I Went On Vacation And This Picture Is The Only Proof I Have


But it’s a good one, am I right?

Nightly facials and plenty of Starbucks and talking and laughing and venting and crying and seeing Wicked for the first time (!) and having no responsibilities and gorging on Indian food and lots of cake and new tattoos and piercings (but not for me…boo pregnancy restrictions) and watching SO MANY vines and listening to Fall Out Boy and Evanescence and amazing 90s pop and being chauffeured around (we have an understanding…no matter whose car we take, I occupy the passenger seat) and escaping the AZ heat for a couple of days…

Good for the soul.  All of it.

While it’s so nice to be back with my boys now (I never thought I’d be “that mom” but I admit now that it is hard for me to be away from them), vacations are always a good thing.



P.S. I went into Sephora and spent less than $7.  I was able to talk myself out of so many “necessary” purchases.  ALL THE PRIZES, PLEASE.




Things You Aren’t “Supposed” to Have When You’re Pregnant

20140717_153649[First order of pregnancy: make sure to take lots of precious “hand framing the bump” shots.  The classics never go out of style.  ;)]

So you’ve peed on that little magic wand and it told you you’re gestating a small human.  Congratulations!  Your next step is to stalk babycenter, babble, and other pregnancy websites (you know, the ones you’ve been secretly reading anyway while you’ve been TTC) for the next several months and throw yourself into a panic.

It’s okay, we’ve all been there.

As a seasoned pro (chortle chortle), let me assure you that it is very important to follow all of the rules.

Let’s begin.

You should never eat sushi.




Or soft, unpasteurized cheeses.


[Brie on toast, get in my belly.]

Don’t take hot baths.


Or eat raw eggs.


[If you’re going for the boxed stuff, I highly recommend Ghirardelli.]

And sorry, but you’re going to have to give up your daily coffee.


And that nightly giant mug of beer.


[Kidding. That one, at least, wasn’t mine.  I may be a rule breaker but I have managed to abstain from imbibing.]

And get rid of your cats.  They’re just disease incubators waiting to infect you.


 The face of illness.

During the coming months, you will be bombarded with advice from all sides.  It is very important to follow all of it, all the time.  Especially when it comes from random strangers.

Good luck, mama-to-be.  May your sense of humor be with you.




There’s nothing quite as intoxicating as potential.

Whether it’s the heady excitement of a new relationship, or the mind-spinning birth of a new idea, that hinted-at potential draws us in, hooks us, and keeps us coming back for more.

When I ended my unproductive writing session the other day, I knew nothing had come of it.  Radiohead had failed me.

And yet, for the rest of the evening and during the next day, a single phrase I had written kept popping into my head.  “I can’t do anything with this,” I thought, and pushed it aside, but it was doggedly persistent.  Just that one phrase, repeating in my mind, over and over until–


I was stunned into disbelief at first.  Plot ideas are few and far between for me, and I hoard them like precious gems.  This new story idea seemed almost completely unrelated to the random phrase that had been circling my thoughts for two days, but I’ve learned not to question the strange paths my mind sometimes takes to get to its destination.

So now I have it.  A lovely, shiny idea of my very own.  The inspiration I’ve been wanting, needing.  These early stages are always so exciting–the possibilities seem endless, and your new, tiny bud of a story has so much potential contained within it.  Anything could happen!

But I know that potential can only take you so far.  Eventually the glitter begins to flake off, and the shiny thrill of it grows dull and stained.  What was once a retreat into a paradise of possibility begins to feel a whole lot like work.  And it’s at this point that you can either give up and move on, eyes wide and on alert for the next fresh start; or you can take a deep breath, narrow your focus, and push through the ennui.

I’ll admit that I’m not such a pro at powering through the tough stuff.  Master of half-baked ideas and brilliant plans and unfinished projects, it’s the seeing-it-through that always gets me in the end.

I’ll have to scrape together some of this ‘discipline’ everyone is always talking about and see if I can actually realize some of this bottled-up potential after all.  That’s the key, isn’t it?  Discipline.

Well, discipline and caffeine.






Keyboard Confessional


I suppose my first confession should be that I may have more pictures of my cats than I do of my kids.  What can I say…cats hold still and kids don’t.


I bought an apple pie at Costco a couple of days ago.  What was the occasion, you ask?  Oh, just me.  Wanting apple pie.  And it is basically gone now.


Can I put “ability to demolish an entire apple pie without assistance” on my resume?


The other day I was reading the boys a story and when I came to the phrase “tuck them” I read it with an ‘f” in my head.  I realized it just before I said it out loud.  What is wrong with you, this is a children’s book!


I’ve lied (omissions! gentle untruths!) to my OBGYN a couple times.  I like to keep certain things on a need-to-know basis.


