Tag Archives: family

My Little Babies Are All Growns Up

(A virtual Dirty Martini with many olives to the first reader to correctly identify the movie my headline references.)

I remember when you were tiny, with rolls of fat on your legs. I remember that any time I took you outside, I felt like the celebrity minder for a famous duo. Never have I been on the receiving end of more attention as when I pushed your City Mini, and I proudly answered most questions (like a good publicist) about you both.

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I remember when we worried our third story walk-up with no yard in the city was no place for two active, mercurial, curious toddlers who defeated every attempt at babyproofing amateurs and professionals made. I remember the heartfelt decision to move to the suburbs, where we could give you the outdoorsy, bucoulic childhood we both had. I can remember little of this busy year, and so it is no surprise that I wasn’t even featured in the photo that year.

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I remember the year we learned you would share your lives with another sibling. I remember the day those dreams were denied and dashed. I remember I was often melancholy. I am sorry for all of that.

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I remember the year you became charming companions, no longer just babies to chase, but little people with important questions and dreams. I remember taxing my brain to answer questions about how rocket ships fly, what the government is, why God is everywhere. I remember your elaborate plays where tragedies occured but somehow everything ended well. I hoped that would always be true in your life.

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Tomorrow you will be starting Kindergarten. I love you both so very much. While you will always be my babies, I could not be more proud of who you both are becoming: smart, strong, independent and kind children.

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May you florish and grow as you enter the next passage of your lives.

Your loving mother.

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Filed under Parenting After IF

New Years Musings

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I love the renewed resurgence of blogging that seems to blossom in January. Maybe it’s inevitable: we don’t have any family functions, the weather keeps us indoors and wonderful blogging and reading projects like Creme de la Creme attract our attention. Maybe the relentless merrymaking of the winter season naturally gives way to reflection.

So many bloggers I read have already written interesting, insightful posts about what they’ve learned this year and what they hope to learn in 2013.

I don’t like to make resolutions. Partly because they don’t stick for me, but also because I like learning what the year will present, what findings will stand out.

Here are my lessons from 2012:

1. It was heavenly to cross visiting the Amalfi Coast off my life list, and eating and shopping my way through Italy for a big birthday and anniversary with my beloved was everything I hoped it would be and more. Y’all are probably sick of hearing about that trip, and rightly so. I think it was Mark Twain (or maybe Stephen Colbert) who once said: “Nothing is more boring than someone else’s vacation.” 😉
2. I learned to be grateful for what I have and less sad for what I don’t have. Mostly.
3. I remembered how fascinating fashion was (and still is) to me, and learned that taking care of my appearance gives me the power to heal some of my wounds. Looking good sometimes really can equal feeling good.
4. The twins became delightful little people who enjoy me reading the “Little House” books aloud. They are creative and exact and smart and great company. I love age 5.
5. Family and friends remained happy and healthy and I gained a niece, a gorgeous little girl.
6. We grew more of our own food: chard, kale, spinach, tomatoes, sage, thyme, rosemary.
6. Readers, you continued to be such a continuing source of strength and support and fun. Sometimes if I am feeling low, I’ll check my email and a beautifully worded little jewel will be waiting for me. While I constantly struggle with what to do with blogging, the community reminds me how lucky I am to have found this place.
7. Overall, I was pretty happy this year.

In general for 2013 I wish HEALTH most of all to all my friends and family. I also have vague plans for cooking from scratch (like bread, maybe cheese and living more off the land and our plantings) and perhaps more of a seasonal approach to life: using spare time on planting, ordering seeds, harvesting, cooking what we grow more. Figuring out a way to balance picky eaters (me included) with a variety of produce and carbs and protein. Enticing the family with more outdoor activities. Perhaps really cracking this blogging code in some way.

I hope that 2013 is the year your dreams come true!

What do you want in 2013?

