Monday, November 02, 2009


Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
They looked pretty great, until the rain came. We survived! Next year I have to put myself in a costume too.

Very tough to convince Penny not to eat every piece of candy each time she added it to her bag. However, when I told her that the whole point of Halloween was to "collect the candy, not eat it right away", she replied with a big "Oh! O-tay!" - as if we should have told her beforehand.

Later when we were all sitting at home scouring over the candy supply, Eloise says, "Hear that. More rain."

Penny shrugs her shoulders and says, "Aw. Bummer."

Ruby asks, "Um Penny, did you just say bummer?"

She responds, "Yeah. Bummer."

Fits of hysterics.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Like Father Like Daughter...

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
This seems to be the norm around here. I'm really ready for a new month and a different rotation for Myles.

Getting Excited...

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
These girls are just ridiculous... in anticipation of Halloween madness, they have tried on lots of costumes and finally decided. Ruby will be a witch (with lots of makeup, hairspray and "bloody glow-in-the-dark teeth if you can find them at the iParty store Mommy"), Eloise will be a Midnight Fairy (not a very nice fairy I'm told... also in need of lots of glitter and colored hairspray) and Penny will be their pet spider (or as she pronounces it: 'pider).

The face painting shots here demonstrate their affection for the arts - which I might add, they have a knack for. I am so very very afraid to see what they choose for costumes when 2017 rolls around.

However, they are welcome to wear whatever they please at the Eclectic Halloween party in 2022. (That's a nice Wesleyan reference people... sorry.)

Can't wait to show photos from tomorrow, provided that we don't have to wear snow pants underneath everything.

final product

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Miss Nelson Returns

I mentioned that one day I would emerge from the dark fog of my head and post something uplifting - something different. Then I got terrified that perhaps I was the kind of person who lives their life in a permanent state of moderate dissatisfaction. The professionals might refer to me as "depressed". I thought, "Ugh. I'm that complete bore who complains about shit endlessly and never digs herself out of her own misery."

Well, it's taken me a couple of weeks to work with these thoughts and I have successfully shoveled away a fair amount of crap in my head. This is all due to the fact that my children are all in school and there are moments where I can think. Just plain think about what is next, where I want to head, what fulfills me... it's allowed me to be relatively happy for a change. Two couples therapy sessions shed some optimistic light into my world. And I started going to the print shop more... took some refresher courses and am now hooked into the world of etching. There's nothing like working with hazardous chemicals while making art - I swear it's a sick rush. I mean, acid eating metal? Wearing a dust mask? Bottles of varnish and ink with skulls and poison symbols on them? Total adoration. (We are all trying very hard to print our works in the least toxic ways... I swear.)

During my hours in the studio, Penny is either at her new daycare or at a little morning "preschool". The separations have been really really rough for her. She's a totally attached munchkin and has spent most of her waking hours with me exclusively. The guilt of leaving her to indulge myself in my "potential career" is painful. Dropping Penny off with someone else to care for her while I go make art (without a salary to speak of) makes me feel like I'm headed to the local salon for a pedicure while my child suffers with a stranger. In this emotional process however, I can see just how ridiculously important it is to love what you do for a living. That's the message I am choosing to send my girls as they grow up - and I'm sure I'm going to hear it from them when they are 18 (and 30) and remind me of all that I didn't do to enrich their lives - choose what makes you happy. Simple shit.

Aw, this isn't to say I hit the easy road and my life is smooth from this point on. Myles and I continue to struggle. I feel like I work overtime trying to fix "us" - yet I'm finally done with attempting to fix him! (As far as I'm concerned he needs to take responsibility for his own adult garbage. He seems permanently dissatisfied with lots of things, but I'm going to try to ignore that for a little while longer. And if it persists beyond his residency, then I will re-assess.)

Phew. I must say it's great to write shit down again. Good to be back...

On a funny note - a few weeks ago I was telling Ruby that it wasn't a great idea to put her hands down her pants... and she replied, "Why not? Daddy puts his hands down his pants all the time."

(Dying laughing.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two down, one to go...

