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Friends for over twenty years, now English teachers raising future best friends. Learning to balance mommy duties, work, love and play, all while our supportive husbands manage their many fantasy football leagues.

May 26, 2017

Did You Ever Notice...

This week one of my students raised his hands and announced that he never noticed (until today) that I have a wrinkle under my nose that surfaces when I smile.

Wait, what?

You've only been looking at me for 170 days, I've been looking at myself for 33 years.  I definitely don't have a wrinkle there; that's just weird.

Wait, let me double-check.

Goddammit he's right.

And so even though I am on the "younger" end of the spectrum of teachers, the tides have clearly changed.  Students used to notice my new highlights, if I got a tan, perhaps even my jewelry.  Now, why yes, it's the revelation of new wrinkles and lines that will undoubtedly drive me mad.

The picture below is "pre-wrinkle announcement" a time when I was at my happiest - Mother's Day.  It's also slightly blurry, which is purposeful.

If you ever are ever wondering just where you stand, walk into a room of teens, you'll find out reallllllllllllll quick.

May 24, 2017


I wrote the below post on September 23, 2015.  I wrote it, and never read it again. It's embarrassing and feels vapid (Instagram, really Amy??? ughhh)  .... but  It was the first post I ever wrote for the blog, and also one I never intended on sharing.  It's really hard to tell the world, or even your best friend for that matter, that you are struggling.  It's even harder to admit that when you are trying to start a Mommy Blog.  I mean, honestly, truly, how dare I try and start a blog about trying to be a mom when I barely felt like I could get out of bed some days.

That first year, and first summer were H.A.R.D.  The anxiety was overwhelming.  You can literally see it in my face in every single picture.... (or at least I can....)  Work was distracting, Pumping/Nursing was a daily (no HOURLY) struggle, and forget seeing my friends.... Once I was home, I was never leaving...  The anxiety of being a Mom (toppled with EVERYTHING ELSE) was sometimes too much to handle... all while time felt as if it was standing still for the TWO SOLID YEARS that Colin refused to sleep (this is NOT an exaggeration).

soooooo out of context... but it fits....
 and Dorinda makes me LOL
Like, I think she's my favorite Housewife!
It still is hard.  But it's different hard.  It's not all consuming, but that's because I finally said enough.
It took a stranger asking me "How are you?" for me to ask for help... and it's still taking a lot of work to fight through the urge to just cocoon myself in my home on my couch, but it's getting better.


Colin will be THREE 😭in less than three months, and I still don't feel like I'm on the other side of it all -- but I also don't think there is a true "other side"...  because I don't want to be the same person I was B.C. (Before Colin).  

This is the new me.... the Mom-ME,

------------------------------ ORIGINAL POST-------------------------------

SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

Thoughts From Colin.

As many of you know, I've been blowing up Instagram the past year with the many #ThoughtsFromColin posts.

It all started when I uploaded a photo of Colin on the day we were leaving the hospital.  I just thought that little stare of his said so much.  He already had a major personality and I felt like he was trying to tell me so much!

But,  I had a really rough transition into my new role.  I was frustrated with how a lot of things played out when Colin was born (things that were inevitably out of my control) and even once he arrived, I felt like I didn't know who I was anymore.  I have been "Fun Amy" my entire life... and here I was a puddle of tears and anxiety.

I was trying my hardest not to let that show.  Everyone kept telling me how happy I should be, how I shouldn't worry about "this thing" or "that thing" and just focus on the baby!  I wanted to scream.

I knew I had a lot to be happy for, but it was very difficult to sift through what felt like an actual layer of fog sitting on my brain to get to ME.  I had to sort through all of the emotions of what felt like a very traumatic (but in hindsight was a HIGHLY stressful) birth experience and box up that anxiety.  That fog is no joke you guys -- it's like all consuming!  But that anxiety never really went away.

I needed a life raft... I had to grab on to something concrete, something I could easily manage, and so I grasped onto my #thoughtsfromcolin.  This silly hashtag was what got me through some dayyyys.

It took 12 long months, almost an entire year, and I'm feeling like the fog is starting to clear... (is it the hormones finally leaving my body after I finnnnnalllyyy put the breast pump away? Maybe...)

