Posts Tagged With: family

October gratitude

As I look back on October, it was chock full, and I have much to be grateful for.

While this may not be what I’m most grateful for, I can assure I am most excited about it.
My Washington Nationals winning the World Series!
Those seven games were something to behold! Winning four away games, losing three home games. We laughed. We cried. We were ready to admit defeat. We literally jumped for joy when we won game seven! This post season was some of my most emotional baseball, but every moment was worth it!
My baseball bae (third baseman Anthony Rendon) and side bae (first baseman Ryan Zimmerman) celebrating the end of game seven.

Photograph: John G Mabanglo/EPA

I’m also super grateful for these things:

my acupuncturist
popcorn and coke with YBW at the double feature of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
Bobby Flay’s new cookbook
teaching and learning with kindergartners, second, fourth, and fifth graders
celebrating our anniversary (4 years married, 10 years together)
whiskey cocktails at the distillery with Holly
my favorite bookshop, Bards Alley
breakfast with Nora
a visit to Naked Mountain

HGTV’s Rock the Block
going to the movies by myself on a Friday morning
Thing 1, Thing 2, and Baby K here!
cocktails
weird weather
Baby K’s giggle
Halloween as the Mystery Gang

(Thing 1 as Velma, YBW as Freddie, Baby K (in the wagon) as Scooby Doo, Thing 2 as Shaggy, and me as Daphne)
good talks with my girls
celebrating Meredith’s ninth birthday
truly wonderful friends and neighbors
Baby K still smiles when I say, “Birdie loves you, girl!”

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we are not our feelings

Thing 2 was feeling her feels this morning.
Anxious and fearful.
Her sister and I (and Baby K) showed up ready to rock.
Y’all, I’m talking loving, supportive girl power to the nth degree. But that’s what we do for each other.

Thing 2 works in a cool Asian fusion restaurant. She is currently the senior-most server.

She wrote in our group chat: There’s a 35 top coming in as soon as we open
Me: May the Force be with you!

Thing 1: You are amazing, just be your charming self and you’ll get good tips and you’re going to be OK

I stopped for a moment. I realized we both jumped in to ‘rescue’ her. I considered that she might simply be expressing herself. Perhaps she didn’t need to be bucked up, perhaps she needed to be heard.

Me: It sounds like a complicated situation. Your anxiety makes sense. It’s overwhelming af! You’re feeling your feels

Thing 1: You got this!
Me: So wig out for a couple more moments. Like, seriously, set a timer. Then steel yourself. You are so capable. And(!!!) you can guide them along instead of waiting to see what they want.

Thing 1: (FTW) Don’t do that. Be pleasant and gregarious, and you’ll be great!

Thing 1: You’re the Thing 2est Thing 2 that ever Thing 2ed!

Me: Your anxiety makes sense in this situation. However, you actually possess the skills and abilities to make this situation successful for yourself and your customers!

Thing 1: And once it’s all over, you’ll be done! My therapist always says there’s a finish line, you just have to get to it and you can move on to the next thing. It will end and it will be behind you and you can move on.
Me: YESSSSSSSS!
Thing 2: Wow. I like her.

Thing 1:

Me: Breathe. You’ve got this! Look, if chubby, somewhat drunk looking Baby K believes in you…you can’t possibly fail!
Thing 2: I WAS JUST GONNA SAY SHE LOOKS DRUNK! What a beautiful tiny encourager
Me: You have the most powerful women on your side! We’ve got you, and you’ve got this! I love you more than the moon and the stars!

We did that.
We were her cheerleaders.
We encouraged her.
We reminded her of what she’s capable of doing.

We also honored her feelings.
We acknowledged her fear and anxiety.
We reassured her that her feelings are valid, and in this situation, made sense.
We reminded her she is not her feelings.

I think we all need to be reminded of that.
We are not our feelings.
We experience them but we are not them.
I read somewhere, I can’t for the life of me remember where, but it went something like this.
Feelings are like the rain, we might walk in the rain, but we are not the rain.

We don’t become our feelings.
We feel our feelings.

Thing 2 was feeling the hell out of her feelings today.
But, with a little bit of love and support from her momma, big sister, and baby niece, she didn’t let herself become them.

Later this afternoon we got this:

Me: Brava, Thing 2! You DID it!
Thing 1: Way to go! We knew you could do it!!!!

