Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm leavin' on a jet plane...

Tonight, Allison and I will be heading to NY for my cousin's wedding. We are singing together in the wedding which is a dream come true for me, although I admit our rehearsals have been more of the nightmarish variety. We have been crazy-excited about this trip for months. I will get to see people I haven't seen in ages, including Gingersnapspice and finally get to meet Karen. I am thrilled at this opportunity that Allie and I have to spend this one-on-one time together. We need it, I think.

Right now though, my mood is one of frantic nervousness that we won't be ready to go. As usual, I have saved too much for today and my mind is spinning with all I have to do. I am also developing growing anxiety about leaving behind Brandon, Ben, Clara and The Man (aka husband and father extraordinaire) for 4 entire days. I guess that's natural though. It's typical of maternal pride to think no one can take care of our children quite as well as us.
So off I go! First to pack and clean and shop for the loves I am leaving behind. And then on a plane, to see others I love very much. Life is good.
See you Monday.
I don't have time to post about this, but it is weighing on my heart like a stone that while I am preparing to jet across the country for a vacation, Whymommy is dealing with a new diagnosis of breast cancer at age 34. Age 34. Please read Slouching Mom's post on the topic and because I know I am friends with many fierce, and faithful prayer warriors, I ask you to pray. And maybe drop her a line of support.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A day with Ben

"Mommy! Cwara has milk on her head!"
"Ben, Why does Clara have milk on her head?"
"I poured it on her"


"Mommy, does your wip have a boo-boo?"
"Yes Ben, mommy's lip is hurt."
"Me did it wif my head?"
"Yes Ben, with your head."
"I'm sorry"
"I know Ben, it's okay."


"Mom! Dere's poop on the fwoor!"
"Ben, Why is there poop on the floor!!??"
"It fell out of my bottom"


"Ben! Why is there a toothbrush in the toilet!?"
"Cwara did it"
"Yes, I towd her how"


"Mommy, I wub you"
"I love you too, Ben"
"I need to snuggle witchu"
"Okay Ben, let's snuggle"

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mindless Mondays-Sleepy Day Meme

My head is spinning with all I have to do this week to get ready for our trip, so I tagged myself for this one-word-answer Meme, because creative blogging isn't on my to-do lists today.

1 Where is your cell phone? Purse
2 Relationship? Worthwhile
3 Your hair? Birdsnest
4 Work? Housewife
5 Your sister? nonexistent
6 Your favorite things? pictures
7 Your dream last night? nope
8 Your favorite drink? coffee
9 Your dream car? chauffeured
10 The room you're in? cluttery
11 Your shoes? barefoot
12 Your fears? inadequacy
13 What do you want to be in 10 years? thin
14 Who did you hang out with this weekend? family
15 What are you not good at? domesticity
16 Muffins? chocolate-chip
17 Wish-list item? Maid
18 Where you grew up? mover
19 The last thing you did? snuggled
20 What are you wearing? pajamas
21 What are you not wearing? tiara
22 Your pet? loved
23 Your computer? finicky
24 Your life? blessed
25 Your mood? overwhelmed
26 Missing? friends
27 What are you thinking about? fat-lip
28 Your car? disgusting
29 Your kitchen? disgusting
30 Your summer? HOT
31 Your favorite color? pink
32 Last time you laughed? now!
33 Last time you cried? Saturday
34 School? homeschooling
35 Love? Abundant!
36 Tag? Three
Gingersnap Spice, Reason Enough, The Stallworth Family

But feel free to tag yourself if you are feeling lazy as well, I did.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

my beautiful girl

To whom it may concern,

I am angry. My hands are shaking. My chest feels tight as if it might burst with indignation. How dare you? How could you do this to her? She's just a little girl. I want to hurt you, the one responsible; show you my child standing there in the fitting room, swimsuits crumpled on the floor around her; her hands covering her face. Crying. Embarrassed. Feeling deformed, inadequate, unlovable. My beautiful, talented, sensitive 10-year-old girl.

