New Year… resolutions?

I have always felt the lack of a need for ‘New Year’s Resolution’s’… I always thought seriously why not just change and move toward a more positive ‘you’ always?

Not that we are always in need of moving to a better us, sometimes it is nice to sit in our comfy yoga pants, know that you can work out tomorrow and eat a bag of doritos and drink wine with no reservations or regret… sometimes it is ok, healthy and good even, to just be kind to the person we are right now.  To just reflect on all the hard work you have done just to be the ‘you’ that you are right now.  To look at the challenges, goals, hardships, happy’s, blessings and achievements that this ‘you’ at this moment has overcome, enjoyed, shared, recognized or worked hard for.

This year I kind of did that, I lived to get by and be just this me.  I was reminded often to be kind to myself… and love me.  I do, I love me when I can feel my happy, bold self… I love me when I can wear something and feel pretty with my wobbly bits, I love me when I think of something really great to write or fun to do… I love me when I react to my girls exactly how I want to… I love me.  Sometimes I am not kind to me though.  This year I think all I lacked, other than Madeline, my marriage and my security and safe, was challenges.  I need a challenge for me, a kind one, an attainable one.  I need to finish something that is healthy and hard and helps my mind find a healthy pathway for it’s thoughts.  I need to set up some races and commit to something.  I have been let off the hook this year by so many for committing, with good reason, but I am ready to put my toe in and test the commitment waters, if that makes sense.  I am ready to pay for a race, to train for a goal and to complete it.  I am ready to feel that end high of knowing I just did something that I always thought God didn’t make me to do.  I love it.  I miss it.  I will find it.

Back to resolutions… I am here, standing on my soapbox admitting I was wrong.  That there is sometimes a need to set a date as a goal to commit to something… a kind of point of reference for improvement or change.  I guess New Year’s is as good a day as any, but it represents a fresh year, a new number, 365 days and beyond that have not been written.  It feels like a great starting point.  So my resolution:

To commit to a kind, difficult, healthy goal.  To commit to keeping my body, mind and soul healthier on this journey.  To get some miles between me and the past few years… maybe a lot of miles.

Happy New Year’s to all of my amazing Polka Dot Tree Climbers… thank you for reading, following, sharing and supporting me and mine in this journey.  I am changed and blessed.

❤ love you darling.  One more New Year closer to champagne, cheese platters and ball drops in heaven…

A little bit of tonight.


Sometimes she just makes us be happy… in the moments that I don’t want to be at all.  I swear.  Went to Mass, had dinner, drove to Maddie’s Spot and sang corny terrible carols… plugged in her lights and tree and played in the dark at the cemetery… went out looking at all the crazy fancy rich people’s lights and are now home… tired and getting tucked in.  (Santa has some work…).  The hard and heavy and sad are often met with some way out that we didn’t even know existed.  It isn’t the same, but it is right now, it is this life that we have now.  I think it is the best way that Madeline can share in our day- by forcing us to smile and be silly.

Here is a song that I love, discovered on Pandora Tran Siberian Orchestra, and love.  Its deep, heavy and kind of dark… in sound.. but it is uplifting.  It is real.  I love it.  Enjoy… share, spread love, smile, craft, cook, laugh, dance, don’t take a shower, order food, stay home, go out, drink wine, play in the snow… whatever it is that you and your enjoy.

Live… with Kelly and Michael (YIPPEE)

Long ago, in a place that is hardly recognizable to my present, I had a very new, very fresh baby named Madeline.  She was born on June 25, 2006 and I was  I know, I know I was 23 or 24 (that would require knowing whether I am 31 or 32 now… and I can’t usually remember)… and that isn’t too young a baby right?  Only I was very immature.  I still am in a lot of ways… but this is going in the wrong direction…

Back then, when it was just team Maddie and momma, and we didn’t have anything to do.  Back then, when the rest of the people in my ‘3 hours away from home’ world went to work and school and business trips and happy hour and basically life outside the home… I had no one really.  It was a shock for me.  I am a crazy social person.  I find my happy when I am surrounded… I love people.  I think I need people.  Back then though, it was only team Maddie and momma…

