New Habits.



While thinking over lots of pieces of my life that work and don’t work today I came to the realization that my life is a pile of habits.  My parenting, my living, my marriage, my exercise, my cooking… etc.  I thought about the ones that I like and the ones I need to change and establish healthier habits.  So what do I need to work on you might ask?

Cooking.  I need to create better and more healthier meals, therefore, shop better… I need to get back to my brain of healthy.  I need the energy that healthy food gives me… I need the boost of drinking tons of water and eating lots of fruit.  I need to change.

Marriage.  When life suffers and sad sets in we start distancing ourselves in our marriage.  When we separate it becomes easier to do so more often… I am going to push myself, in a good positive way, in my marriage.  I am going to talk simple and take time more often.  I am going to pay better attention to Matt.  I am going to make sure I kiss him everytime I leave or he leaves.  I am going to make him hold my hand more.  I am going to pull back our healthy habits and make them habits again.

Parenting.  I am going to be here more.  I am going to go for more walks and make my habits with my girls more meaningful.  I am going to try not to be so tired and be outside more… (thank God spring is here).

Basically, I am going to work for the 21 days over and over to create these new habits and make them my normal.  I want to improve my living and relationships… and I think new habits will help.  So let’s see if this works… if my theory and creating better habits improves my life.

Think I smiled a bunch today.

Thank you God for the sun today.  Thank you for a day that reminded me of flip flops, outside runs and hitting up a playground soon.  I found myself smiling several times today… laughing at little Lucy quips, thinking ahead to summer and enjoying the need for my sunglasses today. 

It’s funny how different I am when the sun is out… I walked upstairs to the classroom for my Boot Camp class and was laughing and telling stories and talking about the girls, their personalities and my messy car.  It was so pre-last year feeling.  I didn’t feel like I was pushing a front… and trying hard to feel happy.  I don’t know if I would say I felt ‘happy’ or ‘joy’… I just felt like me.  I felt a little like old me… man I miss her.  I miss big parts of her… but there are parts of ‘new me’ that I love way more than old me, I guess.  I miss her ability to feel and carry and help people… I miss her light.  I love ‘new me’s ‘ ability to not care about silly things, let things go and her ability to move, laugh, cry, smile, hurt, live and be even with all that has happened in her life. 

I think life and who we are is roughly based on the circumstances and how we handle them… how we live through them.  Sometimes just hanging on is the strongest thing you can do… sometimes letting go is key.  I think the biggest life lesson the I have learned is listening to ‘me’… ‘new me’ and ‘old me’… listening to whether to let it go or to hang on… to focus on energy and move toward to positive… to refocus when I am not listening to me… I hope I love the ‘next me’s ‘… I wonder what they have to contribute…

The SuPeR RoUGh stuff.

Sometimes living with all of this heavy is… I don’t know… wicked, wicked hard.  There are too many piles to keep organized in my brain- kids, life, house, fun, marriage, friends, family… and of course pets (I try to feed them everyday).  It just is.  Every hard feeling or situation is amplified… like when you are embarrassed about something and it amplifies and you feel like the world can see it all.  It is kind of like that.  Hard parts of parenting are harder.  Hard parts of marriage are harder.  Managing all this stuff if freaking ridiculous.  It requires more brain power than I have right now, so many things suffer.  Someday parts of this will soften, I hope… part of this will become more clear… I hope.  I guess we shall see.


Great people.

Reminded today, as I am many days, of my families amazing people.  Had a sewing day for our lovely and amazing Maddie’s Elephants and got to enjoy some of my people.  I got to sit and catch up and create tangible, unique and perfect little elephants to help share Madeline.  I got to be with my herd.  I love those days.  I am so tired at the end of it… so much talking and thinking and sharing… some stories bring be back to Maddie and often I have to explain to some who she was and what happened… it can be really exhausting.


Stand up.

I am just really proud of my Amelia today…we have talked and chatted lately about the way friends and kids can be… how sometimes they aren’t kind and start groups or clubs and they exclude others.  I hate these groups… I hated not being a part of them, I hate how that made me feel like less and small… I hate how it made me feel that different was a bad thing.  I love that Amelia kindly stood up and said that it wasn’t nice or okay.  I hope she is the girl who does that forever… that takes care of her own being and the ones around her… who is aware of people and feelings.  I just wanted to note how proud I am.


ps.  I am also very glad that I am different, now.  I wished I was tiny and skinny and in a way flaky when I was young.  I wished I was invited to all the 6th grade graduation pool parties and sleep overs… but honestly I came out of all that on the better side.  I like me.  I think I am very kind, pretty and funny :)… I am smart… I love people… I like being different.  I better not raise boring, by-the-book and insecure kids that don’t take responsibility for their words or actions… kind, strange and smart kids- that is the goal.


I miss my kind, compassionate and extraordinarily unique lovely…

“Living Without”

I have been working on this post for a while… it is kind of a reflection on life without Madeline.  I don’t know if it is done yet… but here it is:

One never starts this adventure of being a mom thinking that their story will change like mine has.  To think that my daughter Madeline would die before she lost her first tooth, read a chapter book or graduated from Kindergarten… never.