So I sit here, swallowing  my pride and my tears as I share this and realize that 365 days ago I was less of a person that I am now.  Colin, and Brian, our families, Colleen, and anyone else who I texted or called or emailed, or tagged in a highly inappropriate 3am post, you all saved me on those days I couldn't bear to get out of the house or off the couch.

But Colin saved me the most because he taught me how to be a mommy...

May 22, 2017

Guest Post - They Won't Get It, They'll Think I'm an Awful Mom

Guest Post:  Alicia is a friend from high school who is a full-time working mom of one adorable boy, Cooper.  She's also building a make-up empire and blowing up Facebook with wildly entertaining videos and tutorials.  She makes everything look easy, which is why this blog is just that much more important.  Thanks for sharing Alicia.

I was asked to write something MONTHS ago, and I promise, the commitment to put my thoughts on paper has never left my mind.  I’m embarrassed it took me this long.  But to be honest, I couldn’t get myself to write down my story, because if I did, it would somehow make my failures more real.  (Sure, I know we’re always the hardest on ourselves, and I know I’m not a failure, but the thoughts, “could I have done better…can I DO better?” constantly run through my mind.)

Let me step back for a second.  It took my husband and I well over a year to get pregnant with Cooper.  Two heartbreaking miscarriages, low progesterone and a blood-clotting disorder later my rainbow baby “stuck” and the journey began.  I went through pregnancy terrified…TERRIFIED!  So much so that I had to monitor my blood pressure outside of the doctor’s office because as soon as I approached the parking lot my BP would fly OFF the charts.  I tried to enjoy the moments as best as I could, but most of my months were filled with prayers, positive affirmations, and extra doctors’ visits for peace of mind.  I always say labor was the easiest part…everything before and after labor, that’s the HARD stuff (for me, at least)!

Cooper was born, healthy and cute as a button, and I felt SO GRATEFUL! I always thought since it was so hard for me to get pregnant that I’d embrace every sleepless night, every tear that rolled down his cheek, every scream that left his mouth.  I thought, “I got this, how hard can it be?” Woooaahhh baby…it’s HARD! First the anxiety, the overwhelming anxiety!!  Is he OK?  Is he breathing? Is he eating enough? Is he gaining enough weight?  Are we bonding the way we should be? I thought the worrying would get less heavy when I could hold him in my arms, but it just got worse!  Second, Cooper had reflux, which complicated everything even more.  I was consumed with getting him relief, with making him “better.”  I spent hours upon hours researching different options, bringing him to doctors, baby chiropractors, and specialists.  My baby was in pain, and that was unacceptable. I had to fix it!  And third, the lack of sleep.  Or should I say ZERO sleep.  My baby did not nap, he hardly slept.  In fact, there was a small window where he slept from 5pm to 9pm…that was it!  So that meant, I had to sleep from 5pm-9pm, which was the time I was supposed to be with my husband, the time I was supposed to have ME TIME, the time I (a very social person) was supposed to interact with people! It was too much to bare…I was losing my mind, my sanity, MYSELF! 

I didn’t know what to do, I felt like the worst mother…why couldn’t I do this?  Why did I spend my days crying and praying for a different life?  How could I love my son so fiercely, but struggle to the very core of my being, trying to come to terms with my new life?  Something wasn’t right and I had ignored it too long.  My family pleaded with me to talk to someone, because they could see I was disappearing.  I finally went to see a therapist, carrying my heartache, my struggles, and my massive amount of guilt right out on my sleeve, because I couldn’t hide it anymore.  I couldn’t pretend to be OK for one more second.  I was not OK.  After one session it was clear, I had postpartum depression and anxiety.  Something I couldn’t personally control no matter how hard I tried.

Two weeks after getting help I was a NEW woman!  The clouds lifted, the anxiety lightened and I could not only enjoy my life again, I could fully embrace it.  This is what motherhood was supposed to feel like, this is the role I was meant to play, and Cooper was everything I had ever dreamed of.  I could now breathe, laugh, and celebrate.   I could start finding myself again, because I was no longer the same person, but that wasn’t a bad thing anymore.  It was a great thing.
For over a year now I’ve kept my PPD a secret.  I was embarrassed.  I knew talking about my experience would help women, but I still couldn’t bring myself to do it.  What would people think?  They’ll judge me.  They won’t get it. They’ll think I’m an awful mother.  I said nothing.  I helped no one. 

