Project Optimism: A Year of Happiness

Well, I did it. I think I only had two missed posts in the whole year. Each Monday in 2013 I forced myself to dig deep and find the brighter side of life and I am all the better for it. I think I may modify a little in 2014, but I’m going to keep it up. It started as a movement and I don’t know if anyone else kept up. Some of the founding blogs are gone and some have just returned, but I’m glad they brought this into my life. It never hurts to inject a bit of sun into your week. For a look back at all the joy, check out the posts.

For this last entry I’m going to share a collage of the immense happiness this Christmas brought me and my family. It was wonderful to say the least and definitely worth sharing.


Project Optimism: Boogie Nights

I know I’ve written about the husband on Project Optimism before, but he does make me pretty happy so I suppose he deserves another round.

Exactly 16 years ago right now I was walking in the cold to the movie theater with a boy I had had a crush on since the beginning of the semester. For some reason I thought baggy jeans, worn Airwalk sneakers, and a green Adidas coat was proper first date attire. I blame the 90s. 

We saw Boogie Nights. After playing a game of pool at his fraternity house the conversation went like this. 

Me: So what are we seeing?

Him: I thought we could see Boogie Nights.

Me: Isn’t that, like, a porn?

Him (emphatically): No.

But apparently baggy jeans and sneakers and movies about porn is just the way we roll because here we are, 16 years later, living the dream. Even after getting big grown-up jobs, even after saying “I do” and getting that magical piece of paper, even after having two little boys, the magic is still there. Sometimes it’s a little hard to find. It might be hidden under sleepless nights and ridiculous arguments and housework and worries and homework but it’s always there. 

Project Optimism: Quality Time

This past weekend was a particularly good one. I got to spend quality time with a lot of good people. On Friday some of the moms from my building got together at a friend’s apartment. She’s an art therapist and suggested we do some crafty things together so we all went over to her place after the kids were in bed. There was plenty of wine, an array of art supplies and creative outlet, amazing and funny and real conversation, and generally just a really great time had by all.

After such a good start, I worried that the weekend would go downhill. The next day was the husband’s birthday. The kids and I successfully managed to bring him coffee and breakfast (both from Starbucks) in bed. It was one of those moments you dream about when thinking about starting a family. Both boys burst into the room (after letting him sleep in of course) and Brady started singing Happy Birthday while Declan shouted, “Daddy, we made you cards! It’s your birfday!” before they tumbled into bed with him for a snuggle. 

We followed that up with lunch at the in-laws’ where we left the kids for the night so we could go out for delicious oysters and steak and maybe a few too many drinks. The next morning we got to go to yoga together before the boys returned. We had a super chill  family day together and I made matzo ball soup, my new favorite recipe. I love making something that fills the house with good smells and that my family devours when we sit down.

It was back to work and school today, but it’s a short week so YAY! This weekend was certainly a good start to the holidays and a wonderful reminder of all the things I have to be thankful for. 

Project Optimism: A Visit From My Mom

I’m kind of exhausted after a whirlwind weekend of birthday parties, so this will be brief, but this Monday my happiness is a wonderful visit from my mom. We had such a nice time. The boys were so happy to spend time with her. I got some nice time with her too. While we were busy, we still were never rushed and got a lot of downtime at home. Since she was here and the boys tired her out, the husband and I went out every night, although one date was just to the bookstore.

We had Brady’s actual birthday on Friday and I made a Leonardo the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cake that turned out pretty well.



Saturday we had his friend party at his martial arts studio and everyone had a blast.


Sunday we had my in-laws over for yet another little party.

Finally today Brady was off of school and we just hung out with my mom all morning. Then she and Brady got some alone time and went out to lunch. She had to leave today and we were all sad, but it’s always easier when the next trip is already planned. We’ll be down to see her for Christmas and it doesn’t seem that far away.

Project Optimism: Inked Up

This Saturday the husband and I dropped the kids at his parents for their neighborhood Halloween walk and a sleepover. Then we headed to Brooklyn so I could get a new tattoo. I don’t think I seem like a person who has tattoos and with this new one I’m a little afraid I’ve crossed the line to being “that mom” but before I did it I considered that and decided I would like to be “that mom” and went for it anyway.

I got my first tattoo when I was 20 and I still don’t regret it, although time and two pregnancies have taken their toll on it. Like all of my ink, I designed this one, although it’s definitely the mark of someone who was 20 in the year 2000. It’s also special because my sister and I have the same one in the same place, even if she swears I bullied her into it.


The second I got with the husband on our 5th wedding anniversary just over three years ago. I had been wanting this particular design for several years. It’s the gaelic word for hope and don’t worry that was thoroughly researched before I had it permanently etched on my body. The dots below are for each member of my family and I just finally had the fourth added this weekend. In case you can’t tell from this photo it’s in the middle of my upper back.

dochas tattoo

The husband has chosen not to share the tatt he had done that day. It’s on his ribcage and it hurt like hell. It’s three concentric, black ovals which were originally meant to represent the three members of our family. He has yet to want to endure the pain of a fourth oval and I don’t blame him. I do love it though. In fact I love all of his tattoos.

He also has these two. The flower is an orchid designed by his sister who is an artist. I think it’s just gorgeous and perfectly placed. The numbers 2 and 4 represent B and D for our two boys.

When I made the appointment to go in this weekend I wanted to get the same Roman numerals that he has and I may get them yet. But I was playing around with fonts and designs and came up with something new. I’ve wanted a quill and inkwell for a little while, but didn’t know exactly how I wanted it to look. I was sketching and trying to draw it and having no success so I tried Brady’s “scratching it out” technique. When Brady wants to draw something he rarely makes an outline first, he just fills up color in the shape of whatever it is he wants it to be. What I came up with was much cooler than I had anticipated (at least to me) and now it is part of my body.

inkwell tattoo

This was right after it was finished. I’m ridiculously in love with it. I’m still giddy every time I look at it. Hopefully the love will last because we’re stuck together forever.

By the way, if you have tattoos, don’t watch Ink Master on Spike. You will forever be criticizing the line-work and shading and wondering how muddy it will get over time. Damn you Chris Nunez!

I’ve may never have thought of myself as a “tattoo person” but it seems I’m slowly but surely getting there.

Project Optimism: Fall Festival

This Saturday was the Fall Festival for Brady’s school. It’s the biggest school event of the year. They close down the block and have bouncy houses and climbing walls, bake sale and grill, crafts and games. In short, it is a blast! I couldn’t include photos of all the fun because lots of other people’s kids were involved, but here’s a glimpse.

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: Fall Farm Fun

Like the alliteration?

Sitting here on this gray and windy day with the construction droning on outside my window, it’s hard to believe that just this Saturday we were enjoying the fall leaves, picking pumpkins, petting goats, and playing outside. Now, fall in the city is pretty amazing. I do enjoy being here this time of year, but it also makes me yearn to leave the concrete behind and experience all that autumn has to offer. The husband’s aunt is living in a house on the property of a large farm in Western Massachusetts so we headed up there this weekend to get back to nature a bit. Even though the sun was hiding most of the time, we really enjoyed it.