Category Archives: life etc

That time I thought I’d write this thing again.


Not one to make big declarative statements [who am I kidding I am always one to make big declarative statements] but I thought maybe I could try to post over here every day or so. I mean, I do like having a blog. Even if my mom and I are the only ones who read it. (ONLY VERY SLIGHT exaggeration.)

signed, the queen of good intentions and hyperbole.

When New Friends leads to Better Blogging

Maybe you’re a new friend, and you’re here from my story about NOT changing my last name – which was published this morning over at A Practical Wedding?


I feel like I should clarify a couple of things. It’s kind of embarrassing when you send a sweetly written piece about something you really care about into the world, and when the world looks back and says “OH HI” your blog is just this side of stagnant! So, here’s an abbreviated about me in case you want to stick around and see what happens.

1. I really want to offer an alternative to the evil stepmonster/evil biomom narrative that you find if you look for stories about step-parenting. Did you know that most of the “mommy bloggers” I read are actually adoptive parents? because they ACTUALLY ESPOUSE the apparently CONTROVERSIAL BELIEF that you can love children that aren’t yours biologically?

2. I’m so super lucky in the stepkids department. SO super lucky. These sweet boys didn’t know any better when they met me, because their parents hadn’t dated other people seriously before they met me. They never got to understand that sometimes adults just bail. They never thought that someone their dad brought home might not choose to stay. They never figured out that some grownups don’t like kids the way all the other grownups in their lives do – with full-on love, full responsibility, and full pride. I got to walk on in, gain their friendship and trust, and they believed that I was going to love them and take care of them like every other grownup in their lives does. I am so super lucky.

3. I’m not the most regular at the blogging thing, though I have been in the past. I am not the most TARGETED at the blogging thing, either. Stick with me and you’ll get stories about my steppers, stories about my job, stories about my motorcycle, and stories about all the food I eat. (OCCASIONALLY you’ll get a story about a craft I finish – but that so rarely happens, don’t hold your breath.) I’m a renaissance woman. But without a wimple.


OH MY GOSH I have the best idea. I need to do a EVERY DAY I WILL BLOG deal, up until my birthday at least, which is next month. WHICH IS 35 DAYS. until I turn 36. IT’S PERFECT. Anyone want to join me? #35to36. See how easy social media is? ha!

2012, you have been wonderful and horrible.

Last week I was in Washington DC for a conference, and someone mentioned: you haven’t been to these meetings in a while, have you? And then I realized that¬† I could summarize 2012 as the year all of my grandmothers died, I got married, and we had the kids all summer long. Which sounds kind of epic but in a very pathetic way, you know?

Maybe this will be better. I know it’s not done yet, but this is what happened:

I wrote a resolution that was adopted by the CUAA council in support of the mission statement of Cooper Union, which supports free tuition policy. I was the sole breadearner in our household this month. It was a little stressful. I had to pay more precise attention at work because I was suddenly concerned about being laid off. (Top Secret: this is not always the case.) Temporary cat was adorables. January was so warm, we went hiking several times.

I went to San Diego for a sustainable remediation conference and was inducted onto the board of said organization as the secretary. I was still the sole breadearner and stressed a little more about it. I hosted endless focus groups for Cooper Union and worked really hard to build community. We visited Peter Cooper’s grave! More hiking! Valentines day cookies!

More Cooper Union community volunteering. Mike got a JOB. YAY. we staycationed our normal anniversary weekend away, and then we opened a joint bank account. I signed up for a t-shirt quilting class and didn’t actually finish anything (but learned a lot). I could still ride the motorcycle to work! Temporary cat killed mice!

Mike started his job and I had to get used to not having an at-home sweetheart to do all the kids stuff and make all the dinners any more. Also he got paid, that was pretty nice. I had a birthday party that combined a dead tree chopping down and a chili party. and then I participated in authorship of an amazing document called The Way Forward, summarizing the community consensus based process and proposing a simple path forward for Cooper Union to reachieve solvency without charging tuition. And then – oh, then – my mother’s mom sickened, suddenly, and passed away. We had a community summit and I was a panelist and the next day I flew to Phoenix for the funeral.

More Cooper Union stuff! and then we decided to have a wedding, and then we decided NOT to have a wedding. But we really were going to get married, so I guess we were officially engaged? only it’s not different from any other time that we’d been in love and meant to spend our lives together so we don’t make a big deal of it. We went on another amazing motorcycle vacation with Rick and Janice. We had porch robins and the boys started baseball again.