Taking a break to sit in the grass.
(I’m purposely ignoring the smoking.)
She needed to feel connected to the earth. She needed to feel grounded.

35 people came into the restaurant and Thing 2 served them.
The world didn’t explode, and neither did she.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Even the fiercest among us need a bit of encouragement now and again.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

summer gratitude

As we move into fall, I’m thinking about everything that filled my heart with joy this summer, and y’all, that list is long!
I have so much to be grateful for!

June:
sleeping in my own bed for the first time in six weeks
seeing Amber for the first time since March
date day with Mike and Josie
Describe the Night at the Woolly Mammoth (last play of the season)
impromptu trip to Williamsburg with Mike and Josie
two of my three alternative health care providers
dinner with Nora and Dale

July:
porchlife

all three of my alternative health care providers
dinner with Meredith and Beau’s family
celebrating Nora’s birthday (she and Thing 2 are birthday twins)
Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, and Baby K here!
pedis with my girls
Spending the day with Thing C and Girlfriend L
drinking bubbly with my girls
Bubbly & Baby party to celebrate Baby K being in our world
2 Silos with YBW, Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica
stopping cocktails on the way to the airport with Thing 2

August:
Thing 2 and Baby K here for two more weeks
model home tours
porchlife

going away party to celebrate Mike and Josie’s college bound daughter
all three alternative health care providers
Good Eats: The Return
drinking beer, cracking crab legs and peeling shrimp at Blue Ridge

the never ending road trip with Thing 1 and Baby K
seeing Thing 2 and Boyfriend J during a pit stop in Columbia
spending the second day back to school day drinking with Holly
shoot day with YBW
discovering Natty Boh with YBW
Vampire Weekend
YBW’s bestie from high school here with his fam
Nat’s game (Tony hit two dingers!)
finishing my paper

September looks like it’s starting out slow, but that’s fine by me, I’m learning to take it easy. I’m learning the journey is where it’s at. (Though, to be perfectly honest, I’m all about ‘getting there’.)
I’ve already got some stuff on the calendar for next week, but I’m curious to see what pops up.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with YBW as we move into Autumn.
Ready to make new so many new reasons to be grateful!

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collecting my reflections

In the last month I’ve had a house full of daughters, a son-in-law, and one sweet baby.
Organized and hosted the most wonderful party to celebrate Baby K.

welcome to the Bubbly & Baby to celebrate Baby K

Who’s that baby?
a guessing game

yummies and goodies

a monogrammed cake was one of my ‘must haves’

*all photos credited to Thing 2 and used with permission*

I spent precious time with my girls.
We shopped. Visited with friends. Attended a party to celebrate a friend’s daughter going away to college.

Yesterday, I made the long journey home from GA where I left Thing 1 and Baby K at home. (Husband N was here for two weeks and returned home empty handed, while Thing 1 and Baby K stayed here with us for another two weeks.)

Now here I am, daughter-less and baby-less, which I don’t love in the least.
But, the truth of the matter is I’m content to be me.

I didn’t write in my journal or for this blog in all that time.
I was so busy living in the moment, I didn’t take the time for reflections.
My reflections are shooting out all over the place and I’m racing to collect them.
I need a bit of time with my journal for sure.

I’ve finished the first half of my thesis paper. I’m meeting with the course adviser this afternoon to create a plan to proceed with the second half. My plan is to submit the finished paper by the end of the month. I’ll be OK if it comes back for revision because my term doesn’t end until September 30th. That gives me another whole month to make sure all I’ve dotted all the i(s) and crossed all the t(s). And then I’m finished.

I’m a bit overwhelmed even thinking about all the time that will free up.
How will I spend it?
I don’t want to waste any more time.
I mean, I’ll waste some time, cause I like to watch the TV occasionally, you know?
I want to use my time successfully.
For the betterment of me.
For my own personal pleasure.

I’ll get about that soon enough, right now I’m going to take a moment to miss little nugget of deliciousness.

OK, baby fix, check.
Time to move on to collecting my reflections and planning how to spend my time.
I’ve got this!

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nine days – the countdown to Baby K


OHMYGOD!!

This little nugget of adorable will be here in NINE DAYS!
AND, she’s bringing her mommy and daddy with her!
I’m so happy, I swear I might burst!!

Birdie and Baby K back together again!
SQUEEEEEEEE!

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I’m doing it!

