Thursday, November 15, 2012

Your First Birthday: A Letter to Birdie

Dear Birdie,

I hope when you are older you will enjoy reading this blog. I have saved it, to be sure, in hard cover book form. You will find it in my treasure chest upstairs when you are ready to read it. Perhaps "blogging" will be obsolete by then... I can't take any chances!

Some may have thought I started this blog to share the virtues of motherhood, but alas, I know very little just on my own. I learn from what you and Peanut teach me. What you share with me are the greatest and best lessons.

Others may think I started this blog for myself, as a way to document my beautiful year with you, and that, I suppose is partly true, but, the real reason is that I did it for you. I want you to know that from the very moment you were nothing but a poppy seed inside of me to the strapping (haha) little boy you grew to be, I have always loved you.

As you will later read in Daddy's thesis/memoir, what we went through was not the easiest, but we would do it all over again if it meant we got to have you. Please don't ever forget how wanted and wished for you were.

Whatever you want to be is up to you... I dreamed you into this life and you now hold the power to dream a life for yourself.

No matter what anyone else tells you: never wear a hat in a restaurant or movie theater, always hold the door open for a woman, it is okay to cry, and there is no such thing as "take it like a man". Somehow, somewhere these simple life lessons and courtesies (and many more) have become lost and I want you to know that being a boy and turning into a man is something very special... You will have the power to do many things but you also have the ability to do them with manners, grace, and sensitivity.

Of course, your Godfathers are very special and meaningful to you as they are to me. They are your Uncles after all! But, also know that we chose who your GodMommy is for a reason. She is a very special person with incredible strength, wisdom, and wit. Please listen to what she has to say and follow her lead when it comes to faith. You will need something bigger than you to believe in.

Lastly and most importantly, if you stop and listen closely, you can hear the birds singing. I will never stop listening to you Birdie. I will never tire of your questions. I will always answer you when you call my name.

Only one year old and you get to write your own song... And what a sweet one it will be.



Author's note: Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts this year. I have been blessed beyond measure. This post, as was the same with Emmi when she turned one year, is my last. <3

Music Playlist at

Sunday, November 4, 2012


This post is best told with few words and many photos:

The world is your oyster Birdie.

Back soon for a 1st Birthday post, which will be my last.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reader's Choice

I have pretty much read the same book to Birdie every night for the past 3 months. Mainly it has been for selfish reasons: he cracks up every time I read it and I love watching him giggle. Last night I thought I would finally switch things up and I chose a new book off the display shelf. Much to my surprise, he wriggled down off my lap, crawled over to the books, pulled himself to a standing position and immediately pulled down the other book I had repeatedly read to him! I was floored... out of all those books on the case, he went right for it. Point taken.

Happiest 11 months to my climbing, standing, walking 2 steps then plunking down boy today.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Thank You for Waiting

My biggest fear in going back to work was missing a milestone. I had given Joe specific instructions not to tell me when something happened. But, who am I kidding? Of course I would want to know anyway. I would get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I would be happy. It would be a bittersweet moment.

When Emmi took her first steps, it was in front of her Uncle and Auntie in Canada on an iChat. We had no idea it was going to happen. She just let go and walked toward them on the screen. It happened on a Saturday morning. She waited for me and I was so happy that she did.

I knew Logan was gearing up for something. He had been a tad restless at night and moving around his crib. I secretly prayed he'd wait for me too. Yesterday, right before the entire family on the East Coast was about to sit down for Thanksgiving (Canadian) dinner, he took 2.5 steps from me to Joe. He waited for me too.

To be honest, I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. Now, I can breathe a little easier leaving in the morning. Sure, they may be other things here and there that J will witness first. But, I'm okay with that... I got to see the first steps!

My little boy is going to have a whole new world to explore, all on his own two feet.

