The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mad About My Man

I have been know to wax euphoric about being a mom. I've written reams on breastfeeding, the mom/dad equation, and milestones. I've shared what little wisdom I've gleaned from the journey of 2 to 5. I've achieved neither fame nor money for what I've done, but man, I've loved it. The friendships, the memories captured in adjectives and thoughts. It has felt like full-bodied preservation of my life so far, until the other night.

Sean has been getting together with two of his childhood friends. They sing, and as they do I writhe with self-loathing for not having that skill and butterflies for the hotness that is my husband singing crazy-sexy songs. Seriously, weak-in-the-knees, ready-to-release-cat-calls kinds of excitement. For my husband. Three kids, ten years, a business and a 100+ year old house and I have third-beer, second date giggles and rushes of longing.

That's nowhere in my archives. I have the odd post on love and fun, but as the crow feet spread ever wider and the tautness of my skin loses the fight, I am not giving the moments when we pulls me to him and kisses my neck and says, "You're more gorgeous than you were that first summer. My dream girl, Amanda."

That needs to be here, damnit. Which leads me to the other night, after weeks, months actually, of rehearsing they were heading out for an open mic night. I had known it was coming and was so deliciously familiar with the set list that I could mouth the words as they each sang their part, right down to when they'd shake the shakers and tap the tambourine. A series of calamities had occurred with our family and night-time sitter that made my going impossible. It hadn't seemed lie a big deal until they were getting ready to leave.

I was crestfallen. We had always found a way to balance parenting and partnering. We'd shoehorned date nights in and blurred post-dinner play and bedtime into prime time alone time and had been satisfied. I felt tremors of something that rocked me, an emotion I'd either suppressed or only just tasted for the first time: No. I want this. I want to do this for me with him.

It was embarrassing to feel a desire to shirk my duties, to quickly find someone to take the girls, but the truth was, I wanted to be with Sean. I wanted, if only for those 60 minutes, to go and be his girl. After the shame of that emotion slipped out the door with the guys, I rolled it around. So I wanted to be with my husband, the father of my girls.

Is that so bad? Is there some awful lesson in the girls seeing that I have a passion outside of my love for them? That beyond the breastfeeding and block-building, I have a side of me that smells like perfume and leather? That after getting married and having babies there are still nights that bring the sexy click of heels on hardwoods and the whiff of fallen leaves and aftershave as mom and dad head out and a babysitter bakes cookies and reads stories?

I think my desire to leave a legacy for the girls faltered in its focus, they need this side of mom and dad. The kissing and the laughter, the leaving and returning, to truly show them how beautiful their life and their family really was. The next time he plays, I'll be there. And I'll send texts to the girls and snap shots for the blog. And after, as they sleep upstairs, I'll dance with him in the kitchen before we tiptoe up to kiss them goodnight.


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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So that you know

Yesterday I wrote about my emotions regarding Briar starting school and today, though no less intense, I am writing about someone else's. I don't presume to know how Briar feels as I write about our lives, though sometimes I imagine I might. I hope that one day she and her sisters will look back on this space and be grateful for the things that have been recorded, if only in some instances to shed light on why we are the way that we are.

Today I knew how her dad was feeling—

Briar was indisputably radiant.

And ready.

And her dad was more in love with her than ever before.

You have been taking our breath away since the day you were born.


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Monday, August 10, 2009

Living in Sugar Land

Sean and I sat up watching a 2 year old Sugarland concert on Palladia the other night. At first I just smiled, loving the delicious oblivion of cuddling and softly singing along as the girls slept. I'm not sure when the shift happened, but I felt the tug, that unmistakable tightening in your chest and jaw as the tears begin their march from inside to out.

There was no hiding, no turning back. I allowed the tears to come in waves as I watched the lead singer, luminous and irresistible in her exhilaration. I found myself wondering her age, imagining her provenance—
middle child?
small southern town?
parents still married?

It was silly, but as she sang the anthem of little girls emerging from babies to successes I wanted to know her story, the story of her parents. I think it was in that musing that the biggest hit, the mack truck that crumpled me, came- it was in seeing more of my daughters in her than myself.