Who can I blame for this hole in her heart? Who made her stop believing that she is lovely just as she was made? Who made her start measuring her value in inches and pounds and shades of blond? Who took her innocence away from her too young, when she should still be dreaming of fairies and unicorns?

Was it the you, glossy check-out stand magazines that we never buy but often discuss? Covered with goddesses so perfect in ways my God never created. Was it you, movie after movie with well-lit starlets that show love only comes to the beautiful? Was it me, bemoaning again and again the weight I couldn't lose, the loss of my youthful beauty?

Who made her believe that none of it matters? Her brain, her talent, her enormous heart? My daughter who is not overweight. How can I undo what you have done to her when you did it to me too, when I am still fighting to shut your voice out of my head. I wish I could hurt you the way you hurt her, I wish my love for her was sharp enough to cut you out of her mind. I hate you.

In the car on the way home from this shopping trip filled with tears and self-doubt I pleaded with her.

"You are beautiful, Allie. You don't need to lose weight. You are perfect just the way you are. Gorgeous, in fact."

"That doesn't mean anything when you say it, mom" she countered, "You're my mom, you have to say it."

"So maybe I'll stop saying it" I said, quietly, at the end of my rope.

"No mom" the bite completely gone now from her voice

"Please don't stop saying it"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

just a mom

Growing up, I never wanted to be a mom. I wasn't the kind of child that played with dolls or cooed over babies. My mother had children very young and I looked at her life taking care of us as dull and uninspired. She sacrificed too much of herself, I thought. It can't be worth it. I was determined to do something more exciting with my life. But as typically happens, life didn't turn out as I planned. For that I am grateful.

I genuinely love staying at home with my children. Despite my occasional emotional breakdowns I love being a mom. And even more surprisingly I feel fulfilled by it. I know that eventually I will have to decide what my life will hold once it doesn't have small children in it, but for now I am happy doing what I do. Being a stay at home mom is a gift I never knew to ask for.

I hear many mothers lament that they are treated as being less significant because they don't work outside the home. I can honestly say I have never felt this. Maybe it's because I, as most people, tend to surround myself with like-minded people. Maybe it's just the number of kids I have, and four kids seems enough to keep anyone busy. Maybe I am just oblivious, but I have never felt my role belittled or less valued. What I have felt, is less interesting.

I recently had dinner with a friend from highschool. We laughed and rolled our eyes the silly girls we used to be while hoping to recognize something of those girls in the woman across the table. When the reminiscing and gossiping lulled we progressed to our lives as they are now. She was still single and preparing to move to another state for her career. And as I babbled on with one story after another about my children and she commented politely, I realized I had better move on to another topic.

"Um..." Surely there's something else...

"Hmmm, I uh..." Crap. That's all I've got.

This has increasingly become a problem for me: trying to find something, anything, to talk about with women who don't have children. I have become so entrenched in this role as a mother of four that everything I am, (my activities, my words, my thoughts, my blog) is painted with the color mom. It's scary, this complete giving over of all that I was to a new identity that only has one layer. What will happen when it inevitably peels away? Will there be anything left?

With my life as it is right now, I don't really have a choice. My children, with their varying demands, simply take up all the time I have each day. More time, in fact, than I have each day. It's a season. But I am clinging to the hope that once this season passes and the little ones no longer need me in such an all encompassing way, that I will be able to start creating a new layer. Still tinted with my love for my children, as I always will be, should be, but maybe not blanketed by it. Maybe you'll be able to see through it a little, to the woman underneath.

Until then, I'll bear my just-a-mom banner proudly and try to remember the honor it carries with it. An honor for which becoming insufferably dull really is a small price to pay. And in the meantime I'll go read some more books. So at least I'll have that to talk about.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Because a girl's gotta work, you know.
Reminiscing today...

Brandon, June 2007

Brandon, June 2003

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My boys.

