That Robin Life

When we arrived at our annual retreat in NH last month, Ellis exclaimed that a mama robin was feeding her babies.  Since we were unpacking, we didn’t really hear him until we saw for ourselves, right outside our window:  these scrawny baby robins with their mouths open crazy wide, expectant for Mama Robin to drop juicy worms into them.

Perhaps this is a common sight in certain areas but for us living in Beep Beep Honk Honk NYC, it caught our breath.  We watched in amazement.  The birds’ beaks were open so comically wide it looked painful, almost 180 degrees.  They never doubted that their mom would return and drop in some sustenance.  They never said, “I ain’t no chump, opening my mouth like a fool.  I’mma front like I ain’t hungry and when she comes, THEN I’ll open up.”

I told Kevin:  I had no idea that the mom has to fly off as soon as she drops the worms into their beaks!  Why does she leave so quickly like she in witness protection?  Where is the dad?

“I don’t know.  I don’t have a PhD in Bird.  But yeah, I wonder why she has to leave so fast.”

We arrived Sunday afternoon.  We watched this family several times a day.  The scrawny birds grew up and their wet tufts started looking more like their red-chested Mom.  I teared up when the teen robins started practicing their hops and flying skills, their growing girth now overflowing out of their starter home nest.

And on Thursday, they were gone when we came back from the lake.  In the span of just four days, they had become completely independent!  Their empty nest of twigs was the only remnant left from their formative days outside our window, the nest that had been overflowing with four robin siblings, weighing down the tree branch.

It was an honor to watch their lives unfold.  It also made me think about praying expectantly, like those baby robins who cried out until their moms dropped worms into their beaks.  I want to cry out like them with bold confidence that I will be cared for.

I want to cry out like a baby robin for big things like our friend’s baby who needs God’s healing touch.  For small things, like moving with three young kids and no grandparents to ship them off to.

My Olive girl is no longer a newborn as she is more than two months old now, my baby-est robin.

I want to memorize the beaming smile that emerged at Week 8.  I want to remember yesterday’s discovery that she may hate her carseat in the car, like on the way to NH, but she’s down for taking a walk in the summer evening with a breeze softly caressing her chins, the very chins we can push to lure a smile out of.

I want to remember my 6 1/2 year old son’s new jack-o-lantern smile with his first missing tooth that he was so excited about.

I don’t want to forget my nearly five year old son’s earnestness, crying when I forgot to roll down the window in time for him to yell out a final goodbye to his summer camp teachers.

And how much they love their baby sister, asking if we can show her to their classmate playing in the courtyard or to their summer camp pastor.  Unpacking schoolwork that says, “I am thankful for pizza and my baby.”

Now that I’m 40, I feel life moving even faster.  I see why older folks nudge us to enjoy every moment.  My hair is greying even more swiftly, my teeth yellowing, my back aching, my kids talking like teenagers, and my baby outgrowing baby clothes she used to swim in.

The other day, I couldn’t drive home because another car was blocking a one-way street, trying to score a coveted parking space.  It took so long that drivers behind me were honking, one guy got out and tried to walk over to see whassup, Olive was crying in her sweaty carseat, Micah was updating me on each detail of Olive’s cry, and Ellis added, “I have to poo.”

I started laughing maniacally and actually bursted with tender gratitude for the moment.  This was my life, my Mama Robin life before my robins fly away.







07.10.17 – Baby O is 6 weeks old

Baby Olive,

I am typing with you sprawled out on my thighs. Skin to skin.

Around five weeks old, you decided that napping in your bassinet was played out and you craved the warm body mattress of Mommy who is preoccupied with packing.

You grunt like crazy and you have one eye all Round Eye while the other eye is shut, so you look more like Popeye than Olive Oyl.  Daddy looked up “Olive Oyl” recently and we learned about her parents, (Ba)Nana Oyl and Cole Oyl.  And brother, Castor Oyl, who has an estranged wife, Cylinda Oyl!

Not only did you shed your stellar nap skills last week, you very particular about how we hold you.  You don’t want us to look at the phone.  You want us to cradle you, tuck you in an armpit or two, offer up a nipple pillow or Mommy’s still fuzzy belly, with its faint linea negra, a souvenir from pregnancy.

(Now I am nursing and trying to type with one hand because I miss writing).

Daddy and I just celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary on fwine date 07.07.17.  We were able to celebrate in style by going back to Bermuda.  Oh wait, that would be our next door neighbors, not us.

Daddy and Mommy happily spent our anniversary with you while brothers were away at summer camp.  You were our most valuable gift, your little legs with blue Mongol spots, and your nose with two little lines near the entrance of your nostrils, like the creases of a dumpling.  Your swiftly growing rolls make it easier for Mommy to handle you, less nervous than when you were only 5.5 lbs.