Every morning I would wake up as Matthew got ready for work and he would bring Madeline to me.  I would snuggle and feed her until we got up.  Then I would make coffee (which I never drank until I met Madeline)… and sit on the couch with Madeline, my coffee and my boppy and watch Live with Regis and Kelly.  I loved that show, and often joked that all of my current events and news came from the first 19 minutes of Regis and Kelly.  After that show I would have breakfast and then Madeline and I would set out on one of our 2-8 walks that day.  I swear I used up a set of wheels that summer.  It was a different, hard and shocking new life for me.  I missed the old me, but loved Madeline and the ease/feeling of being her mom.  I loved that I was darn good at it.  It was so lonely though.  As time moved on and my morning habit/chat was with Regis and Kelly, I got to know them.  I felt like they were my friends, that Kelly was kind of my only mom friend.  I loved hearing about her kids and husband and life… I loved seeing that she took such great care of herself and was so outgoing and real.  I honestly felt a friendship, be it one sided.  I know I would have been that lady that saw her in the park and ran over and started talking to her about her life, day and social calendar.  I was that crazy lady.  Seeing her filled a void that I had, a person like me, in a way.  I know, I know it is crazy- but at least it wasn’t a useless crush, but a ‘friend’ I created to make me feel less lonely and vulnerable.  I told Matthew “Someday I am going to see them, someday”.  I so wanted to meet Regis.  He made me laugh.  I so wanted to hug Kelly (and not get arrested for stalking)… I just wanted to let them know that they helped me.  That their company, in a way, saved me.

Fast Forward to today… or better yet yesterday.  I got an email from a friend in Philly, who I have been trying to connect with and meet in NYC.  The email was a picture of tickets for January 10 at Kelly and Michael!  I have gotten more excited as the moments passed!!!!!!!  I am so excited, and most likely I will just be audience person number 174 and see this show I have always wanted to see and just see Kelly and hear her… and go home.  For me though it is so.much.bigger.  It is kind of like my very first business trip.  It is a little break from this life.  It is a cool opportunity to meet a friend I have met on this current journey and get to know each other more.  It is a chance to go to the city that surrounds you with people and noise and busy and energy.  I can not wait.  I keep hoping that somehow, someway I will get the chance to say hello to Kelly and let her know the role she played in my life.  I know it is corny… but I sat with Madeline everyday and enjoyed her show… and now Madeline isn’t here and she is a big memory for me.  I would love to get to share Madeline, Maddie’s Mark Foundation and who knows welcome her into our ‘herd’.  I will be realistic and create my own ‘best day ever’.  I will enjoy a couple days of freedom and my first ever unofficial business trip.  To most those are little things that happen all the time… but to me these are things I have looked forward to and never felt like I would get… I mean seriously look at my resume!  I am in no place to be qualified for a business trip- but here it is :).

I am lighter today.  I feel good.  I am excited.  That never happens… who knows maybe there is some Christmas Spirit or Magic in my heart after all… maybe Maddie is helping me find and reach some of those things she loved too…

❤ you darling.

So this is Christmas…

madeline christmas 5

madeline christmas 4

madeline christmas 3

Gone are the days of regular and normal holidays and traditions.  Gone are the days of being blissfully unaware of how hard life would become.  Gone are the days of having all of my lovely ladies to share Christmas traditions, Faith and time with.  Reality hits hard sometimes, very hard.  There is so much positive and good in this life, even with all of the hard junk.  I am reminded, almost all the time, of the gifts God has and continues to give us.  Some can choose to not see them… to see it at coincidence or good luck- but it isn’t.  We are surrounded and carried when we need it most.  I know that is not earthly… that it is God sending people, putting things on their hearts, minds and souls… I know it is Him taking care of us.  I know it is Him helping us on this journey.  I know that He is trying to make some things easier so we can handle the other things, and feel the feelings we must, grieve in the way we need to.  Others might think I am nuts or all crazy Catholic Girl- be know that I am right.

Yesterday we celebrated Christmas with Madeline.  It was… is perfect the right term?   I mean it would have been perfect if she were there to hug, hold and snuggle… it was just right the way the world is now.  Thursday night marked Devon’s (Superman Devon) one year angel anniversary… and the girls and I attended a wonderful balloon tribute.  It was really a beautiful hard night… and it made me know that I need to actually set up Madeline’s Christmas celebration.  So I left that night to do that.  I emailed a bunch of our family and friends and picked Saturday AM for the time.  My friend Amanda (who is amazing) asked if she could take over planning.  I was so relieved… so Saturday morning we only had to show up.  I walked up to Maddie’s Spot and was really deeply happy, maybe joyful, to see it so decked out and special.  The tree was perfect, the lights are perfect… it is exactly how it should be and I was not capable of doing it.  People started showing up, balloons and ornaments in hand.  There was hot cocoa, coffee, donuts and Christmas carols.  It was perfect.  Devon’s mom and Myle’s mom were there… and I feel like we got to celebrate Christmas with our angels… it was as perfect as it can get right now.  We hung out, shared, decorated the tree, ran, had snowball fights… then everyone went on their way to celebrate Christmas, family… and be reminded of this lovely amazing angel that has changed them.