And speaking of doctors…I am addicted to internet diagnosis.  Nothing passes idle time like googling all of your symptoms.  WebMD has assured me that I have at least 5 types of cancer.  It’s a miracle I’m still alive.


And for my final divulgation, I have to say that as adorable and demanding as babies and toddlers are…I’m enjoying the boys so much more now that they are older.


Although I admit that the recent demise of naptime is something I am not handling very well.




The Spectrum


“So how was this week for you?”

“It was…surprisingly good.  I’ve actually been feeling really normal for the last few weeks.”

“Define ‘normal’.”

“Well…not, you know, crazy.”

“And what is ‘crazy’?”


Therapists.  Always with the questions.


Crazy, meaning manic cleaning sprees and compulsive decluttering (RIP, toys and clothes that I found on the floor in my mad dash to toss anything superfluous), and that overwhelming feeling that my space does not feel ‘right’ and that chair needs to go.  Right now.  I have to throw it away.  There are too many pillows on the couch.  I need them gone.  There’s a plate in the sink WHY IS THERE A PLATE IN THE SINK WHY IS EVERYTHING FALLING APART THE HOUSE IS A MESS I CAN’T TAKE IT

That kind of crazy.

Crazy, like the rootless anger surging just below the surface, searching eagerly for an outlet.  Crazy, like the lighting-quick switch flip that takes me from semi-rational to out-of-control rage, as though some cruel demon has decided to take my body for a spin.  Crazy fists pounding, broken glass.

Crazy.  Pacing the same quick path around the apartment, my mind stuck in a mad monologue that keeps going going going without reprieve.  Crazy, when every sudden movement or sound makes my body tense; when everything seems so loud and someone is talking to me but the words are just filling my head, making no sense, and I can’t remember how to answer.

Crazy–reading the harsh judgment in every gaze I meet, flooding my mind with the invented criticism of others.  My heart beats faster and I go on the defensive, encasing myself in walls because everybody is bitches* today.  Paranoia, convinced that my neighbor thinks I’m a negligent mother and is going to call CPS because one of my children is crying.


And then there’s the other side.  The endless tears with no source but the bleakness that has permeated my mind.  The numb, blind staring–mind unable to cope, body unable to move.  The heaviness, the utter bodily weariness, yet the dread of sleep because the thought of a new day is too much to bear.  The kind of days when the slightest request feels like an impossible demand, and being asked to find a shoe or push a swing can reduce me to tears.  Eating on autopilot, mindlessly munching not because there is any hope of filling the void, but because it’s something to do and doing things is so hard right now.  Knowing how pathetic, how teen-angst all of this sounds on paper, yet feeling so hopelessly lost that it doesn’t matter.

The isolation, feeling lonely so lonely and wishing hoping praying for something, someone, to come and relieve me of this despair. But God is not a genie, apparently, for no midnight caller appears to bring comfort.

And yet, in spite of all that, those days (weeks, months?) of ‘normal’–sad but not immobilized, angry but not out of control–those times when you get to step off the ride and just cruise along for a while…

Those times are glorious.



*’Everybody is bitches’ is my favorite phrase for those days when I just can’t stand to be around people.  It amuses me when little else will.  I want to put it on a t-shirt.



What is your ‘crazy’?


Overcoming the Deficit


I call myself a writer in my head.

Of course, ‘aspiring writer’ would probably be more accurate.  I’ve never been published and I don’t get paid to write; but that’s how I think of myself–as a writer.  I have a writer’s soul.  Writing is the missing piece I was searching for all those years; it’s the thing that makes me feel most alive, most fulfilled, most like me.

And yet.

I’ve never been consistent at writing.  (I’ve never been consistent at anything, to be completely truthful .) I’ve never finished any of the stories I’ve started.  I’m ashamed to admit that, because most of my writer friends are quite prolific, and have a spread of finished projects to prove it.  I feel as if I don’t deserve to call myself a writer, because if you dared me to prove it I’d come up empty-handed.

I get blocked way too easily.  Most of my ideas have never made it past the incubation stage because the second I hit a snag or a problem I can’t readily solve I freeze up.  I suppose it’s a lack of confidence.  I don’t believe I can answer the questions I’m faced with, or fix the glaring issues, or figure out where the hell to take the plot.  I read the work of writers I’m in awe of and think, There’s no way I’m smart enough or creative enough to come up with something like that.

I know that one of the keys to writing is…actually writing.  Something.  Every day.  Forcing yourself to sit down and put fingers to keyboard, or pen to paper, and produce words.  Not waiting for the ever-elusive inspiration and (in some cases, even more elusive) motivation to strike, but pushing yourself to overcome the inertia and start.