Thank you for waiting for me Birdie.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Rite of the Happy Meal

There are certain things I dreamed about doing as a parent. Ordering a Happy Meal was one of them. Mini fries and chicken McNuggets are my rite of passage. As a parent, I have proudly earned that badge and I wear it with pride. Another is buying and/or making Halloween costumes. I remember last year, J and I saw this ridiculously cute costume for E that was of course way overpriced. We passed. That night, I tossed and turned. I wanted that costume, dammit. We came back the next day, plunked down $29.95 (plus $5 extra for the tights) and that girl was the cutest gosh darn watermelon you ever saw. As badly as J and I wanted our children, I can also match how badly I want and can't wait to do things with them.

Today I thought it would be great to buy a mini pumpkin and have Birdie finger paint it as his 10 month old way of decorating it. Target had the mini pumpkin but when I went into the art and crafts aisle for finger paint, I was greeted by THREE different kinds, and all of them said, "No Mess Finger Paint" on them. I stood there quizzically... until I snapped out of it and realized E was in the next aisle over, with said pumpkin in hand, rolling it on the floor like a bowling ball, and L had pulled down a hanging display of glue sticks. Back to the finger paint. Each boasted it's own qualities: use me on special paper and the paint appears! clear! dries quickly! But, it was their rite to make a mess, I thought. I don't want clear finger paints that only show up on special $8 paper as much as they don't want it. We want REAL finger paints!  After my mini-tantrum, E handed me a package of window crayons as if to say, Umm, here Mommy. Point taken child.

Having another kid means being able to relive those rites of passage over again, through new eyes.

Halloween here we come. ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

10 Months

I've been back at work 19 days now. I am homesick. Sometimes, I can actually hear Birdie's giggles and little snarfly noises then I realize it's all in my head. He echos like a song you can't stop singing or a jingle that you can't shake. My boy sticks with me.

He celebrated the big 1-oh today (10 months that is). Recent accomplishments include standing for 10-20 seconds unassisted and banging on anything he can get his hands on to achieve that satisfied, "I can has make noises" face. Love it. Walking is not too far behind and although I am never one to rush things, I am excited for the dynamic it will create between him & E. Right now they are so cute when they play together, walking would just take it to a new height (no pun intended).

First birthday plans are in full swing. In my next life I hope I'm an event or party planner.

I really can't believe he's going to be one soon.

My heart is full. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

34 years, a Hug, and an Idea

My Grandfather, Birdie's Great-Grandfather, started a gifting tradition when my brother and I were first born. Every year for Christmas and birthdays we would receive a set of proof coins from the Canadian mint. At the time, my brother and I would do nothing more than admire them in their velvet boxes, which would give off that distinctive crack! when you snapped them shut. Over the years we collected and stored them and eventually when I moved to the States, a few made it with me, with others still left behind, tucked safely away for when I am ready for them. My Grandfather's rule was simple: I could cash them in whenever I wanted but he wanted me to cash them in and use the money for something that would give back to me. Examples of this were a down payment for a car or a house, or some sort of investment. I agreed.

Back in April, I had a "dream" about my Grandfather... I don't receive visits from him often, but when he comes, he comes in that blissful middle place right before you are sound asleep yet on the verge of possibly still being awake. It's that middle place where the most delightful times occur. This time was no exception. He came and hugged me and in light of everything that has been going on with my family and some tough times we (particularly my Mom) had been sharing he told me everything was going to be okay. He also told me he had an idea and I would know it later.

When I awoke that morning I hadn't immediately remembered his visit and it took me the better part of the morning to snap to and have that "Oh yeah!" moment. As soon as I remembered his visit, I had an idea. Born in Poland, his Canadian citizenship was something he valued and treasured a great deal and as much as he displayed his proud Polish heritage, he was thrilled and honored to be a Canadian as well.

That afternoon, after telling J my plan, we took 2 of the coins he had given me, dating back to 1978, and cashed them in. I took the money, bought Logan's passport (E already had hers), went and had 4 very precisely measured photos taken, and applied. It came on Friday in the mail... L & E are both now Canadian citizens.

34 years later, I don't think my Dzia could have ever guessed that his investment to me would allow me to have my children, his great-grandchildren, obtain something so precious and so valued.

