Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Apology from Miss Judgypants

I owe a lot of people some serious apologies.
I'm getting to an age where I need to own up to some stuff and let it go. I am not saying anything here to absolve myself, I don't want a pat on the back for admitting anything here. I just know we all go through life meeting all sorts of people in different situations, from hella different backgrounds and we all have different baggage we carry around. There are surely going to be times when we don't identify with everyone we encounter... and sometimes we judge. Ok, many times I judge. I am a terrible Judgypants.

I am the last person who should be sizing anyone up, so here I am telling you all I'm sorry.
Where do I begin?

To the homeless man I encountered on the street while sightseeing in San Francisco last week - whose scruffy beard was unkempt and whose clothes were filthy - I'm so sorry I judged you, too. My first thought passing you on the street was the wonderment of how on Earth you let yourself get here, begging on this noisy street each day. I looked away when our eyes met, and I was saddened that you stand on this corner almost as invisible as the tattered trash can sitting behind you. It wasn't until my walking companion turned around and went back to give you money, that I stopped to see you a bit more. I saw there were drawings at your feet. People like me only see a dirty man begging for money, yet don't have time to see there is an artist inside you with just as much creativity as anyone inside the San Francisco Art Institute. The day I saw you there, the day that the famed Batman actor Adam West died, you had sketched out a quirky, colored pencil drawing of Batman against the Golden Gate Bridge, and with the most painfully beautiful, sad blue eyes, you asked me to take it for free. You smiled at me and I felt like I might hit the pavement begging you to forgive me for not seeing you as a person. Why couldn't I see this person who was once probably a very creative boy who got As in his art classes - that the dirty hands before me on this street probably once held his mother's grip crossing a street as a child. Blast you sweet-hearted homeless man for making my heart ache more than it ever did for any high school crush I had.

... I don’t want to pass on the Judgypants baton to my kids, either. There is too much beauty in the world, too many good friends who could be lost to the girl who lives a life with her own internal gavel. Being a 41-year-old mother of four, I thought I had everything and everyone figured out. I think I'm smart enough to say I judged myself wrong, too.

Please read the rest of my post here at Cincinnati Mom's Blog:

The street sketch of a true artist.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Uh oh. We got a DOG.

We got a puppy.
Coming soon... Juno
Ok, I know what you are thinking. It's probably has something to do with me not having time to care for anything right now because I've got four kids with endless commitments, practices and games, a husband battling cancer and days where I don't brush my teeth or shower til dinnertime. Yes, I know. My husband doesn't want a dog either and keeps telling me not to get it - but then again he probably never planned to meet and marry an obnoxious, compulsive, high maintenance Italian girl either, but look how that turned out for him. I swear he's close to divorcing me and kicking me out of the house over the decision I made about this dog, so I'm kind of holding my breath.
But hear me out. I swear I have good reason.
We lost our German shepherd Keeley almost a year ago. The days and weeks after that vet visit were heartbreaking. The kids were roaming the yard to find tufts of her dog fur - that they tucked away in their dresser drawers. One of the twins was so distraught she would lay on the dog bed, crying "WHY GOD?" (She is the most likely in the family to win an Oscar). They reminisced about playing with her and taking her for walks -- because even in her old age, she enjoyed walking up the street, sniffing (peed on) mailboxes and barking at neighbor dogs.
We actually missed finding her piles of crap in the yard.
The puppy who sold us.

This house was due for either a puppy or a baby, and since there was no chance in the bluest of hells for the latter - puppy it was.

I've decided happiness needs to make a comeback here. I'm aiming to get fun, laughter and smiles on leash and pull them all back into this house where they've been missing for too long. 

Please read this entire post at Cincinnati Moms Blog where it was published first.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hey Cancer, You Suck.

I'm having a flashback. It's a good one. It was an energetic night. There was drinking and dancing and way too much fun for 30-somethings to be having. My husband and I met friends out for dinner, but one thing led to another and we ended up dancing well past the bedtime assumed for parents of four kids. There were probably a lot of inappropriate jokes told. There was definitely reminiscing about nights before kids. And then there was someone who laughed so hard she peed her pants but still didn't want to leave.
I'm remembering that side-splitting fun - when the smile on your face hurts so bad but you can't stop laughing. The laugh lines I acquired that night were so worth it. We were normal.

We didn't know your name back then.

I walked in this same bar the other day to pick up a sushi carryout; but I left instead with a memory of fun times so thick and heavy I could literally taste the sugar off the rim of those blue martinis I drank that night.