About 5 years ago I remember taking the very young, very scheduled and very stroller-bound Ruby and Eloise on a walk up Church Street in Burlington. I was attempting to purchase something at a store called Scribbles, when the mom behind me in line said, "I just dropped my twin girls off at Kindergarten," in a very disconnected, deadpan kind of way. Immediately I wanted to bother her with all kinds of questions, as I felt I was living in some kind of existential hell with two babies... but instead I replied, "Oh wow! That must be quite a milestone!" She said yes, and we kind of awkwardly parted ways. For whatever reason, that meeting stuck in my head for all these years - as many parents remind me time and again that your children aren't young forever and your time with them is fleeting. Honestly, that's the only stuff that gets me through the variety of struggles and worries on a day to day basis. Sure, it's hard to cherish moments... believe me... but when my nervous girls walked up to the school yard this morning, begging me not to leave their side, I was shocked at how badly I wanted them to leap right in with their friends and head off to the classroom!

But when their teacher gathered all the kids together in a single file line and whispered something magical to them, El and Ru both turned to us and shouted, "Bye Mommy and Daddy!!!! See ya later!"

My heart moved into my throat, and my eyes watered over a bit.

Today is the beginning of something very new for me... for all of us. If anything, I'm feeling confused about what lies on the horizon. I promise to keep everyone posted. Penny starts at a new school next week!

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's About Time...

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
My munchkins with me at sunset on Steps Beach, back in July. This photo feels like it was ages ago when the summer was new... when we had to wear sweatshirts.

Now we are melting. Sweating. Arguing. Complaining. Searching out swimming opportunities and preparing for Kindergarten on August 26th.

The summer months are too fast for me - perhaps the only people who savor the time are the kids, who can barely wait 5 minutes for me to fry an egg.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


My month away in Nantucket was a treat-and-a-half. But not totally devoid of frustration, lack of sleep, high-maintenance child-wrangling, bugbites, unwanted sunblock applications, and girl drama... you could call it a "vacation" to a degree. I prefer to think of it as "Time away from husband feeling kind of single-mom-ish but supported by my family-cation".

Nantucket is a fantasy world. It doesn't surprise me that 13 years ago I fell in love there. There is such a sweetness in the air - cultivated no doubt by ocean salt spray and creepy old spirits from the whaling days. Wild sunset skies... dunes... evening swims. Shadows and crickets. Falling asleep to the gentle sounds of rowdy vacationers and lonely foghorns. The rain on our rooftop was worthy of a relaxation podcast - and at that, it only rained at night or in the early morning. Fog burned off to give us mostly beach-worthy days... the kids were in paradise.

Penelope turned 2 on July 3rd, my mom turned 66 on July 4th. I feel like I'm 45, lining up for a turn in the Mid-life Crisis Circus. So I chopped about 8 inches of hair off my head... a trendy low-maintenance bob, I guess. I went to a bunch of incredible yoga classes taught by one of my favorite teachers from Providence, I rode my bike, I ran 2 road races. I went out and drank too much on more than one occasion. Got my swerve on. (I love the drunken illusions when your belly's full of gourmet treats: the ebb and flow of beautiful humans groomed like polo ponies, walking arm in arm, tiptoeing across the cobblestone streets, stumbling on the brick sidewalks. There's always a sunburned booze-hound sailor guy somewhere who laughs so loud that he rattles the glasses behind the bar. Oh, and those goddamn late-night fish tacos. I would kill for one right now.) There were these moments that felt really really good, yet somehow I thought that every second away from my kids was a huge burden on my mom or a detriment to my girls' mental health. I know I know. Silly. But feeling guilty is my great talent.

Leaving the island hurt like punches. I mean, for the first time in ages I had to blink back a couple of tears while we all tossed pennies off the ferry deck (local tradition: toss a penny from the boat as you round Brant Point Lighthouse to insure that you will return to the island again). And I'm not one to get sad. Shocking.