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Filed under Discovering joy, My Favorite Things, Parenting After IF, personal style

A Glimpse of What Was

Our basement is finally being rebuilt after our recent plumbing catastrophe. Today was, as our contractor gleefully informed me via email, “Jackhammer Day!” I was instructed to be gone from 9-5.

I picked up the twins from pre-school and took them to The Cheesecake Factory to kill some time. There wasn’t much parking, so we walked quite a distance to reach the restaurant.

It was raining, and we all had on our galoshes and raincoats, and we were all merry in spite of the grey of the day. I held each child’s hand, as there was some traffic. We rushed towards several puddles together and splashed in each one, laughing each time. I had listened to an interview with Temple Grandin in the car and she noted an urge lately for people to “prettify life.” Which I think is probably true, given the beautiful photos I’m drawn to on Pinterest. Sometimes though, a moment doesn’t need prettifying. It’s movie-ready, primed for a greatest moment montage of your life. I imagine I would remember this puddle moment if “my life flashes before me again” like it did during the world’s sketchiest take-off.

Aside: When many planes don’t fly into an airport because of “too many issues” (cough*Innsbruck*cough) and you hate flying, please oh please take a train from a nearby city. Before departure from Innsbruck, our pilot quite calmly stated that due to the fact that physics dictated our plane must be as light as possible to clear the Alps with the current wind-shear, they would be loading off all of our luggage onto another plane. That made me extremely nervous. Then we hit so much turbulance on take-off that the engines actually whined then rattled (like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when all the engines died) on my side of the plane. Darcy looked earnestly at me and said: “You know, I really love you.” Which he NEVER says. And then I was watching my life in fast-forward: I saw quick glimpses of my childhood backyard, my beloved metal slide, our Christmas Trees, holding my brother after he was born, a report card with straight As, my parent’s faces when I graduated college, holding the key to the first car I ever bought myself, the moment I met Darcy, and his face when he was on his knee asking me to marry him, the Eiffel Tower glistening in the background. All that in a few seconds.

And because life never lets one forget, as we were still frolicking in the last puddle, I suddenly stopped cold. My spine tingled with dread and then I spotted them. A young couple was walking towards us, she was wiping away tears and they were clinging to one another as if they were drowning in the heaviest gravity. The very gravitational force they were inhabiting was not the same as the one the children and I were in just yards away. And I just knew: she had had a miscarriage. I tried to quiet down the rowdiness of the kids, to respect the heavy sorrow, so weighty it could anchor a battleship, that had so thoroughly pervaded the whole parking lot. As children are wont to do, they ignored me. I nodded to the couple, and while they didn’t even seem to see me, the woman turned as she walked and shot my daughter a glance so full of sadness, envy, disappointment and anger I was visibly shaken.

Tears formed in my eyes, and I was transported back to those awful days immediately following my losses. Part of me wanted to follow her and say: “Have hope: I went through what you did and these children were fought for with all the power I could muster.” But I know I can’t predict her journey. There are so many ways her life could play out and all the paths could be fulfilling to her. I wouldn’t be of comfort in any case. There was nothing I could do.

All I could do was hope that tonight she is writing about her experience, maybe even telling about the salt in the wound of seeing scampering happy kids. And somewhere, whether it is on a forum, Twitter, or a blog, I really hope she is being comforted by those many kind souls in our community who band behind one another during these awful moments.

I wish her to know she is not alone. I too, was once there, in that gravitational force of doom. I will always have my hand out for her and you all.

I was once drowning in grey while all around me, people created the memories that will flash before their eyes before they die.

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Filed under Infertility, Miscarriage, Parenting After IF

Top 5 Tips for Hosting a Child’s Birthday

I’ve gotten a few tweets and emails asking for my advice on throwing a child’s birthday. Tip 1: Don’t get a flat tire the day before one of the parties like I did 😉

We decided to have two events this year for our twins, and wanted each celebration to be very individual and special to each child. Here’s what I did:

1. Ask your child for an idea for a theme.

We’ve done this since the twins were three. This year, my daughter loves all things equestrian, but specifically: ponies. My son, on the other hand, would love to join a pirate ship sailing out on a treasure hunt.

