will allow it.

For years he has suffered with loneliness, never speaking about his family.  I remember one afternoon, during my junior year of high school, his sister Gwen, who lived a town over at the time, called because their brother told her that Bampa had passed away.  Whatever the reason for his lack of communication with his family, it must have been awful because even in his current state, he is mumbling about his brother, Leo, tricking him, not telling him that everyone else was going somewhere and leaving him at home.  I regret that I did not ask more questions, that I did not try to understand his pain more because I’ll never know the true extent of his heartache.

Though it feels like only minutes, nearly an hour passes.  I offer my seat to my grandmother but she graciously declines and remains standing, assuming the role of comforter to everyone else.  Memi is a strong woman, but today her eyes reveal a sad duty.  I want to hug her, but I want even more to be near Bampa.  I am angry that he is not in a room of his own; there are three other patient beds in here and only five chairs forcing the majority of the family to stand while they gawk at Bampa as if he is a sideshow.  “Stop staring at him,” I want to shout.  “Do something! He should not be here!”

Nurses aides flood the room shortly after someone requests Bampa be moved to a private room.  Bumping into things along the way, he is pushed in his bed through the tight corridor of the old, dingy building, past the other patients.  They all know what is going on and stand motionless, looking at us in awkward silence.  I hate every minute of this; I want everyone gone.  I want to take Bampa’s suffering away more than I have ever wanted anything but I cannot.  All I can do is hold his hand and tell him how much I love him.  I want to make sure he knows just how much he means to me, how much I miss the days of kickball after dinner, hikes in the woods, and bicycle rides in the cemetery at the end of the street.

The new room is dimly lit, the yellow lights painting the pink walls an eerie peach.  I park myself on one side of Bampa and my sister sits on the other.  I look around the room for a clock.  I am exhausted and everything feels heavy.  Christina sits on the radiator beside me and takes my hand in hers.  I squeeze and she squeezes back.  People start leaving.  They need to go home; they need sleep. Jewell and her boyfriend, Dave, decide it is time to leave as well.  She and I glance at each other and look at Bampa’s ashen hands.  We know what the other is thinking but say nothing.  We know this is the last memory we will have of the man who filled in as our dad when our real father was absent, our last memory of the man whose cigarettes we so painstakingly flushed down the toilet when we were only seven years old.  It takes Jewell a few minutes to move, to stand.  She gives Bampa a kiss on the forehead and a few tears fall from her eyes as she whispers that his face is cold.  I rack my brain for something to say, coming up with nothing.  I do not get up to give Jewell a hug before she leaves because I fear that if I let go of Bampa’s hand I will lose him.

Most of the family has gone and my uncle offers to drive me home.  “I can put your scooter in the back of my truck,” he says.  I decline; I am not ready to leave; however, I do not want to stay.  The idea of hearing my best friend’s last gasp sickens me.  I want to remember him better than this.  I want to remember the feisty spark in his eyes and his friendly, mischievous grin; I want to remember the bacon and the Mickey Mouse pancakes he would make for Jewell and I weekend mornings.

It is nine o’clock and I realize I cannot stay any longer, but I wait a bit before getting up to give Bampa a kiss on the cheek.  I whisper one last time that I love him so much and I wait a second to see if he will respond knowing he will not, he cannot.  I manage to sneak by everyone except my mother, whom I hug for the first time in a long time.  I see tears in her eyes and I know she is not just sad about her father passing away.

Outside, cars pass by in slow-motion and the air smells of summer.  With weak hands, I put my helmet on and start my scooter.  I sit for a minute before I begin the long, dark, and now cold ride back to Beverly where I will wait for the phone to ring sooner than I ever could have expected.  I hate that the one person I want to call is the one person I no longer can.

(spring 2008)

in the end.

After thinking about OregonOrBust the past days, I decided to end this blog.

I have lots of exciting things going on at the moment and want to devout all my non-work, non-academic time to working on my photo website and preparing to open my sop on

So, on that note, be sure to stay tuned for any exciting updates… and thanks for keeping up on the trek west.