I remember Alanis blaring from my apartment as Christina showed up with Zima and chips. I remember Ani DiFranco melodically leading us in a chorus of "Fuck you and your untouchable face." Faces of boys, the laughter of girls, the marrow of my unbridled, unworried days. I wept as I thought of the living ahead of each girl. I wondered which girl would date the player, which girl would fall for the badder-than-bad-boy (or girl, makes no never mind), which girl would sit wishing.

I mark time in songs and milestones, but the purest living, the most potent time travel is in going back to moments with our girls. If they're like me, the songs Sean and I play will remind them of their childhood and, one day, some gorgeous woman will be working the stage, maybe slinking maybe stomping, but whatever she's doing will be for them. To them. Their songs, their time.

There is not a part of me that wouldn't give everything I have to ensure that they make it from baby girl to whatever they want.


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Friday, July 31, 2009


This isn't one of those, "I'll always be 29 posts."


I am 36 today and I love it. The title is a reference to a night 10 years ago, wherein I made a complete ass out of myself in front of several dear friends and my future husband who at the time was just a guy I thought was trying to get in my pants and then dump me. (I had le grand chip on my shoulder.)

Anyway, I had decided back when ZZ Top She's Got Legs was the newest song on the radio that I would grow up, get married, have three sons, kick the husband to the curb and get a job that let me wear stilettos and jeans to work. That night 10 years ago I wept as if my world was ending.

"I didn't do it."

"Do what?" they asked me with tender concern.

"Any of it!" I wailed.

"Of what?" they murmured as they encircled me.

"Kids. Husband."

They were incredulous. I had a great job, a hot and doting guy and a world of possibility ahead of me.

I cried and sniffled (it was actually the big, ugly kind of crying...snorfling?)

I had expected 3 boys.

I had planned on divorce.

I had no idea what I needed. Here's to unanswered prayers and happily ever afters. Thanks for sharing in mine.


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Friday, June 19, 2009

So you know:

If you listen, there's wisdom in them thar kids:

Avery's take:

"But super heroes don't wear underwear!"

"You gotta pee first so the poop can go in different water."

Briar wisdom:

"He's not died, he just can't hear very well."

"I want to get married twice: once to dad and once to another somebody."

Finley smarts:


"Ai sayuh I doe-wanna!"


"I am wary of being too perfect."

So you see, surrounded by this kind of brilliance, I am the best kind of super hero*.

*An underwear wearing superhero.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

On second thought

Forget health insurance woes. I think I had better start bracing for the mayhem in my not so distant future. We're outnumbered, and outdazzled.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

So I married a rock star

Actually, he's better than a rock star. He's more of a stubble and a bit of sunburn, tasting slightly of lake water and summer playing guitar 'round the campfire kind of guy. Saturday night he did it for a good cause and I still have chills.

Go show my baby daddy a little comment love, will ya?


Monday, April 13, 2009

Walk of Shame

I remember one morning leaving Sean's apartment on Park Street someone called to me from the theatre-

"Mott, doing the walk of shame, eh?"

I was immediately red-face, but cocky at the same time.

"You bet I'm doing the walk of shame, have you seen Sean? He's a fucking Adonis."

I didn't say it, but I thought it as I replayed the night's events. I'd fought hard, not able to believe that this guy who looked as if he'd tripped from the pages of a JCrew catalog and into my lap would want pasty, padded me. We were surrounded by actors, many of whom used their looks far more than their talents. I felt a bit like a Hyundai at a performance car show. Yet he picked me.

There were as many brush offs as there were come ons, sometimes I even brushed him off twice, three times even. On this morning I'd stayed a little longer, the feel of his arms around me, the light as it came through the windows of his apartment and the overriding sense of belonging was too much to ignore. I wanted to be there, wanted to belong to him and for him to belong to me. I wanted to be a part of something, someone.

I let the words ricochet, plinging and planging down my back. The sun hit my eyes as I crossed the wide street beneath the roundabout. The theatre and production office were behind me. I imagined all the people that might see me. Flutters erupted in my belly and then the oddest thing happened- I smiled.