Those are some of the best.people.ever.  I assure you that they, and some others, are gifts to our family from God.  There is no other explanation.  I am proud and glad and happy and moved and blessed.  Enjoy these pictures… I love them.  They are happy and real and honest and joyful ways to celebrate Madeline and for us all to come together and share her…


kills me and helps me.

Sadly many of the things that help me, hurt.  I love to do them, see them, hear them over and over.  Feeling the pain is part of this process.  Some say create diversions… move, run and seek light and happy.  I will tell you from experience that this idea is wrong- sometimes.  Sometimes it is the most healthy thing to just jump in, swim around and really let the pain, hard, heavy, grieving, sad and hurt surround you.  How else can you feel it and know?  How else can you really find the good and happy and light?  I don’t think you can.  You can put all your junk away, tuck it into corners of your brain, push it down deep into your core, hide it for later or never.  The thing is- it will always be there.  One must feel it, find it and let it go to move, live, breathe and really feel.  To feel good you must be capable of feeling bad.  To feel very happy you must be capable of feeling very sad or mad.  Every feeling has… I guess a cost.  You could live in the middle and live on a tiny wavelength of feelings… a little happy, a little sad, some depressed- but true living is big.  Feeling is awesome.  Feeling happy is so light… so bright… so positive.  Feeling sad can be so hard… but it is cleansing.  Feeling mad is a need too…

Today- I was back and forth, back and forth.  I freaking miss Matthew, but don’t want to see him.  He breaks my heart.  Over and over again… kills me and feels good.  So tonight… I dive in.  I am going to swim in it, jump into it and let it completely surround me.  I hope I will wake up tomorrow and feel cleansed… maybe even lighter.  It’s hard to imagine how connected we were and weren’t.  I miss the Matthew who loved me… all of me.  I miss the Matthew I couldn’t live without.  I can live without this one, have done it for a long time.  So while I sit and feel and dig and let the hard wash over me… I will share the song that I feel works for today.  I feel this song.  Those words were written about this loss… this exact loss.  Its comforting to hear, yet at the same time my heart hurts that someone, maybe many, have felt what my heart, brain and soul feel right now.  I wouldn’t wish this mess on anyone else… and wonder if this mess was made for only me… if these are all things that God knows I can carry, but that I need to remember to ask for his help…

Brrr… blah…

Today was a productive day, but it was so blech.  It was one of those days you just move and make yourself smile and make yourself do work, laundry, play, cook… just because it is better that way.   That is how I feel today.

I got up early and worked out, but was really sad to come home to no one but Sparky.  I used to work out early and come home and start the day… when it was nice out or safe I could go up to Maddie’s Spot and have coffee and start my day with sweat and peace.  Today it was sad.  The sweat was great.  The cold made me want to go home… but then I came home and it felt cold and lonely.  I tried to tell myself “look you have a couple of hours” … “enjoy the morning peace”… but it isn’t enjoyable.  It’s sad and lonely.  Thankfully Matthew brought the girls back for Amelia to catch the bus and for me to take Lucy to school… I would have had a really hard day if I didn’t see them this morning.

I managed to be productive today and catch up on some important work.  I guess that is a plus.  I had to write my resume for the kind and generous award Matthew and I have been recognized for… the YMCA President’s Award.  It is a big freakin’ deal.  I am really proud and honored to receive it and get to share Madeline and share Maddie’s Place Playground.  The YMCA has always been so important and special to us.  I never thought I would be able to be a member of the YMCA and was very blessed when our family was able to join and our girls went to preschool.  It is a really big blessing in this life.  To be honored with a President’s Award is a HUGE blessing.  I don’t know how to thank them and I am so embarrassed of some of the current life junk we have… it is confusing and complicated and blech.  I know it will all work out… but there are strange decisions to be made quickly.  I had to write the woman organizing and collecting information to ask her to change how we were to be listed and presented- no longer Matthew and Erin Musto… but Matthew Musto and Erin Musto.  Sound like a small change but those small changes break my heart.  Yesterday we had to get headshots… at the same time but not together.  We aren’t together anymore.  Today the blah was just that.  A cold, cold day that I made dinner and cleaned and there was no one to come home and be with.  Today I got to look forward to just me and my girls.  I don’t know what time Matthew got out of work, if he was safe getting home…  I honestly don’t even know if he was at work.  I didn’t talk to him today.  That is part of our now.  It sucks.  It hurts.  It is shocking every time I have to re-separate.  He’ll have a few days of being around and then I am kind of used to him again, he is confusing and now I am left confused and lonely and it is like a fresh gone.  I think Matthew likes me now that he doesn’t have to be married to me.  What a crappy and hard and painful feeling.