But we are home to the new rainforest of Vermont. Pests have devoured many of our garden delights... and perennials. Fucking slugs ate all the marigolds. The local organic food is spectacular however, and I'm pretty inspired in the kitchen. The twins got their Kindergarten class assignment and fortunately it's the teacher that I got the best first impression from. She has a guinea pig in her classroom, which will do her huge favors in the likability department. Ruby and Eloise begin gymnastics/soccer camp tomorrow - leaving Penny and I to do what we do best in the mornings: errands. (Poor portable Penelope...) As for Myles, he's in the pediatric intensive care unit this month, and then he gets a week vacation (that he'll spend half of tiling our bathroom). I'm relatively solo-momming yet again. Almost like Kate Gosselin, minus 5.

Well, one of these days I'm going to sit down to this fucking blog and tell you all something uplifting - I swear. Something monumental and enlightening. Something joyful.

Just you wait...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Frantic Emptiness

Vermont summer nights have brought us late bedtimes, visiting cousins, fireflies and slugs. Deer have discovered my perennial garden and I am restless while sleeping... waiting to see the motion detection light come on and then to shout out my window like a grumpy old lady as a sweet little doe scampers away.

The twins are like monsters without school, Myles is working 7 AM-7 PM this month with about 2 free weekends. Otherwise it's a 6 day work week for him. We barely communicate. Apparently the kids sense that something is "off", and have a hard time figuring out how to get our attention in positive ways. I barely want to have play dates because the girls ruthlessly torture their friends with verbal abuse. They know just how to hurt feelings... and mine too. So I've done a bit of an overhaul with how things will operate in the house - from earning their treats and allowance, to a zero tolerance policy with attitude and rude language and most importantly - reinforcing the benefits of positive behavior. It seems to be working. The only problem lies in my energy level to keep up the consistency. Any glitch in my "system" gives poor results, no doubt.

A Facebook "friend" (we've never met) who recently gave birth to twins updated her status as being: "scattered, smothered and diced". I couldn't relate more. I am a greasy, fatty, chopped up Waffle House hash brown. I wanted to tell her that things would really improve once the kids were older... but that would have been a cliche and a lie. Twins do have the bonus of a built-in buddy when they grow up, but they also have a significant amount of "twinny" baggage to deal with socially. And to be a parent to their twin-ness is complicated. (For example, inviting 2 friends to play usually works better than inviting 1, and telling one they did a great job making their bed when the other is being a grump and won't cooperate makes me feel like I'm picking favorites.)

Fortunately the end of this month will allow Myles and I to take a trip to Southwest Harbor Maine for a friend's wedding. We have enlisted the help of his dad and sister for the weekend and we'll take a 6 hour drive out there. Hopefully we won't want to kill one another by the time we get back and we can have a bit of relaxation... it is our 6 year anniversary on the 28th after all.

The following Monday we head to Nantucket for the month of July. No Myles, save for 1 weekend. It should be altogether weird. I don't have better words - and I don't know how I'll feel. Part of me doesn't care how I feel. I'm really tired of figuring out feelings, mine or anybody else's. It's pretty lonely. Pretty empty. Pretty depressing.

Last night I had a dream that I was running a marathon - the Middletown CT Marathon (which doesn't exist). I started out with a group of friends, running at what we thought was the front of the pack, but somehow we got separated. My running seemed slow and frustrating. My feet like cinder blocks, my stride short and useless. I turned to a friend and said, "just so you know, when you are running in a dream, it's impossible to lift up your thighs and really pick up the pace." She seemed confused. But I knew I was in a dream. So I switched to a side step. It was much easier... skip skip-skip... We eventually finished, and I crossed the line sideways. Nobody was there to greet us. The following day Myles was scanning the results in a local newspaper. "How'd I do?" I asked. "6 hours 25 minutes, " he said in a monotone.

And that's all I remember. Frantic. Empty. Scattered. Smothered. Covered. Chunked. Diced.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reduction in Forces

Dr. Webster is on another overnight at the hospital which has left me feeling refreshed and organized. The last few months have been uncharacteristically easy for Myles - he's had minimal call and plenty of free weekends, and the added bonus of arriving home before dinner time on weeknights. Honestly though, I'm always relatively surprised at how thankful I am for these evenings alone.

