dinner with mo


me: mo, come on honey, it's time for dinner.

mo: okay, honey! i so excited.

me: we're having some of your favorites...

(mo climbs up and sits down in her booster as we scoot her up to the table. joe and i sit down at the table, too. after we take our first bite, she then chooses to remind us that we forgot to buckle her in to the booster seat that she normally can't stand being buckled into. joe gets up and buckles her in.) 

mo: but i don't wanna be buckled in!

me: you just asked us to buckle you in.

mo: but i didn't.

(she's actually correct. all she did was point it out to us that we forgot to buckle her in.)

joe: (sighing) why don't we just eat?

mo: (pointing) whass that?

me: those are black beans.

mo: i don't wike black beans. whasss that?

me: yes you do, mo. you had them yesterday. that is roasted sweet potato.

mo: oh. okay.

(she sits there for a few moments and then lets out a long, dramatic sigh.)

mo: ahhhhhh. uggghhhh. i. don't. wike. bwack. beans.

(cue a few lip pouts and tears.)

me: marlo. yes you do. you told me yesterday that you loved them. why don't you just try them? you know our rule: you don't have to eat all of it but you must try everything.

mo: okay, fine. whassss that?

me: that is corn and chicken.

mo: dasss yellow. dassss bwack. dasss orange. dasss brown. look, mama! itssa colors!

me: i see! good job, mo! can you try your dinner, please?

(she picks up one single bean with her fingers and pops it into her mouth bregrudingly and then promptly spits it out onto her plate as if it's poison.)

mo: i have a big boogie, mama. (pause) i don't wike bwack beans.

(mo then takes a handful of beans and drops them onto the floor along with mumbling something about beans shouldn't be on her plate. meanwhile, i'm closing my eyes and counting to five. wisely, joe is silent and eating his supper.)

me: marlo mclean. we. do. not. throw. our. food. on. the. ground. you know this. if you do it again, i will take your plate from you and you will sit there until we finish.

mo: i don't like bwack beans.

me: that's fine. but don't throw your food. it can stay on the plate. just eat the other things that you DO like.

mo: but i didn't throw it.

(again, she's technically correct; she simply intentionally dropped it on the ground. with that said, she picks up more beans and drops them on the ground, this time making sure to mush some in between her fingers first. i begin to pray for patience.)

me: really, marlo mclean?! what did i just say about throwing your food? what did i say would happen?

(i take her plate away from her and, right on cue, she begins a dramatic series of sighs, screams, cries, and crocodile tears. i'm having none of it.)

mo: but mama! i wike my black beans! i want my black beans!

me: are you going to throw you food?

mo: but i didn't throw my food.

lord, help me.

five things | this is pregnancy


1. i walked into the market this morning for pastured eggs and haricot vert for a mediterranean lentil salad i planned to make for our lunch today. i left with pitted black and green olives, salt and vinegar potato chips, a green juice, and a chocolate-hazelnut macaron sandwich. this is pregnancy.

2. yesterday, mo and i trekked it into the city to see our best buds for a play date and a lunch of homemade pizza (thanks, karp!). it's a fairly easy commute with only one train and eighteen or so blocks standing in between us and them. and, yet, after making that "fairly easy" commute to and from, my body now feels like it's going to fall apart into pieces and then thank me later. specifically, i feel like my pelvis (aka my vagina) is going to fall off of my body. my midwife assures me that his is normal. this is pregnancy. 

3. there are days when joe comes home only to find me crying hysterically in a corner over how much of a terror toddlers are... how i can't imagine bringing another baby into this chaos... asking him repeatedly "how will i survive?!? stop laughing at me, joe. how will i survive??!!" and i'm not being metaphorical. in that moment, i'm asking a literal question because i'm convinced that parenthood is going to force me to ram my face straight into a brick wall for fun. the very next day, joe comes home to me crying just as hysterically because of how wonderful marlo is and how i want to have fifteen more babies because she's so wonderful and how i am so sad that one day she won't be a toddler and ohmygodihopeedieisjustlikeher. if by chance you find yourself lacking or in need, i've got all the hormones. this is pregnancy.

4. it's twenty-two degrees outside and i'm sweating. this is pregnancy.