Well, Dzia, I have followed your rule, your gift lives on...

thank you.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Drinking It In

On the eve of tomorrow (also known as the night before the first day of school with kids), I found myself extra sentimental and nostalgic (and a friend of mine on Facebook said the same thing so it must be going around). I found myself wanting to photo.graph.ev.ery.thing. Birdie's toothbrush laying in the sink? That could be a photo. His trademark amber necklace hanging off the edge of his change table? A landmark opportunity. The diaper wipe I used to wipe his face after dinner smooshed into a ball sitting on the place mat? Legendary material.

In the end, I didn't take a single photograph.

Living on the East coast, we have 4 seasons just like I had in Western Canada, and one moves with the times: color changes, new fragrances, and the general holiday mix that creates a particular holiday swill. Right now, I am forced to drink that swill and I am more than okay with it. I even got a little giddy when I pulled out the purple corduroy pants for E and gasp! was able to use L's Fall jacket during a particularly heavy downpour last night. Sometimes swill can be good. It moves you forward, nudges you ever so gently until you realize you cannot wait to make crockpot applesauce and good GOD you will be the first one on that hayride at the orchard.

Back to the photographs. After much deliberation, I decided not to take those photographs because after even more deliberation, I have decided to take the Fall semester off from my Doctorate. I have too much to do and experience between now and Christmas and I will resume my studies in January. The decision (although still awaiting official University approval) doesn't mean that I have to take fewer photographs, but it does mean I will get to experience a little more firsthand for a few more months.

In other words, I get to take another sip.

Hang on, it's a fun downhill ride to Christmas! :)

**Update: my request was officially approved!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


9 month stats:

Weight: 22 pounds, 11 oz. (90th percentile!)
Height: 30 inches (up 2 inches from his 6 month check-up) (98th percentile)

Birdie likes hanging out in the 90's.

It was a cool decade, after all. ;)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 3

It's been Day 3 back at work.

I'm still here.

Yesterday I didn't see Birdie (or E) all day. I was gone before they awoke and came home after they were asleep.

You know the adage never wake a sleeping baby?

Well, maybe I picked Birdie up from a sound sleep last night just so I could ruffle his hair and breathe him in. And maybe I laid him back down and he never even woke up.

Back tomorrow with 9 month check-up stats.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

9 Months

Birdie turned 9 months this past Thursday, and ironically, it was the same day I had picked to share a special day with him before I return to work. His check-up is later this week so stats to follow. We had a wonderful day where he tried out his first swing ride at the park and maybe a bowl of orange creamsicle ice cream was shared. Then, like his sister before him, it was off to the library to get his library card. The director was beyond thrilled we had returned again and he is going to make it into the local paper just like E did. :)

Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy.  
~Author Unknown

Love you.
Proof I was there. I'm always there.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Clock Smashing (and Repairing)

I have cried every day since August 1.

In case you lost count, that's 15 days. But, today, I haven't (and even though the day is not over yet), I don't feel like doing it today. It's no secret how much I have been not wanting dreading going back to work and leaving L & E and I have been in mourning. Literally grieving. The other day I was pissed how the clocks in this house were mocking me. there was a clock staring me in the face. At one point I counted: 9 clocks in this house? Really? Don't know what time it is? Well, come on down to the Zagorski's! I went so far as to turn some of them off and put masking tape (yes I did) on some of them. It wasn't until J looked at me with that raised eyebrow look that I (sheepishly) decided to stop smashing the clocks (okay, I just turned them back on). I realized that as much as I hate how quickly time is going by, I also realized that time is going to be the same thing that is going to bring me to apple picking, Canadian and American Thanksgiving, Halloween, a Birdie who will turn one, a Peanut who will turn three, all followed of course by the grand finale that is Christmas. A lot to look forward to, no? Not to mention all the other delicious bits in between. So, time, I still do not like you, and will probably never embrace you, but you can stay.