No more. I’m better than that. 

 In comes my journey with Younique, a company that has taught me that it is OK…no, not OK, it’s imperative, that I love myself for who I am!  That I be unapologetically confident.  That I live my life uplifting, empowering, and validating women.  This company and my amazing team embraced me at a time where I had lost myself and what it meant to be Alicia Strong, not just Cooper’s mom.  It gave me the confidence to step (well, more like leap) out of my comfort zone, to build my self-worth, while also helping other women build their own. 

I am forever grateful for my makeup business, for all the women I’ve met and reconnected with.  My life is richer in every way.
From now on, I vow to be unapologetically myself, to be 100 percent genuine and to stop worrying about what others might think.  I will no longer be ashamed of my struggles.  I will embrace them.  I will be a powerful source of positive energy; I will support women, encourage women, and celebrate their successes.  I will be the best wife and mother I can be.  I will run my makeup business with pride and share this opportunity with anyone that will listen, because it’s that important to me.  Because I know it can change someone else’s life like it’s changed mine.  

Whether you need a pep talk, a laugh, a cry, help ordering some makeup, or a new business opportunity, I’m here… and I’d love to help! 

May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Well, we've waited for it all year.  It's finally come!  It's Mother's Day!

Even if Mother's Day means that the craft your kid made you at daycare has already broken and the outdoor barbecue you planned for your family will be slightly ruined tainted by pouring rain, it's still "our day."

On Friday, I finished up a year long relationship with a student teacher.  The experience was such a positive one that I held back tears when I said, "good-bye" to her.  She helped me with all the taxing things that go on behind the scenes - grading, planning, copying, organizing, cleaning and the ever important report cards.  Beyond that, she became such an energetic and kind presence in my room.  She is a friend now and I will miss her dearly.

She left me with a gift, that in her words, "defines who I am."

I never received any of these "knit" things in my life.  I've always liked them, but isn't it kind of a lost art?  Anyways, she nailed it right on the head there.  My life can be summed in those three words.  Is it that obvious, even to strangers?  

I hope everyone enjoys this Mother's Day however you like to spend it!  Thanks as always for reading and sharing this journey with us!

April 30, 2017

Providence Nights

For Christmas Amy's amazing husband got Amy two tickets to see Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper live in Providence, RI.  In fact, he is so great that he didn't even expect to be her date.  That ticket was already taken (by me naturally).

And so it was.  On Saturday,  Amy and I left after gymnastics and swimming lessons, park time, breakfast and lunch.  We traveled the short road to a city we have never been to and, well we just had some honest, good fun. We splurged on a fancy room and got some special drinks.  We laughed our asses off for two hours and even though we were in bed at 11pm it was a blast!

Top 5 Highlights:

1)   Brian bought good tickets.  We were dead center and pretty close.  Even though we love Andy and Anderson we both didn't really know what to expect.  Who pays money just to hear people talk?  Well, Brian does and boy did we benefit!  Well-worth if it you have the option.

2) You're never too old to crash a prom.  We are not including pics for this one, just know it was  magical

3) Even though we were only gone for about 20 hours, we both decided that it did us a lot of good.  Heck, even my husband thanked me when I came home and told me, I quote, "you do a lot."  Should I be leaving more often????????????????????????????

4) Is there anything better than dishing mom truths with a mixture of childhood memories? Ask these two best friends and the answer is no. Actually, no I take that back.  If you can find a vintage store that sells winter coats from the 80s, it really does make it that much better.

5) Can't put a price on a comfy, clean bed with no monitor buzz in the background. We slept like rocks.

April 14, 2017

From Hiking to Lodging

It's Good Friday and what a good Friday it has been.  In fact, it's been a really wonderful vacation, the only bad thing being that it's almost over.  Amy talked about the "last stretch". Fourth quarter is here, summer is around the corner.  She's right, well kind of.  May hasn't begun, and even though it's nice out, I still worry the cold air will come back and the work days will still be long.  Anyways, let's just go with her mindset - summer mode.