My cousin Sara got married in SC, and we drove there and back with the little dudes. YAY I INTRODUCED THEM TO MY BIG FAMILY. Lots of work at my job, lots lots lots.  baseball and end of school. And a weekend away with my internet motorcycling friends Рall nice ladies Рand mike and janice.

we have the boys all this month, as their mom works out of town. and my job is so crazy. And then we decide to plan an elopement for real in august. and I ran a 5K and won a trophy!

Also of note: I really didn’t take many photos. What’s up with that?


the boys each go away to camp for a whole week, though, which makes things kind of quiet mid-month. got marriage license, wedding dress, and married, all in 2 weeks. went away to the beach for vacation. YAY. All this stuff makes it super easy to have the kids all month.

Rode the motorcycles to see Sarah and Ben for labor day weekend. Work was nuts and then? My gramma got sick. super sick. in the hospital. and I flew down and visited her and we had such a sweet time together and then left and the next day she died. Oh, gramma. I still miss you so badly. Mike and I went to her funeral the next weekend. My family is sweet and it’s nice to be with them.

Short week back after Gramma’s funeral with kids and Cooper Union meetings and then we were off to the UK for a long weekend and Rachel’s wedding. October was also the month that I made the boys do all their homework. Like, they were trying so hard not to do it, and no one was paying attention, and I made them do it all, and then everyone else paid attention and it stuck and now they are doing amazing in school. Rheinbeck sheep and wool! new project bike gifted to us! and OH ALSO Hurricane Sandy, and no power for 2 days. And we discovered a horrible leak in the bathroom and/or wall and got a new tub and I designed a new bathroom using pinterest and graph paper. Also mom and I planted lots of perennials.

Thirteen and I started to take tae kwon do! we love it! The kitchen is a disaster b/c we had to demo the wall and fix the leaking pipe, and we had Sarah and Ben over for non-thanksgiving and hunting (nothing was harmed except our thanksgiving ham). I had a pampered chef party. Work continued to be super hard and worky.

Again? no pictures. sigh.

Dinosaur Jr Concert! Holiday party at work then drive to holiday party in pgh. Oh, I’m so proud of Cooper Union students who occupy the foundation building. I go to Washington DC for the SURF conference. I can’t believe it’s my first one since february (I missed one in the middle), and then, THIS is where I realize that all I did this year was put my head down and get through it. So much work, so much kid time (which I love, but it is a lot of work), so much with my grammas dying, so much travel. Back to work where I keep putting my head down and digging in.

2012, I am going to get through you. No doubts here.

Whoa it was a big year. Two more weeks, friends, two more weeks.

Things we made

Mike and I made two things in the month of August.

First – a chuck wagon! For camping! It came out great and was so marvelous at the beach. It DID require about a zillion screws placed every 3 inches. But totally worth it.


Then we made a wedding. I KNOW! We planned it in 2 weeks and had a great time getting hitched at the courtroom with our parents and the boys in attendance.


And right after we married each other, we loaded up the chuck wagon and headed to the beach for our regularly scheduled camping trip.


I have a really good life, y’all.

Anniversary Weekend


Mike and I celebrated our 4th anniversary this weekend. We have made a point to travel somewhere in NY for the last 2 years (first Niagara Falls and then Corning) and this year was no exception – we planned a trip to the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie.

But this year Mike is unemployed, and as we started to research B&Bs I got more and more stressed about the cost. Then my Friday was suddenly booked solid and I got even more stressed about driving for 4 hours on Friday night when I’m so sleepy and stressed already. So we decided to stay at home, shut off the computers, and make a point to go to an art museum nearby. Friday night we cleaned the bathrooms in preparation for a luxurious vacation at home.

[[To be totally honest, the trip to Niagara Falls involved a ridiculous work disaster for Mike that required him to pull a remote all-nighter that included several breaks in the fetal position while I sympathetically slept; and the Corning trip included a horrible upset stomach that resulted in poor Mike projectile vomiting several times in our first 24-hours away. So the “staycation,” while annoyingly named, had every chance to be the best weekend together yet. ]]

And it was really wonderful! We went to a maple festival in the Catskills and found a sugar maple grove being tapped. It was a long walk to get to the sugar shack and we were the last visitors. The tin pails are just for show – and the sound of the sap dripping into the buckets was surprisingly loud.


And we went to Dia Beacon and looked at art and enjoyed a few minutes rest in the sun on the side of a hill overlooking the Hudson. So lovely!


We managed to eat with gift certificates and even found some apple cider and doughnuts as an afternoon snack. This part of NY is so pretty, I’m glad we made a point to stay local and explore a little. Tuesday is our official #4, and I’m happy to report back that no fetal positions or vomiting were required in the making of this anniversary weekend.