Posts from February 2016

Manic Monday | 2-29-16

February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day!

Things in my life have been insane lately and I haven’t had much time to post anything other than a few pictures of Maisie.  So here’s a quick recap of what’s been going on…


My brother Jimmy got married in San Francisco over the weekend.  When you grow up in a big family, as I did, there are cliques and sub cliques within your own nuclear unit.  Jimmy and I are “Irish Twins” – meaning my Mother gave birth to him 3 days before I turned 1 (!?…I know).  We were always really close growing up and still are to this day.  I was feeling allllll the feelings seeing him so happy with Trinity.

I went to the wedding solo and left Joe and Maisie at home.  What a weird feeling to be surrounded by your family – as you knew it for the first 31 years of your life – but to feel endlessly drawn to your family on the other side of the country.

I suppose at some point in motherhood you reach a stage where a weekend away from your baby or kids might feel rejuvenating and amazing.  After a few tear-filled FaceTime sessions with Maisie I think it’s safe to say I am nowhere near that point.

Anyway, 5 weddings in 8 years (4 in the last 4!).  We are all married.  Now what?

Don’t answer that.



You guys.  Let me tell you why I love my husband.

Last Friday was Jimmy’s wedding but it was also my 32nd birthday.  Gee wiz.

I got home late Saturday night and Joe handed me a card (and a pint of Tom and Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice cream but that’s neither here nor there).  I opened it nervously while my mind raced trying to guess what might be inside…”Concert tickets?  I guess we can try to ask someone to watch the baby.  Sigh.  I’m too tired to go to a concert.”  Long story short the card was empty.  It turns out my gift is this…

Two cleaning ladies are coming to our house this weekend to “deep clean” the entire house!!!!!!

I’m sure there are girls out there that would be horrified by this gift.  I, however, cannot explain how excited I am.

After spending all winter cooped up in the house, the state of things has started to make me feel like an insane person.  Day in and day out the dust bunnies, the carpets that need to be vacuumed, THE BATHROOM, the grime on the stove have been slowly chipping away at my sanity.  Joe and I often work opposite schedules and there just.isn’t.time to clean.

Could I spend 2 hours scrubbing the bathroom on a Wednesday night?  Probably.  But after waking up at 6:00 a.m., working all day, picking up Maisie from daycare and then getting her home, fed and asleep by myself I have little energy left.  Like I can throw in some laundry or load that dishwasher and then I collapse in a heap somewhere.

ANYWAY.  This is one of the most thoughtful gifts Joe has ever gotten me.  Not just because it’s something we all need desperately – but because it’s probably the one thing I WANT more than anything right now.

If that doesn’t make me sound 32 years old, I don’t know what will 🙂


Pics Post | Hair!

February 29, 2016

Maisie’s hair is in a transitional phase.  It’s too long to leave down but too short to do much with other than a pony (or piggies).  Headbands and clips usually last about 37 seconds.


It was so gorgeous out today (we went to the park!  OUTSIDE!) and when I saw some beautiful light streaming into our backyard around 4:00 I couldn’t resist.  I plopped her down on a blanket and started snapping away.  When I checked the back of my camera after the first few shots I couldn’t stop laughing.

That wild and crazy backlit hair is everything.

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Pics Post | My Heart

February 21, 2016

What can I say that I haven’t already said?  I blinked and my squishy little mush mush Maisie is an almost-toddler very rapidly approaching her first birthday.  I won’t go on and on about how I cried when Joe put her infant carseat in the basement today.  AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.


My favorite picture of Maisie to date.  My inquisitive, slightly mischievous and always a little silly girl.  She gives me this look only a few thousand times a day.

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I think I can, I think I can. I hope I can?

February 17, 2016


I am crawling towards the weekend Andy Dufresne style, because Joe is finally off on Saturday.

It’s been almost exactly 1 month since we’ve had a mutual day off.

1 month since Maisie has gotten to spend time with BOTH of her parents.  At the same time.

Instead of exchanging tidbits and saying things like “oh yeah, she does that for me too,” we can just enjoy her together.  We can laugh when she does something funny instead of trying to catch it on video for the other.