A couple days ago I decided I was going to write something, dammit, so I sat down at my computer and typed.  45 minutes later, I had a bunch of useless snippets and a weirdly descriptive scene about blood and concrete.  (I was listening to Radiohead.)  Annoyed that I hadn’t managed to strike up a spark of brilliance, I texted my bestie.  (Am I allowed to use the word “bestie” if I’m over 15?)


h:  why is writing so haaaaaaaard marissa?

m:  i knooooooooowwww it’s the worst



At least I have a faithful writing companion:

Photo on 7-14-14 at 3.13 PM

Hobbes takes a “balls to the wall” stance on most issues.


So, other writers: how do you do it?  How do you push past roadblocks?  Where do you find inspiration?  How do you overcome the deficit and produce something when the ‘idea well’ is so parched it couldn’t grow a cactus?  Help a sister out and share some writing tips.  Tell me about your process.




Final Stretch


28 weeks!  We’ve hit the third trimester!  Hallelujah amen.

I’m going to attempt a quick pregnancy update that hopefully will not morph into a long-winded tale of the gritty details of my gestation thus far.

From the beginning, this pregnancy was quite different from my other two.  Mostly I just had more, and different, symptoms.  I was quite a bit sicker but that passed a while ago.  I still throw up a few times a week, but the episodes are brief and barely an inconvenience.  I taught the boys to rub my back while I’m throwing up (rather than staring over my shoulder, commenting and asking questions the entire time) which I highly recommend to all other expectant moms.

I started showing pretty early, and got big really quickly, as I did the last two times–and then it stalled.  It looks/feels like I haven’t gained any belly girth in the last month or two (although I have already surpassed my previous pregnancies in the weight gain department).  I don’t know if this is just a really small baby or I’m carrying differently or what.  Fun facts.  Moving on.


Throughout the past few months, I’ve been thinking back to my first pregnancy and how different this third one has been–specifically my attitude and feelings about my body.  In both of my other pregnancies, I spent the first trimester exercising (which is unusual for me, ha) and restricting; I think somehow hoping that if I could create a weight deficit it would help me come out on top, in control of the numbers and what was happening to me.  (By the middle of the second trimester I had pretty much given up and settled in for the ride–although not without a lot of mental anguish over my changing physique and the appearance of many many many stretch marks.)

This time, I am proud to say that I did not restrict.  I did not panic and do dumb things like go on daily 2 hour walks with only a carefully counted out 12 almonds and 8 apple slices to sustain me.  I’ve just felt so much more comfortable this time–it helps that I’ve gone through this before, and it helps that I am no longer in the throes of bulimia.  For the most part, I feel pretty relaxed about everything (and let me tell you, that is a very nice mental space to be in).  I mentioned that I’ve gained a very decent amount of weight.  That is the truth.  I’ve already hit the amount I had gained by the time I delivered Tesla at 40 weeks.

A few years ago, this would have devastated me, panicked me.  But now?  I am proud to say that I feel really okay.  I mean, I’m hoping not to gain a ton more, because I know each extra pound that creeps on now is one I have to lose later, but for the most part I feel pretty comfortable in my body and I have no intention of freaking out or banning nachos and donut runs.

We can all share a knowing chuckle when I come crashing face-first off of my little body confidence soapbox after I get my postpartum reality check during that first post-delivery glance in the mirror…but for now, the ol’ bod and I are on good terms.

Photo on 6-27-14 at 3.26 PM #3

Also, my cats are in love with the belly.  It’s hard to despise something that brings you tons of extra kitty snuggles.






The Iffiness of the Internet

Well, that was a depressing post to go AWOL after.

Let’s have a cat picture for good measure, shall we?

Photo on 7-6-14 at 12.58 PM #2

Much better.

I’ve been feeling conflicted about blogging lately.  Which is why I haven’t.  Blogged, I mean.  Sometimes is feels so sketchy, putting my pictures, my words, my personal life on the internet for anyone to see.  I have a lot of mixed feelings, and worries about the safety and/or advisability of it.

And yet, blogging is so, so good for me.  It’s a way for me to express myself creatively; it helps fill that part of me that lies quiet and vacant–that part that I’ve never known quite how to feed.  Knowing that other people are reading, commenting, connecting with me is hugely rewarding–obviously moreso than writing any of the hundreds of random snippets of crap I have saved on my computer, since I can’t seem to see any of them through.

I love writing.  It helps me process things, make sense of myself and the world.  As scary as it is to put something raw and vulnerable out there, there is nothing more fulfilling in the world for me than to have someone read it and say, “I know those feelings.  I have been there.  That is exactly what it is like.”  It’s like I’m thrusting my hand out into utter darkness, waiting and terrified; and then someone grasps my fingers and says, “I’m here, too.”


enso 7

[The boys and I had a big painting sesh yesterday afternoon.  This is one of twenty-two enso circles I did.  It’s addicting–in a really relaxing way.]


So, I think I’ll give ye olde blog another tentative try.  I’m here.  I hope you’re here, too.