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A mother of five in Connecticut writes to her children as a way of capturing this moment in time.
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  • 04/16/13--00:23: Can’t sleep
  • I am up. It’s 3 am. I am visiting my parents overnight as I have some early morning appointments in NY before heading back to CT. I am in this bunk room where the boys sleep when here. Water makes this sound from the adjacent bath every 4 minutes. I didn’t want to come halfway here last night. I wanted to be eating a cheeseburger with Fotis at this new place that opened next to the TCBY that Petros so loves. You can get twelve hundred different toppings if you like. Just the option of having options. They say you are only as happy as your least happy child. I want to improve upon my relationship with Petros. So much of our time together is me “correcting” behaviors. Like trash talking his siblings, laughing at a disabled person, being morning pissed off about something. I am not getting enough time to enjoy the wonderful person he is: caring, needy, a teacher to his younger siblings. Highly perceptive and attuned.

    I am tired and would love to sleep. Wish there was some personal on/off switch. Or you could program yourself for say 7.5 hours of uninterrupted slumber. I will jog at 6. Ya. Watched YouTube sensation Jenna Marbles. Read some of Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home. Reports on Boston Marathon. Limbs lost, lives.

    I want to be home warm with my husband. My sleeping children. The cats and dog. I will be tomorrow afternoon. If I ever get back to sleep.


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  • 04/22/13--09:24: 7
  • On Saturday the boys turned seven. For me, five was equivalent to 18, six was 21, so here, at seven we are really dealing with their 25th birthdays.

    Alas. I lived. They thrived. Ice cream cups for their class on Friday. You know the ones that are individual sized half chocolate/ half vanilla, with the wooden spoons?

    I sang, Good-bye Six Years Old, to the tune of Goodbye Norma Jean, or Candle in the Wind. It was all very brilliant as I was making it up for them on their ride to school. Now I cannot remember how it went. Goodbye six years old, though I never knew you at all, You had the grace to hold yourself, while the toddlers around you crawled. And it seems to me you lived your year, like a candle on that cake, never knowing who to cling to when seven set it. And I would have liked to have known you, but I was just your mom…

    It was pretty horrendous as you can tell.

    They got a basketball hoop. Theodore had shot 23 baskets as of yesterday morning. It’s pretty high. My father wants to sneakily lower it inch by inch so no one will notice and they can build their self-esteem  — making more shots.

    We went to dinner at Flemings, where Petros wanted to go. We went “fancy.” C&C came. They behaved brilliantly, of course! The boys, not so much. Because Uncle Mark came, and they all trashed talked each other throughout the meal, when someone was not skateboarding on the sidelines upon one of the new skateboards he got them.

    These scare me. But maybe it’s okay to go slowly on our very flat parking area.

    Seven. They still hug, if not kiss. Lots of sentimental stuff is a joke with them. They still need and want us. Our attention, company.

    I think if you make it known that you want to spend your free time with them, they feel it and later in life will want to spend more of theirs with you. Despite girls, despite skateboards. Despite what comes after twenty-five.


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  • 04/22/13--10:02: Baby batman

  • IMG_2297

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  • 04/25/13--11:28: DVF for Gap
  • Today online Diane Von Furstenberg’s Spring 2013 Girls collection for Gap premiered. There are so many gorgeous, bright, happy items. They sell out quickly, so please refer to the link below. Got some dresses and tops for Christiane and Clea-Noelle. Reasonably priced. Slightly different from what they normally wear. More upbeat all around.

    DVF for Gap.


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  • 05/07/13--08:38: Greekster 2013
  • This past glorious weekend in CT was our Greek Easter. It came pretty late this year, which was good weather-wise. Our Aunt Martha and Uncle Alex came as is our tradition. Aunt Martha helps prepare food, and Alex helps Fotis roast the whole lamb, and it just would not be Greekster without them.

    The kids got Easter baskets (my notions of a US commercial holiday). And two years ago I think it was Theodore who noted, “So, the Easter Bunny shops at the Gap?” You see, each year they get spring/summer pajamas. They get flips flops. One chocolate bunny, that fake grass that migrates everywhere. They also get fun tin lunch boxes with Spiderman or Hello Kitty or Star Wars designs. Which no one uses and just pile up.

    “How come we don’t get as much as Christmas?” Theodore asked this year. Because it’s Easter, was my brilliant reply.

    We had friends join in, the outside looked great. Kids were on the playscape or the soccer field or rummaging the outdoor fridge or freezer for self-serve juice boxes, ice cream sandwiches and cones. I think it’s the self-serve aspect, plus the vaguely contraband loot of it all, so this was the hugest hit.

    Next year, I’ll put out all the food we have, and not forget the watermelons. I’ll get three cakes from Da Capo’s. I’ll do more sides and prettier nibble-fare. Next year I will set the table a month in advance and really make a splash. Next year it coincides with the US Easter, April 20, so no one will be able to come! Except for Alex and Martha and these two amazing women we know who are excellent servers and also Muslim! It will also be the boys’ 8th birthdays that day.

    But the year after that then, if I can commit these notes to memory.

    In Greece, that say Christos Anesti (Christ as risen) as a greeting for the days following Pascha. The reply is Alithos Anesti (indeed, he has risen).