My thoughts have been bent on the concept of self-change recently. It's put me in a pretty low, dark, shadowy place... I'm trying really hard to figure out what components of my life seem worth fighting for. I'm attempting to have feelings about the course of my 30's, rather than just following the path that has been carved out by my husband's career. And then there's the idea that I will scar my children deeply if I don't give them every bit of my attention. My therapist is trying to discern whether or not I have created the concept of "Perfect Mom" from my mother's example, or from societal impact. (I say it's both. And perhaps it's exacerbated by the latter. True ignorance might really be bliss... how sick is that?)

But does anyone really do a full persona-overhaul? Or better yet, an ego-overhaul? And at what cost? I mean, I'm only 33... I feel like I could be 50. There's plenty of time for change... it only took me 20 years to get sucked into my current mental status. All that being said, I love thinking that I have more to offer the world - and simultaneously that very thought terrifies me.

How to proceed?

(New mantra: Harvey Milk Harvey Milk Harvey Milk... or as the wise Eminem once proclaimed, "You betta lose yo self in the music the moment...")

I won't lie. My head is like soup... too many ingredients. I'm hoping if I boil it long enough it will reduce to something yummier.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 years later

I've been looking for appropriate words to describe my experience at the Wesleyan 10 year reunion... and last night Lyllah left me a message on the phone that said, "um, did we just go to our college reunion, or was that just a really bad dream?"

And she's kinda right. First of all, we just went for a very short period of time - and literally bolted out of the place on Sunday morning - but the entire thing was such a wacky onslaught of emotions and memories. Some flashbacks were very entertaining (same staff at Neon Deli, just more wrinkles and grey hair), others were just plain depressing (brand new Usdan campus center feels unfamiliar and un-cozy, the field behind West-Co where I spent some time hallucinating is now a huge set of new dorms). Oh, and how could I forget to mention the gorgeous young graduates? These kids wear next to no clothing... and they do it very very well. My wrinkles and sagging belly button felt entirely out of place... along with my wedding ring and collection of my kids photos in my iPhone.

Not everybody goes back to their college after 10 years feeling 100 percent happy. That seems normal. But I wonder how many of the people I saw there would have said, "Shit. I really didn't know what I had offered to me back then. Too bad I took advantage of NONE of it." What a spoiled, confused, misdirected little brat I was back then... an enormous waste of money! Really, part of me feels like Wesleyan is for other people - people who know how to complete their assignments on time and are politically active... but another part of me feels like I got to be a part of an extraordinary place (the kind of place that draws graduation speakers like Barack Obama, Anna Quindlen and Oprah) and I was supposed to find my "thing" while I was there.

It came as no surprise to see that none of my classmates have 3 kids. None of the women I saw had changed their last names after being married. And I didn't meet a single stay-at-home-mom (but I admit, I wasn't searching them out). What I'm getting at is that it has been difficult to feel like I'm attacking my life in a different pattern - to put my career off for later in my life. The thought of going backwards into an academic mindset seems nearly impossible, especially in the creative department, because I feel wildly outdated and old. There's part of me that feels ashamed for not continuing some form of work while dealing with my kids - as both a model for them and as a method to make the transition back to work or an advanced degree easier.

We all have regrets. I see that clearly every day. I just have so much doubt in my ability to tackle some of the regrets that might be lurking around the corner.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
A double rainbow appeared in our back yard a few weekends ago. I have never seen anything quite like it. Moments beforehand, Myles and his dad were caught outside in a hail storm that dropped cherry-sized ice nuggets from the sky. Jim came in and said, "I bet this will blow over in 5 minutes and there will be a rainbow." But we got TWO.

This time of year seems about as busy as Christmas for me, with the end of school and outdoor maintenance, pending reunions, weddings and housekeeping galore. It's enough to drive me to insanity because I can't figure out how to feel good about putting my personal goals aside for a few weeks. And then comes true summer - where I kind of give up everything and my brain farts out to the fantasy land of Nantucket. All three kids are completely excited for our month long visit. They are obsessed with my mom and her grandmotherly magic, and they understand just how delicious that "faraway island" is... and I just adore sharing it with them.

