Project Optimism: At Least They’re Cute

I spent the afternoon getting an MRI of my foot while watching the Columbus Day Parade on tv. Have you ever watched the Columbus Day Parade? Did you even know there was a Columbus Day parade? I’m fairly sure that the coverage of it I watched on ABC today was at least mildly offensive to Italian-Americans…and Italians…and Americans…and definitely to New Jersey. It was a rare form of torture being forced to sit still and listen to Joe Piscopo and Maria Bartiromo discuss just what makes Italian-Americans so wonderful while simultaneously putting them down and embarrassing them for 45 minutes. Wow.

Then I got to come home and listen for the billionth time about how awesome Ninjago is and what sets Brady does and does not NEED for his birthday and what weapons they all have and on and on and on. While this is going on, Declan is trying desperately to talk over his brother about something other than Ninjago, usually Cars, usually quoting vaguely inappropriate lines from Mater’s Tall Tales. “What’s going on ladies?”

Then I schlepped Brady and Declan to Brady’s soccer practice where I tried to stop Declan from going onto the field for 55 minutes and chased him around the track. Did I mention that I had an MRI of my foot today because it is injured and painful? If you are the mother of young children in a city where you have to walk everywhere, do NOT hurt your foot. It sucks.

Toward the end of practice Declan decided it was uproariously hilarious to walk around on his knees and then wave his arms in the air screaming before falling over and saying “Mommy, I fell down.” It actually was pretty funny and also damn cute.

Brady was stylin in mismatched soccer socks today. Actually he wears mismatched socks pretty much everyday. He doesn’t like his socks to match. He prefers that they have the same pattern, but different colors. Today was the first day he did this for soccer and I have to say I totally approve. Later on he was trying to hold pieces of paper with his eyelids. Why, I have no idea. They tell me he’s smart, but sometimes…

Moral of the story…when all else fails, at least they’re cute.


Project Optimism: Writing Avalanche


Well, I may have started slowly, but now I’m on a roll. You know how when you have a baby, people tell you that sleep begets sleep and an overtired baby won’t sleep well? Or how, after you have a baby, people tell you sex begets sex and if you just get back into doing it, you’ll want to do it more often? Well apparently, for me at least, writing begets writing.

It all started with my whiny post, a little support, and my finishing a short piece. Now I just can’t stop. I’ve finished two short pieces, submitted one, and gotten started on a long work as well. I’m not sure it will ever come to anything, but it makes me feel good. It fulfills something in me that I have always needed. It’s a creative outlet, a place to be myself, the pouring out of my mind. It is good for me. 

I also got a job where I was actually paid to use my writing skills. It wasn’t creative, but it still felt wonderful. Who knew writing chapter summaries could be so satisfying?

So that’s my happy for this Monday. I’m writing again. In the end it may end up causing me more anxiety that it relieves, but for now I’m just going to go with the momentum and hope I turn out something worthwhile.

Project Optimism: Cute

Yep, I’m still on the Project Optimism thing. Today’s will be short and sweet. 

First of all, see my earlier post. I’m super excited about this. Not only did I think up something new for my blog, but I’m way excited to see everyone’s photos on Thursday. I can’t help it. So please don’t be annoyed while I promote the heck out of it until Thursday.

Secondly, I had the following conversation with Brady on the way home from soccer today.

Brady: Mommy, when you look at my face, do you think I look cute?

Me: Of course I think you look cute! You have the cutest face ever.

Brady: Well, I don’t want to look cute.

Me: Why? Did somebody say something to you about looking cute?

Brady (turning away shyly): Yes, a girl at soccer called me cute today.

Me: Silly, that’s a good thing. She meant it as a compliment. Cute is a good thing.

This got a smile out of him and then we talked about how he doesn’t have to like her calling him cute, but she meant it to be nice so he should be nice about it. Then I had a moment of panic when I realized that a girl called my little baby cute. But then, really, can you blame her?


Project Optimism: The Hair

I actually had lots of fun, happy stuff to include in my post this week.

We did lots of swimming: with friends in our building, at the public pool with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, at my friend’s house with her family. We went to the zoo and saw dinosaurs. We went hiking. Awesome stuff, right?

But I chose to write about the hair. I was looking at pictures on my phone today and I realized how many I have of Declan’s hair. Seriously. His hair is epic. He has refused to get a cut for the last, oh, six months or so. I am so happy he did that.