As soon as I made my peace with the 9 faces in my home, I came across this, written by Jill from

Dear Me 20 Years From Now,

I wonder if you’ve become one of those women who briefly lingers around, a safe distance behind, young moms carting their babies and toddlers through the grocery store with that far-off look in your eyes. If you gently smile at the mom when she looks up and catches your glance, obviously frazzled by how challenging taking 2 kids grocery shopping is, as if to tell her it’s going to be okay. If you look at her and miss that time, want so badly to trade 5 minutes of the independence you have now that your kids are much older so that you can rest a toddler’s head on your shoulder, or buckle a baby in their car seat, mindful not to pinch any belly chub in the harness.

I want you to know that you were acutely aware of how fast they were growing. Even though many days would pass in the blink of an eye, there would always be a moment when your world would snap to a halt, and you would look at them while they were doing something mundane and normal, and you would be painfully conscious that they were no longer the size they were last week, and that they would never be the size they are at that moment again.

I want you to know that you went to bed every night with one simple wish for the next day. To just do better.

Even though you were tired and challenged, exasperated and overwhelmed, you knew then that you would miss these days…most of them, at least. It was a truth that was hard to live with, and most of the time you ignored it because there was nothing you could do about the passing of time. If you spent your days mourning the ones that had gone by, you’d miss out on the days you were living in.

You knew you were on a light rail, moving at speeds you couldn’t comprehend. You had no control over the ride that brought you to where you are today, but believe me when I say you searched so very hard to find the emergency brake.

Please know, please remember that you tried to savor that time. Be at peace, knowing you spent late afternoons curled up with them on the couch, that sometimes you just sat and watched them move and run, that occasionally you took inventory of all the things they’d learned in the last week, and that you appreciated your time with them the best you knew how. Know that despite your very best efforts, there was no way to freeze time.

I promise you, you tried.


And although I have heard this (or something like it) from my friends and family, it really stuck with me reading it in print. Or, maybe I finally just got it through my head. Pick one.

I did try, dammit.

Then, my thoughts drifted to the wonderful nine months home with Birdie and Peanut and J and I suddenly was flooded with everything I have done. Things for myself: like picking up a saxophone again for the first time in 16 years and ending up on a recorded album, like starting my Doctorate and kicking ass in my first course, like channeling my inner Martha Stewart and painting and changing fixtures and ripping up carpet at home, like finding photography, like getting a gig to be a consultant/contributor for a kid's website. And that was just me. Although I tried hard to find that emergency brake, it eluded me and in the process I watched my son cut 8 teeth, crawl, stand, kiss, hug, play with his sister, and start coming into his own as the happy, playful, easy-going boy that he is. Although I could not freeze time, I potty trained my daughter, taught her new songs and words, eased her fear of swimming, spent lazy afternoons crafting, reading, and laughing (there was so much laughing). All the while with J by my side. What a gift. Together, we did it all.

As I prep J for the new routine that will happen in about 2 weeks time, I have been prepping myself too. For example, I bought this:

It is made out of grade A (or better) Rose Quartz, Black Tourmaline, and rare optical-quality Frosted Quartz beads. It's sole purpose is to ease the discomfort one feels when she is away from her children. The black tourmaline serves as a buffer from disharmony of situations or individuals. Rose quartz serves to nurture the heart and calms the emotions. I hope it helps.

I have a glorious last week planned ahead for the four of us. Everyone is going to do and/or get something special, including me. Some of the week will involve: homemade doughnuts, nail polish, ink, swings, spaghetti, paper, glass, and love. Have fun guessing who gets what because I won't tell. ;)

Holdin' on...

I really did try.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Taking a Bite

It's amazing to me that my kids will get to experience NYC like it's nothin'. I dreamed of living close (or in at one point) to the Big Apple. In University I plastered my closet door with NY related clippings and postcards. Thinking about L & E, they will get to take the train in (when they are old enough) and just live it. They won't know anything else. The shopping. Oh the shopping. My girl will take her female cousin in and there will be shopping. And Birdie? He will take his boy cousin in and there will be Yankees games. And peanuts. And whatever else their hearts desire. All a 20 minute train ride away.

Ain't life grand?

With the wind in his hair...

And a grin on his face...