Yesterday was a bad day. Yesterday Ben, my sweet exuberant boy, woke up on little-boy speed and never stopped. Hitting his baby sister, pouring hand soap on her head, coloring on my carpet with black permanent marker, per-ma-nent marker! He peed on the floor. Twice. When I was trying to get him and Clara out the door to Gymboree I went to put him in the car and found him a block down the street with the dog. He was beside me a minute ago. Wasn't he beside me a minute ago? Back in timeout. Back to your room. Again. Again. Again. All the while he's giggling and happily confessing with unashamed mischievous eyes.

Brandon, my teenager, who breaks my heart a little bit everyday. Home from the weekend with anger in his eyes. Grumbling. Disrespect. Annoyance. Constant annoyance. Every sentence a battle. I am the thing he dreads, the worst part of his day. Me. Whom he used to love. He did used to love me. I think I remember. I love him with a jagged, aching, infuriating love. My boy, who's not a man, but wants so desperately to be. How do I help him find his way? I am trying so hard. But I am failing again and again and again. I feel desperately inept.

All day I was frustrated. I was angry. At these boys that carry my heart in their pockets. The mischievous one, the angry one. Angry at my own inability to be the kind of parent that knows how to handle these things.

Lord, help me raise my boys to be men. Kind Men. Men with passion and purpose and who love you. Help me not to stifle the boy in them but show me how to channel it, this thing that is so foreign to me. Give me the patience and the wisdom I cannot find within myself. Help me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mindless Mondays (because I am too tired on Mondays for deep thoughts)

I hate we are trying not to say hate in our house

I really don't like houseplants. Oh sure, I have read countless articles on how bringing nature inside your home can make it feel warm and inviting. But unless you are a member of the Adams Clan, I hardly think having hanging baskets looking like this will make anyone feel comfortable in your home.

This was a wave petunia basket given to me by Ben's teachers.

Philodendron, ferns, ficus trees, peace lilies: Despite my best efforts I have tortured them all to this same slow (and sometimes not so slow) brown death where they become crumbling symbols of my insecurities on my abilities as a competent keeper of my home. ~shudder~

Of course, it never fails that each Mother's Day and Easter my children come home proudly bearing Styrofoam cups and painted terracotta pots stuffed with little green sprigs that have no idea of their inevitable demise. I try to place them in inconspicuous places around my home so my children don't notice their deterioration and eventual disappearance. I do usually save the painted terracotta pots and if anyone has any other suggestions as to what to do with these, I'd love to know.

So how surprised am I that this Mother's Day offering from Sunday School is still sitting on my kitchen counter. It wilts from time to time and I squirt it with water from the sink and it perks back up. I have no idea what it is. It had no flowers on it when I received it (unlike it's pretty preschool counterpart which found it's burial in the trash weeks ago).

Does anyone know what I am growing here; this perky little guy who's managed to beat the odds?
So far...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Clara's 11 Months

Dear Friends,
I see you found our Clara-monthly at it's new location, my blog. It's just easier for me to keep it all in one place.

Yesterday our baby girl was 11 months. We skipped her update last month in lui of Ben's 3rd Birthday so I have tons to report. She's crawling up a storm now. She finally moved from the army crawling she did forever to being up on her knees right around 10 months. She gets a bit faster every day and she's constantly into things now. She's pulled up a couple of times but not in the last week.

She talks all the time now and makes all these funny expressions like she knows what she is saying. She will imitate us saying Mama, Dada, Baba (bottle) etc. but the only word I think she actually uses on her own is Dada; and maybe mama but that may be wishful thinking on my part. She even tries to imitate us singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and some of the notes are right. I wonder if she will be musical like her big sister. She has 6 teeth and is still a wonderful eater. She ate waffles and strawberries for breakfast this morning.

Now that she's mobile she and Ben are starting to develop a more traditional sibling relationship. They alternate between playing sweetly together (which really melts my heart) and her driving him crazy and requiring me to referee. Brandon and Allison are even starting to appreciate this new social, mobile Clara.

I am having a hard time dealing with her turning one next month. Each time I start talking about it I tear up. Our last time as parents of a baby is coming to an end, so I am trying to soak up all of her baby-sweetness before it is gone. I even hear Shane say things like "You don't have to walk anytime soon, Clara, you just take your time".

