A Birthday on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming, but instead of being enthusiastic about the holiday itself, I’m excited about celebrating my daughters’ birthday; born five years ago on Thanksgiving day, 2007.

It was a wild ride – pregnancy with twins; months of bed rest, nervous ultrasounds, undetermined blood tests. Especially after several losses.

The fact that my turkeys arrived on Thanksgiving day was like a gift from the stars.

It came with a message that said …

“Here you go. Here is what you wished for. Here is the meaning of your life. These two 4-pounders are your daughters and they’ve been born on Thanksgiving day so that you never forget how grateful you must be for the gift of their lives on this Earth.”

And I was grateful. More grateful than for anything I’d ever received.

And while I was swimming in gratefulness, recovering from a nasty c-section, pulling my IV drip back and forth to the nursery despite pleas from nurses to rest, I was also arguing with my husband and begging nurses to make him leave. We had fought throughout the pregnancy. I never felt loved and I always felt alone when he came around.

We couldn’t get along, even at this most blessed time. Our paths were divergent despite the impending arrival of two growing babies with our DNA.

My divorce has been a long time coming. It is painful and ugly, and strips me of my will to smile whenever I’m in his presence.

But tomorrow I’m determined to (just) be thankful for my girls. They gave me what I always wanted. I wanted to be a mom.

My errands today will revolve around preparations for the celebration. A cake with mermaids will be picked up and their LeapFrog Tablet will be wrapped.

It’s a pretty neat present for a couple of five year olds; easy to get, picked out from Target.

I only wish I was able to give them the best gift of all; the gift of a happy family. Children with happy, intact families are the luckiest of all.

For this, I am ungrateful. Ungrateful, without thanks, and hoping that they never suffer from the knowledge of their unluckiness; the failure of their parents stripping them of what should have been their right.


When your child/children were born, did you feel like it brought you and your spouse closer or did it put more stress on an already strained relationship? What will you be giving thanks for tomorrow around your dinner table?

People often ask how I managed to care for two babies at once. Look at those faces; pure joy, all the time. Their first year was the best time of my life.

Hyphenated Halloween

Yesterday, as we scrambled to put together costumes for the pre-school Halloween party, my daughters’ personality differences were on full display.

Sophie, generally easy-going and not as fussy about her appearance, made the quick decision to go as a cat. Simple enough; we gathered the all black ensemble; kitty ears, tulle skirt with attached tail, turtleneck, and leggings.

Grace, my mirror, inherited her mother’s discouraging habit of trying on every outfit in the closet (thus mussing the room with tossed, willy-nilly clothes) only to end up in the first frock that began the unfortunate series of events.

Standing amidst the candy-colored, tulle mess and finally pleased with her costume, I realized two things; Grace and I are very good examples of the power of genetics, and I need to get going on my punctuation re-education; this time placing focus on the hyphen.

According to Lynn Truss (Eat Shoots & Leaves), the hyphen is, “…hard to use wrongly.”

So why, then, do I feel so afraid them – not just at Halloween?

After a morning of Internet investigating, here is what I’ve learned:

1. Hyphens are very good at letting a reader in on a joke, also helping to imply that a raised or lowered voice will add emotion to the punch line.

i.e. My daughter has a face that looks like her aunt Janine – her attitude is all mom.

2. Hyphens can be used to connect or separate sentences, but are also appropriate when combining two words; creating compounds.

i.e. In Grace’s fifteen minute costume tirade, she was a butterfly-fairy, butterfly-princess, cat-princess, princess-bride, before rounding back to the beginning, settling on the original and most, “This one doesn’t tickle,” butterfly-fairy.

3. When two describing words come after a noun, they are not hyphenated.

i.e. I love apples when they’re caramel covered.

4. A hyphen can be used to join two (or more) words that act as a combined adjective before a noun.

i.e. I hope they have caramel-covered apples at the Halloween party this afternoon.

5. Lots of words can be connected (or combined) with or without hyphens.

i.e. The hair-splitting screams came from the bedroom were spooky.

i.e. Grace’s screams were hairsplitting.

i.e. Hair splitting screams are not a good way to start the morning.

6. Hyphenate compound numbers.

i.e Is it weird for a forty-one-year-old to wear a tutu?

7. Hyphens should be used with the prefixes self-, ex-, and all-, and with the suffix -elect. They can be used with other prefixes if it helps to clarify a confusing word or spelling. Here is a great list of examples (much better than my own).

But here is my attempt …

i.e. Pre-adolescence is going to fun!

i.e. It is unacceptable to leave your room a mess.

i.e. Re-education (with the prefix separated by a hyphen) looks less confusing to me than reeducation.

8. Probably the first time I was ever made to be afraid of the hyphen was when learning that they are needed in sentences when the word doesn’t fit on the line.

a. Divide line breaks at the place where the hyphen already exists.

b. Between syllables.

c. With words that end in -ing, they need to be separated at the place where the final consonant and root word are split (i.e. run-ning, or speak-ing, or dres-sing).