If he can make it here, he can make it any place. :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

3 More Weeks...

"It's a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up."  ~J.K. Rowling

Monday, July 30, 2012

Closed for Business

Birdie's on day 3 of not feeling like himself. At first, I took the fever and crankiness as the obligatory teething routine but after seeing his eyes (always a tell-tale for my kids), I rallied to have the doctor examine him. J took him in and of course, ears, throat, lungs, etc. checked out fine. She figured it was a viral infection of sorts (which was also corroborated by my own mother whom I should have brought him to in the first place and saved a co-pay ;)).

At any rate, as I begin to gather items to sell on consignment and/or give to friends, reality hit me hard. We are done having kids. I can't believe I just typed that out loud. But, it's true. Although J won't commit to any, ahem, permanent methods for either of us, and unless we win the lottery, we are done. I'm okay with it. These two sweets keep me busy, entertained, and plenty happy. A third would be wonderfully welcomed, but I'm liking the dynamic we have right now. 2 boys, 2 girls= 1 square with four corners of love. I can't believe I just typed that out loud either.

Life is good.

Birdie's face when I told him no more sisters or brothers.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Lot Can Happen

A lot can happen in 11 days. I came home to the following:

  • 2 new teeth (one on the top, one on the bottom) (that makes six total now)
  • a totally unassisted sitter
  • a Birdie who HATES his swing now

Plus, some of this...

And this...


Blurry but the best I could do as this pose doesn't last long.


And lastly...

Yup, Birdie is pulling himself into a standing position. Time to lower the crib. Again.

I'm glad to be home.

Thank God I wasn't gone a month.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Tomorrow I leave Birdie for almost 2 weeks. At this moment, I feel exhausted with preparations and giddy with excitement mixed with pangs that I will be away from him (and E) for so long. I have left E before, in fact, this time almost exactly last year for 4 nights for a conference. But, this time it's double the hearts away from my heart. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond happy to be going. The idea of maybe sleeping through the night for the first time since sometime in 2008 is a delightful thought and perhaps, I won't need to selfishly (and sheepishly) pretend I have to go to the bathroom just so I can close the door and eat a piece of chocolate that I don't wish to share with a 2.5 year old. Oddly, these are the same things that I am going to miss. I am looking forward to sharing my pictures and hopefully inspiring them to visit and travel one day too. Look where your Mama went. Look what she did. Look what she saw.

Yesterday Birdie and I took a walk along the lake. It was a beautiful day and there was It's almost like they knew we were coming and everyone vacated just to make our time even more special.

It worked.

This afternoon, I'm taking E for ice cream where she'll promise me she'll be good. Just like her brother did. And I know they will be, because they are always good.

See you soon... Mommy loves you. :)

Birdie's stash whilst I'm gone. 11 days away x 3 feedings a day= 33. I counted the bags today and guess how many I have? I am SO proud of this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

7 Months

Birdie is 7 months. I longed to post height and weight stats and how he didn't cry when he got his shots, but alas, we don't have another check-up until 9 months. So...

Instead, I can report on how he can get from one side of the living room to the other side just in time to tip Honey's water bowl over. I can talk about how every time I take out my camera he stops, poses, and smiles for me because he knows what it's all about. I can mention how he follows his big sister around and thinks most things everything she does is funny.

But, mostly, I could just revel in our lazy/busy (yes an oxymoron) days of summer so far and how much we are enjoying each other.

photography /pho-tog-ruh-fee/: the art of capturing something fleeting; chasing time. Holding that which cannot be held. Motion made still.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Knew I Was Meant To

Since the day I have come home from the hospital with Logan, Joe (bless his heart) has gotten into the habit of slipping downstairs in the morning to feed the kids and begin getting them ready for the day. This affords me an extra 30-60 minutes of 'sleep-in' time. It may not sound like much, but when you are up at night nursing, changing diapers, and tending to a 2.5 year old that woke up from a sound sleep and has no clue where she is, those extra minutes have been heaven.