I’ve been completely immersed in coursework. Reading, writing, and creating (more complicated than necessary) annotated bibliographies.
I passed the first of five courses in April. I’m four-fifths of the way to passing the second course. I’m fourteen-twentieths of the way through passing the third course.
The fifth and final task for the second course is that I must write an essay about how the books I read for this course impacted my personal education philosophies.
I’m over here like:

The fifteenth through twentieth portion of the third task is the last five annotated bibliographies. I’ve got all the prep work done, just need to plug summarized information into the template.

I already have a huge portion of my thesis compiled, so writing that paper will be simpler than some. That’s the fourth task.
The final task is creating a power point presentation that summarizes the thesis paper. (Waste of time, much?)

The girls, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica are coming the third week of July for the party to celebrate Baby K. Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K will be here for a bit over two weeks, and we’ve already started talking about how Husband N might go home, and Thing 1 and Baby K might stay here a bit longer and I’d take them home later in August. I’m not sure how long Thing 2 will be here. Jessica will be here for five days.
We’ll have a houseful! But I’m excited!!

My plan is to finish course two and three in the next week or ten days so I’ve got nothing pressing as I get ready for them to be here, and while they’re here I can simply enjoy being together.

I’ve worked so hard the last two weeks I can hardly believe it!
I’m taking breaks enough to go to the farmers market and day drink with Holly on Thursdays. Yesterday I finally had enough and decided to brave the heat and go run errands.
Today I’m debating on how much I’ll work. But YBW is on his computer and I have no idea what Thing G is doing, so I guess I’m on my own today. I can go out in the heat and be around random folks, or I can stay put and get stuff done. Or, perhaps a bit of both? Who knows.

For the first time since I began this journey of coursework I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My term ends September thirtieth, but I plan to finish in August.
And that’s it. I’m finished with this degree plan.
I find myself wondering what I’ll do with my time once I’m not always doing coursework.
The first thing on the list is read read read. (is that actually the first three things on the list?) I’m going to tackle my TBR stack! I’m going to read for pleasure, not what’s assigned me. I’m going to sit with my stack of Southern Living magazines and devour them.

My girls are incredibly supportive of my journey. They’re quick with praise as I report my progress this term. Thing 2 has remarked on my tenacity, and that she gets hers from me. I shared with them that I’m not only doing this for myself, sticking with this commitment I made to myself even though it’s taken so much longer than anticipated. I shared that I’m doing it for them too. So they see their mom as a woman who made a commitment to herself and is working hard to keep it.

You know, since I started this degree plan, I’ve lived through a separation and divorce. My eldest graduating high school and going away to college. The sudden and unexpected deaths of both my parents. Packing up my life in South Carolina and moving it to Virginia. Two weddings, mine, and Thing 1’s. My brain injury. The death of my precious mother in law. The birth of my first grandbaby!
And those are just the big ones!
I’m not mentioning the day to day highs and lows. Simply living life, work and home and friends.
This journey started with a whole lot of hubris. I thought I had it all under control.
This journey is coming to a close with a whole lot of beautiful humility.
I’m proud of this journey! I wanted to give up so many times! But I never did. Even when I was sick. I kept on and kept on and now I’m nearing the end with joy and verve! I did the hard work that got me to this place. I will finish the hard work in the next two months.
I’m doing it!
And soon I can shout “I DID IT!!”.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

you got this

I got a call from Thing 1 this morning. She was on the way to the doctor. She asked my opinion regarding birth control. I haven’t concerned myself with birth control since my hysterectomy in 2004, so I didn’t feel as though I was going to be much help to her.
She is worried about how getting pregnant will impact her heart health and wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again any time soon.
She’s concerned about hormonal birth control, how it will affect her depression.
I’m concerned about how hormonal birth control will affect her milk production.
She asked what I thought about an IUD. I told her I know that my mom had one fifty years ago and loved it. I know friends who have them now and love them.

Part of me feels like I’m letting her down because I don’t have my finger on the pulse of this information.
I’m a forty-eight year old (menopausal) woman with no uterus. How could I possibly advise a twenty-five year old about safe and effective birth control?
I did tell her that if I was in her place, I would choose an IUD.
Why? My gut just knew.

I don’t know that she wanted well thought out, highly informed opinions or advice. I suspect she just wanted to touch base with her momma while she was considering her choices. Sometimes, you just want to talk to your mom. Sometimes talking to your mom brings you the comfort you crave, even when you’re not exactly sure you need it.