I look around at these people here now. Normal people. I remember that. I remember Saturday nights when we were people who went into a restaurant and ate good food, people who drank beers and Long Island ice teas. We were the kind of people that are here now, who talked and laughed all night.
Sitting there waiting for crab rangoon that I'd later eat alone, it hit me that we're not those people anymore and we never will be again. Almost two years ago, a big, royal jerk named Cancer sent us normal people packing.

Now we are sad people - angry people, depressed most days. We are people that do hospital stays, doctors appointments and chemo treatments. Feeding tube formulas and countless crushed up pills replace what once was a prime rib dinner with mashed potatoes and a Manhattan - his favorites. It's not hard to see, we are people that don't talk very much to each other, or we do so with tears in our eyes. We certainly don't laugh anymore. Fun is a concept buried far in the past.

My kids didn't know who you were. I hate you for making me have to explain it to them. I know they feel the weight of sadness in this house because of you - the fear and the doubt. Our kids, all under the delicate age of 10, feel the palpable sadness in this house each day. I am tired of telling them night after night that "daddy doesn't want to be sick," or "daddy wishes he could play with you." With terrible heartbreak, I listened to one of the twins tell the other she wishes she had her "old daddy" back.

I hate that I don't have the courage to tell them everything just yet. You'll probably force me to do that soon, though, I know.

Cancer, you took every last tear I had. I'm at a point where the sadness has turned to anger. I'm furious thinking of all the things you took from us. Laughter, happiness, time with our children - I can't tell you how many promises to our kids - Disneyworld, a camping trip out West, boat trips and future father/daughter dances to name a few - now all hang somewhere in a sad cloud of uncertainty.

While I'm at it, let's not forget to mention our intimacy. Oh, do I hate you for taking that one. (Mom, look away). I'm a mediocre mother, I can't cook to save my soul and I'm an OK cleaner, but the bedroom thing was one aspect of marriage I was damn good at. Sure, we spent many years at odds over stupid stuff (what newlywed wife DOESN'T nearly burn down the house with an accidental basement fire?) but we loved each other like crazy.

I saw two old people walking together the other day and I got so mad. There's yet another thing you are taking. The doctors have told us we probably won't have that. I won't get to grow old with that guy I met at the altar 15 years ago. We used to joke about how terribly we'd get along when we are old and wrinkly. I've told him how I'm really looking forward to having him grimace at me putting a bikini on 70-year-old saggy boobs. He joked about my being late everywhere. I laugh, "I'll probably be late to my own funeral."
He reassured me, "Don't worry, I'll get you there on time."

He used to have a sense of humor - a sarcastic, dry one - but funny as hell. But you took that, too.
I'm mad that the nurses and doctors who care for my husband only see a frail, sick man - who some days is so weak he can't get out of bed. They don't know the person we knew before Cancer came calling. They will never see the Chris Farley impressions, or the dance moves when the DJ plays Rob Base... the guy whose biggest quirk in life was pinching cold fingers.

I'm ticked at you Cancer, that you're killing a man who was once known to breaststroke the length of an Olympic-size pool in record time. His name still hangs on a plaque at the local swim club for a record no one has broken since 1988. I'm livid that you are crushing the spirit of a guy who could drive a tractor and bale hay like a farmer but on weekends could manuever a speedboat practically blindfolded around Lake Cumberland. You have crippled that beautiful, blonde boy I used to know who could slalom ski like an X-games athlete and still tackle a diamond level course in the mountains of Breckenridge.

I'm angry that people who see him now won't know him for who he really is - the strong man who years ago kicked kidney failure to the curb and lived a healthy, active life for 20-some years with a transplanted kidney. He is the champion who held my hand through 12 hours of natural labor, encouraging me without fail until I gave birth to his firstborn son. They won't know the tears he cries now were once tears of joy when he held newborn twin daughters in his arms nearly eight years ago.

Cancer, you really suck.

Yes, I miss when we were normal people. I know he misses it too. But in this time of despair, we have found there are countless people who hope for us - because our hope is almost gone. We have school families who pray for us because there are days we have nothing to say to God. We have fellow moms and neighbors who help take our kids to practice or bring us soup. Those are the people who keep us alive - not the drugs or the painkillers.