5. i booked tickets for marlo and me to fly to south florida to visit our friends, emily and lily, in february as a little last hoorah girl's trip before edie arrives.  we are both in desperate need of natural vitamin d and a lack of four walls so there really was nothing that was going to stop us. and instead of obsessing of all of the fun we're going to have, all i can think about is that for the first time quite possibly ever, i'm not doing a single crunch or logging one extra minute at the gym because i have to be in a bathing suit.  i will be rocking a bikini at eight months pregnant and i will be letting it all hang out because there is no shame in my pregnant game. this is pregnancy. 

round two | pregnancy must haves


i'm no expert. hell, i wouldn't even go as far to say that i'm seasoned in this whole pregnancy predicament. but after going through this 1.5 times, i do have a formula for what makes things as easy as possible for me and my lifestyle.

and on the off-set chance that you are pregnant too, hope to be one day, or are just obsessed with pregnancy like i was before i ever even wanted children, here are the things that have gotten me through this pregnancy thus far. ps. i'm posting this now because the third trimester is something most pregnant women simply try to survive and no product makes it some magic carpet ride instead of the hell that it usually feels like. 

1. waiting for birdy | this book makes me convulse with laughter while i stay up far too late unable to put this hysterical book down. catherine newman is spot on in regards to second pregnancies, raising a toddler, and motherhood in general. a must read for any pregnant mama or soon-to-be mama.

2. summer love organic coffee body scrub | admittedly, i'm not the glowy pregnant woman. i find those women obnoxious. my skin looks horrible while pregnant and if you add in the dry, cold weather of northern winters, well, it's just not fun. this body and face scrub works wonders soothing my itchy dry skin and smells fantastic, too. completely affordable, too, since it lasts forever.

3. one love organics 'vitamin c' body oil | this is a splurge and not one that i'd make often. but, again, when your skin looks and feels like the scales of a lizard, you'll bite the bullet and do what you can to feel normal. it also smells like a tropical vacation. so, there's that.

4. peter thomas roth 'max complexion correction' pads | my skin hasn't been the same since before i got pregnant with mo and only got worse when i got pregnant with edie. these pads, while more expensive than the oxy clean pads of our yester-years, work like magic. i use them morning and night and haven't had a break out in months.

5. crane drop ultrasonic cool mist humidifier | i tend to get nosebleeds while pregnant because of the extra blood in my body and the dry heat pumping into our apartment. let me tell you something: waking up with blood all over your face is alarming and the opposite of fun. so, i started sleeping with a humidifier by my bed and the nosebleeds have been kept to a minimum. and fyi: this particular humidifier doesn't have a filter and is the least hideous of the inexpensive humidifiers i found online.

6. new chapter wholemega | the thought of eating fish the first trimester made me want to vomit- along with the thought of eating anything other than cheerios. but when a baby's brain is developing, omegas are important. so i take these because they don't make your breath smell like catfish and they're small so i don't gag.

7. salus haus floradix iron + herbs | i'm anemic and severely so while pregnant. my friend, karolina, mama of two, recommended this and as a result, i felt lightyears better. i found that other iron tablets tend to make pooping fairly unbearable and non-existend and since i'm already pretty miserable being anemic and exhausted, why add something else to the mix. this liquid is easy to digest and tastes like grape juice. easy enough.

8. j brand black maternity jeans | i don't invest in maternity clothes. however, i grew VERY quickly with edie and my normal jeans- even the loose, baggier ones- wouldn't button after about week eight. (week EIGHT?!?!) i bought these black skinny jeans and am still wearing them. personally, i prefer below the bump pants but there are several options out there for those of you who prefer fabric to cover your bump. totally worth the money since i wear them almost every day, minus the days i don't get out of sweat pants. 

9. calvin klein low rise hip brief | what's sexier than a whale in men's whitey tighties? a pregnant whale in whitey tighties! it's actually economical since joe can wear them when i've moved back to the women's department. and i could tell you that i only wear them when i go to bed but i think we both know that i'd be lying. i have no shame.

10. bkr water 1L bottle | you're a camel while pregnant and this is the most attractive water bottle i can find. a plus being that marlo has thrown it against many of walls and it has yet to shatter.

round two | twenty-four weeks and thoughts from the week


i'm officially twenty-four weeks pregnant. i look like i'm thirty weeks pregnant, my boobs are obscenely large and are leaking a substance that they shouldn't be, and i pee myself quite often.

in other words, my body is an asshole daily.

i'm currently sitting at the corner café BY MY DAMN SELF drinking a whole milk cappuccino and contemplating going back to the counter so that i can eat a freshly baked biscuit with an inappropriate amount of clotted cream slathered on it and allowing a gluttonous amount of sweet raspberry jam to drip down the sides of my mouth as i gorge myself on simple carbohydrates. a good look it will be, indeed. plus, i wholeheartedly believe that edie cooper deserves biscuits and real butter and sweet things. once she comes out of the womb, she won't get them again for quite a while. just organic boob juice which isn't as much fun as biscuits and butter, in my humble opinion. poor girl.