One of your first longer car outings was when you were about 15 days old.  We chose the farther, waterfront Costco we frequent when we want both ambience and value.  I felt like a first time mom when you were crying so much from your middle carseat that your brothers were giving us updates on the foaming of your mouth.  I made your dad pull over and we decided to skip the carnival we were going to also just “drop by.”  We are learning to slow down and Mommy especially is working on her fear of missing out.

Your dad doesn’t want you to be in certain enclosed spaces like house parties and our big church but he somehow rationalized Costco and the mall.

Anyways, when I went to change you at the Costco food court bathroom, I saw that someone had left a big turd for us on the changing table.  My fuzzy brain somehow told myself, “That surely must be a prop turd.  Who would be so foul as to leave a real, steaming turd for the next person?”  But why would there be an emoji prop turd?  Even more absurd.

I just remember being so embarrassed to introduce you to this grimy world outside of my womb, where people will leave their shit behind for you to deal with.  I tried to make up for it by showing you the water but it also looked like Law & Order SVU setting, some drunk topless men were fighting over the free soda they had scored, a teenager was passed out next to his bicycle and the bushes, and a couple was about to have sex in the front seat of their sedan.

Ok, this typing with you on me is ridiculous.  I just want to remember everything and blogging is a little more fun than journaling.  Peace out.  Time to fetch the brothers.  Olive You!



Tried to make up for the Costo turd by showing you the beauty of the sculpture garden next door but there were scary goat displays.  You were still so scrawny that it must have looked like we came straight from the hospital to Costco.  Mommy’s friend said I should have worn a hospital gown.  Realized that this Costco and sculpture garden were the first two places we headed to upon finding out I was pregnant – to load up on prenatal vitamins!

This is 39

Something about this dreary, (sideways-) rain day shoved me back in front of my dusty laptop.  Add to that dramatic rain, Ellis is turning 4 tomorrow and I turn 40 on 10.4.

Wow, I haven’t just declared it like that until now.

Fitting birthdate as I will have lived 10 decades (x 4) come 10.4, Lord willing.

When friendlier neighbors ask my young morsels how old they are and I answer for them in whole numbers, they are quick to add, “AND A HALF!” or “But ALMOST six!” or “Almost four!”

On the other hand, there’s they Mama who enters her age on the elliptical machine more covertly than she enters her ATM PIN.  (And for her weight, ‘bows be out).

When did this happen?  I am open and honest to a fault but now, I hear myself lecture, “Micah, you don’t have to announce Mommy’s age when we’re walking on the sidewalk, talking about how Mommy is the oldest in our family so I should walk closest to the street to protect everyone.  I mean, I’m not ashamed of my age or anything but some information is not for sharing with everyone.”

And I started using vague phrases like, “pretty big birthday coming up” even to acquaintances who already know that I won’t be turning a milestone 30 or 50.

The number is a lot to wrap my mind around.  I loved my 30s.  Even the word “thirty” sounds cute to me whereas “forty” with that leading “f” sounds too strong and overbearing.  I was 30 when I got married, 34 when I had #1, and three days shy of 36 when I had #2, the same ages Michelle Obama, my crush, was when she had her kids.

As my baby son turns four tomorrow and I turn 40 a few days after, I feel emotional about saying goodbye to my Three Year Old baby, and goodbye to my 30s.

[Dear 30s, you were my most fulfilling decade thus far.  I love you.  You were a blessing beyond my technicolor dreams, though not without valleys.  As I stare 40 in the face, I am overcome with gratitude for you.]

I try to be grateful, even on the days I have to force myself to be in light of certain challenges in our lives.  Not because I am naturally positive or holy (ahahahaha loaded word) but because I know gratitude engenders good health.

Lately, it felt different from head-knowledge-gratitude.  I’ve been FEELING so grateful that I’ve wanted to raise my hands to the heavens while walking down Queens Blvd.

And God used the things I usually cannot FEEL grateful for.

One – our too small apartment and too small kitchen.  Due to an emergency gas leak, our building turned off our cooking gas, oven, and laundry for nearly two months this past summer.  While I tried to remind myself that we are still among the most comfortable on this entire globe, it sucked.

Two months was a long time.  I forgot what stovetop fire looked like.  When I went to a friend’s house for a playdate and she turned on her stove, all casual like it wasn’t no thang, the fire looked crazy, all that blue and orange coming out of a cube, like we were in a sci-fi movie.

And when the fire re-emerged on our very own white stove, I jumped back like a cave woman, held the kids back, in awe.  While I am still praying for wide open spaces, thank you LORD for the miracle of fire in our small kitchen.

Two – the subway.  I can devote a whole Instagram account, if I had one, to subway experiences and observations.