I’m so thankful I don’t have to worry about my reproductive health in the current climate.
I am concerned about the reproductive health of my daughters, and even my granddaughter.
Will they have access to everything they need?
I’m talking about proper medical care, appropriate testing, the ability to receive and fill necessary prescriptions.

I’m hopeful that whatever type of birth control Thing 1 chooses, she has appropriate access to it. That it works to keep her healthy while it helps ensure she doesn’t get pregnant. Not getting pregnant will keep her heart safer. Not getting pregnant will keep her heart healthier.
I want my girl to have a strong and healthy heart. I want Baby K to have a strong and healthy mommy.
I’m not sure what choice she will make, but I do know that I support her in her decision to maintain her health to the best of her ability.

Even if I didn’t have good advice for her this morning, I hope that our quick conversation gave her what she needed.
Sometimes all it takes is hearing your mom’s voice to know you can handle whatever is coming at you.
I see her building a life and family upon the foundation I built for her and I know she’s got this.
Perhaps she just needed to be reminded.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

all in my feels

I’ve been living in the teeniest of bubbles for the past three weeks.
The bubble that exists around a brand new baby.
Being with my daughter for the birth of her daughter is a blessing. So much so that words actually fail to express my joy and gratitude.

When it comes to being helpful, I made sure not to overstep when it comes to Baby K. I’m making sure I’m not doing too much around the house.
We started out with me making sure she ate and was hydrated, I prepared her breakfast and lunch, provided her with healthy, lactation promoting snacks, and make sure she had enough water. I took a bigger responsibility in keeping the house in order. Cleaning and tidying, making sure she had access to what she needed.
In these three weeks, she has taken on more household responsibilities in addition to Baby K responsibilities. She’s finding her way in balancing running her home and menagerie, and being a mom.
I have not yet stopped doing the laundry, but we’re making plans on how to make that transition simplest for her.

I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to spend this time with my granddaughter.
From diapers, burping, and baths, to books, songs, and snuggles, I am making the most of my time with her.
This sacred time will be lost on her, but I am making memories and storing them up.
As many times a day as I can manage, I say, “Birdie loves you, girl.”
My hope is that when Baby K hears those words over the rest of our lives, that it triggers something down deep in her, and she remembers this time in some sort of way.

I am actively in my feels.
I am beginning to prepare myself emotionally for my departure.
I consider sleeping through the night in my own bed, and the simple pleasure of being in the same physical space as YBW. Seeing my friends, and farmer’s market mornings. Really just living my regular life.
In returning to my regular life, I won’t spend every day with Thing 1 and Baby K. I won’t be comfortably enclosed in that precious little bubble. I won’t get to clean up mad blow-out diapies, or sing the lollipop guild song while I ‘dance’ Baby K’s legs around. I won’t be seeing her eyes roll back in her head when she gets sleepy, but won’t give in. I won’t get to hold her close and smell her sweet baby smell.
I won’t be able to spend time with my daughter, listening to her thoughts. We won’t laugh together, or finish each other’s sentences. I won’t get to watch her basking in the joy of her daughter, or experience that moment of joy when she shares her with me.

These thoughts weigh heavy on me. I need to acknowledge and attempt to accept them to ease the reality of parting, but not so much I’m missing out on the joy of being here.
I mean, how could I feel anything but joy looking at this darling little face!?!

I absolutely understand how blessed I am to be here with my daughter and granddaughter. To spend this sacred time with them. I’m grateful for the support of my precious husband in making this possible.
I am chock full of love.
I am chock full of joy.
I am chock full of gratitude.
My cup truly runneth over.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

wrapped up in love

Today is my birthday and mother’s day!

I received cards from the girls.

Thing 2 wrote hers and left it here for me when she went back home 10 days or so ago.

Thing 1 and Husband N gave this to me last night when we all went to dinner to celebrate three mothers.

Today is the forty-eighth anniversary of my birth.
I am humbled and blessed to be celebrated by the people who love me.

Today is the twenty-fifth time I’ve celebrated mother’s day.
I am truly, madly, deeply blessed to have these girls as my daughters.

My very first baby is now a mother!
I have such joy being here to celebrate that with her.

So far, my morning has involved a diaper change, a bottle, and a lovely snuggle with my precious granddaughter.

She’s decided to go back to sleep, so I’m taking a moment to share my joy with y’all while everyone here is still abed.