Well before this deteriorates into snivelling sap, thanks for reading Clara's monthly journal. We are blessed to have so many people who care about us.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Vacation Bible School Lessons

It's 9:00 in the morning. Ben and Clara are in Ben's room laughing together, making mischief I would guess. I haven't checked yet, because they are having so much fun. Together. Shane and Brandon are asleep. We are all still in our pajamas. It's Saturday morning.

My week of working in vacation Bible school is behind me. It's a relief, of course. It was an exhausting struggle to get 4 (and sometimes 5) children out the door each morning by 8:00 and make sure they were all where they belonged once we arrived. Allison grumbled each time I woke her up. Clara cried progressively harder each morning when I handed her over to her teacher. The evenings were an ordeal of screaming and whining and bickering from missed naps and schedules thrown out the window. Many evenings Brandon worked on his homeschool until we went to bed. It's definitely a relief to be back to normal. Well...mostly.

Here's the thing. I loved it. I mean, I really loved it. No, not the tempest it threw our life into here. But the work, the job...the kids. I lead a group of 4th graders through their activities each day. Some of the kids were from underprivileged families, and some were from our church. It was gratifying to watch them change from the shy, reserved group they were on Monday to boisterous, affectionate kids. We danced together, and played together, and chatted about our days. On Friday I dressed as a pirate (the theme of our week) and encouraged the kids to join me.

Allison was amazed. She came to our room each afternoon and on Friday she said,

"Wow Mom, Your kids really love you!"

The bewilderment in her voice should have shocked me, but it didn't. This was easy. I knew how to do this: Love them, encourage them, play with them. Send them home. I wish parenting was that easy. At Bible school activities were planned for us. Activities that they could all enjoy because they were all in 4th grade. I didn't have to try to balance the needs and interests of 4 children at 4 vastly different ages and developmental stages. And while I did talk to them about love and values, I wasn't responsible for turning them into moral, responsible adults. I didn't have to make hard decisions on whether they could go on vacation with a friend whose parents I didn't know that well, or watch a movie that might be slightly inappropriate. I didn't have to try to balance running our home, homeschooling Brandon (another difficult decision for another blog) and so many other things with having fun. With being fun.

I wish this wasn't so. I wish that I could be the person I was this week with my own children. And sometimes I am, but I see now that those times are becoming more and more infrequent as I become bogged down in the details of parenting. So I am grateful to VBS for reminding me that sometimes parenting should just be about having fun.

I am also grateful for another hard-learned lesson this week. I learned that sometimes I need to say No.

Not, "No you can't do that, have that, eat that, wear that." I'm good at that. Sometimes I need to say

"No, I can't join you on the huge inflatable slide, because I am not 10 yrs old, and I am slightly overweight, and more than slightly out of shape".

Thank you to my bruised tailbone VBS for showing me the light.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

This is a very busy week. I am working at my church's Vacation Bible School which means my 4 kids and I have to be out the door each morning by 8. Having such a big commitment has put a serious damper on getting things accomplished here at home and blogging has fallen way down the list.

I did manage to read a couple posts though, lamenting the fact that mommy-bloggers use too much space in the blogosphere complaining about life. Too much negativity. While I don't think this is particularly a problem with the blogs that I read, in the name of positivity I am writing this post on things that make me happy. This idea is a complete rip off from Gingersnapspice (my pseudo-cousin and original inspiration to start blogging). She does this each year and it's a wonderful way to reflect on the positive things in your life. Even the little things. The challenge for me will be not to duplicate too much from what I wrote on hers.
So here is, my cop-out post, because I don't have time to write a real one.