This morning, however, was different. Logan woke up a little later and as I fed him in the day's light, I realized I was, for once, wide awake. I gave Joe a pass this morning and went downstairs to start the day. After the morning stuff was done, I sat Logan on the floor and I plopped down beside him. I put out his favorite toy of late, and then he... crawled. Sure, it was more like a solider in a ditch kinda action or a worm sliding on dirt, but it was forward and it was intentional. 

I love how my kids wait to do their firsts in front of me. It's like they know. The gift of this morning was not lost on me and I knew I was meant to come down early today.

Thanks Birdie.

Captured the second time around.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mommy Paint

Those who know me know that I love to paint. Not pretty pictures but rooms. The prepping and the taping part not so much, but the painting part very much yes. There is something so transformative about painting. Sort of an out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new feeling that I get once those new strokes of color cover up the old.

As I touched up the paint in the final room in our house to be repainted, I wistfully recalled painting Birdie's room. His room was very hard next to impossible to get in order. Think 1950's wallpaper upon 1930's wallpaper. Picture wallpaper glue upon glue upon GLUE. Envision sheets of drywall coming off with each pull of the paper. It was truly a nightmare. After many weeks later (and a little cursing and yelling), we managed to pull together a room that was fresh, vibrant, and worthy of welcoming a little one into its nest.

Painting got me to thinking how much it is like motherhood. Being a Mom is like having every layer that you thought you had built up being stripped down until you are a puddle of mush as you gaze into your little one's eyes. Being a Mom is like weathering the smell of paint, sometimes you don't want to do it because you know it's going to be hard, but you know the end result is gonna be good so you dive in. Being a Mom is knowing that as quickly as you can apply a fresh coat of color and your room can change before your eyes, so can your children as they grow and flourish. Being a Mom is like starting with a color, deciding you don't like it, then choosing a new one, because you are allowed to make mistakes. Being a Mom is like matching your brushstrokes around the walls of the room- meeting up with yourself on the wall where you started and now end, because that feeling of completeness is the same one you get from your children. Being a Mom is like sitting in the shower scrubbing paint off yourself and knowing that it was so worth it to get yourself dirty.

Having recently celebrated a birthday, a friend asked me if I learned anything new, anything I was 'wiser' about. "Yeah", I said. "I never underestimate the power of anything anymore."

And yes, that can include the drying of paint.

Birdie's Room

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy Half a Year

I truly, honestly, really cannot believe Birdie is SIX months old today. The time has flown by in a flash. He has such a sweet, easy-going personality, loves his Big Sister, rolls to where he wants to go, and boy-o-boy does he love his food! The first six months have been a thing of magic and beauty as I watch him grow and change literally before my eyes.

6 month check-up stats:
Weight: 18 pounds, 12 oz.
Height: 28 inches

Happy, healthy, and growing strong.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The other day I felt a flutter and I excitedly paused to feel it with my hand... then I realized mid-pause that a) I'm not pregnant and b) the "flutter" was my lunch digesting.

True story.

A friend of mine told me her Mom, who had 3 children (all of which are grown adults now), will still wake up at night sometimes thinking she hears her children's cries only to realize they no longer live at home. This got me to thinking about how strong the connection of being a Mother is. Certain sounds, smells, sights, tastes, and touches can instantly transport a Mom back to her baby, no matter how old the Mom or the baby. The brain associates the 5 senses to memory, this has been proven. With Logan, I stayed at the hospital (due to my complication) for 5 days. That was a long time. In that time, Joe would raid the hospital snack bar at 3am for us. One thing we ate a ton of was their chocolate chip cookies. I liked chocolate chip cookies before I had Logan, but now, I will always equate them with nursing my baby boy in the glow of the light that shone underneath my hospital room door from the hallway. Joe would sit across from me in the rocker and we would chat about how Emmi was doing at home, what we guessed Logan would be when he grew up, how I was feeling... And just like that they tasted sweeter.

While I will miss being pregnant immensely and I realize that one day my faux flutters will really be a thing of the past, I will always have my cookies memories.

A week after we brought Logan home, I found these, placed upright in our pantry. Joe obviously felt the same way about them and brought them home, unbeknownst to me. I don't think we'll ever open them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012