My daughter Madeline, Maddie to many, was an amazing, kind and vibrant 5 ½ year old.  On February 3, 2012 she was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare inoperable brainstem tumor.  She died on February 8, 2012, just 5 days after diagnosis.  Her story does not focus on that date… her story is so much bigger- her death was only one day in just about 2000 days.  Her story is full of living, enjoying, playing, laughing, teaching and running.  Everyone who knew her knows this, and those introduced to her memory after have learned this.  The story is what you fill it with, the life you live, the memories you make and the lives your touch and bring along.  Maddie’s living adventure is over, but her journey is far from over… her life and memory have touched, changed and helped so many people.  She is a blessing- past, present and future.

One year… one year without her.  I can’t believe we are still alive… honestly I never thought life could go on without her, but alas we are here, at the one year mark.  I am pretty sure I have 40+ to go…

In this year I have learned so much about everything- me, my husband, my daughters, my family, my friends, people in general and living.  So many days I could just stay in bed and let the hard take over… but then I remember there is an Amelia and a Lucy to dress and feed and get ready (and would write all over my house in sharpie if I stayed in bed)… so I get up.  If I get up I might as well have some coffee and yogurt, go run… if I am out of the house I might as well grab groceries, stop at the playground and visit friends… I have to meet the bus (or the bus driver will take her back to the garage and she’ll think I forgot her)… and if I am here for the bus I might as well clean the house, do homework with Amelia and make dinner right?  So I guess there is my motivation… I might as well live right?  In the midst of all of this getting up and going about a ‘normal’ day… I often find myself laughing, smiling, crying, singing, thinking, running, moving, crying and sometimes actually enjoying.

There are so many moments when I am flooded with missing her… where the shock that she’s really gone hits me.  Those ‘shock’ moments happen slightly less than before but are still a pretty regular part of my normal.  I love those terrible and heavy moments… they make me know that life isn’t too normal.  I know that sounds crazy, but it scares me to think of a time when I don’t get hit with how much I miss her… then she will seem farther away.  Madeline was my introduction to the hardest job ever and my favorite job… she is the person who made me a mom.  Without her I can’t believe I can still be a mom… but I also know she helps me keep being the mom she loved… even though I have lots to work on.  Sometimes when my world is crazy and busy and full- these moments of missing bring me right back to her.  There is joy in sad, happy in tears and love in the hard… for I had a Madeline to love and she was amazing… no one I know has or had a Madeline.  I am thankful for every moment of her 5 ½ years, she was made for Matt and I, she was made to be Amelia’s big sister and Lucy’s little momma… and as hard as this year has been I know that I am the luckiest mom to have had this perfect set of Musto Chicks.

So one year and parts are harder, parts are easier… everything is changed.  Madeline made her mark on my heart and my soul and my future.  Madeline made her imprint on her father’s heart and brain and soul… and her sisters whole being and futures… and that is just the start.  A huge blessing in all of this has been the start of our family’s foundation to honor Madeline… Maddie’s Mark Foundation.  This is our way of helping other families enjoy ‘best days ever’ and fill their stories up with great memories and simple joy… to help families with sick kids enjoy their time like the world did for us.  This is our new ‘normal’, our mission and our new ‘forever’.  This is the way we can share Maddie’s story, her just over 2000 days of living, enjoying and being a light.  This foundation has changed my future so much.  I am now a ‘grown up’ and I feel like Maddie guided me to this foundation.  I know she is glad we remember her and share her story and bring her along for our little adventures and along this whole life journey.

I hope and pray that year two will bring more memories, more moments fill of Maddie and lots more sharing of her story.  I am so glad she filled my story with so much joy and life… I am glad she helps me live.  I hope year two she helps me continue to move, live, run, smile, cry, plan, create, share and love…

Something nice.

When you feel icky and heavy and sick of the snow- post something nice.

That is my today.  Since the sun is hiding and the ground is hiding and the roads are too crappy to disappear and run around… I will post something nice.

What is nice?

I guess it is nice that it is almost dinner time and dinner is in the oven.  It is good that most of Amelia’s homework is done… and it is nice that Matthew should be home soon.


There… something nice on a blustery March day.


What’s life without the cupcake?


Honestly, I think life is better with the cupcake.  I am a happier, sillier and better at a size 14 (who indulges) than I would be a 10 (who scrimps)… so my choice in this crazy, messy and lovely life is to eat the cupcake.  I refuse to go to a birthday party and look at the delicious and beautiful cake and not eat some.  We get one life.  We have only a certain number of moments… I choose to live in a way that there is always room for a cupcake.  I run, live, move, smile, cry and enjoy this one life… so why not eat the damn cupcake?


Thank you God for a sunny morning.  After weeks of insomnia and anxiety that I don’t normally experience I woke up to the sun in my bedroom- before my alarm went off.  What a treat!  I got up and went out for a short run to make sure I still could move my feet.  Seriously… this past week has been a blur of funerals for two family members, way too much Italian food and desserts, no work outs, crazy and hard and heavy conversations about the future and not much sun.  So thank you God.  I needed that.

Maybe tomorrow will feel brighter and softer… who knows.  Keep that sun here though… it’s too challenging lately to get through the normal… to move, run, smile, cry, breathe… live.

love you darling.