    Yes, indeed.


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  • 05/09/13--10:20: A new old way to give birth
  • If I could do it again, and perhaps not having twins twice, I would give birth at home with an experienced, compassionate midwife, and avoid hospitals altogether. I’d take back the power that women have in their bodies knowing how to have a baby, and also knowing how to bond, nurture and raise them.

    If interested I encourage you to watch Birth Story, a movie about midwife pioneer Ina May Gaskin, a personal hero.


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  • 05/16/13--16:01: Hope springs eternal
  • Marina Krim and her husband Kevin announced that she is expecting a boy in the fall. Her pregnancy is a huge ray of hope in their family’s healing, after the gut wrenching events of last fall. Her surviving child, Nessie, is reportedly doing well. Where there is love, there is hope.


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    In Cheryl Richardson’s recent newsletter she wrote that you know you are doing a good job mothering yourself when:

    • You stop making excuses for doing what you want to do.  You let your desire be enough.
    • You choose to disappoint someone else now and then instead of disappointing yourself.
    • You tell yourself, “I love you,” on a regular basis so that you start to believe it deep in your bones.
    • You feed yourself.
    • You ask for what you want directly rather than beat around the bush.
    • You stop pretending everything’s okay when it’s not.  You tell the truth.
    • You speak up when you have something to say even if you might not say it well.
    • You no longer defend, debate, or over explain your decisions.  You trust your choices and you let your inner guidance run the show.

    I sort of sigh a deep Amen to all the above. I am trying to do at least one thing for me each week which really honors the Jennifer I am and have always been. Last week it was making time to see my friend Caroline one night. We talked for 3 hours, and it still wasn’t enough! This weekend I am meeting my friend Laurel for iced tea near her weekend home. I got tickets for Pippin, the Broadway musical I saw in the first grade. Way too racy for me then, but I loved it, and the score, and I really just want to re-experience it. Fotis saw how into the revival I am and is going along, even if he really, very much, does not like Broadway musicals — at all.

    I want to go to China, if only for the longest weekend that ever was. See Beijing, Shanghai, and the Great Wall. The tickets are the same cost as going to Paris or to Rome. So, why not? I want to honor the urges as much as possible. To be alive. To speak up. To exist. To, as hokey as it sounds, do the bucket list as it’s in formation. Even if it changes, to keep on being aware of what it even is.

    Diane Conway wrote a book called What Would You Do If You Had No Fear? I am dipping in. I like how provocative she is, really pulling at you to dare to ask.

    What would you do?


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  • 05/18/13--17:10: Catch up if you can
  • So I’ve neglected the cute, meaningful or outlandish things that the kids say. And I need to catch up, or they will just vanish into the ether.

    1. Christiane (age 4) in the car on the way to school saying, “So Mommy, was the world in God’s tummy?” Creationism.

    2. Constantine (age 4) in Angela’s class, when one student was making a birthday card for his mom, another asked him how old she’d be, and the kid thought and said, “Seven.” But then Constantine burst in, “No! She couldn’t be seven! That’s impossible!” And they all tried to figure it out.

    3. Our kids wanting to know what their names would have been had they been born the opposite sex. Petros or Theodore would have been Laura. Then Christiane would have been Alexandros. If she were, then Clea-Noelle would have been Philippos. And we decided that for Constantine — Princess Jasmine.

    5. Clea-Noelle (2.5) telling everyone that they can only have one bessert, not two besserts after dinner.

    6. Theodore (seven) after his birthday party saying that it was the worst day ever because he had to wait an entire year for his next birthday party.

    7. At McDonald’s drive-thru getting two vanilla cones (me and T) and one (plain) Sundae for Petros. The plain was just soft vanilla ice cream in a plastic cup, and that was it. Nothing. How is this a Sundae? Petros laughed it off and screamed to the people going in not get duped into ordering what he just had.


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  • 05/29/13--09:32: Phil Ochs
  • We had the anti-war folk singer Phil Ochs playing in our beach house growing up. We listened to Dylan, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell.

    The album we had of his was I Ain’t Marching Anymore. I recently watched a 2010 documentary on his life, Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune. It was as much a history of the movement based out of Greenwich Village in New York as it was of the man. Ochs took his own life after the battle had been too long won. After Nixon had pulled out of Vietnam, (peace with honor). After Ochs had brought attention to the CIA/American involvement in the overthrow of the Allende people’s elected government of Chile, and after the new Pinochet regime had rounded up all the poets, radicals, the Greenwich Village equivalent within Chile, in a stadium and shot them — all. He wrote protest songs, songs for his beloved President Kennedy. Songs about the killings of Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. The massacre at Kent State and the lynchings before and during the Civil Rights Movement.

    He was a political artist. Art for the purpose of politics, change. He wanted America to be better, for us all to be heroes like in a John Wayne movie. He wanted the radicalized youth to have their day.

    This documentary brings that time to life. All the folks we know of appear, now older: Tom Hayden, Joan Baez, Abbie Hoffman. They fought the fight. They were a voice, a movement, one which led to LBJ not seeking re-election in 1968. They declared the war over, far before it was, just to inspire how that would feel like.

    After Ochs had fought what was out there, he was left to face himself. A company he could not keep.