The other day, during the crowded morning commute while we all tried to funnel our way in, I saw a Latina mama wearing her newborn daughter, with her older son, maybe around 10 or 11, alongside her on the platform.  As crowd sardined our way in, I gestured for the son to come closer and get past me so he wouldn’t lose his mom and sister.  They got settled in and he began gazing at his baby sister.

THE LOOK ON THAT BOY’S FACE?  It made me tear up.  How much love he had for his new sister, this new human being who had just entered his life.

That moment felt divine, downright HOLY, even as the subway made its usual delay announcements and my nostrils tried to identify different body odors and my hand squirmed for a piece of the pole.

My friend who is going through a major health hurdle told me that she started an album on her phone called “Reminders of God” as friends send her different inspirational nuggets.

As I join the 40 club, I am going to search more consistently for reminders of Him.  It won’t be hard because they are everywhere.

Thank you Lord for my (nearly) 40 years.  And thank You for the Peanuts movie on HBO Demand which kept the boys quiet while I cranked out this post.





06.16.16 Meantime Marvel

Yesterday, a local mama and LA mama friend wrote me on 06.16.16, remembering my date fetish that officially started with my 07.07.07 nuptials.  One asked where my 06.16.16 post at so here it is, J!  Thanks for the query, kekeke.

I had noted the triple 6 date but didn’t get excited because I don’t like 6s.  When I see that many 6s, I gotta look down at my nails and shift my gaze.  I did get tickled that catchy dates made my friends holla.

I had a routine dentist appointment this morning and she informed me that I had broken a tooth.  She was sure that it was from grinding or clenching my teeth (even with my nightguard in)!  As I type this sentence, I can feel the jaw pain from the clenching I must be doing in my sleep.

Can’t help but wonder if my clenching has gotten worse considering the devastating news in the world, namely in Orlando, FL this past week alone.

On June 10th, a singer by the name of Christina Grimmie was shot and killed while signing autographs for her fans.

On June 12th, early Sunday, a gunman slaughtered 49 people at a gay nightclub, injuring at least 53 others.  Deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

On June 15th, the body of a two year-old boy, Lane Graves, was found intact after being carried off by an alligator outside Disney’s Grand Floridian resort.

All in Orlando within the past seven days.

And the blessing and curse of social media is that our eyes and ears are everywhere, even beyond the big news stories like Orlando, including recent kidnappings and children getting hurt out of nowhere.

I absorb all of this.  And I clench.

I am ever more vigilant.  I lecture the boys numerous times daily about not walking behind me but walking in front of me where I can see them clearly.  I even demonstrated what could happen if they continue to walk behind me but they enjoyed the dramatic snatch-demonstration too much:  “Do it again to me, Mommy.”

Excuse the clumsy transition as I have to eat lunch now but our family is in a season of life where we are awaiting next steps.  Blessed and intact but also hoping for change.

I heard a sermon yesterday called “Meantime.”  How sometimes we just want to know what’s up next and when we can get goin’ on Next and when He will provide for our immediate future, the prayers we been lifting up.  But then we end up treating the present like an afterthought:  “Man, I can’t wait ’til ______….in the meantime (sigghhhh)…” and poor Meantime is treated like some neglected stepchild (sermon by Toure Roberts).

The tragic events of this past week have made me extra thankful for my Meantime.

Though waiting on Him to answer prayers, I am pausing to memorialize our 06.16.16 Meantime, which included a Morsel-y Mundane Marvel of a Moment where our whole family stumbled upon an ant colony during an evening walk together after dinner.  We squealed, poked sticks and wondered aloud.  I then went for a jog so I can watch the sky.

The lives lost in Orlando made me realize all over again that we Moms just want our kids to be one thing, fine, two things when they grow up:  alive and well, and the rest is all noise.

Thank You, Lord, that I get to have a Meantime.

Rest in Peace to those lives lost in Orlando this past week.  You will not be forgotten.

5.15.12 – You is beloved.

5.15.15 – Flashback Friday: Four Years (F)ago – Feel the (f)alliteration. Gorgeous date alert: Five, One-Five, One-Five.

I can hardly recall just having One Micah now so this helped jog my memory.

Enjoy your weekends!


Tuesday. It was going to be a rainy day all day so my nearly 18 month morsel and I skipped our morning constitutional, which usually consists of walking around our green courtyard, admiring the sky and trees, looking for small creatures, then my begging him to go back inside. This morning, I did remember to make sure I affirmed him with the mantra from “The Help,” along with my own additions: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important. You is worthy. You is wanted. You is a child of God. You is beloved.”

