Isn't it funny how certain things just tug at our hearts, make our eyes fill with those oh-so bittersweet tears. Looking ahead to the "new" while we cling to the "old"...the "now", wishing to savor it just a little longer.

Anthony is exactly two weeks away from his third birthday. He is now pretty much potty trained (aside from naps and night time). And tomorrow he finally moves into a big boy bed. He's very excited about his space ship bedding, and can't wait to have an Angry Birds birthday cake. He tells everyone he sees that's he's going to be THREE and go to preschool. And I smile proudly, trying to remember where the time went. Eager to jump head first into this new adventure...holding on to the present for just a bit longer. The signs of any babies living in this house are slowly disappearing - no more bottles or gates, no diapers or changing table, and tomorrow, no more cribs...

As I write this, he's napping in his crib for the last time. Snuggled up in the far left corner with his mo-mo and puppies. Dream big, sweet boy...new adventures await.


Weeks 45 - 52

I don't know what happened in November, but I only managed to get two pictures. This project was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean come on! One picture with my kids a week...? Piece of cake, right? Wrong.

Week 45

Sat., Nov. 17 - Bonfire at my brother's house. The kids love hanging out with their cousins, big and small.

Week 46

Thurs., Nov. 22 - Thanksgiving Day! Yeah, this is the best I was able to get. Gotta love Matthew's orange mouth. 

Week 47

 Sat., Dec. 1 - Elfie joined our family for the month of December. The boys loved finding him every morning, and still ask about him now.

Week 48

Sat., Dec. 8 - Sottile Family Christmas Party. Wes even got a visit from Santa!

Week 49

Sat., Dec. 15 - We finally got our Christmas tree! The plan was to go to a farm and cut one down the weekend before, but the kids were sick (since Thanksgiving) so we pushed it off a week. And never made it to the farm. You can't tell by this picture, but the boys *did* have fun.

Week 50

Mon., Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve dinner at my parent's house. Ahh, the obligatory forced picture in front of the tree...

Week 51

Tues., Dec. 25 - Christmas Day, Anthony playing on my phone after a yummy dinner at mom's...ok so technically this wasn't a new week. And this is the last picture of the year, so I'm short by one. Not too bad, considering that I didn't think I'd make it past June.


Reconnect. And Repair.

Some days, things start out rough but end well. Other days start out great, but go down hill with every passing minute. We've all had THAT day (or week). It's the day your children wake up way too early, and have 18 requests before your feet even hit the ground. It's the day you break up a sibling war before you've even had your first sip of coffee. It's the day that all the aches, fatigue, and stress from the past week build up into one unsuspecting moment, and you're staring at a simple request or conflict turned massive meltdown. For everyone. And it's the day I want to be anywhere but here, in this moment, because I can't stop the cycle. And every spoken word oozes frustration, every breath a tired sigh.

And it is this kind of day that I think "maybe I need to change my attitude if I want my child to change his". Maybe I need to force myself to laugh. When getting on the floor for a game of "tackle and tickle" is the last thing I want to do, maybe it's just the thing I need to do. When I really didn't want to play cars, I should have just played cars. Or maybe we both need a release. A total utter emotional breakdown. A good, long, gut-wrenching cry.

Yes. That did it.

He sobbed into my arms in his room. He cried getting ready for bath. He cried during and after. He cried until the tears stopped flowing and his throat was sore. And finally he said "I just had a really bad day". Me too, buddy. But it doesn't have to end on a bad note; we don't have to give up and let the bad day win. We can reconnect. And repair.

Weeks 30 - 44

Time flies when you're having fun and not keeping up with your pictures!

Week 30

Sat., Aug. 11 - Yep, a lovely view of my feet. But if you look past that, and past the sand, you see our boys splashing in the water at Winding Trails.

Week 31

Sun., Aug. 12 - Just before Matthew's swim lesson. He has been taking lessons for about 3 months now and is doing so well. This is the same child who needed his face covered with a washcloth while getting his hair washed.