with that justification, i say fuck it.

i deserve it, too, surely. i mean, i'm growing a human and doing my best (most days) to raise a two and a half year old, after all. a two year old, who i might add, is going through a phase of screaming at the top of her lungs for no apparent reason. mariah carey she is not. i'm beginning to suspect that she may be tone deaf.

i'm going for it. i'm going to eat the damn biscuit with a supreme amount of gusto.

i'm sitting at a table beside a mother and her precocious five or six-year-old daughter who appears to have cut her own bangs as short as she possibly could. watching their interactions and the 410 questions the little girl asks her mother within the three minutes i creepily stare at observe them makes me look forward to and also dread that particular age equally.

i'm embarrassed to admit that i'm also listening to the new kanye west song, "only one" on repeat. i usually despise everything about kanye but, man, this song gives me all of the feelings about being a mama to my babies and leaving a legacy of self-acceptance and grace to them. i'm pregnant, you know, so it doesn't take much to give me all the feelings. insurance commercials? expected. but kanye  west? unexpected. unappreciated, even. he usually evokes other not-so-pleasant feelings out of me. like rage. and disgust. and the urge to bitch-slap someone within arm's reach.

i'm so close to my third and final trimester. which is... unsettling. how in the actual fuck are we so much closer to the end than the beginning already? give me more time, please.

speaking of my big ol' bump and lumps... up until this week, i've really enjoyed my pregnant body. with marlo, i felt so unlike myself, so uncomfortable, and everything about my then-pregnant body felt incredibly awkward. i was convinced that i could postpone the inevitable. i was determined. but here's the thing about something being inevitable: you can't postpone it. you can't fight the expansion of your body when you're incubating a quickly-growing fetus and you waste your time and energy even trying. this pregnancy, i've put forth great effort to embrace the changes my body so quickly went through and, up until this week, i really loved it. i mean who doesn't want to be curvier in all of the right places? (it also doesn't hurt that joe is completely obsessed with the pregnant version of me. i swear he's either constantly humping my leg or talking about when he can hump my leg again. he's like a jack russell terrier. it could be far worse, i guess.) 

back to the point.

jump to wednesday when i kept seeing photos pop up on social media of all of these skinny pregnant non-heifers who appear to have the energy of a tween and i, admittedly, lost my fucking mind. i looked in the mirror and saw everything that i didn't like about my ever-growing body and i let the harder aspects of pregnancy (the peeing myself, the leaking of boobs, the weight, the constant aching, the appetite of a truck driver, etc.) overrule the beauty that lies within growing life and being healthy and gaining weight in preferred places. (i blame these perfect places for all of the leg humping. side note: what is it with men and their obsession with pregnant women?)

so, yes, i had a few fits of tears this week. a couple of pity parties held in my honor. a few moments of self-loathing that i'm not proud of.

moving on.

one very bright side to pregnancy i've discovered recently is that my laugh completely transforms when i'm pregnant. it becomes so uninhibited and genuine and hearty. i laugh so hard i go silent and can't breathe, the only reason you even know that i'm laughing is because my face is contorted, my nose is scrunched up while i snort repeatedly, and my belly is shaking like a certain white-bearded man of jolliness. joe thinks it's hysterical (and maybe even cute?) and tries to make me laugh as much as possible. naturally, more leg humping ensues.

all of that just to say that life is good.
and i'm laughing really hard almost every day.
and considering how out of breath i am afterwards, i'm getting a ton of cardio.
and my boobs have never looked better. except when they're leaking, of course.
and my husband can't keep his hands off of me. except when i pee myself, of course.
and i get to spend my days with marlo who, minus the screaming, is my personal daily dose of magic.
and i'm growing a big and healthy baby girl who we all can't wait to meet.

yes. life is good.

very, very good.

and so is this biscuit.

two zero one five


i used to buy into that whole "new year, new me" hullabaloo. however, after attempting (and failing miserably) to be the new me year after year, i decided to stop while i wasn't ahead.

i find it all kinds of silly to assign a year as the year that you're going to magically have the willpower to become the person you're always capable of being. plus, who needs that kind of pressure? life is complicated enough without waking up and looking at yourself in the mirror only to want to punch yourself in the face because all you can think about is the gluten that you told yourself you wouldn't eat for the rest of your life yet you ate at two am the night before.

silly, right? i mean, just eat the damn toast.

this year, i'm being realistic. i have compiled a manageable list of things that can and must and will happen this year. so, without further adieu and in no particular order, here are the ten things i'm going to do in twenty-fifteen:

1. birth a baby. 

