Archive for the ‘family’ Category

The Worst Holiday- January 2, 2015

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

I love most holidays. Christmas is my favorite. I’m not alone there. It doesn’t get better than presents and food in honor of Jesus’ birthday. As an optimistic extrovert I do enjoy almost all the other holidays too. I made the most of single Valentine’s Days and 100 degree July 4th’s in the past.

July 4, 2009. It was insanely hot, yet I am so happy. (And young. Geez.)

July 4, 2009. It was insanely hot, yet I am so happy. (And young. Geez.)

There is one holiday, however, that I don’t like. New Years. I hate it. New Years Eve is the sad, cold and drunken let down to Christmas. I had no problem working the New Years shift when I was a TV news reporter. No social plans I ever had on December 31 came through. No one in the group could ever finalize plans. Someone always drank too much. I always spent too much money and was left too tired the next day. No thank you.

It got better after I got married and had some chill restaurant-then-champagne-toast-at-home evenings, but New Years still symbolizes the holidays being over. Twice in my life it meant I had to go back to work because maternity leave ended in January.

I spent all day January 1, 2015 being cranky and bummed out. Part of that was because my one-year-old is feverish and snotty. I was cooped up with him as my nose got stuffier. I lashed out at my well-meaning husband who did absolutely nothing wrong. I sulked at the Rose Parade, which sucks compared to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thanksgiving, now there’s a holiday.

I think what I hate most about New Years is the insane amount of pressure we put on it to “start over” or “resolve to be better.” Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy looking through friends’ “Year in Review” or “Best of 2014″ videos and collages on Facebook or Instagram, but I don’t like making empty resolutions.

I think I hate it more this year because I don’t really want to make any changes. I’m happy. I’m blessed. I feel almost too lucky, like something is going to happen if I make changes. It’s easy to be complacent when you’re in a good place. I’d rather just enjoy myself and watch my sweet babies grow than force myself to make strides. See…look at them! This picture makes me want to freeze time in December, 2014 instead of leaving the holiday season behind! Ugh!

xmas professional 7

I owe it to myself and my family to keep getting better. So with a giant eye roll to the institution of New Years resolutions, in 2015 I resolve to:

  1. Write more.
  2. Take more risks.
  3. Be more patient with my family.
  4. Have a better attitude about New Years.

Happy 2015.

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40 Second Show- December 22, 2014

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Oh. Hi. I wasn’t here much last week. It was mostly because we’ve been to Christmas parties, work functions, preschool performances, church gatherings, neighborhood dinners and any other festive event you can think of.

Of all the frivolity of Christmas 2014, I think this 40 seconds will stand out as the highlight in my mind. It’s my 4-year-old’s rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

Maybe it’s the baby gate around the tree, the the adorably invasive baby brother waddling in his diaper or the quick pan to the laundry half-folded, but this is what I’ll remember most:  My beautiful, messy babes, ages 4 and 1, singing and stumbling. They are healthy and fun. They make our world go around and they certainly make this Christmas special.

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The Devil’s Baby Batter- November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

We’re preparing for Henry’s baby dedication tomorrow. For those of other faiths, that’s the Baptist equivalent of a christening/baptism for a baby. I totally meant to do it when he was younger, before his first birthday, but we just joined a new church. Tomorrow we are having a family celebration for the kids’ birthdays after the service.  (They are 4 and 1 this week if you haven’t followed all my nauseating activity on social media.)

First birthday. Baby dedication. I clean the house and feed everyone once. Boom. It’s a beautiful thing. I picked up the cake today. I just posted this on Instagram:

Instagram shot of baptism cake.

FYI, Harris Teeter is our local grocery store. You know, looking at it now, the baker probably just started his name too far over and needed to fill the space. Whatever.

Greyson says, “Um, why did you get a cross cake? You make us look like zealots or something.” I’ll admit. There is a hint of piousness mixed in that icing. I’m not one for Bible beating or forcing my faith through food or any other means. I just got your standard cake from the grocery store bakery under the “Baptism/Christening/Communion” designs.

Charlotte’s cake for her baby dedication was from a specialty bakery and had her monogram on it. Oh, and it must have been made with holy water and had edible gold flecks in the fondant for the outlandish price I paid. Screw that. I’m not buying that again. Poor second child. He gets grocery store cake.

I will say, there are two things I will NOT STAND FOR when it comes to cake.

1. Almond flavoring- Remember how old-school wedding cakes were RUINED by that stuff? Ugh! It makes it taste like Dr. Pepper. Dr. Pepper is the devils brew. Speaking of the devil…

2. Whipped icing- At the bakery they asked me if I wanted whipped or buttercream icing. Why would you even ask me that?! I would never subject my sweet babies to whipped icing on their birthdays. It’s “icing lite.” It’s crap. If I’m eating cake, I want cake, not “cake lite.” Beth Anne said it best, “Whipped icing is the devil’s baby batter.”

So true. Lord knows the devil has no place on my holy rolling cake. Can I get an “Amen?”

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Baby Vs. Baby The Great Comparison- October 17, 2014

Friday, October 17th, 2014

baby vs baby

Recently I squealed and hugged my way through an intimate crowd of old friends at a baby shower. I’ve known the mom-to-be since she and my sister were babies. I had my 11-month-old in tow. I was so excited to see my sister and nephew, who came to town for the affair. My nephew is 8 1/2 months old.  My mom was happy to have her two baby grandsons crawling at everyone’s feet.

Well, my son was at everyone’s feet. He was at their feet, playing with their shoes, on their purses, reaching for their cell phones, pulling up on their chairs and generally causing a ruckus, albeit an adorable ruckus. Most at the shower didn’t seem to mind him. My mom could help me  by holding him or entertaining him while I ate or played the shower games.