I am thankful each and every day to have this healthy child.  But I cannot keep this blog honest without documenting how hard it has been.  How my craving for time together as a family will turn into a physical ache if too much time passes.  My Mom would (and literally did) tell me to “pull up my bootstraps.”

But the issues I am facing were never her own.

Will I ever get to be the class Mom?  Who will take her to ballet or soccer practice?  How will I have time to make sure she is eating nutritious meals for dinner?

These are the thoughts that keep me awake at night.

I know that I need to work.   I know that there are probably more working Moms than stay at home Moms on Long Island.  I know and comprehend these things in my head.

But it’s not my head that’s hurting.

It’s my heart.

TEAR DOWN THE WALL | An interview with Morgan Trinker

February 16, 2016


The Amazing Morgan Trinker

Do you guys want to know a secret?

Whenever I publish a post about how difficult being a Mom can be I have a fleeting and cringe-worthy thought:  There is a woman out there who will read this post amidst a long struggle to become pregnant.  It could be someone I know well or an old Facebook friend I forgot I had or a random reader I don’t know at all.  This person will read my words and think…”she is so ungrateful.”

I have been wanting to address it, I just haven’t been sure how.  Because the truth is that I am grateful.  I am so grateful that I was able to conceive and give birth to my daughter without any complications or delays.  Despite how it may sometimes seem, I really don’t take it for granted.  For reasons I can’t explain, I spent most of my 20’s feeling a nagging premonition that when Joe and I got married and tried to start a family someday there would be issues.  Issues because of my weight or some other unknown factor.  I couldn’t shake the worry.  Trust me, I was as surprised (but more pleasantly so, I imagine) as a teenager 3 weeks after prom when the pregnancy test read positive.

Anyway.  Back to the point.  Every time I’ve had this horrible thought about the mystery woman reading my blog and thinking me ungrateful, I’ve wanted to follow through and scream it from the rooftops – I am grateful.  And I know how lucky I am.

Enter Morgan Trinker.

When I was first getting into wedding photography I started following Morgan online.  We occasionally exchanged business-related emails.  I even flew her in from Alabama to shoot my own wedding 2 years ago.  We have had this very low-key online friendship that allows me to feel like I know her better than I really do and vise versa.

A few weeks ago she popped on the internet and shared this.  I read it with tears rolling down my face.  Her candor.  Her bravery.  Her strength.  Her everything.  I emailed her with some positive vibes and timidly asked her if she would be willing to be interviewed here and she said yes.

For me, sharing Morgan’s story is so important.  I hate that there are invisible walls and veils of secrecy and shame.  Everyone knows someone who has been touched by fertility struggles, miscarriages and general baby-making heartbreak.  I just feel like women in the year 2016 need to stand together because whether your baby lives in your arms, in heaven or solely in your heart and mind….we are all Mothers.


So I wanted to start with “Tell me a bit about your infertility story” but I’m already worried.  Is “Infertility” a 4 letter word?

My husband Jamie and I have officially been trying to conceive for a little over a year, which now officially places us square in the “infertile” category. (The doctors give you 12 months if you’re under the age of 35 and relatively healthy, and 6 months if you’re older than 35 or have known reproductive issues, before they classify you as infertile.) Unfortunately they don’t make a Girl Scout badge for that. I have to admit, for most of the time we were trying until reaching that one year mark, I was in denial about that scary word “infertility” and refused to think of my own situation in those terms. Even when I was put on medication for hypothyroidism last spring, even when I was told I had a tilted uterus, even when I visited a fertility doctor in July and she did an ultrasound revealing two baseball-sized cysts in each of my ovaries and Stage 4 endometriosis, which required me to have an intense laparoscopic surgery a month later, even when we started fertility treatments… I still couldn’t bring myself to say either out loud or to myself that we were struggling with infertility. “We still have a few more months,” I kept telling myself. But then the months passed, and that one year mark rolled around, and at that point we could no longer deny it: I was infertile. There was a period of depression and a whole lot of grieving that shortly followed, but after it passed, I began to ask myself what I had been so afraid of. Why is infertility such a scary, dirty word? Especially when a whopping 1 in 6 couples struggle with it at some point in their journey to having children. It is so much more commonplace than our everyday conversations would lead anyone to believe. But once I began opening up about it to friends and family, I began hearing so many stories from others who had faced similar struggles and I couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t know about them sooner. There is so much shame and fear that hangs like a dark rain cloud over this topic, sending women into secret hiding places to suffer alone. And for good reason: when our fertility is taken away, we feel like a crucial part of our identity as women and as humans is just gone. It’s easy to think that no one could possibly understand the pain we feel, and we don’t want their judgement and pity anyway, so we’ll just lock our emotions up and plaster on a smile for every pregnancy announcement and baby shower without allowing anyone else to know what’s really going on inside of us. And that, my friends, is heartbreaking, and probably the biggest reason why I decided to come forward with my story.