Micah didn’t give a crap about these affirmations that his silly mama was repeating and instead asked for some tv by handing me the remote with wide, hopeful eyes, imploring, “mah? mah? mah?” (his favorite word of the week – “MORE!”). “No, Micah, maybe later but no tv in the morning. Morning is story time!”…

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The Bachelorette – Emily’s Season

I was going to blog about this as I have yet to miss one season of this awful show but last night’s premiere was just so boring I decided to turn off my computer. Emily is a prettier version of Heather Graham, and Heather Graham is already pretty pretty, lookin’ like blonde anime. Emily’s daughter has grown a lot since the last time we’ve seen her and their pad is very nice and spacious. Emily’s forehead does not have ONE wrinkle and she looks like she has NEVER had bad breath. Ever. She is the type that guys want to protect and rescue. Like me (psyche!).

The cheesiness of this first episode can be summed up with this single soundbyte from one of her suitors (with whom she looks great, like a true Nicholas Sparks’ couple):

“I may have had a head injury but there is nothing wrong with my heart.” (sorry if I misquoted but you get the idea).

And of course, the classic line of this series, which will be repeated about 345 more times:
“I can’t believe I might meet my husband tonight.”

I may blog more about this if it’s ever worth keeping my computer on for. Stay tuned.

7.18.11 Exasperation Date

If beating myself up actually burned calories, I would be one skinny girl. So much has been swirling around within me, making for an exasperating week (or two)? I didn’t want to write about it at all, especially on a blog accessible to anyone, but I decided to do it, even to practice being able to say, “F*ck it,” and not care so damn much about others.

On July 1st, at seven months and one week old, Micah officially began to crawl after some weebly wobbly practice rounds that he had become quite militant about. Practicing his form and technique until he was ready for blast off. Quite a festive fellow, to ring in Independence Day with a crawl away from his lifeline (mama and her boobies). I think right around then is also when Mama started to feel the effects of raising a baby on her own. Not truly on her own like a single mama but without her family and longtime friends to stand in for her at times.

This is where the beating myself up comes in. I felt guilty to say it’s starting to get harder because I kept saying to myself and to others, “How can I complain when some folks are struggling to even get pregnant? I have a great, supportive husband. I don’t have twins, I only have one very calm baby to take care of, I know I have it good.” But it was still starting to get harder right around his First Crawl/Independence Day. Like I said, I was starting to feel the effects of not having relatives (or relative-like friends) to watch him regularly while I exhaled, picked my toes, read a novel, swam, remembered who my husband was before he became fellow taskmaster around our home. And just be ME, whoever the hell she was or is. Sure I get SOME pockets of time to myself but I crave more. Where I don’t have to explain to my hubby from the bathroom, “I’ll be out to feed him. What’s that noise? Are you mashing the peas or the carrots? Don’t think I went MIA. I’m just taking longer than I thought!”

One caveat. I currently cannot take more than four hours off during his wake hours (thankfully the boy is a naturally good sleeper). Micah started to reject the bottle of pumped milk when he wised up around four(?) months old, saying, “Why take this lifeless bottle when I can get back on those warm flesh pillows of mamas that I’ve been known to enjoy since the minute I was born?” So I just said, “Well, I’ve chosen to stay home so why not let him reject the bottle. I’m here so I don’t mind.” I still don’t mind for the most part and actually love breastfeeding because it is truly bonding, as he stares right into my eyes, sometimes spilling milk out of the corners of his mouth as he flashes me a smile mid-feed. During a full breastfeeding session, I don’t think I’ve ever been this content and this full of love. The only part I do mind is that it means that for the time being, I can’t take a whole day off, sending Micah on a Daddy and Me Day, or going on a Mommy and Daddy day or weekend. I just gotta take my chunks of time here and there.

Weekends have become family time. Birthday parties, groceries, park, buy buy baby. Still need ME time. And I hadn’t heeded this advice too much before because I was and am SO in love with my boy that even as I craved me time, each time I saw him, I would cave and want to hold him again. (Feeling my guilt creep in even now at the thought of sharing this because I DO have “plenty” of time, like talking to my friends on the phone while I walk around the neighborhood at night after Micah sleeps but I’m always feeling like I’m on a short leash that comes with being a mama. Or maybe I’m talking about how K and I rarely have made it a point to go out on our own).

Now the time to recharge and rebuild is overdue as K and I have been disconnected, I’m getting crankier, and I find myself envying mamas fortunate enough to say, “Oh, my mama is coming over to watch him while I….” and “The in-laws watched him while we…” Now is the time to ask the CT grandma to please visit so that K and I can have time to ourselves. Now is the time to ask some folks to come over for a few hours at night after Micah goes to bed EVEN IF I HATE to ask (hate inconveniencing and feeling like I owe favors). Now is the time to go out and NOT talk about how many ounces of solids on any given day and talk instead about stuff that used to make me tick.