Things that make me happy-

  • My Husband Calling me Beautiful
  • Listening to my children pray
  • Big Hydrangea "puff balls" that I didn't plant, but can't kill, blooming outside my front porch
  • A stack of books I haven't read on my bed side table
  • Allison walking around the house singing "Fellows I meet, they tell me I'm sweet and willingly I believe!"
  • Ben making Clara laugh and squeal
  • The rolls on Clara's thighs
  • Coconut Creme Coffee Mate
  • Clara trying to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" when she can't even say a word.
  • Sitting outside on Warm Summer Nights
  • Bug Spray
  • Ben shaking his "booty"
  • Leaving in two weeks to go to NY with my daughter and see dear friends.
  • Singing Praise & Worship Songs
  • Brandon telling me things about his day, I would never have told my parents
  • Sleeping 'til 8:00
  • Ice Cream Cones
  • Blogging
So now it's your turn. What makes you happy?

Monday, June 11, 2007

He takes after his father.

"Mom, I love my pee-pee" (translation-pen!s) Ben says, while I am drying him off from his bath.

"You do?!" I burst out, laughing.

"Yes", he says, very serious now.

"It's vewy cute."

Pee-pee love. Apparently it starts at birth.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Where is the grace?

I got pregnant at the age of 20. I was living in an apartment, working two jobs and enrolling in school. I struggled occasionally but I was a hard worker and I was passionate and optimistic. I was young.

Nine months later I had a baby. In one two-week period, I became a wife, a mother, and a step-mom to a 4 year old son. We were poor. We lived primarily off Shane's tips waiting tables nights while he went to school days. I didn't know a thing about babies. I was overwhelmed and clueless. I needed help. We visited churches and I tried to make friends with other moms. I was part of the mom-club now and thought that was where I would connect. The club didn't want me.

I was a young, poor, knocked-up, and a bit desperate. I can't imagine why that wouldn't have been appealing to the soccer-mom crowd around me. So, with the help of a few dear friends and family, who rallied around us, Shane and I struggled through those first years of raising Brandon and Allison alone. I, during the week, he, on the weekends while I worked waiting tables or at the mall.

Flash-forward 10 years and things are very different for us. Shane finished school and life got better. Allison started school and I went to work. We bought a bigger home and had a couple more kids. I was now one of those soccer-moms in a minivan. I'm a better mom now, at least most of the time. I made a lot of mistakes with Allison and Brandon, but here's the thing, they were not made from lack of love. The fact that I am a better mom with Ben and Clara does not mean I love them more, it just means I learned some things along the way.

Motherhood is hard. Really hard. There is no instruction manual for children. Well, actually there are thousands, but they are so contradictory in their opinions and research, it was easy to drive myself crazy trying to figure it all out. Even the Bible, the one manual I do believe to be infallible gives us only general parenting instructions: Love your children, teach them, discipline them, cherish them, do not provoke them.

Pray a lot.

Nowhere does it say if we should run to our children in the middle of the night, or let them cry? How should we handle a tantrum at a grocery store? What if your child is a screamer, or a biter, a whiner, or like Ben still eating baby food when they are 3? We all know this, so why are we so quick to judge other mothers?

Do we really think that because a child is "wearing a leash" or "still using a pacifier at age 3" or "wearing too much eyeliner at age 15" or any of the other hundreds of things that we rant about that their mothers love them less? Is it honestly all laziness? Isn't it possible that these moms are just as confused and overwhelmed as we are sometimes? Isn't it possible that they too stay up nights worrying about how to discipline their teenager, or how to get their toddler to eat solid foods after trying 3 therapists? (okay, digressing about myself now)

I understand that there are things that are obviously wrong. We shouldn't abuse our children or belittle them or ignore them. We probably shouldn't let them watch Barney 12 hours every day or eat potato chips for every meal. But what mom hasn't had a day when they were sick or sad and just getting your kids through the day fed and safe was all you could manage? Why do we, including me, forget this? Where is the grace?

Where is the compassion to the mom with the screaming toddler, or the one who left her wallet in the car and held up the check-out line? (That one would be me too.) Why can't we show kindness to the mom that has the child that just doesn't know how to make friends at school or insists on wearing the same shirt to kindergarten 3 days a week?

My challenge to myself now is to try to find ways to show love and grace to other moms in the trenches: Help a mom struggling to change a baby on one of those awful changing tables or who forgot a diaper (me again). Stop to give a kind encouraging word to a mom with a screaming baby/toddler/6-year-old and is in danger of screaming herself. Offer to hold a door, pick up toy, or corral an escaping toddler.