Amazing.  What was it that finally made you go public?  

To put it simply, I was tired of feeling isolated, and I knew that there were women out there who needed to hear my story so that they too would feel less isolated. I was so scared to hit publish on that post, knowing that all my deepest darkest secrets were about to be exposed to the world. But I could no longer ignore the strong urge I was feeling to write it all down and share it, so I just took a deep breath and did it. And you know what? The week following that post has been one of the best in a long time. I was almost immediately inundated with texts, phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, and comments on social media. The Monday I went live, I spent the entire rest of the day in tears at work, reading kind and encouraging and beautiful words from loved ones and strangers alike. I can’t even begin to tell you how many women– women I never would have suspected– came forward and shared their own silent struggles with infertility or disease or depression or all of the above. If I ever thought I was alone before, I was so sadly mistaken. I had simply not taken the opportunity to be vulnerable and to allow myself to be loved on in that extreme vulnerability. I had many women say that I had inspired them with my bravery (which I can assure you, definitely did not feel like bravery to me) to face down their own demons. I had several friends who revealed that they hadn’t been able to acknowledge their depression until I wrote so openly about my own, and one of them said she called her doctor immediately after reading my post to set up an appointment to discuss her mental health. WOW. Just wow. This is the kind of thing that happens when we trade fear and shame for honesty– we find out that we are not special snowflakes who are the only ones suffering. There is so much suffering out there, and it comes in so many shapes and sizes, and the best way to get through it is together. 

The thing that has stayed with me most from your original post was “whatever demons you’re facing right now, you aren’t alone. Never, ever hold up someone else’s perfect Instagram feed as a mirror to your own life, because whether or not we choose to share the innermost workings of our hearts, you’d better believe we’ve all got ugliness in there.”  Such a powerful message for our generation and, in ernest, a lot of my fuel for writing this blog.  Did “unplugging” from social media for a while help you manage your own headspace?

In a word, yes, absolutely. When you are in a dark place, the worst thing you can do is log onto Instagram or Facebook. Because social media feeds are, for the most part, highlight reels. Our “Sunday best,” so to speak. Nice, neat little summaries of all the great parts of our lives with none of the actual messy and hard reality. And to be clear, I totally get that. I understand why. No one likes a Debbie Downer who just complains all the time. And usually we’re only motivated to share things when they are good and happy and inspiring. I am very much that way. That’s why when I go on trips or I’m doing something fun, I’ll post lots of stuff all at once, but then it’ll be crickets for a week after. I think it’s just human nature. The terrible danger in all of it, though, is that it’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing another person’s highlight reel to our own less-than-ideal reality, as if that’s even remotely a fair comparison. No matter how much I knew that what people posted was not always an accurate reflection of their real lives, it was still hard to see. Plus, no matter how much you don’t want it to be, it can be fairly painful when you’re struggling to conceive to scroll through what feel like endless pregnancy announcements, ultrasound photos, pictures of belly bumps and newborn babies. Not because you don’t want the best for your friends– of course you do!– but because these are all just tiny little reminders that the thing you desperately want more than anything is not yours, and may not ever be. So for those reasons, there were several times in the last year where I had to simply step back and take a break from it all. And it was exactly what I needed for a good reality check. BUT the beauty of this experience is that I’ve now been able to return to social media with a much healthier perspective, partially because I’ve learned to thrive without it, but also because I realized what an amazing thing it could be if I chose to simply be more honest. And guess what? Those brutally honest and not traditionally “pretty” posts have gotten way more likes and comments than anything I’ve posted in ages. Which tells me that maybe a few things need to change about what and how we share our personal lives online.

