My Foster Son, His Mom, and a Trip to the Fair

A little over eight months ago I became a foster parent at the age of 28. When I started the fostering process I was nearly positive that I would end up fostering a younger child. A few weeks before submitting my final piece of paperwork I decided I would offer to foster teens as well. In all honesty, I didn’t think they would call me about a teen, but almost a month to the day after I received my license the call came saying they had a 14 year old boy who needed a placement. I decided to give it a try. We get along really well and he’s a great kid. I know people hear horror stories about teenagers in the system, but please know that just because a child is a teenager in foster care it does not automatically mean they are going to be difficult to deal with. When you take a child into your home you are also accepting his past and family into your life as well. That looks different for each foster family, but it is part of the process for all of us. My foster son’s mother is currently unable to be the main caregiver for her son, but that does mean that she doesn’t love him and want what is best for him. Today, my foster son, his mom, and I...

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The Difference Between the First and Third Pregnancies

Guess what? I’m pregnant with our third baby. Seven years ago, I was pregnant for the first time. A lot has changed since then. As a couple, our entire universe has shifted. We live in a different state, have different jobs, different friends, and we’re six years into this wild ride of parenting. So much has changed, yet I can’t help but compare this pregnancy to my first. All three times, I neither love nor hate pregnancy. It’s fine. Overall, pregnancy is a marathon of annoying. Odd bodily changes, depressing wardrobe choices, and lack of wine make for a long ten months. But some parts are cool, like ultrasound sneak peeks, or talking with our daughters excitedly about a new brother or sister. Having kids old enough to understand gives this one a new spin. Back in 2010, I’d pore over my labor and delivery book (complementary with our birth class) over breakfast. I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” front to back. I consumed these to learn about the crazy physical feat I was about to endure. Not only was I afraid of childbirth (which, honestly, who isn’t?), I was scared of the afterbirth, pooping on the delivery table, breastfeeding, caring for an umbilical cord, and postpartum depression. Reading all the books made me feel slightly empowered. I got weekly updates that informed me the baby was the size of a kiwi, a carrot,...

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The commercial that is driving me nuts

If you’ve been in front of any sort of media in the past month or so, you’ve probably come across one of these celebrity-cameo ads for Box Tops for Education: http://www.boxtops4education.com/Videos/absent-computer Now, I have no problem with the Box Tops program itself. If a private company chooses to donate to our schools– great! That’s wonderful of them to do that. What bothers me every single time, as a public school teacher and as a mom of two public school children, is the idea that without us parents and teachers jumping though the crazy hoops of clipping labels off our weekly recycling pile (and buying only certain brands that sport said labels– but that’s a whole different post for another day), we are accepting that our schools wouldn’t have essentials– like keyboards– without this private help. Keyboards! These labels aren’t being shown to fund things like special event guest speakers…or field trips that support the curriculum…they’re being shown as funding the supplies that we literally cannot teach without. So I suppose my point is this: Find out what your school is using funds from programs like Box Tops for Education for. If it really is going toward essentials, as these ads state, put your energy and your voice as a citizen toward changing that fact…in between clipping those tiny labels. And if it’s going toward fantastic “extras” that are enhancing your child’s education, then...

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Reasons Why I Suck as a Mom (According to my Children)

Sunday mornings are, unfortunately, not as relaxing as I would like around my home. Because I chose to raise my children Catholic, most Sundays I’m faced with dragging myself and my children out of bed and heading off to church for mass before leaving them all in their religious education classes for the rest of the morning. My kids think it’s great. Smell the sarcasm? Anyway, this last Sunday morning was particularly rough since we had been out late the evening before, as a family, at a social event. There was lots of groaning (from me) and whining (from...

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Crazy Mom in Hot Rollers (Otherwise Known As Morning Rush Hour…)

If you happen to catch me driving to work on a typical Monday morning, chances are you saw the real me. The one who drives her kids to school in hot rollers. Yes I am THAT mom. I do take them out before walking into work. I’m not that crazy. But it seems no matter HOW early we wake up, or HOW much we prepare the night before… we always seem to be scrambling to get out of the house in the morning. And getting myself ready comes last. I would love to be one of those moms who wakes...