I smiled a big old cat-that-ate-the-canary smile and crossed the street and walked up the steps to the door of my place. It would be another year before we truly got up on plane and a year after that before we made it official, but looking back three daughters and 5+ years of marriage later, all I can think is that on a sunny morning in Williamstown I enjoyed a walk of pride as I returned home from a night with the guy I'd make a habit of waking up next to.

Excuse me as I head to bed, I have a dreamboat to wake up with tomorrow. Maybe I'll flash you a cocky smile on the way to the coffee shop.

Go kiss someone.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Pages Sticking Together

We have a cabinet with a glass door. It's blue with a sweet little hinge that clasps the door. Inside are three shelves with books books from my grandparents.


The cabinet smells of my grandparents. A gentle swing of the door and I can feel the velvet of their sofa cushions, can hear the creak of the Calhoun steps and the whooshing of the tide on the shore in San Juan.

I can still recall the day we bought it from a shop in Greenwich. It was an unnecessary purchase, one of our earliest as a married couple. Driving home with it felt both wicked and grown up. From the moment we brought it home it within our things as if it had always been a part of us.

Over the years things have been added to the shelves; a tin sailboat, a baby footprint card, my engagement ring box. I've tucked photos between the pages, slipped flowers in to dry. The girls are fascinated by the cabinet, tempted by its contents and entranced by their reflections. Three little girls, a parade of memories as their reflections gasp to keep pace with their growth.

The other day I reached for a book and the smell surprised me, the co-mingling of two eras: the memory of my grandparents and my place with them as a little girl and this trove of treasures and this new batch of little girls.

My girls.
My grandparents.

Two weeks from now we'll go, this married couple and our girls, to finally bury my grandfather.

Life will never be the same, and yet, a special blue cabinet with a little glass door, promises that it will go on.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yo-ga Abbie Abbie

Ok, so it doen't totally work, but if you have toddlers and you watch Yo Gabba Gabba, perhaps you can give me a little credit for the title of this post about my sister, Abbie, the yoga instructor...No? Fine, it was enough that I enjoyed it.

Ab left a comment the other day about how awesome our recent visit was, and she was totally right. Imagine, if you will, a family trip that exceeded your wildest expectations. No melt downs, no unexpected periods, no breakouts, no breakdowns, no lost luggage or gained pounds. Ok, I'm stretching here, but seriously, it was perfect.

Abbie dazzled. She is radiant, happy where she is in life, which I always find to be a contagious kind of joy. I loved how delighted she was by her nieces. The feeling was quite mutual with the girls calling out, "Look, I'm doing yoga." Their interpretations broadened what might actually be considered yoga, but I bet they would have been able to get their heels down in the mopey dog pose that Abbie had me in for a long, long time.

Sean and I are both converts, eager to incorporate yoga into our routine, so comprehensive were the benefits physically and spiritually. We are checking out places locally now, though I fear they'll pale next to the memories of private lessons.

Seeing our girls with Abbie and the rest of the family was a revelation. The pace of our lives makes our circle seem tiny sometimes, but after time spent with the rest of the family, we see the fell breadth of our circle, so filled with light and love. Cribbing shamelessly from the show we saw with the girls (Thank you, papa!):

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

Our place, like the memory of the trip, is golden.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Answer

Oh, how I enjoyed reading your little snickery comments about nuts! Brilliant, delightful and very close to hitting the mark.

Here is the video which explains the shirt, reveals my "dainty titter" of a laugh, and foreshadows a lifetime of laughter with my best friend.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Vegas so far

Chapped lips - Me
Teething - Fin
Achy feet - Me
Drooly chin - Fin

Intense flirtations - Fin
Awkward small talk - Me
Wild, late nights - Fin
Sleepy fussiness - Me

I don't travel well. I am trying to have fun, but tonight I miss my family, my bed and my tennis shoes.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ladies Love Cool James

I may live to regret this as I have received nasty comments before when I have dared to say something not in keeping with my signature tender posts, but here it is: my workout music is no holds barred. I don't care about lyrics, or more specifically, I don't care if the lyrics are PC or even intelligent. I am looking for music that is transformative, something that takes me to another place, see, the thing of it is, I am a worrier. A big, hand-wringing, brow-furrowing worrier. It can really blow.