The dreaded question.  We know they meant well, but what is the worst thing someone has said to you? 

Oh man, this is so hard. For one, I feel incredibly lucky to have been surrounded by nothing but love and sensitivity throughout this process. I now am FULLY aware of how loved I am, and it is the best feeling. But there are definitely some general statements that people tend to make in response to these issues that leave the recipient feeling… well… worse. And they most definitely mean well and are only trying to help, which makes it that much harder because you just kind of have to grin and bear it. But one of those sentiments is “Well, I guess everything happens for a reason.” I’m sorry, but no. That’s just not okay. Even if you believe, as I do, that God has a perfect plan and orchestrates all things for His glory, it’s really hard to stomach in the midst of your suffering that there’s an actual reason for it. Because how good could that reason possibly be? It’s different when you are personally able to look back at hard times in your own life and see that ultimately, it was all for the best. To have someone tell you that your total agony in that moment is somehow “for the best” is maybe not the most sensitive phrasing.
Another common response is, “Well, at least you can always adopt!” While I am extremely thankful that both Jamie and I are on the same page about desiring adoption, since that means that no matter what, we’ll be able to be parents, it is by NO means the “solution” for all couples. For one, other couples may have not have the same desire to adopt, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They shouldn’t feel like terrible people if they only wish to have biological children. For two, adoption is not a “fix” for infertility. It doesn’t erase a woman’s desire to experience pregnancy, or a couple’s excitement to see which of their personality traits or physical features their babies will inherit. For three, adoption is a long, very expensive, very emotional process that not everyone is able to undergo. The average adoption takes about 2 years and costs about $25,000-$35,000. It is an enormous investment of time and money and emotional energy, when “normal” expecting couples simply wait 9 months, pay a few thousand bucks for their labor and delivery, and they bring their baby home. So if you do decide to bring up the subject of adoption, make no assumptions, and do so in the most loving possible way.
Photographer Gina Ziedler wrote a beautiful post on how to talk to your friends about their infertility, and I would highly recommend checking it out if you’re feeling unsure of what to say!

What advice would you give someone who is close to a couple struggling to conceive? 

 I think this is such a beautiful and important question, because through all this, I’ve discovered that Jamie and I are not the only ones struggling with our infertility. It also has an impact on our family and friends, who so desperately want to help us and fix it for us but don’t always know what to do or say. And it’s hard, it really is. As a person who is obsessed with controlling and fixing ALL THE THINGS, feeling helpless is not a good look for me. So if you find yourself in that position, feeling helpless as you try to help your friends or family through this difficult time, I’ll give you this piece of advice: all you have to do is simply be there. I think most couples who are going through this don’t necessarily want to be badgered with medical questions or offered advice about what they should do. Chances are, it’s all they can think about and talk about with each other when they’re alone, and they’ve probably already read or heard about all their options and possible solutions and are feeling overwhelmed enough as it is. If they’re anything like me, and I hope to goodness they’re not, they start crying as soon as anyone asks about an upcoming doctor’s appointment and can’t get the information out anyway. So I would just ask them what they feel comfortable with as far as talking about it or receiving advice or guidance. Give them the opportunity to communicate what kind of support they need from you. Be understanding if they maybe aren’t the most present friend or daughter or sister during this time. Love them anyway, because this too shall pass. Don’t assume that they want space and privacy either, because sometimes they might and sometimes they just need community. Live life normally… go on trips with them and go out to eat with them and laugh with them. Talk about anything but babies. Trust me, they really, really need that sometimes, and they will forever be grateful for the comfort of normalcy and routine and fun when they’ve forgotten what it’s like to simply live their lives. It’s so hard to know what to say to someone who is struggling or grieving, whether it’s due to infertility or death of a loved one or illness or whatever it may be. But I think that sometimes the only thing to say is “This really, really sucks. But I love you and I’m here for you, in whatever way you need me to be.”