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There Is No Way to Prepare

OK, there are ways to prepare. I have had the car seat installed by a professional. We’ve interview pediatricians and chosen one and registered with them. By next week the apartment will finally be done with the construction and we’ll have been able to set up the crib and everything else that’s been waiting to be moved in to the new baby’s room. We’ve read some books, had some conversations… But when I think about it there is nothing to really prepare us for what we’re about to go through. I don’t know when I’ll go into labor. I don’t know how my labor will go. I don’t know if breastfeeding will come easily to us. I don’t know if she’ll be colicky or a sleeper. I don’t know if I’ll feel depressed. I don’t know how treatment will go if I am. I don’t know if I’ll want to be in a cocoon with just my new tiny family or if I will want family stopping by to help. And I really don’t know what the years to come will bring. Such is the adventure! I have no idea when kind of person this baby will grow into. That’s scary and exciting, but there is really not a lot I can do to prepare. I am just being aware that anything can happen and trying — really trying,...

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Dance Me to the End of Love

The day I met you, I knew in my heart that you were my man. You weren’t as confident about our celestial pull at first (and I will never let you live that down), but I can honestly say I have never doubted your magnetic qualities.  We quickly fell in love amidst house parties, happy hours, and soccer games. You opened my eyes to so many new things and brought out the ounce of adventurous spirit that I had buried deep within me.  You inspired me to work hard and forgive easy.  Again and again, I poured you into my heart and found that I am my best and true self when I’m with you. Ten years have passed since the day we became husband and wife. I still admire how driven and smart you are.  I love that you draw me maps instead of giving me directions and listen to me when I tell you in excruciating detail about the book I’m reading.  You are the best dad – incomparable.  It’s crazy to think of all that has happened over the years; still, some details of that sunny September day will never be forgotten… I walked down the church’s center aisle at exactly 4:00 p.m. to my handsome groom who greeted me with a shy smile. You managed not to step on my cathedral length veil; however, you...

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What I Do When My Kids Aren’t Around

Last weekend my boys were with their dad.  It wasn’t like it was a surprise.  It happens every other weekend.  But I’m struggling with it much more than I thought I would.  I sat on my girlfriend’s couch Friday night, woefully lamenting how difficult it was for me and how I wanted to call them every few minutes.   The next day I sent her this text: “Write a blog”   Ok, Nicole.  Here’s my blog:   I don’t like weekends without my boys.   I miss them.   Horribly.   I don’t know what to do with myself.   So...

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Coach

About a year and a half ago, I had some down time at work and found myself in conversation with a colleague about our sons, roughly around the same age. Both boys were playing t-ball and she was coaching her son’s team. She was explaining how challenging it was to be the only mom volunteering to coach baseball and how uncomfortable she felt at the training meeting, being the only woman among a gym full of men. It was at that moment, as she was speaking, that I questioned (out loud mind you) why I hadn’t even considered coaching....

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Lemonade (the mom remix)

On Saturday, my husband and I made the epic parenting mistake of thinking we could do something fun and different with the kids.  Our destination was to be a BBQ at a friend’s apartment in New York.  It was one of those events that I would have attended without hesitation a few years ago.  Back then, I would have arrived in heels, had too much to drink, and hit up a couple bars before taking the last train back to CT.  Two kids later, I feel like I’ve aged 1000 years, and the thought of having to look decent, take a long car ride with my kids, and mingle with a crowd of strangers while worrying about which child is going to poop all over herself makes me want to stick blunt toddler forks in my eyeballs. But we should do something fun and different with the kids, we said.  It will be fun, we said.  You can tell where this is going. We dressed ourselves to the nines.  And by “the nines,” I mean the kids looked adorable, my husband wore cologne, and my clothes were clean.  We loaded ourselves in the car: me, my husband, my two kids, Curious George, Gorilla, Crayon, Blankie, and a play doctor’s kit syringe.  We all used the bathroom.  We all had snacks.  We hit an ATM and a gas station.  Feeling ready,...

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