YBW brought my favorite bubbly when he came. He asked me last night if there was OJ in the fridge here. That means mimosas when everybody wakes up!
In the meantime, I’m enjoying this quiet morning with my cold, fizzy, caffeinated beverage and chatting with Thing 2.

Even though everyone here is sleeping, and my baby daughter is four hours away, I feel all wrapped up in love this morning!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Birdie’s on it!

My friend Holly gave me a funny little book. It’s very tongue in cheek, written by a grandmother and filled with some silliness, some heartfelt things, and a fair amount of honesty.

In this book, she talks about how the mother of the mother always ‘wins’. How because it’s her baby having a baby, it’s different than her son having a baby.
And I get that. To a point.
However, I don’t feel any more or less ‘winning’ than Husband N’s mother. I mean, apart from the fact that I’ve been told I’m the one they’re going to rely on. To be perfectly honest, in my gut, it does feel that mother-mother connection has a strength the mother-father connection may not have.
But what do I know? I have two daughters, I truly cannot imagine what being the mother of a son would even feel like.
All that said, I feel like there doesn’t have to be a difference.

Only it turns out there is a difference. At least in the case of Baby K’s grandparents.
Thing 1 and Husband N took Baby K over her Nana’s house late Saturday morning.
(just to clarify, Nana is Husband N’s mom)
Nana came home from Savannah and got sick. And I mean sick, like, with sinusitis and a fever, and all that jazz.
(I’m over here like, thank fuck we didn’t all catch it when we were at the hospital together!)
So Nana hasn’t seen Baby K since the day after she was born.

Thing 1 and Husband N knew I needed to write an essay, and I’d been working on it but could use some uninterrupted time to finish it. They also knew if they took Baby K to her Nana, they could control how long the visit would last.
So off they went late Saturday morning so Nana could snuggle Baby K.
In the time they were gone I:
quickly bathed
let the dogs out
started laundry
finished my essay
switched and folded laundry
and
washed a handful of dishes
I was just about to reach out to Thing 1 to see if she would want a bit of late-ish lunch, but got distracted by the dogs needing some water. As I was carrying the water dish out, Thing 1 and Baby K rolled up the driveway. (Husband N stayed at his mother’s to get some stuff done.)
Thing 1 got the baby settled and I made lunch and we talked about their visit.

I asked if she slept or was awake. Thing 1 said she was awake most of the time and Nana snuggled Baby K the whole time. (Of course she did! I mean that’s all any of us want to do!)
And here’s where things get wonky for me…
She shared that Nana made some remark about how your mom probably never puts her down.
That got my girls hackles up a bit. But she remained calm and was polite when she explained how I was here making sure they all had food to eat, and doing the laundry, and making sure the floor was swept (y’all there are three dogs and four cats in this house, the sweeping never ends) and changing dirty diapers, and staying up in the night with them so she didn’t feel completely alone, and generally taking care of everyone until they can figure out how to do it all.
And here’s how I feel about that.
Appreciated.

And you know what, I am absolutely savoring every single moment I get to spend with Baby K. I’m living in this sacred moment and also storing up that feeling for when I go back home and don’t get to see her.
But, I am truly, madly, deeply loving that I’m here with my girl. Stuffing her with calories so she can make milk to feed her daughter. Making sure she has help maintaining her household while she figures out how to be a mommy. Helping teach Husband N to trust his instincts, and how cloth diapers work. Getting up early with the baby so Thing 1 can rest as much as possible.
I’m here to actively love and care for my daughter, and by proxy, her daughter.
I am here to be of service.
Because that’s what the mother of the mother does.
Well, at least that’s what this mother of the mother does.

That’s not what Husband N’s mother would do. Not because she’s mean spirited, but because that’s not how she functions. She’s the hold the baby, talk ridiculous baby talk, give her too much candy and send her home with a sick belly kind of grandmother. Thing 1 and Husband N already know that. They’re prepped for it.
But here’s what I believe is important to remember. She has love to give. It may be selfishly motivated, but love is love is love is love is love, right? Nana is going to love Baby K the way she knows, the way she can. How can that be wrong?

I am so blessed to experience this love.
I have so much love to give, it bubbles up in my heart and overflows out into the world. I’m hopeful that my daughter and her husband are content having it poured over them at the moment.
But that’s not why I’m doing it.


This teeny girl next to me is waking up for a second time this morning. She’s ready for a clean diaper, some warm milk in her belly, and a big ol’ burp.
Birdie’s on it!

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