Declan’s hair has always been something to talk about. When he was born it was dark and fluffy.


Then it got redder and very, um, floppy.

When he turned one, we cut it short.


And now? Now it is just…breathtaking. I luxuriate in Declan’s hair. It’s calmed from a dark, reddish auburn, to a lighter, coppery, almost strawberry blonde. It morphed from fluffy, to floppy, to full-on curly. The summer weather and lack of a trim has left him with gorgeous, ginger-kissed ringlets all over the back of his head. I just can’t stop myself from snapping pictures of it all the time.

I just can’t get enough. I am in love…with my son’s hair!

Project Optimism: Finding the Good

So I was able to pull myself up out of the funk today (despite a teensy bit of a hangover from date night last night) and enjoy it. We went to a very lovely birthday party for one of Brady’s friends in Central Park and the weather was perfect. This kids played soccer and dug in the dirt and found worms and climbed trees. After that we came home and rested up.

Then B and I headed out with his bike. We made it to the park without crashing into anyone (yay) and then he rode around a bit in a nice big flat area. As I watched him riding and singing to himself I felt so at peace. It felt almost like a vacation. It was late afternoon and we were sort of tired from a long day. The temperature was still warm, but cooling. There as a gentle breeze and the air smelled like sunshine and grass. Eric and Declan walked down and met us and we all walked home together and then grilled hotdogs for dinner. A pretty nice Monday evening.

Then once the exhausted kiddos were in bed, the husband and I watched the first new episode of Arrested Development on Netflix. It’s still awesome. Hooray.

Project Optimism: The Terrace – Continued

So, I realize I haven’t posted since last Monday and I also realize that last Monday’s post was about the terrace, but I’m stretching this one out and riding it through this week too. Here are the photos that I promised and never delivered.

The boys and I spent a lot of time out there today and we really enjoyed it. We planted our herb seeds and swept up and Brady read a book and drew a map. To each their own.

So that’s my optimism today. Last week sort of blended into this week and it’s getting very, very long. Hopefully, I’ll find a little time to write in there somewhere.

Project Optimism: The Terrace

Note: Photos to come.

Last July, yes I said LAST and JULY, our terrace, our little piece of the outside world in the city, was closed for construction. There was some notice about not being up to code and the work taking approximately 4-6 weeks to complete, depending on weather. We were going on vacation when the work was supposed to start so a week beforehand we shipped our plants and grill off to my in-laws’ house, thinking we would at least have it back for part of the fall.

This was not the case. Four weeks turned into ten turned into 16. Our bedroom windows were sealed shut with plastic for three and a half months. Summer turned into fall turned into winter turned into spring. From our windows we saw other lines of apartments lose their balconies and then get them finished and reopened again and again. The weather turned warm and sunny again and still we couldn’t use our outdoor space. Our patience wore thin. It wore very, very, very thin.

We complained to management, and the super, and tenant relations. We got the runaround. Finally, I LOST it. When they were nearly finished and then stopped work on our line for an entire week I went nuts! I went down to the super sweet girl in tenant relations. I begged her to do something…ANYTHING! And then a miracle occurred and last Thursday they took down the two-by-four that was nailed across our door and removed the caution tape and we had our porch back! Just under TEN MONTHS later we have it back!

On Saturday we went to Home Depot and bought planters and flowers and seeds. Yesterday we got our grill back from the husband’s parents’ place. Today we planted petunias and grilled sliders for dinner. It may not seem like a big deal, but to us it is. And we are very, very happy to have our terrace back!

In all my excitement I forgot to take any photos! I’ll take some tomorrow and put them up I promise.

Project Optimism: The Ponytail!

It’s the little things people…the little things. And my ponytail may be a little thing, but I am loving it. You may remember me ranting a bit about Zooey Deschanel awhile ago. Well, I am still on the path to long locks. I have not yet given up and chopped it all off. My patience and efforts have been paying off, because I can once again rock a ponytail! 

Now instead of pushing my hair behind my ears 8 billion times each yoga class (Seriously, how do people work out with their hair down? Drives me bonkers!) I can put it back in a fairly secure, teensy, tinsy ponytail. Woohoo!! This means the growing project will get easier because I can just pull it back and forget it while it does it’s thing instead of getting it trimmed all the time so I don’t look bedraggled everyday.