My nephew mostly sat pleasantly with my sister. He laid quietly next to her smiling. Yes, he can crawl too. He can also pull up. He’s about the same size as my son. But, he sat and mine squirmed.

My mom and her friend heard me quip to my son, “Hey, you see how your cousin is just sitting there? Why can’t you be like that?” My mom said, “Amy! You shouldn’t say that and compare them like that!” Her friend agreed. I felt my face get hot. I held my little guy tight against my flushed cheek. I whispered, “Sorry buddy.”

On the way home from the shower I had an epic crisis of conscience. How could I have done that to my baby?! Just because the cousins are close in age, it doesn’t mean they need to be compared. They are individuals. I need to watch the comments I make, even in jest. I need to talk to my sister about guidelines for how we will treat the boys equally but as individuals. I drafted a heartfelt blog post in my head as I drove.

I got home and told my husband what happened. I explained my intense shame and how I was damaging my son’s psyche. He said, “Are you kidding me?! Please! Amy, the amount of time you have spent worrying about this is too much. They are babies! He will never remember you said that.” True it’s not like we’re going to line them up and have them crawl race at family gatherings.  He laughed and hugged me. “Seriously. It was a complement to your sister on how sweet her baby is. Don’t sweat it.”

Here’s the thing. They’re both right. I need to watch what I say to my children. I need to understand that jokes and off-the-cuff comments can hurt. But, I also do NOT need to have guilt ridden meltdowns for every parenting faux pas I commit. Let’s face it, I know I will say or do something insanely insensitive and stupid again. Then I will write about it on the Internet.

In all seriousness, how do families quell comparisons between children close in age? Cousins, siblings, or even good friends with kids the same age. It’s very natural to compare. How do you either avoid it, or compare with compassion if that’s possible? 

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Flower Girl Follies

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Flower Girl Follies

In recent weeks I’ve asked my 3 1/2 year-old daughter repeatedly, “What does a flower girl do?” She replied, “They throw flowers down the aisle before Aunt Tahlia gets married!” I was impressed that she understood this. Charlotte was extremely excited to be the flower girl in my step-sister’s wedding this past weekend. She knew she would get cake, get to stay up late and wear a pretty dress.

It takes time to recover from a family wedding. The preparations, scheduling, events and emotions are exhausting. I always feel like I need a vacation after a family wedding. Having your young kid in the wedding party? Psh! That’ll wear you out like nothing else.

We strategically timed meals and napping that day. She knew it was the big day. She said, “It’s my special day! I’m the special girl!” I hated to break it to her that her aunt was the special girl, you know, being the bride and all, but if the title of “special girl” got her down the aisle, I wasn’t going to argue.

Ivory and Guava Flower Girl dress by Nola Collection on Etsy. Fresh mini-sunflowers in her hair.

Dress from Nola Collection on Etsy. They were awesome! Great prices and selection. Loved them over the bridal shop dresses for sure!

I WISH I had someone filming her coming down the aisle with my phone. I’m kicking myself for not doing that. We have to wait for the videographer. I’ll have to tell you what happened in my own words.

It was a long walk down some steep steps for two little girls in poofy dresses. Charlotte and Kylee held hands and wandered down a brick pathway to the outdoor awning where the bride and groom were to say “I do.” They clutched their baskets, staring back at the smiling crowd, “Canon in D” coming through the speakers. We told them, “When you get to the bottom of the steps, you can throw the petals down the aisle.”

In hindsight there were two problems with that:

  1. We didn’t practice with petals at the rehersal. They have some fire code or something. The venue was particular about when you could throw petals.
  2. We used the wrong verb. We said “throw” instead of “toss” or “drop.”

The girls got to the bottom the stairs and stopped, though Pachelbel’s tune continued. They looked at each other. They looked down at the yellow rose petals still in their baskets. They looked confused as the adults dressed in matching dresses and tuxedos whispered “Okay! Throw the petals!” while playing a game of flower-dropping charades. They looked at us like we were insane. We were. We had not told these poor children exactly what to do. So as children do, they had their own interpretation.

Remember I said we used the wrong verb? Charlotte threw her petals. She threw them. She tossed them in the air with the the flair only a “special girl” can have. It was with the dramatics of a runway model or in her mind, a fairy princess, that she threw the petals and watched them fall. She threw the heck out of each one. Those flowers didn’t have a prayer. We wiped away tears of laughter as Kylee sprinted to her mom and Charlotte emptied her basket, one enthusiastic fling at a time. They were adorable little show stealers.

We danced into the reception hall to Taylor Swift’s latest pop crossover “Shake It Off.” Charlotte now refers to it as “the wedding song.” As the sun set she asked if she could finally dance. Dinner was over, the cake had been cut. I told her it was okay for her to take the floor.

She did. All. Night. Long. She wouldn’t even come off the dance floor for cake. The song didn’t matter. Earth, Wind & Fire, Garth Brooks, Iggy Azalea. Everyone. She even joined the crowd for her version of “The Wobble” and “The Cupid Shuffle.” She earned the little blisters on her feet. She saw other girls with their shoes off, she joined in.

We got in the car around 11:00pm, the latest she’s ever stayed up in her life. She said sleepily from the back seat, “That was really fun, Mama.”

I will never forget the looks on the bride and groom’s faces as they made their vows. I’ll never forget the fun and love at a great wedding. Most of all, I’ll remember my curly-haired flower girl in her poofy dress dancing until her feet hurt because she could. I watched her hoping one day she would have this much fun at her own wedding, as only “special girls” can.

Mother and daughter, bridesmaid and flower girl, all dressed for the wedding.

This is when my heart burst.

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