They are the ones who help us in the fight to carry on for our children - children who still do normal things like ride bikes and play soccer, who laugh at burps and whine about homework and my crockpot dinners. And even though you have taken so much from us, I'm letting you know, Cancer, that you can't have these memories that are left. You can't have those awesome cocktail-soaked flashbacks of us out with friends. You'll never take my recollection of the night he first kissed me. You can't erase those moments of hilarity he had with his college roommates, when I first discovered I loved him. You can't steal the vision of his old smile or the sound of laughter so deep it's just snorts. You can't take away the picture of him wrestling with our kids on the living room floor or teaching them to swim. I'm keeping all those.

The only thing left I can give you is probably just my middle finger. I think that's what any normal person would give you.

This post was originally published 6/4/17 at

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Enjoy that bikini now, girl

I saw you on the beach last week. I know you saw me. A couple of times we uncomfortably locked eyes. Both of us found ourselves lucky enough to be enjoying spring break on a sandy, white Florida beach. Yet both of us were worlds apart... or so it may seem. 
I am here to tell you - actually to warn you - we really aren't that far off.

You see, I was you just 20 or so lightning-fast years ago. I too, had that skimpy white bikini and long, dark hair that stuck to my sun-kissed back after I emerged from the ocean. My thighs barely touched, and I had boobs - pre-breastfeeding, non-fake ones that only exist in some unicorn fantasy world. I laughed, goofed off with my girlfriends, played beach volleyball and flirted with boys. 

...I know you only see a cumbersome mom of four pushing this beach cart with a mountainload of sand toys, umbrellas, towels, pool noodles and a tired attitude, but I wasn't always 'her.' It's cliche to say, I know, but it really was just yesterday that I was you. Some mothers wear the "mom badge" with pride - the belly, the stretch marks, the C-section scar - she will say she's earned all that. I agree, we did, and I wouldn't trade my kids for anything. BUT, I can't say that I wouldn't trade just one day to go back and be in your sandals again... 

Please read the rest of this blog post at Cincinnati Moms Blog

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Manic Mondays mean MNO

A local chain restaurant started a promotion recently that has rocked my world, I’m not going to lie.
It’s called $5 Martini Monday and lets just say – it’s totally brilliant.
They know exactly what they are doing. They know who they are targeting with those delicious fruity, fun-colored drinks for cheap. On those lonely, near-dead Monday nights in the restaurant world, they know with the mention of $5 pomegranate-soaked vodka they can draw several of us in there faster than my 4-year-old can say, “Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese is for dinner.” Moms like us. Moms who need a night out...

Please follow the link to read the rest of this blog post at Cincinnati Moms Blog

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hoping for a little more time

Praying for more time
A few days ago a good friend dropped off a surprise in our mailbox. Unbeknownst to her, her 6-year-old told his teacher that his daddy's good friend Matthew needed prayers. So his little kindergarten classmates wrote prayer notes for my husband, a man they don't even know nor have ever met. I know God hears the intentions of little ones first, so we keep these prayers next to our bed.

Matthew's PET scan came back not so good this month. His cancer is back and it has now spread to his lungs. Although we hope for the best with chemo again, realistically we pray now for time. Time for my husband to be able see his kids grow. Time for the both of us to enjoy each other when so many years we squandered and took that time together for granted. Time for us to realize that young or old, sick or not... every. single. day. is. a. gift.

We've chosen not to elaborate too much in talking with the kids about it. They only know their daddy is sick. We're past the sadness, anger and tears. We're past the regret. We're going to move on with living and laughter. We're just praying for a little time to be able to do it.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Mine to Protect: How I didn't let a coach bully my son

It took 27 years but it finally happened. All the anger, the rage, the sadness and hurt I had repressed from a time long ago came flooding back after an incident at my son's basketball game the other night. In a matter of moments, I had truly lost it.
A boy I'll always protect.
....I lost it because I thought my son was being bullied. My innocent, sweet, unbroken boy was the target of unwarranted meanness - by an adult no less - and there was no way I was going to let that slide. 
I realized the other night there is no age limit on who can be a "bully."

Saturday, February 18, 2017

To the boy who taught me true love and heartache...

"I close my eyes and can envision your baby pictures disappearing from the bookshelves, that copy of "On the Night You Were Born" will no doubt be shoved in a closet or box never to be read again."

...Overnight you've almost grown taller than me. You can ride an electric dirt bike, zoom around on a hoverboard, drive an ATV at the farm and palm a basketball. You can solve a Rubiks cube, do division and algebra like it's nothing, and you know what protons and neutrons are, too. Meantime, your mom is asking Siri how many sticks are in a pound of butter. Who taught you all this stuff? How are you such a big boy now? When did you get so smart and grown up? When did I turn around and miss the little boy?

Please read the rest of my post published here at Cincinnati Moms Blog