The only thing that can truly chase the anxiety away is a hard workout. Don't get me wrong, I love my girls and Sean, and, yes, they can soothe me, but it is working out that can erase everything. Sean gets this and has loaded our iPods with different playlists for me to use. I am sure that his cheeks burned as he waited for Christina Aguilera's Stronger to download, but he did it, and damn if I haven't had some incredible workouts as a result.

One of my all-time favorites is this one, not exactly the anthem for a mom of three daughters, but for working out I really, really love it. Once upon a time I told Sean that I liked LL Cool J. I think he might have choked on the Nantucket Nectar he was sipping. I think I probably give off more of a Hanson vibe than LL.

Lately I have been talking about how badly I want to work out again. He told me yesterday, "Hey, I downloaded an LL Cool J song for your workout playlist." I didn't give it another thought until he came up to me today after he'd taken the girls for a run.

"About that LL Cool J song? Aw, I didn't listen to it until just now and let me warn you, it's dirty."

"Ok," I said, not really worried.

"No, I mean like it's so dirty it makes the Buckcherry song seem like something the Wiggles would sing."

I haven't stopped laughing at the expression he had on his face or the whole Wiggles thing. If only the girl I was back in the late 80's/early 90's had known she'd be hearing something like that from the father of her three children.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Frost Princess

She was girly in the truest sense of the word.
Lips always lined in shades of pink.
Thick white hair always curled just so.
Pastel prints and sweet scents.
A gentle giggle and a quick wit.

Sean's grandmother,
Nana's mom,
"Mimi" to the girls,
Finley Frost's namesake.

Carolyn Frost Barnes, a princess always.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sometimes ya gotta say f*ck it

There is for me a red-faced shame in indulgence, whether it's buying razors, actually peeing alone, or vanity. The one thing I am absolutely unapologetic about is my joy derived from coffee. Thinking about it, drinking it, making it, smelling it it all just really does it for me.

Mornings when I come downstairs and it is already brewing? There are no words, it is Christmas morning at age 7. Days when I make it myself? Almost as magical. The other morning I was preparing to brew some magic and as I turned on the water and held the carafe beneath the flow I yawned. Standing barefoot and blind I grabbed the canister from the cabinet. Turning to set it down I felt more than heard it happen. A crack. A lightning rod of destruction.

I think I might have shrieked, "I'm melting." I prepared to unleash a rainbow of words to illustrate my devastation when Sean rode in on what I am pretty sure was a white steed and did this:


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Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's shame.

I tend to be an open book here, sharing with you everything from how I get annoyed at work and how I mourn to moments of bliss with my girls. The thing is, I let some pages stick together, preserving a part of my life as sacred. There are different reasons for doing it; to protect certain people, or to stay, as the politicians say, "on message," and of course to keep the blog from being updated hourly with every bit of tedium of a working mom's day.

Last night something happened that I think bears sharing, despite the way it will leave a person vulnerable and open to criticism, that person of course being me. It was an average day, nothing eventful to speak of other than the day being a Friday and the start of what I had hoped would be a great weekend. We had the whole thing mapped out, with Nana taking the girls for an overnight and the two of us plotting to rebuild the blasted porch rails, which had rotted despite being barely a few years old.

The sight of the mold or fungus or whatever fresh hell oozed out after each rainfall had begun to wear on me, erasing any sense of accomplishment from keeping the house clean or managing to get the girls dressed, fed, groomed and out the door on time. The rot stood as some sort of indictment, a failure as homeowner, mother, wife and more. Oh, how the rot had to go!

I talked with Sean around quarter past five and arranged to walk the girls down to his office. He was thrilled. The girls pushed their strollers along the streets of our neighborhood, happily pointing out squirrels and planes and chattering on about the state of the babies that rode along. When we met up with Sean he was energetic and happy. We headed for home.