So, Ponies & Pirates.

2. Take your child with you to a party supply store.

I took each twin separately on a shopping trip to Craig’s Warehouse, our local supply store. They each chose plates, napkins, cups, party favors and balloons. They each had very specific aesthetic ideas of what they wanted: my daughter preferred the vintage-looking visions of ponies as opposed to the more commercial-looking My Little Pony gear, and my son liked the classic Jolly Roger logos. I really let them run with their own choices and tried not to steer them towards anything in particular. Even though I had my own ideas.

3. Ask them to choose two colors for additional decor.

My daughter wanted apple green and pink (of any shade) and specified that gingham be somewhere in the mix. My son requested black and red with lots of pirate loot. I basically treated the twins like my special event clients, and tried to really make their ideas a reality.

4. Make vision boards to help create what you want.

I went on Pinterest and scoured photos of pirate ship pinatas and anchor cakes and gingham party favors and ombre layer cakes. I also looked through party books and some vintage magazines for ideas. I’m a very visual person and sometimes I just need to see what cakes, flowers, favors and tables can look like before making a look my own. The board for my son, and my daughter. I posted the photos of the end products on each of vision board because I am nerdy like that.

5. Surprise them with the end result!

My in-laws hosted my daughter’s party and I went over there the night before to drop off the cake and decorate with MiL. When our daughter walked in the next morning, she was so thrilled to see all the little touches: the balloon garland, the cake colored pink and green with sprinkles, the pin-the-tail-on-the pony game. Similarly, my son was taken to the playground while I feverishly prepared our house with the final details. The look on his face when he saw the treasure chest and jolly roger and the pirate entertainer, (a last minute addition after a near Cowboy Dan episode) I will take with me to my grave. He was really, really happy.

Final tip: let friends and family help you!! I got a flat tire the day before and had a meltdown and Esperanza and my in-laws really came through and helped me out. Esperanza was amazing, playing pirates and swords with the balloons.

Today, I decided to have a little me time by getting some awesome dental surgery 😉

What tips do you have about how to put on a memorable kid’s party? I would love to compile a list for next year. Only 363 days away!

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Filed under My Favorite Things, Parenting After IF

Birthday Party: Gingham, Ponies and Everything Nice

Twin birthdays are tricky. This year, we decided to have separate parties. One down.

Dress: Designer unknown, bought by MiL in Paris this spring. That trip was really good for her closet!

My daughter loves ponies. She chose the plates, cups, and gingham, polka dots and the colors pink and green were her inspirations. It was up to Mom to come up with the goods.

Cakes. God. They continue to be a nemesis. I decided to bake a white layer cake (and honestly, I should have made more than two layers) and used a drop of food color to make one layer pink and one layer green. This was a hit with the guests.

Icing sucks.

My husband gave this book to my daughter for her growing fashion book collection. (Stumbling Gracefully also gifted her with gorgeous books about vintage Parisian fashions today! She fell asleep tonight gripping one of them.) I’m glad I perused Emily Schuman’s book too because THERE WAS A SECTION ON ICING THAT MADE THIS CAKE MUCH BETTER.

You have to set the icing and make a “crumb coat” in order for the icing to stick. I DID NOT KNOW THIS. Now I do. Big props to Emily. She saved the Jaffe cake from looking like this, again.

My client seemed happy with the results. I love her and her brother so very much, and feel so grateful and lucky that they are in my lives, every day. Big thanks to MiL for hosting and helping with everything.

The Hurricane Sandy news is so awful. My heart goes out to all affected. Sending out lots of love to A Half-Baked Life, A Blanket 2 Keep and all the others out there dealing with loss of life, property, power and normalcy.

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Filed under My Favorite Things, Parenting After IF, personal style