By now you are probably thinking that I am harping on this "grace thing" because I was crazy enough to have 4 kids and I obviously need so much of it myself. You'd be right. But Merriam-Webster defines grace as "an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency". S0 yes, I need grace. Who doesn't?

Saturday, June 9, 2007



A little voice calls out to me through white plastic speakers, jolting me out of sleep. I stumble out of bed with a fuzzy brain and bleary eyes into my kitchen. I look grumpily at dishes from last nights dinner. I pour milk in slow motion and wait with hazy impatience on my coffee.

"Mommeee, I'm awake! Can you heeeaar me?" Louder now. Slightly annoyed.

I shuffle down the hall and open the door, locked against night time wanderings, to see his tussled hair and pink, creased face looking up at me.

"Hi Mom. I had a nice sweep."

He walks purposely out of the room and climbs onto the couch. I sit beside him, pull him into my lap and wrap a blanket around us. We sit, Ben & I, in our sleeping shirts, our bare legs tangled together under the fuzzy blanket. Silently, we sip coffee out of an oversized mug and milk from a sippy-cup.

"Cozy", he sighs in content.

I nuzzle my nose into his hair, and kiss his neck, trying to memorize the feel and the scent of him. This is my favorite time of day: cuddled with Ben in quiet love, before the boy in him takes over and he goes off to find adventure in the day.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Oh sweet Friday!

It's Friday! My favorite day of the week. When the reprieve, the help, that seemed so far away, just last night, is now within sight. My days, and nights, of parenting the fabulous 4 alone will end for this week.

Sometime this afternoon, my beloved husband, love-of-my-life and co-parenting extraordinaire will finally get off work! (Cue Hallelujah Chorus) This is not a dig at Shane. He works extraordinarily hard so I can stay home with our children, but let's face it, sometimes by Thursday night (see the maudlin post below) doing it alone, I am looking for the gypsies. You know the proverbial ones that will come buy your children.

But Friday, Oh sweet Friday, I get to leave my home alone for a few hours and carry a small purse. I think everything freeing about those few hours is represented by that tiny purse that only fits a wallet, keys & lipgloss. There will be no need for changes of clothes, or wiping sticky fingers. No snacks or toys needed to pacify screaming children in the freezer department of the grocery store. Maybe I'll go to my bookstore, maybe I'll go to a coffee shop. Maybe I'll just run errands, because let's face it...even a line at the bank feels like a vacation when Lauri Berkner (God bless her) is not playing on your CD player.

Then when I return home my little ones will act like I have been gone for days and actually screech in happiness to have me back. My older ones with pounce on me with questions about their plans for the weekend and the chaos will begin again, but with Shane home, it somehow feels peaceful, like things are the way they should be.

At least until Monday.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

For my children

Sometimes, when I become so weary of carrying this burden alone, and the reprieve I am anticipating feels so far away... Sometimes, when I have walked the same steps and said the same words so many times, that even my anger has become stale...and I can no longer find the magic, even in you, His most glorious creations...

Sometimes, but not often, Thank God not often, when the chaos inside me becomes a maelstrom, the tears come, and the shouting. I hear the ugliness and the criticisms in the words I couldn't keep inside and I know I have gone too far. I know that I have left a mark on your spirit that will not completely heal. I have left a scar. And because of me, someday, you may feel less. Less whole, less sure, less capable.

Less loved.

Forgive me for my anger. Forgive me my arrogance in thinking myself capable. How could I have thought that I could be worthy of you? Worthy to guide you through the storms?

I, who keep losing my way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Oh the pressure!

My mother gave me a $50 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble for my Birthday.

I read a lot. More blogs lately, but still books. I always have a small stack on my nightstand and because I don't sleep much, it doesn't take me long to work my way through them. I almost never buy books new though.