9. Saving the best for last, if you happen to use an Apple computer and want a longer hyphen, as opposed to a tiny word-spacing hyphen, press the alt button, while also pressing the hyphen at the upper right side of the keyboard.

i.e.[-] vs. [–]. Nice, right?

In approximately four-and-a-half hours we will revisit the “hyphenation Halloween-costume-fiasco”, as we attempt to ready ourselves for today’s afternoon Halloween house party (house-party?).

Without the help of a hyphen, what-oh-what would we be?

Are you dressing up for Halloween? What are your kids going to be? Any hyphens involved?


Pumpkin-princess. But does she really need a hyphen? The debate continues …

Memory Lane

My girls who like to dress themselves. I thought about starting a post called, "Outfit of the Day," but there's never enough time.

The plan was to take the girls to school and then come home for my mid-week eight miler. But Sophie woke in the middle of the night with a cough so disturbing that I pondered a 3 a.m. hospital visit.

I decided I’d try to manage the cough, but it required nearly constant breathing treatments keeping both of us awake until four.

I couldn’t, wouldn’t send her off to school. I needed to have her in my sight until we could get to the doctor for “big boy” steroids.

Instead of eight miles with my children being in the care of their teachers, I would go to the doctor with Soph, leave Grace with Peach, and meet up later at Peachie’s house where I’d run her neighborhood.

It just happens that her neighborhood is a little over two miles from my old stomping grounds, where I lived with Brian before we got married.

It was interesting to spend time in a place that once belonged to me, but is now just a memory. It felt like I was holding open the book of my life; on one side my past and the other side my present, while simultaneously recognizing that my present is the future I’d been dreaming about. Weird.

Six years ago I was single and living with my boyfriend turned fiance. We had two dogs, his Golden and my Pomeranian, both of whom are now gone. I was teaching the fourth grade, but all I wanted was to be at home with my own kids. We lived in a cul-de-sac where everyone knew everything and I was absolutely clueless about what the future would hold. I was frightened by it, because I wanted so much more.

It felt familiar yesterday to pound the streets that led to our old house and the soft woody path that is exactly three miles long, the extent of my former life’s morning runs. I noticed the same brooks and streams that lined the trail where I used to daydream about my wedding dress; hoping I’d fit into it by the July of 2005. There were snakes and frogs that would slither and hop across the path and if I left early enough, families of deer. I always enjoyed that path, but remembered feeling nervous when I’d pass strange (older and younger) men while running alone. Yesterday, every time I’d pass one I’d look warily out the corner of my eye, peering back to make sure they weren’t turning around to pounce on me. I’d hate to end up on a poster; one of those statistics about women runner’s not being aware. I think it’s why I prefer the busy streets where there are so many more eyes upon me. Safety first.

A stream off the old path. Pretty.

Six years ago I had no idea I’d have twins or that it would take two miscarriages and a couple rounds of infertility treatments to get them. I imagined I’d get pregnant and have a baby and that it would be as easy and common an experience as the next girls’.

There was no image in my head of the house I’d be living in now.  I had only an inkling of what life as a mom would bring. I never expected two strong willed little girls with a behavior chart that’s always missing the star next to, “I didn’t hit my sister today.”

How would I ever have pictured this future? It is exactly what I wanted (minus the hacking of a certain strawberry blonde), and though a struggle sometimes; such is life.

Where I will be five years from now is not written in stone, but I have a much better idea as to what it may look like. My kids will be nine. I hope we are in the same house. I am determined to be writing, though exactly what remains to be seen. I bet I’ll still be running, but if my arthritic left toe has anything to say about it, I may be running a lot less.

I will be 45 years old! Middle aged? I am almost positive I’ll be ready for some Botox injections by then, which I have no bones about.

Memory Lane was nice for an afternoon run, but I don’t ever want to go back to where I was, even though it was necessary to get me where I am now.

Hindsight; the beauty of looking back.


Despite yesterday’s difficult seventeen, I did what I was supposed to once I returned home.

The advice I’d been given was this; eat a good source of protein and carbs as soon as you get back, eat about every hour the rest of the day, drink lots of water, take some Advil and an epsom bath, and then elevate the legs for about an hour.

Surprisingly, it worked. I feel so much better today than I did last week when the fifteen mile run was exhilarating, but my negligence to follow recovery protocol left me in a lot of pain. Pain for days.

My biggest pain today was in the form of two four-year olds who decided it would be funny to put their cheese and crackers on the floor and then stomp them while wearing clogs. As they ran away from me (laughing), crumbs flew everywhere and the cheese was streaked and smooshed across the kitchen tile.

My heart rate monitor would have registered 220 (if I’d had it on) as I dragged little girls to their room. When it became clear that it was still two against one, I separated them into different rooms, which confirmed they were in big trouble!  Up and down stairs went I making them stay where I’d put them. The trauma of being sent to your room; tear streaked faces peeking out of the doors making sure I was still near, slamming doors shut when they realized I was.

When it was over and all was calm, they were hungry and wanted lunch. I needed a nap.

At bed time, after another post dinner melt down/time out, Grace sighed, “I had a bad day.”

“Yes you did, Sweetie, but tomorrow we’ll try again.”