Posts in "Motherhood"
This Late August Afternoon
This Late August Afternoon | Freckled Italian

In my head I only just sat down and wrote a blog post last weekend, but here I am on a Sunday logging in to Squarespace for the first time in what turns out to be almost a month. What have I been up to since July? A lot, and also not much. The past few weeks have flown by.

I started teaching again at my barre studio—in January I was feeling overwhelmed and in March I officially got off the schedule. I wasn’t sure if it was forever or if I just needed a break, but I was sad to let go of something I had worked so hard for, something I had grown to love. But it taught me that it’s okay to rest when you’re tired, and it encouraged me to be more open with the people I work with and not just push through until you hit burnout. Now, five months later I’m back two mornings a week teaching four classes; finally leaning on our nanny for more than just errands.

I also finished another cookbook this summer. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write one any time soon but my publisher reached out to me about a project that ended up falling through. I figured it wasn’t meant to be and then a few weeks later they approached me with an even more exciting offer and I went for it. When I was in college, writing papers and dreaming about being a writer one day I never imagined that I’d actually become an author, or that my thing would become cookbooks, but I love it so much.

And I’ve started working out a CrossFit gym as well—it’s closer to my house than the barre studio and has class at 6AM and is costing us a small fortune so I make it there 4 days a week no matter what. It was a small shift, but one that I needed. It’s 100% for me and I leave before anyone wakes up and am back home, tomato-faced and sweaty, making myself a latte in time for Rob’s alarm to go off. Going to the gym and being around all of the equipment feels oddly nostalgic to me—it reminds me of being back in Roanoke the summer after grad school when Rob was moving to DC and I hadn’t gotten a job yet. I worked out with my mom every morning until I started at a small software company where I worked until Rob moved to Minneapolis and I followed him six months later.

I still spend a lot of time feeling like I don’t do enough—or, worse, feeling guilty for needing some time here and there for myself. I don’t know why I do that. I’ve wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for longer than I can remember, but there’s this part of me that sometimes feels like it’s not “enough.” Over the past few months I’ve given myself a lot of grace to just focus on my family—it’s such a gift to have this time together and I often forget that. And yet there are still days where I try to do it all--to write and share and develop recipes and market my cookbooks and keep the house clean and engage Sophie 100% of the time she's awake and walk the dog and keep in touch with my friends and get groceries and memorize new choreo for my classes and call my mom and cook healthy meals.

There are times I feel left behind in some ways. While people excel in their careers, blow up on Instagram, travel the world. But when I walk into the room and Sophie yells “MAMA!” with so much excitement, when she brings me a book from across the room and plops herself into my lap with all the confidence in the world, when we sit down for dinner and sing every song she knows on repeat, when we take Ender on a walk on a weekday morning and I get to watch her look around and point at every bird and tree along the way, I know that this is exactly what I had been working toward for all those years—a flexible, but sometimes unorganized life full of love.

...someday she’ll long
for this late August afternoon

when she could have held
each instant
like a jewel
in the palm of her still smooth hand.
— Sonya Sones
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Two Years Ago in Vegas
Two Years Ago in Vegas | Freckled Italian

Our trip to Las Vegas started as a belated bachelorette party and eventually turned into a quadruple-date vacation with two of my college roommates, one of their best friends, and all of our significant others.

Raquel’s friend Whitney very casually mentioned that she wanted to go to Las Vegas to see Britney Spears’ show sometime and I think we all surprised her as we very aggressively purchased tickets, booked flights, and found an Airbnb in what we later learned from multiple Uber drivers was an rather unsafe neighborhood.

We had never actually been on vacation together, but it ended up being one of the most fun trips ever because we’ve basically done everything else together, so a spontaneous check off of our collective bucket list (spoiler alert: Britney really is that good) seemed as good a time as any to start a new tradition. And while I had definitely been coming down with a case of baby fever for several months, I don’t think any of us knew at the time that we were basically getting together for one more rager before we all became mothers.

Raquel, Caroline, and I lived together for as long as we possibly could in college—I literally fled from my freshman roommate into Caroline’s empty dorm room the moment her randomly-assigned roommate pledged a sorority and bailed. Raquel and I grew up together at the same K-12 school in Roanoke, Virginia; so when she joined us at Longwood the following year we cobbled together a lease for an on-campus apartment as quickly as possible.

We shared a home and clothes and makeup and made cupcakes on a really oddly regular basis. We laughed, we cried, we studied and read and wrote papers and went to class and the gym and got tattooed and drank a lot of really cheap booze. We blasted Britney out of our laptops every weekend and watched a lot of Food Network in each other’s beds and hardly ever wore pants.

We graduated and fell out and got back together again, literally years later.

One of the best things I ever did was decide to work on these friendships—the ones that started so easily and almost slipped through my fingers through the tumultuous transition from college to “real life.” Caroline and Raquel have seen me at my best, my worst, my most anxious, most triumphant, saddest, happiest. It’s an honor to know someone as well as we know each other.

And now, two years later I wake up to a string of texts about all things motherhood—pumping and tummy time and baby sleep and diapers and clogged boobs and by the way where did my abs go and what the hell are we supposed to make for dinner tonight? And even though I’m a three hour time difference and a whole country away from them, I’ve never felt closer—maybe not even when we all lived in the same apartment.

Whether it’s Farmville or Nevada, a fraternity or a first birthday party, they are my people. Life might look different for us these days, but Vegas remains—and we’ll always have Britney.

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Dear Sophie | 1 Year
Dear Sophie: 1 Year | Freckled Italian

Dear Sophie,

A year ago today after the longest weekend of my life, you were placed onto my chest and your dad and I looked at you and then each other with tears in our eyes. It was early on a Tuesday morning, and after a few hours of recovery I held you in my arms as they wheeled us from Labor & Delivery to Maternity. Your dad got under the blankets on the cot next to me and fell asleep as the nurses swaddled you and placed you at the foot of my bed and I couldn’t believe it was my family, together for the first time, settling in for a well-deserved nap. I haven’t gone to bed since Saturday, I thought to myself before finally falling asleep.

At the risk of sounding super cliche, I really can’t believe we’re here. 365 days went by in a flash. When you were a newborn there were so many late nights and early mornings and rock-hard boobs and 4PM meltdowns that seemed as though they may never end, and now here we are with a toddler in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

But there were also morning snuggles and the joy of holding you as  you fell asleep and then later slowly woke up those first weeks of our time together—the squeaky little newborn sounds you made and your first real smile.

I could go on and on but I won’t because of all the things you’ve taught me these past twelve months, it’s to be more present and to hold tight to every single moment.

Happy birthday, my dear. We love you so very much.

Yours forever,

Mama

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