Things quickly soured as the late afternoon heat took its toll, the girls begging to be held, abandoned strollers claiming one arm per parent, the girls the other. Nerves frazzled, backs strained and under-the-breath mutters cut, I snapped. Harsh words followed by rapid steps, I sped away with Fin on my chest and Ave in my arms. It was neither pretty nor mature.

Later, as it became clear that Sean's short fuse and flagging energy were the result of a cold, I shifted. And do you think I shifted to caretaker and loving partner? No. Every negative feeling I had came rushing to the forefront, I was annoyed, snappish and angry. He kept asking me what was wrong as I stood seething, angrily scrubbing the sink. The longer I went without answering, the more it felt as if I were trying to dig my way out of sand, dry, slippery, impossible-to-stop-from-cascading-over-me sand.

My embarrassment over my emotions only served to fuel the fire. A stony silence fell over the house and in a hollow voice I told him how angry I was, "That I am sick?" he asked me incredulously. I had no choice but to answer, "Yes, I am." So shallow, but I wanted a break. I wanted to know we would be going into the weekend as partners, instead I was preparing, with great resentment, to have to care for 4 people. My cheeks burned and I berated myself internally for what I was feeling. It wasn't fair, even now as I type this my shame rages.

You see, he really was sick, but he also wanted the same things I did. He wanted to work together, repair the railings and have a weekend. No work, no one else's agenda, just us. After a few rounds of futile discussion during which I couldn't shake my annoyance he slipped away. I buried my nose in the girls, flipping through storybooks, cooing over Fin and delivering post-dinner slices of cheese. His absence gnawed at me and I wished I could hit start over and relive the walk, not storming off and not extending an icy silent treatment. My self-flagellating reverie was broken by banging.

"s dat? 's dat scary noise?" Avery asked with comically wide eyes.

"I'm not sure," I replied, though I knew exactly what it was and waves of shame washed over me as the sound lifted my pout. He was outside tearing off the railing, his shirt drenched, his eyes puffy and red. Despite how juvenile I'd been and despite how shitty he felt, he was taking off the damn railings, being the bigger person to salvage the weekend.

It's shame that has me writing this. Sean is a bigger person than I let on sometimes. Last night he did the kind of thing that keeps a marriage on track, he crossed the line, setting aside how and what he felt in order to do what he knew needed to happen to snap me out of my mood. I hope I get the chance to even the score soon, until then, I'm prying open one of those previously sticky pages and sharing with you how absolutely incredible he can be.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rear View Mirror Confessions

After Briar was born I rigged both visors and the rear view mirror so that I could see her. Three different angles, if I could have figured out a fourth I would have done it. When Avery came along, and then Fin, there was even more to watch. The other day, I was driving and as I looked in the rear view mirror I saw something different. There were no little girls in the back seat, no husband sitting next to me. I smiled at my reflection, not out of relief to be alone, rather it was just having the freedom to simply examine my crow's feet.

Everyday I look in that mirror, checking on little faces, watching their long curls get caught in the wind, shades of blonde and brown whipping around dancing blue eyes or making faces of my own, calling to them to look at my face in the mirror.

My face in the mirror. I rarely see it, or maybe it's truer to say, rarely do I stop to look. Nothing is stopping me, I look through it every day, and yet it isn't for me. And therein lies my confession.

I don't do for myself, or I do less. Sean and I have talked about this many times, his worries about what I make myself do without. Despite his intentions being completely fueled by having my best interests at heart, I have always bristled. I cut the conversations short and tersely assert that, "I'm fine" and "I'll take care of it." Of course I never did.

I'm not sure why, but the other night I turned to Sean and said:

"You know what? I won't buy razors. I just won't buy them for myself, too expensive."

The look he gave me was a mixture of shock and "I told you so."

"It's like I think that as the grocery bill stacks up, adding that much just for me is too much. But you know what? I want razors. I'm going to start buying them." He was smiling at me as I gained momentum, "I'm also going to get back to writing, really writing. Not for work, not for the blogs. I'm going to write my book." I said it all in one breath, as if I'd been somehow blocked, unable to speak aloud. I rushed because on some level I feared I'd lose my nerve, talk myself out of it.