But that escape is such an escape! And I very easily slip into the romantic side of my brain, filled with that nostalgia... the memories of being young and in love... tan young and athletic... entirely carefree and self-centered. Nantucket can be almost painful for me as a parent - and as a person struggling with the complexities of marriage.
It's hard to anticipate my time spent there, where my Mom takes care of us, and Myles is here in Norwich, working endlessly and begging us to come home (to share his boredom perhaps).

I still need to make it through June up here though. Tomorrow we are headed to NYC for our annual adventure with my entire family. Penny is so excited to take the subway... she shouts, "'Tain ride!!!! Penny!!" and jumps up and down, sometimes so vigorously that she falls over. Eloise and Ruby want to go see the dinosaur bones and get "a manicure with tiny flowers from those really nice ladies"... then there's lots of discussion about who is getting what color and what design on what finger. We had a big discussion about what kind of soaps they have in the hotel bathroom.

Maybe my next post will have some reflections on heading to Middletown CT for my 10th college reunion... wowzas!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Penelope in the Sky

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
It feels like forever since I have written. So many things have happened and I am constantly swept up in everyday moments. Blogging is the last thing on my mind... but it nags a bit in the back of my head. I wonder if keeping my life on file like this is helpful at all. In the attempt to get my creative career underway I have joined a print studio, taken a workshop and started making things again. My psychotherapy has been wildly helpful in initiating this process as I discover how bizarre-o it feels to NEED to make things, even if ultimately I hate the thought of putting my art out there for other folks to see.

Seems kind of odd, considering that this self-indulgent blog process is pretty much a "hey, look at me and my life!" kind of display. I guess that's why I've been shying away from writing. That and the fact that my situation with Myles hasn't really improved to any remarkable degree... I wish so much that I could say we are making great strides, but our relationship often seems like one step forward, six steps back. I don't blame him. I just don't.

A lot of it has to do with me. I'm such a sucker for the "family" that we have. But I am more concerned than ever before about the model that I am presenting to the girls. We actively demonstrate that poor communication is acceptable, and that settling for minimal affection and attention is a fine way to live! How horrible to say this - to know these things, yet not fully understand how to initiate true change in our behavior patterns. Thankfully I do feel more alert and aware of how I'm acting in front of the kids... what kind of energy I'm throwing out in the world, and I clearly recognize how they feed off of it, and occasionally spin it back in my direction.

Early spring brings changes though. I am hopeful. Just seeing people in lighter clothing, bearing my pale arms in public and spending time on playgrounds has opened up my mind a bit. We are planning the summer out. I'm gearing up to make lots and lots of stuff for a grad school application/portfolio due in the fall.

When I'm feeling more fun and less heady, I'll tell you some stories.

Monday, March 23, 2009

And Now We Are Five

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
Ruby and Eloise turned five on March 14th. For the first time ever we had a real (super awesome) birthday party... complete with fairy costumes, lots of friends from school, a piƱata, goodie bags and a craft. It's taken some time for us to actually live in a home that could accommodate such a party - but I've always wanted this for my kids. Home parties are so much fun, if you can get over the glitter in the rugs, the frosting imbedded in your throw pillows, the noise, the moderate dramas regarding who gets which piece of the cake decoration, etc.. We even allowed our guests to bring gifts for the first time (which will be pared down for future parties), but we had them open them after everyone left. When you have twins, the present total adds up quickly and it's just a gross display of crap... that being said, they got great thoughtful gifts and they were enormously appreciated.

Having 5 year olds is a dream. The only drawback is that they seem so grown up that I can hardly feel connected to them. They do have some shocking Mollie and Myles character traits though.

At the current moment, nothing is funnier to them than poop, butt-cracks, boogers, vaginas and of course, the mysterious penis. The experts say this is a developmental phase. "Bathroom talk" is normal for their age...

another confirmation that I am a giant 33 year old child and that we are having a ton of fun together.