This is happening. I’m sure once my hair has reached my desired length, I will get fed up and cut it again, but it’s a project that I am intent on seeing through. And that is my happiness on this chilly, Spring Monday. Enjoy.


Project Optimism: The Bike

This weekend was absolutely gorgeous – warm and sunny the whole way through. When we read the weather forecast we decided to go up to the in-laws’ on Sunday to grill and hang out outside. Brady’s been very into his bike lately, riding with his friends in the park, and we felt like it was time to take the training wheels off and their neighborhood would be the perfect place.

After eating our delicious burgers and hotdogs and corn on the cob, the husband and his dad got out the wrench and the wheels were off. The first attempts did not go so well. The husband and then his dad both tried taking Brady up the street, but it ended up with a lot of frustration, falling over, and yelling of “JUST PEDAL!”

We decided to take a break and eat dessert. Afterward, I joked to Brady that I was going to ride his bike. We took it up into the road and I made a very silly attempt to ride around the car which resulted in me, flat on my butt on the street, and Brady laughing hysterically. After that, he asked me if he could try again, just with me.

He got onto the bike and I held the back of the seat and ran along with him as he got going. He pedaled faster and faster and I told him to “go, go, go” and then I took my hand off the back of the seat and, like magic, he kept going. He realized I wasn’t holding on, pedaled just a bit more and then braked and fell into the street.

I ran over to him, filled, no bursting, with pride, joy, elation, amazement. He jumped up and screamed, “I did it! I did it! I knew I could do it! I knew from the beginning I could do it!” I grabbed him up into a giant hug and spun him around. As I set him down he was already picking up his bike again and getting back on, “let’s do it again,” he told me, beaming.

We went again and again and again. He took longer and longer rides and got better at stopping without falling down. We turned back down the street to see that everyone else had come up to watch. He struggled a bit, but never wanted to give up. He was determined to get better, even when his knees and palms had been scraped. He rode the last bit to where my husband was waiting for him smiling, and crashed into the neighbors car because he was so distracted by the audience. Even then he just laughed.

We stayed a little longer than we had planned so he could work on his new skill. By the end we were both out of breath and exhausted. In the car on the way home, I still couldn’t stop smiling. I thought to myself “holy shit, THIS is what it’s all for.” Moments like that, of pure, unadulterated bliss really and truly make it all worth it. I helped my son learn to ride a bike yesterday, and it felt amazing.


Project Optimism: Today Was a Good Day

Usually I have trouble scrounging up some happy on Monday. Not so today. Today was a pretty damn good day. It started out with Brady’s school performance. Most of the year a group came in from the Y to teach the kindergartners dance on Mondays. Today was the end of the program and each class put on a little show for the parents. It was about 15 minutes long and it was much cooler than I had expected!

They did sort of an interpretive Very Hungry Caterpillar where they showed off all of the things they learned all year. It beyond adorable to watch them all, in their hand decorated, caterpillar and butterfly headbands, dancing around on stage. This was the first “performance” of any kind we’ve gotten to see since they did do that sort of thing at B’s preschool. I was thrilled!


Brady the butterfly

Because of the performance, and his very, very long commute, the husband worked from home today which was a special treat. Aside from him not having to leave the house at the crack of dawn and return a little after we start dinner, I happen to love him and like having him around, even if he is on conference calls.

Today was Brady’s dental checkup so I picked him up a little early from school and the two of us hopped on the bus down to get his teeth cleaned up and looked at. I love having a little one-on-one time with my big boy and he loves the dentist. His teeth were perfect and we got to walk and talk and hang out together for a little bit. Then we headed to a playdate at a friend’s place where I got to sit and talk a little instead of chasing Declan around trying to keep him from hurting himself.

When Brady and I got home to find the husband and Declan laughing hysterically as they built and then knocked down block towers, we decided to abandon cooking and try a new burger place in our neighborhood. It’s called BurgerFi and it has all of our requirements for a good place: yummy food, kids encouraged, good beer. Yes!

We rounded it all out by watching a new episode of Adventure Time. One of our favorite family activities. All in all a pretty good start to the week. So, apologies for the fairly mundane rundown of my Monday, but since the start of the week is usually boring at best, I figured I’d better document this one.

FYI – Formatting issues on this post are threatening to ruin my happy mood, so if it looks weird, it’s just what you’re getting. I’m giving up before I get angry.