"Where is this coming from?" he asked, voice soft and slow, fearful of breaking my revelatory spell.

"I don't know, but it feels true. I'm going to work at this."We smiled at each other.

So, here's a first step, a list of things that I wouldn't allow my daughters to do:

I won't buy things for myself that cost more than $5 at the store.

I won't take the last one - cookie, pop, gum, chair, anything.

I cannot end phone calls or simply let the phone ring, even if I am elbow deep in something.

I never finish getting ready if someone needs something.

I rarely just sit, must fold, research, clean or something.

I don't nap (see the previous confession).

That's enough for today. I think I'll go have the last cup of coffee.

How about you? What don't you do? Or what are you trying to start doing?

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Girl Crush

Daughter crush, really. And father of daughters crush.

For all my fretting and frustration, I have been having a good time - falling in love with these girls and settling into a rhythm. I am sure there will be hiccups, but taking two ours Friday afternoon at the beach in Bolton and then three hours in my own backyard on Saturday, I am refreshed.

Who knew you could just have fun with your kids?! No projects. No hassles. Just together. Loving it.

The sigh that escaped me also threatened to tip me. Tomorrow I am off to get my hair done and then Thursday it is off to BlogHer. I hope to spend many hours in between doing silly things like walks in the rain with one daughter at a time and swatting Sean for stunts like telling me the bug on the chair was a freaking queen ant and that we were under attack.

Here's a taste of what has had me so happy:

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Lusty Update

Get your minds out of the gutter. If you aren't a regular reader you have no way of knowing that I don't write about lust, the boudoir is the one thing that is off limits here at The Wink. You might catch me cussing, I may on occasion bitch, and every once in a great while I will say something that I will live to regret, but after sharing everything from naked belly shots and mortifying maternity underwear stories to raw admissions of failure, I feel pretty ok keeping my-still-lusty-marriage private.

Wow, so off track. Back to the update on lust, more specifically our summer of lust, the object of lust being...a swing-set cum play structure thing. Our plan had been to buy a kit or something that someone would erect in our yard. After much scoping and contemplating, we decided that with three daughters, the likelihood was that we would have up to six kids wanting to play on it at a time. We needed something bigger.

Being the capable people that we are (notice how I refrain from using "insane" which might be slightly closer to the truth), we decided that we could create something better suited to us for less if we did it ourselves. Let me tell you, there have been more than a few times since then when I have said in no uncertain terms that we made a colossal mistake. However, the day I saw this:

I knew all of this:

was absolutely worth it.

So there you have it, our lust has been sated.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

This Ass Loves You

Umm, there's really no special way to put this: We forgot out anniversary.

June 28, 2003
Rock City Falls, New York
The Mansion
My grandfather was there playing piano.

Here we are now*.

Five years. Three daughters. And a whole lot of heart ache and wonder later. I love you

*That bit of black is not a tuft of chest hair, despite the weird shit that goes down with pregnancy, it is, in fact, a daughter.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Being this smart hurts

I've been a bit of a Twitterholic of late. It's like friendship without strings, no hurt feelings, no having to stick to plans (I am quite literally the queen of gasping and saying something sounds fun and "Oh, shouldn't we do this? Let's!" Only to have the scheduled time arrive and think, "Oh my god, I so do NOT want to do this.")

Trading little morsels, not quite blogworthy, but ohmygod, my kid has been wearing her Dora helmet in the house for 3 hours! is too good not to share with someone, and so, I Twit...Tweet...Twa--sorry, got carried with Twitterreverence.

Anyway, Sean has noticed my interest in Twitter and sat down while I clicked around on my laptop.

"So, you know Twitter has really penetrated things," he said.

"Hmmm, how so?" I asked not really looking up.

"Well, there is actually a Twitter account for the Mars Lander." He was looking over at me.

"Is that like Zoolander?" I asked looking at him expectantly.

Wait, it gets worse.

"No," he said looking at me a little bit frightened, "the Mars Lander, it's a probe that--"

It was like I was a 15 year old boy. I began convulsing.