To try to un-blech the day we did crafts and had dinner and are going to watch a fun and happy Christmas movie… maybe my heart will feel better.  This is a cold and heavy and lonely time of year… especially when you keep losing pieces of your family.  It is like my heart keeps breaking and brain can’t even comprehend all of this loss…


Jennifer Nettles and Some Sugarland oldschool…

I have always listened to music and thought of how it relates to my life, either now or in a different time.  Sometimes it helps me reflect on that situation or piece of life and be glad there is someone who can put it into words and share.  I have always, always, always loved Sugarland.  I love the rock country stuff, I love the soft stuff… but I love Jennifer Nettles.  She can make you feel, she can share an emotion and an experience and it brings you to it.  It is a gift.  I have related to her music through the years and usually carried along my little anthem of that time… Stuck Like Glue (to a younger and more fun time in my life and relationship), Baby Girl (to a more- if you can believe I could be more nieve and young- time for me), Something More (when I felt like a crazy and lonely at-home-mom), All I Wanna Do (I can still hear Madeline singing do-oo-oo-oo-oo… miss her and her back up singing)…

The song Already Gone, never fit fit into my life… parts did.  I felt that I fell for the brown eyed boy, and it was far too soon… but no one could have stopped that- especially back then.  I am a stubborn and bossy lady, and I like when life works out the way I want it to.  I have learned, mostly by making mistakes or pushing things that weren’t meant to be, that sometimes it is best to step back and let life and others take care of it and guide life.  Until recently my life didn’t fit the last part… the divorce.  I am learning more about that as each day comes…  it was like a “… life’s like a runaway train you can’t wait to jump on”.  We were in such a hurry to grow up and build a life and create life, we moved too fast.

Now here we are in a crazy, confusing and weird transition.  We have 3 amazing kids, one just happens to be an angel, the other two need us to figure this out in the kindest and most gentle way.  I can’t really see it any other way, even when it hurts.  I am just mad, mad does things to a person.  My mad looks like Amelia’s mad.  I am very ill equipped to handle my mad.  I don’t feel as mad lately, kind of like a peace has come to me.  I know this is the future, I know I tried, I know that it is in life’s best interest to let go and find life again.  I don’t plan to do that without Matthew.  I don’t think a completely separate life would be best for my girls.  I think we will find the way, just have to keep chuggin’, keep movin’, keep breathin’… someday this wont hurt so much.  Someday… this will be more tangible.  I hope and pray that we look back and know that we did this part right and took the best care of our lovelies… I hope Madeline lets me know she is ok and not angry… maybe she knows this is the way.

D is for Divorce and Death.

This life has been filled with so much life… but along with life must come death.  I mean some of the ‘death’ is not seen as a loss… but more as a growth and leaving behind youth or immaturity.  Many bits of my life have ‘died’ and there was no grief attached, but this change is hard.  This death is that of a future, a past and a present… it feels so much like the loss of Madeline.  I haven’t even lost Matthew in the way that I lost Maddie, but I have lost the future I hoped for and worked for, I have lost the ‘sit down every day together’ dinners that we had and I believe a family needs, I have lost the security, protection and trust I had in Matthew.  He left long ago, it is amazing how I was still working, trying, hoping and praying.  Divorce is scary.  My family has very few to have witnessed and so often they don’t end happy or easy or in good status.  There is anger, hurt, jealousy, resentment and desire to leave behind what did all of that to you.  It is more confusing to be with someone you had dreams to grow old with, so perplexing to be in their presence and have them want so badly to be away from you.  It kills.  Every.single.time.

