Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Today, we reached a huge milestone. My son, my first baby, turned 18. He's an adult. I mean, at least in the eyes of the government, for whatever that's worth. Personally, I'm still not quite an adult myself and I kind of hope my children will never really be adults. 

There's a palpable change in my life. I knew it was coming and, while I wasn't ignoring it per se, it definitely caught me by surprise. He slipped out the door to have a cup of coffee with a friend today and Chris turned to me and said, "We have an adult now," and those words cut straight into my belly. The concept was not a surprise, but the moment I truly understood it was. This milestone mirrors, for me, the larger process of parenting. When they're tiny, you obviously understand the logical concept that your children will grow up and leave your home and build their own lives. You know it's coming, but you only really know it in your head. Then your heart starts to slowly awaken to this truth.

I very clearly remember, as a brand new mommy, walking past a mirror with Andrew in my arms and being so surprised at his growth that I purposefully recorded it in my memory. Here he was, still fresh and tiny, but he was growing! His heavy, little head rested on my shoulder and his torso reached down to my ribs, with his little feet tucked in underneath...and he looked so tall. And that's when it started.

The understanding grows quietly and gradually, just as the children do. And then, for me, somewhere around the end of his junior year of high school, I found myself enveloped suddenly and completely by the understanding that he was going to leave. I knew it was coming - I had known it was coming all along, but the real understanding of it was sudden and alarming.

And now we're here. He's an adult. He will be moving into a dorm in a few weeks. These are not bad changes, but they are changes nonetheless, and big changes like these deserve a moment to be recognized, with both tears and celebration.

Truly, I am not sad. If there is any young man well-prepared to set out into his own life, it is Andrew. He has accomplished so much already. He has a passion for music and has excellent plans laid out for his music education in college. He is a scholar and has amassed an impressive academic resumé. He is a leader among his peers and isn't afraid to try new things. He is open and warm and humble and funny. He lives out his faith in a real and approachable way.

So, no - I am not sad. I am proud and I am excited and yes, I'm crying, but I am not sad.

I looked back through my archives to find my thoughts Andrew's 13th birthday and I'm so glad that I did. I remember looking ahead into the uncertainty of parenting teenagers and having hope that it wouldn't be as bad as society told me it would be, and I am happy to say that my time with teens in my house has so far been all I'd hoped for (I still have a few more years with another one in-house). Parenting culture told me to expect the worst from my children during these years and my children have defied those expectations by being the absolute coolest kids I know and my two favorite people in the world. I hope we continue to defy expectations as I walk them to the edge of the nest, let go of their hands, and watch them fly off. 

Ready, set, go!

And so, some birthday words for my Baby Bear Man-Cub Adult Son:
When you were smaller, you would bend whatever rules you had to in order to win. "Accidentally" hitting the reset button on a video game and changing the rules of card games were par for the course when you had the prize of first place in your sights. I hope you carry this idea with you into adulthood. Of course, I don't mean for you to cheat your way to the top, but I do hope that you always question the rules and doggedly pursue your goals without blindly accepting the obstacles that you will encounter on the way. Obstacles can have a nasty way of stopping people in their tracks, and once you've stopped, it's so hard to start back up again. I also want you to know that sometimes, obstacles indicate the need to change course and that it's completely okay to do that. Sometimes, altering your goals or setting them aside for a time to focus on something of greater importance is the right thing to do. Changing course is fine, but just keep moving. Keep something in your sights. Keep learning and keep doing and keep living.

Really living.

Adventure is an essential component of a full life. If you have trouble finding it, make sure you are asking the right question: "Why not?" That question is dangerous and wonderful and always lands me smack-dab in the middle of something I'm not sure I can handle. Which is pretty much where you should always be. You learn the most that way.

You'll be fine, though. You're ready. You can handle this. And when you feel like you can't, come home for a bit and I will make you some cookies.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer 2012

It's over. My summer - it's gone.
So much is different as my little family heads into this new school year.
I no longer have elementary school children. Not a single one.
Emma joined Andrew in our church's youth group.
There is a big hole in Lakeland where my brother and his family used to be.
We have new instruments in our house.
And I'm going to school on purpose (choosing instead of aimlessly wandering).