"What? He asked. "What? Is it..."

"You said probe."

He's a freaking saint, I'm an idiot savant:

"Is Josh Groban the new Yanni?" he asks.

I respond, "I have no idea, all I know about Yanni is that he was married to Linda know of Dynasty and Big Valley fame."

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Repeat Offender

It all started with a simple question, "Is she good?"

I can't remember who was asking it or where I was, but I do remember thinking, "Does anyone say no to that question?"

The person was referring to Briar, our first daughter. The idea of saying, "No, as a matter of fact, I am so glad you asked because let me tell you, this kid does not sleep. Ever." was just too horrifying to consider.

Briar slept in bed with us until she 14 months old. I won't say that there weren't times that I didn't revel in the closeness, but honestly, 14 months is a really long time, longer still if it is by necessity, not choice.

Here's the thing, I lie, or at least I bend the truth. It feels as if saying "No," to the constant inquiries about if an infant is good would somehow be a criticism of my baby or an admission of my own failure. I don't know where the middle ground between honesty and social appropriateness exists. When people ask me if Finley is good I say yes, because of course she is good. Of course we adore her, just like we do Briar and Avery, but there is more.

Many nights, beginning sometime between 4 and 7 and continuing until between 9 and 10:30, Finley is inconsolable. She scrunches her little face, digs her feet in and screeches into a multi-hour tantrum. There is no amount of nursing, burping, cooing, bouncing, walking, begging, bribing, weeping or praying that changes it. She is simply not done until she is done. To say that it is maddening or that it makes us feel like total failures doesn't even begin to describe it. My god, I close the windows for fear the neighbors will think I am doing her harm.

We have had similar trials with Briar and Avery at different times in their lives, but really, who wants to say that? The truth is Briar barely slept for the first year and a half of life, Avery has a will so stubborn it could plug leaks in battleships and Finley, well Finley has a maddeningly intense fussy time.

There are other truths too--
Being a working mom is f*cking hard.
Marriage can be exhausting.
I feel like I am failing as a mom as many days as I feel I am succeeding.
Small town life can be a bit like a prison sentence.
For all the stronger body image talk, I'd love a tighter ass and different hair.

Despite all of those things, and forgetting that last night was another one of Fin's bad nights, I do love being a working mom and wife in a small town. I wouldn't trade it, nor am I ashamed by any of it, but I'll be damned if I am going to open Pandora's box of complaints every time someone coos at the girls and looks at me expectantly as they say, "Tell me, are they good kids?"

I may ask how tight that person's ass is though, think that's fair?

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Summer of Lust

Seems that with the warmer weather come the inescapable pangs of longing.



Last year we explored a pool. Our girls love the water, a boat seemed too expensive and too logistically challenging, a pool on the other hand, while requiring maintenance and vigilance, would not require dock space, gas, insurance, one of those steel ball thing-a-majiggers on the back of the car and, since I did not grow up around boats, strikes a kind of fear in my heart of spontaneous exploding that I have never suffered with a pool.

Well, as once upon a time we pissed off our mayor and we have certain nosy neighbors, it seemed inevitable that we would get caught in some sort of tangle of small town zoning hell. Sure enough, the part of the yard we would have selected for the pool is in fact our "front yard," though we use the door on the other street, our mailbox is situated on the other street and we are invited to the block party of...the other street. Laws here state that you may not have a pool in your front yard. (Despite the shit some people have in their front yards)And our back yard? No, just no, no, no.

We spent last summer ferrying the girls to the lake, the access to which can only be gained (by the unmonied folk like us) via a three mile hike through brambles and bushes, over boulders and crevasses...ok, perhaps I exaggerate, but toting two toddlers can make a moss blanketed path seem like a wild jungle gauntlet. We also trekked to points along the Hudson, but they were even more remote and favored by the hard drinking, nature wrecking kind of folks you don't particularly want to be around, especially with no witnesses for miles and miles.