We did a lot of things this vacation, including hosting a birthday party, a night away at the beach, the Aquarium and more.  Although many people we know went on vacations to Florida, California or further the farthest we went was outside of Boston to the Great Wolf Lodge.  I have to say that it looked really cheesy from all the ads, but it came highly recommended by a few people we know.  We wanted to take the kids somewhere  - some place new, exciting before we tackle a longer, farther vacation.  Honestly, it is kind of cheesy.  It reminded me a lot of a casino, with the lights, music and smell to match, but on the real - the kids had a blast.  It was expensive as hell, but they enjoyed every second.  Worth it?  Ultimately, yes.  If you're interested here are a couple tips (many of which I got from others, a few I learned myself):

1.  Plan your trip when it's cold.  We ended up staying a night and the weather was decent.  Felt weird to be inside in a dark place when it was sunny and light out.
2.  With little ones you only need one night.  We used the water park for hours in the afternoon and the morning before we left, but I think another 24 hour period would've been overkill.
3.  Bring your own food.  You get a fridge and a microwave in your room.  Toddlers don't need a buffet (do adults?).  We made sandwiches and mac n cheese in the room and saved time and money.
Pool area said "no outside food,"
but we don't follow rules.
4.  The hotel stay comes with the water park and I didn't purchase any of the extras they offer when you book.  I figured we would check it out when we got there.  That was a good decision.  We didn't need much beyond the water slides, lazy river and hotel room.
5.  They offered us an upgraded room for $54 more.  I grabbed it.  I think the kids would've liked it either way, but it felt good to be "fancy."
6.  We brought towels, but you didn't need to.
7.  Bring water shoes for everyone, even though it looked liket things were clean.
8.  Even though the water is heated, it's still freaking cold.
9.  Get a Groupon if you can.
10.  Check-in online (they'll send you an email). Get there right at 1pm, but have one parent wait in line while your family waits "joyfully" in the car.

Hope it helps.  Our next year-long research will be thinking about Disney.  We'll need lots of help from you all on that one. Until then, explorations of New England abound.

April 12, 2017

Waterfalls and Giants - A recap: Part One

Monday and Tuesday Colin and I had some epic adventures. 

Here's my recap!

Monday: Wadsworth Falls & Wadsworth Falls State Park 

To get to the actual Waterfall (the "Big Falls) use the address: 25 Cherry Hill Rd, Rockfall, CT (or Middletown, CT)

To get to the actual Wadsworth Falls State Park use the address:  727 Wadsworth St, Middletown, CT 06457


Playing in the stream at
Wadsworth Falls State Park
Last year Colleen, Megan, and I took our kiddies to Wadsworth Falls State Park, and it was fantastic!  However we both used the Iphone Map to give us directions and it brought us to a neighborhood where we both (separately) drove around aimlessly for a half hour before figuring out where the heck to go.  When Colin and I were leaving the park on Monday, I saw a friend who told me she had just had the same problem!  (Use the addresses above to get you there!)

Wadsworth Falls State Park was, again, amazing, with picnic tables, a pond (which was drained for the winter???) and a stream for Colin to play in.  

We stayed for a little over two hours! 

For perspective: This is Colin standing
in front of the swimming platform!
No water in the pond!

The actual Falls are just down the road and we went there first. 

Turned out to be the best idea because it's a quick trip, as it is a 5 minute adventure total, and there are no bathrooms, and no picnicking allowed, also only has about 20 parking spaces!.  The water was VERY high and fast moving in both locations though, so I do think with a little less rain, and maybe some minnows in the water later this year, the Waterfall area has lots of toddler potential!
In both parks, It was bright, sunny, and the perfect day to dip our toes in the water.  
We threw sticks in the river and watched them rush away; we watched fishermen, and counted birds!   The park has enough little alcoves of fun that even on such a beautiful day, with a packed parking lot, it felt serene and quiet!

Stay Tuned for Part TWO!

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