There's a lot going on and at the same time, I've been doing absolutely nothing.
Maybe, with so much going on inside, I just needed the outside to be as still as possible.
I feel a little guilty when I look back at previous summers that were full of camps and intentional family time and incredible projects. A little guilty...but obviously not guilty enough to have done any of those things this summer. Instead, we watched hours and hours of Netflix (Dr. Who, mostly) and made cupcakes and slept in. I do love my big kids for their ability to sleep in! It was glorious and decadent and wonderful!

And I'm not ready for it to be over.

Chris and I have spent the bulk of the last two days scheduling out our upcoming semester and it's overwhelming. I don't even feel quite recovered from last year and here we dive, headfirst, into another. Except, I know it will be worth it.

I mean, I could be somebody's secretary and make a decent living with a predictable schedule and evenings-and-weekends free. That life would let me make cupcakes for the whole class and knit hats for everyone on my Christmas list. It would let me sew summer sundresses and go out for coffee with friends. I know I have traded some old things I loved for new things I love even more. I know because I've been that girl for a long time. And I like being that girl. Okay, well, maybe I only liked parts of it.

So now, I am balancing too much. My hair usually won't be clean and I'll almost never get around to wearing actual makeup. I'll forget important papers for my kids' schools and zone out when people talk to me. People will get store-bought presents from me (and they'll love me just the same). I'll spend my days with people half my age and I won't quite fit in with people my own age. I will drink coffee early in the mornings as I zoom over I-4. In a few weeks' time, I'll have that half-crazy fire in my eyes that makes strangers a little scared to talk to me (this is a real thing I have been told about). And it will be worth it.

I have traded some things I loved for some better things. It is busy and scary and certainly not stable. But it's a chance I will never see again. I have to do it. It will be hard and sometimes it will be lonely. It already has been. But my kids need me to be more than a secretary-cupcake-baker, because I was made to be more than that.

So, my glorious, nothing of a summer is over and I am sad about that, but waking up at 5:30 every day to live this crazy, insane life of'll be worth it.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Sad Party

Well, I have decided that I am no longer a party-thrower.
I know this is shocking.
The pages of this little blog are full of parties that I've thrown for years and..
I think I've just outgrown them.

That said, when the right occasion calls for a party, I will answer the call, but it won't be just for every birthday and only for very special babies and weddings (though I think my friends are just about done with that business by now).
And also for sad goodbyes.

I know I haven't told you, Dear Blog, but it may be partly due to my colossal state of denial: Joe and Mindy are moving away and taking my nephews - my babies! - with them all the way across the country to the great Northwest. They only have a week or so left now and, well, we needed a party. Don't you agree?

I had some wonderful co-hostesses and didn't even have to host the party in my own house, which made it so much smoother and so much more enjoyable.We made decorations out of maps and left out vintage Florida postcards for friends to write their goodbyes. There were delicious treats and my masterpiece - a DIY soda bar, with homemade soda syrups, of course.

So, before I start to sniffle and sob, how about I just show you some pictures?

Monday, June 4, 2012


When one is small, one has many "grandmas" and "great-grandmas" in their life. Some of them are not even really relatives. Such was the case for my children, having all but one great grandfather, all four great grandmothers and both sets of grandparents, not to mention a Nana.
So, most of  our grandparents have their own special names. My mom's parents went with Gma (pronounced "jee-ma") and Gpa.
Gma is our only "great" left on my side of the family and when her birthday rolled around, we wanted to celebrate her in a pretty big way. My mom's family is pretty big on Mexican food. It's kind of an obsession, really. So, naturally, we had a big lunch out at one of our favorite Mexican eateries.

Isn't she cute?

Way Back When

You know that whole time when I wasn't talking to you, Blog? Like, from January until now?
Well, my family did some fun stuff in there. Here's proof: We went to the Strawberry Festival & Drew marched in the parade.


We went to Legoland and my nephew, who loves anything to do with vehicles, got to drive some stuff.


My kids got to meet their heroes.

 Just kidding. But I love the difference in Emma's face between Darth Vader and R2D2.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rain + Ocean

Girls' Night

Emma and I had the splendid opportunity last week to join my mom at the beach for a girls' night. She was attending a conference and had a room that was big enough to share, so we decided the kindest thing to do was to help her fill up that room. We arrived and put up our things and immediately trekked to the water in order to take in every moment of the setting sun we possibly could.

Sunset and boats:

It was a much-needed, restorative getaway. I haven't taken pictures in a while and just holding my camera in my hands and working my trigger finger did my soul some serious good. We watched a movie and got stuck inside the next day because it rained and rained. That was actually a different kind of nice, even though I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to go back to the beach.