We are trying to be proactive this summer, thinking about what will best suit our family, and doing what we can in advance of Mother Nature so that we are prepared. Three kids under four, a small business to run, insane gas prices and a desire to make the sweetest memories we can...any ideas? Well, as much as Avery loves getting into the car and pretending to drive places, we thought we could do a bit better.

So...we're shopping swing sets, well, actually we are shopping "play systems." The way we see it we have another 5 solid years of playground time. Sometimes the park is great, but other times you want the luxury of a bathroom, kitchen and a safe, moderately private time out area. The plan is to fence in the "front yard" and install a play structure- swings, slide and sandbox. We have neither the yard, nor the budget for the $20,000 systems that make me gasp, I like my playtime with a side of imagination and change (is that the singin' truck?), thank you very much. And, I think I found the winner today. I give you the 3 daughter wonderland contenders:

Option A:

No longer available.

Option B:

Option F:

Care to vote?

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday Hooky

Sean took the day off. For real!

We spent the morning taking the slow route to getting ready, Briar frolicking in her dress-up gown until well past nine, Avery scampering about with bed head that made her look like a lost member of The Romantics and Fin warming and lighting the room as she radiated her perfect, newborn goodness.

We took the girls to the sitter's who was going to take them to the park which thrilled them to no end, then we made for downtown. Falling into the category of anything-is-fun-if-you-do-it-with-the-right-person we took care of a few pesky little parking fine issues at City Hall, deposited checks at the bank and popped into the coffee shop.

Plans for a grand outing were sort of dashed by the fatigue of the last week, but there was a bright spot to be had between errands and naps...kissing. Yup, lots and lots of wonderful kissing.

Three kids, a needy old house and demanding jobs and still the fire burns.

Hehehehe. Life. Is. Good.

Go kiss someone!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Whatta Man, Whatta Man

Whatta mighty good man.

I know a lot of folks have been following the goings on here at The Wink since I announced last fall that we were having another baby. I've not really gone into the birth story and I don't think I will. It seems to me that they are always very moving and amazing...and long, so very, very long. It's just not something you can really fit into a tidy little blog entry. What I can do is give you a little peek into why I am more in love than ever with Sean...ok, typing that I realize that for some people, hearing the gushing stories of happily married people can be about as exciting as, well, a birth story. I'll try to keep it lively with pictures.

When we arrived at the hospital for Finley's birth I was pretty well on my way to doing the deed, each step required great effort and my breathing was...wait for it...labored


Anyway, the doors were locked. All of them. We walked easily 400 yards back and forth, dusting the wee lass in my belly with the most colorful of language. Finally we found an intercom and got ourselves in (Under what I am sure was the amused and critical eye of the night watch people).

Then when we got to the elevators we needed to use to go up we found this:

That's tape, big, nasty, you-shall-not-pass-through-these-parts-tape. We stood, dumbstruck. Eventually the handymen down the hall grunted something that sounded like, "Ya'gunf tuh ground."

Then, having finally made our way around, we settled into our room and Sean immediately asked for a birthing ball for me. They brought it in some sort of impenetrable, industrial strength birthing ball condom, the irony of which killed me.

He has stayed up with me, rubbing my back and helping with burping as Finley has spent the last several nights from 10-2am awake, hungry and gassy.

He has dressed the girls in the morning.

Ok, so maybe Briar picked this one out herself...

He has entertained them at great personal physical expense.

He has simply allowed me to tend to Finley without another care in the world...except maybe, that they'll hurt him.

I love you, babe.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Third times a blessing

The last few weeks of pregnancy brought with them the fretting of the early days-

Would she be healthy?
Did we ask for too much by having a third?
Would the girls be devastated?
Did I drink too much coffee?
Was painting the bathroom a bad idea?
Would Sean and I be ok?
Could we love her like Bri and Ave?
Could it be magic again?
Would she be ok?

I am weak from the force with which my worries were quieted. She is simply everything that we had dreamed of and so much more that we hadn't known we'd been missing. She has, with a wink of her stormy sea blue eyes, transformed our family, sealing us with a brilliant ribbon of wonder and love.

Oh, and laughter, yes laughter indeed.

And away we go!

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