Thank you, Cat, for inviting me to share more on this today! And thank YOU for taking the time to read. If you have any questions or just need to talk to someone who’s been there, feel free to email me at or find me on Instagram at @morgantrinker.


Morgan.  I’m obsessed with this interview.  I’m obsessed with you (as you already well know).  Thank you.

Welcome to the Machine

February 10, 2016


“Is it social media?”  Love this girl.  She is my sister.

Let me tell you why I love my best friend more than a friend.  Every time life has me down and I start thinking “Why is this so hard?  Is it me?  Am I a wimp?” she will send me a string of texts messages seemingly plucked from my own subconscious to reassure me that I’m not alone.

Because being a working Mom is hard.

Like, really really hard.

On both parents.

For me, it’s the always-there feeling like I’m being spread too thin.  So thin that I can’t really be good at anything.  Most days I feel like a mediocre Mom, wife, employee, business owner, sister, daughter and friend.  Most days I don’t know how the eff I’m doing it.

But that’s the crazy thing.  Somehow, I am doing it (and so is Kaitlin).  Ever since I became a Mother and even more so since returning to work last July, I’ve been so curious about how other families work.  Here is a glimpse into the well-oiled machine of our life.


Notice how “clean the bathroom” and “scrub the stove” aren’t on that list?  No?  You will the next time you come to our house 🙂


Maisie @ 9 Months

February 8, 2016

A little late with this one because ummmmmm didn’t I just do this like 4 days ago?  Maisie!  Stop growing up!


Size:  12 month clothing, size 4 diapers.  At her 9 month well visit she was in the 98th% for height, 95th% for head and 90th% for weight.  My big girl!

Likes:  Going to the Baby Gym with Mommy on the weekends, playing with Poland Spring water bottles and ELMO (still).

Dislikes:  Having her diaper and/or clothing changed.  It is a full-on wrestling match these days.  I usually teeter back and forth between trying to distract her with a toy to keep her happy and just doing it as quickly as possible so she’ll stop screaming.

New Skillz:  Crawling!  Waving and high-fiving (my favorite thing ever).


Maisie and her posse

Monthly Tidbits:  Maisie is a popular girl at school!  Joe has been telling me these tales of glory about daycare drop off for months about how all the other kids will see him walk in with her, stop whatever they are doing and run over yelling “Maisie! Maisie! Maisie!”  I’ll admit, I initially thought he might be exaggerating a bit, until the photo evidence started pouring in.  So hilarious.


I’ll love you forever.  I’ll like you for always.  As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Also, have I mentioned how much I love this child?  She is just such a cool, funny and happy baby.  A few nights ago we were snuggling up before her bedtime and she leaned her forehead right onto mine, so I gave her an eskimo kiss.  She leaned back, smiled wildly at me and then leaned in again for another one.  After the third or fourth repeat I just had to grab a few blurry selfies.  These are the things I never want to forget.  This is why I’m writing this blog.  My God, she just melts me.

Maisie, it’s a privilege to be your Mama.

Boogies are the new black

February 3, 2016


What are you lookin’ at?

So Maisie has now had a runny nose for over a month.  No cough.  No fever.  No ear infection.  Just this stinkin’ boogie nose.  It runs and runs all day and night and when I’m home with her I usually give up on wiping it sometime around noon.  I even tried giving her saline spray, which doesn’t seem to do much other than royally piss her off.

We saw my parents over the weekend who were reminiscing about the fact that as a baby, I also had a constant runny nose that would last pretty much the whole winter.  Ironically it seems I am to blame after all for these boogies that have been driving me insane for weeks.

Sigh.  It must be said that if my biggest current gripe is baby boogers, then all is well.

Maisie, you are the cutest little boogie nose I ever did see! 🙂

Big News

February 1, 2016

This weekend Maisie finally put it all together and started crawling!

Way to go little Mais’….the sky’s the limit kid 🙂


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