Week 32

Sun., Aug. 19 - Goofing off at Babcia's house. I can't flip him around like I used to, he's so darn heavy.

Week 33

Fri., Aug. 24 - Vacation in New Hampshire. What a great time we had! My brother, sister, and their families came with us. On this particular day, we all rented a boat and had so much fun! It took Anthony a bit to warm up to it (Matthew as well), but the donut helped. 

Week 34

Thurs., Aug 30 - Dropping Matthew off for his first day of Kindergarten. So bitter-sweet. He was so excited! I was a mess...I did manage to hold it together until he went inside and we turned around to walk home.

Week 35

Tues., Sept. 4 - Between you an me, I have no idea when I actually snapped this. I knew I was behind a week and this was the best I could do without a 3rd party around. I call it "Me and My Shadows"...literally and figuratively.

Week 36

Sun., Sept. 16 - Celebrating Julia's 5th Birthday!

Week 37

Mon., Sept. 17 - Matthew was off from school so we headed to Auer Farm. It felt like we were the only ones there, even the animals were awfully quiet. By the way, Matthew snapped this picture...not too shabby.

Week 38

Thurs., Sept. 27 - I surprised my boy at school and joined him for lunch. The look on his face when he walked in the cafeteria and saw me was priceless!

Week 39

Sun., Oct. 7 - A fellow kindergarten mom took this at a birthday party for Matthew's friend Max. He came over to show me his pinata stash.

Week 40

Mon., Oct. 8 - My cousin and I took our troops to Foster Family Farm since everyone was off from school. The kids had so much fun running through the corn maze, playing on the train and playscapes, racing go-carts, and just being together.

Week 41

Thurs., Oct 18 - Movie Night at the Wolcott Children's Forest. We had our blankets and chairs and snuggled up to watch The Lorax. Matthew spent most of the movie hanging out with the big kids up on the hill. (Photo taken by a kindergarten mom.)

Week 42

Mon., Oct. 22 - Vacation on the Cape. We were on our way to hike the White Cedar Swamp Trail, but hopped out of the car to say hello to "Freddy the Horse".

Week 43

Thurs., Oct. 25 - We spent the morning at Chatham Beach, one of our favorite places. The weather was so beautiful, I could have sat on the sand all day. In all my (and our) years of going to the Cape, this was the first time we saw seals!

Week 44

Wed., Oct. 31 - Happy Halloween! Luckily, Hurricane Sandy didn't do much damage in our area so we were able to celebrate Halloween (unlike last year, when we were without power for a couple of weeks due to a freak snowstorm that hit days before Halloween). We went Trick-or-Treating with Aleksandra, our triplet friends, and their cousin.


For judging you, I am sorry.

Dear sister, friend, and stranger, 

I judged you. I judged your choices before becoming a mother myself, having never walked in your shoes. When you chose to have an epidural, I judged you. Until I begged for one while laboring with my first born. When you gave your newborn formula, I cringed a little. Until I fed my own the same way. When you brought your baby into bed with you, I said my children would sleep in their own rooms, in their own space. Now I bring our toddler into our bed when he cries out in the middle of the night, soaking in his sweet breath on my cheek. "My children would fall asleep on their own", I said, when you laid in your child's bed until he drifted off into sweet slumber. Yet I still sit in my 5+ year old's room at bedtime, and still rock my 2.5 year old for his nap, because one day, they won't want me to. When your two year old was sucking on a pacifier at the park, I thought it looked silly. My oldest had his until almost three. When you read food labels with such intensity and brought out the home-made organic kale chips, I rolled my eyes. "Everything in moderation", I said. Until I learned that not everyone charged with our health and nutrition always has our best interests in mind. I'm now much more careful and selective about what I feed my family. And I love kale chips.

Oh yes, I was the perfect mother once...before I actually became one. So for judging you, I am sorry. I promise to be more mindful, more empathetic, and to remember that a five minute glimpse into your day only tells a very short story.