I always thought God made Matthew for me… I mean seriously who else could make those amazing Musto Chicks?  It was like our DNA was meant to be…

I remember getting married, I was terrified and ready and not and comfortable… Matthew was there but not there.  I am sure so much of this was from the start.  I think Matthew has tried to find a way out since before he was in.  He was too scared and young and immature to say ‘No’ or look to the positive and maybe realize that although he was scared, regretful and immature he had something good.  If you were to spend 10 years regretting or hating or being mad or feeling like you did the wrong thing- you would probably create the same heavy and blah and dishonest life.  I noticed Matthew running away from me at Madeline’s One Year Anniversary.  He changed.  He started trying hard to hurt me.  He tried to press the lines and see what he could get away with- and then he moved out.  He left us.  He left us with the promise that it was temporary.  I worked, tried, fought and took care of the girls for the whole summer and fall.  I guess in this that is a blessing, that they have already physically separated Matthew from our house and home and most of the social parts of their life.  It is me who is blind and hurt and heavy and feels like they are dying.  Matthew is months or years ahead of me, and I think he is rushing me to get over this.  I don’t understand.  It hurts me and makes me so lonely to live this way.  I wish I were capable of feeling joy or happy in this season, I with that very much.  I hoped for it, I begged for it and apparently it just wasn’t in my journey.  Maybe God wants me to experience a lot of hard stuff in a little time to enjoy something amazing soon.  It will be a long time before I can believe that or look forward to that.  I keep telling myself that someday this won’t hurt so much.  I keep reminding my heart and mind and body that it will get a chance to breathe and feel and be better someday, I hope soon.

Looking back I see something differently.  I stupidly take blame for many things… but I do know that Matthew’s fear and resentment was a visible piece of most days.  I responded with anger and hurt and mean.  I wish I didn’t.  I wish I responded with compassion and love.  It is so easy to get mad and angry and defensive.  I wish I were better than that and responded with the love I have.  It is too late now.  I have created wounds that I am sure have helped to build Matthew’s fortress… walls that helped him put away his feelings and hurt.  I was what I hated about him.  Instead of responding with compassion and hope I did what I learned and knew was easiest.  Easy isn’t often the best way.  I know and believe that Matthew made his choices.  I believe he made them and pointed himself in a direction to fail and end this… instead of looking at us and seeing what he loved in the first place, and all the amazing we could be.  I believe this is a ‘fundamental difference’ in us.  My core sees things so differently than his.  Most of the time I love my brain, it is smart, cute, creative and kind.  Many times I am only unkind to Matthew and Myself… funny how that works.  The one I love most, who hurts me the most, who used to be near me the most is the one I hurt.  It was and is a cycle.  If it were stopped a long time ago and we let ourselves heal and forgive, life could be very different right now.  I think it would be much brighter.

Instead I am dealing with another death.  I am dealing with separating my lovely ladies… I also see Matthew be a dad for the first time ever.  That hurts very much.  I can never know what his brain thinks and honestly he doesn’t share often.  I do know that for pretty much the first time ever Matthew is a dad and I think he will be a good one.  He waited a long time to do that.  I am very blessed that I never have to deal with regret like that.  Others can look in or judge my parenting, but I am a regular mom who makes mistakes and lets my kids eat treats and is terrible about making sure they brush their teeth a million times… but I am a great mom.  I love those girls and I know and knew them so well.  They were my pod… we travelled ‘our little world’ together.

So send love our way.  Send prayers.  It is all part of this journey… and I know we will make it through.  I don’t see my forever with no Matthew, we did make 3 amazing Musto Chicks… but this will take a lot of grieving, thinking, crying and working… someday I will look back at this post and I will feel lighter and I hope more like Erin.  I miss her.  I miss Madeline.  I miss Matthew.  I wonder how many more things I will have to miss in this life…

Emilie. Evil did not win.

This video makes me know that I am not crazy.  it makes me know that my ‘herd’, my best.people.ever are bits of what God sent to take care of us.  I love this video and it hurts.  I don’t cry like this that often.  That lovely and kind and compassionate girl looks and reminds me of my lovely.  Our stories are so different, but the journey and knowledge are that same.  Madeline made sure we were taken care of… she promised us when she left.

Emilie’s family is doing amazing and powerful things to share her with the world.  They are opening their hearts and minds and souls to share the words and things that have changed them and help them.  This is an amazing gift.  “This kindness, given quietly from a family I hardly knew, was one of so many”.  God send the best.people.ever… prayers, changers, doers… they bring hope, love and strength.  Little people make such big changes in this world…

Her words have helped and solidified my beliefs, my knowledge.  I thank her for that.  Her words make me know I am not crazy.

“People ask -But where was your God when this happened?  Why didn’t he stop it?… God allowed others to kill His son, He allows for us to all make our own choices, good and bad, because that’s the only way good can be in us- is if we freely choose it above all else… Evil didn’t win that day ”

Happy, sad, inspired, hurting, okay, crying, changed and moved.  So many things, so many emotions… I am reassured and changed.