2. love the shit out of said baby.

3. keep loving the shit out of joe.

4. keep loving the shit out of marlo. 

5. less complaining.

6. keep it simple.

7. cook for the people i love. oh. and drink some wine with them, too.

8. write. write. write. and then write some more.

9. focus on people and experiences, instead of things.

10. quality over quantity, always.

the thick of it


my little brooklyn girl. 
today is marlo's last day of the fall semester. just like her first day of school, i find myself feeling incredibly sentimental. and just like every birthday and milestone before it, i declare the day an accomplishment of sorts rather than yet another sign that my baby, who will always be my figurative baby forever and ever and ever, is no longer my literal baby.

these last few months were the part of parenthood that no one warns you about- the days that everyone brushes off as "the thick of it... the days that you'll never get back... blah blah blah." people label it as such things that help them get through the day, to give you hope that it gets better, easier. i would know... i've done it. i've told people such things.

but, truth be told, i don't care to have those days back. they kicked my ass and then some. they made a joke of everything i knew to be true of me as a mother and as a parent. these last few months tested me in ways that made me question why having kids is claimed to so great. marlo wasn't the easiest baby but compared to the last few months of toddler-hell, infancy was a goddamned breeze on the sunniest of days.

but just like with every other accomplishment and milestone, today feels like that light at the end of the tunnel. marlo is finally beginning to understand why we don't hit people and why we don't throw things when we're told no. not only does she understand why we don't do those things, but she also rarely does it.

most importantly, marlo and i are finally feeling like a team instead of opponents. i finally understand why this parenthood thing is claimed to be so damn great.

i didn't believe it for so long. i thought so many people were lying or they had easier babies or lives than i do. (ps. my life is not difficult. i just tend to veer into brat territory on the bad days and enjoy the occasional pity party. we're all guilty of it, i think.) i attributed their verbal convictions to them possibly just being kind. or rather delusional. or they were simply lying to me because they felt that i couldn't handle to truth.

but now? today?

i get it.

it took me over two and a half years to arrive here but i truly get it.

these days- the days that never seem to end quite quickly enough when they're awful and can't last long enough when they're great- are being ranked as some of the best days of my life.

these are the days.

these days are the thick of it.
these days are the marrow of life.
these are the days that count more than any others.
these are the days that leave me so unbelievably fulfilled in ways that i never imagined.


thank you for being patient with me. 
thank you for loving me in the way that you do. 
thank you for opening my eyes day after day to what life is all about. 
thank you for making me laugh even during the toughest of times.
thank you for making me your mama.
thank you for being mine.

you are my favorite person in the entire world.

to the moon but so very much farther...

round two | half-way


edie cooper, twenty weeks
this babe and i are half-way (give or take depending on her partialness to being prompt and courteous) to meeting each other on the outside.

this pregnancy, all the while magical and blah, blah, blah, has been vastly different from my pregnancy with modine, in ways that are hard for me to articulate.

beyond our circumstances being different and our everyday life the exact opposite of what it was when i was growing mo, i am so incredibly different. how could i not be? marlo, the game changer, turned my world upside down in the most beautifully chaotic way.

while pregnant with her, i didn't have a toddler running around, crashing into things, distracting me from worshiping my body's ability to grow life, from honoring it as some holy vessel. while she was grown on kale, quinoa, and whatever organic, grass-fed, pastured, locally-raised beast i believed would make for the healthiest baby, edie craves a lot of frozen mango chunks, white cheddar pirate's booty, and full-fat lattes. there have been more days than i can count when i forget to take my prenatal vitamin. i've had a few more glasses of wine this round.

and more sushi.

and more chocolate croissants.

and stinky french cheese.

and more cured meat.

things are different, more laid-back. i'm more trusting of my body and a hell of a lot less critical of it, too.

it's easier in some aspects and harder in others.

but the one thing that remains the same is that nothing- and i do mean NOTHING- will ever top being given the privilege to grow life inside of me.

this second opportunity to really witness what my body is capable of is yet another reminder of what life is really all about. it's about these two little girls that joe and i made and the process of parenthood, which, by way of technical definition, is to somehow manage that they don't grow up to be giant assholes.

it's about the love that we share as a couple, the same love which we've fought hard for for over eight years and continue to try our best to make better every single day, the love that will set the precedent for how our girls expect to be loved and treated and will, in turn, love and treat other people.

these nine (or ten) months aren't just about growing a baby. they have become so much more than that and i'm so thankful that i get to do this again.


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