I found a used bookstore near my home and as part of my efforts to spend less I refuse to purchase books anywhere else. I just love this place. It feels like a mix between my grandmother's basement and "The Shop Around the Corner" It's become a ritual I look forward to. Friday afternoons I putz around in this cramped store, with no kids, that has this wonderful musty old book smell, and I think only two employees.

Then I take my purchases out for a Latte. And once I have devoured them, or rejected them, I schlep them back to the store the next week for credit towards my next treasure hunt.

But now I have $50 to spend at Barnes & Noble. I can buy ANY BOOK I WANT! It took me a month of stalking the used bookstore to get Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Darn Oprah. (It was worth it though, that book was haunting and depressing and fabulous!) So the idea of just ordering something to be delivered to my home, it makes me giddy.

So what should I get? What book changed your life? Made you laugh? Kept you up all night? What's worth full price?

Oh and I would be lying if I told you the thought hadn't entered my mind to use half of it on the last Harry Potter.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Saturday was my birthday. I am one of those obnoxious people that loves to celebrate birthdays, even (okay especially!) my own. When it's my birthday, everyone knows. They know because I tell them: Friends. Acquaintances. Store Clerks. They all have been known to hear me burst out,

"Today is my birthday!"

We are a family of hams, and I am just as much of a porker (avoid the obvious comments here...they'd be true, but mean) as the rest of them. I love the cards, the emails, the phone calls to tell me they love me, to have a great day. They make me feel warm and loved and, in the interest of staying real, they make me feel validated. Pathetic I know. Really pathetic. But nonetheless true.

I love using the "birthday" card to eat what I want, sleep late, indulge in pedicures & $5 lattes that would normally be too much of a splurge. I get to pick the movie, the restaurant, to forgo the dishes, cooking and other mundanities that my life typically consists of.

My birthday weekends are always great, because I make them great. I remind Shane patiently and naggingly that he needs to get a babysitter, I call girlfriends and say "Let's go out this weekend, it's my birthday!" I wake my kids up smiling and saying (yes, pathetically...I KNOW!) Tell mommy "Happy Birthday!", and they do, and they sing to me, unwittingly participating in my crazy ploy for forced attention because they are, well...3! I know this makes me sound shallow, insecure, self-absorbed. Spoiled. But at least it's real. I never sit around pretending I don't care about my birthday and being sad when no one remembers. People always remember when you remind them repeatedly and drag them out to celebrate. -Grin-

(No gifts though. I have a strict no-gift policy for everyone except Shane. Reminding people of your birthday and then accepting gifts is too self-promoting, even for me!)

That being said, this was just the best birthday weekend. Friday night, after a lovely lunch with my mother, some of my oldest, dearest friends - the ones that fit like a comfy old tshirt- took me out for tapas, and glasses of wine and laughter like we were still 16. And it wasn't even my idea! Saturday was spent lounging in my pajamas with my kids and then husband-of-the-year and I went out that night with more dear-old-friends for more laughter and excessive amounts of food.

Then Sunday, Allison (my dramatic, Broadway-bound, mini-me of a daughter) and yes, more old friends, went to see "The Sound of Music" at The Historic Fox Theatre Atlanta. No not the play, the movie. It's just wonderful to see old movies there. Along with the rest of the audience, we hisssed at the baroness and Nazis; We burst into applause after the songs we had heard a dozen times. We genuinely enjoyed it...and each other.

I lament so much my children getting older that sometimes I fail to notice how much fun it can be to hang out with your child when you no longer need to pack a change of clothes and sippy-cups each time you walk out the door. When their interests have evolved enough that sometimes they even overlap with yours.

Here's a picture of our date.

Thank you to the people I love for making me feel so fabulously loved this weekend. I am blessed and I know it.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Clara Elizabeth

Sometimes they are so beautiful... just can't help yourself.

Now this is a media clip worth watching...

No blogging for me today, I have to deal with the pigsty of my house instead. Blogging has gotten in the way of cleaning. But I needed to share this video from someone in my Sunday School Class. I teared up each time I watched it. Since I can't seem to figure out how to get this video in the middle of my post (maybe someone can help me??) you'll have to click at the bottom of the page.