Penny. Thigh-High

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
This lumpkin puts me over the edge with her cuteness. She stole Ruby's socks and threw them on herself.

Monday, March 02, 2009

endless winter

We were hit by an incredible stomach virus last week. I've never seen the kids so sick. It took us a good 5 days to get any real appetite back. I think I did about 900 loads of laundry.

My hope for the future is that I can begin to post photos and write interesting things again.

There is a massive re-organizing campaign in my home now. Martha Stewart Living should come and do a photo shoot.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

sucked up

I know I've been out of touch but I haven't been able to justify blog entries as a decent way to spend my time. Instead I've decided to eat cookies on the couch while watching recorded episodes of America Idol, Top Chef and Intervention. It's all very healthy, really.

Amidst the endless coughing and runny noses the big girls have learned how to ski. I can't even begin to illustrate the pride and joy I felt as I watched them zooming back and forth down the little slope at the Dartmouth Skiway... then off to the j-bar, like it was some skill they were born with. In my excitement I went out and purchased my very first pair of skis! I have been a skier on and off throughout my life, but I always rented... now I have no excuse but to get my ass out there. I have to admit, I do like the chair lift just as much as I like the skiing-down part. Shit, I could write a short story about the chair lift...

We have enjoyed a couple of skating days as well - one in particular stands out because it was in Ru and El's classmate's back yard. There is a group of houses that share their yards in the center of town, and they ice over a large patch of grass, set up a few picnic tables and 2 fire pits. Add a large pot of hot chocolate... instant coziness. Norwich is fucking cool.

It has been difficult to keep any of my own thoughts straight amidst all of the winter fun. I mean, I have managed to attend two movies and play 2 nights of tennis, I saw a folk guitar player, attended 2 family contra dances, eaten a "local foods" supper, and even braved a contra dance by myself (weird... really fucking weird, but such an experience). I went swimming with Lyllah and her niece at the new aquatics center and then headed over to check out her boyfriend's farm... we saw a lamb that was born that morning. People all around us don't seem phased by winter and thankfully this has helped me not resent it. The cold weather is a given, making 20 degrees seem more than reasonable, and a 62 degree house seem bearable when you step out of the shower.

With the continuation of my therapy and some patchy (okay, two) couples therapy sessions, I have started to pay attention to me... I have abandoned my semi-martyr mentality from the past! (Liberating.) Life is richer in a way - or busier at least.

On the down side, I think I have really pulled away from Myles. Somehow that seems okay. Scary and okay, all at once. I have had a bunch of moments (now being yet another one) where I remember how capable I am when I'm on my own. The nights that Myles spends at the hospital seemed painful and scary when we first moved here (and even more so when we lived in Providence), and now they feel almost delightful. There's something really odd that happens when Myles comes home, like I want to throw all of my responsibilities at him or make him do equal amounts of kid care and house maintenance. Making our lives function together as a unit has become painstaking, and we quietly argue about the most inane crap. I hate having to admit stuff like this. It's not flattering and plenty of you are wondering why I would share such personal information - but I'm working it out. When I hide for a month and keep secrets from everyone my thoughts are sucked up into a dark and useless part of my brain. Getting all of this garbage out to my far away people serves as motivation.

Which reminds me, where are you everybody? Come and play up here. The winters are better in these parts.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ice Storm Madness

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
You should hear the sound it makes when one of these trees snaps in half... I could have sworn a bear was trying to bust down our front door. Eloise came into the bedroom when it happened and said, "was that a hunter?"

Fortunately Myles' roof was strong enough and there wasn't any damage.

Since this shot was taken, the building has gained some sides and is pretty much done. It makes our property look twice as nice. We are hoping for a true barn dance at some point this spring/summer... live music and keg stands. Camping welcome.

The Barn is Done...

Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
I caught quality winter sun shining all over the new garage. Bring on the chicken coop!


Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
My freshman year college roommate got married last weekend at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Definitely added to the top 5 most fun wedding list...

Photo 39

Photo 39
Originally uploaded by mollieholliday
I love my computer in the basement. The girls are into posing for the built-in camera... myself included.