Follow on Bloglovin>
Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

The lost bouquet

 

 The Lost Bouquet by Frugalista Blog, wedding, anniversaries, marriage, bridal

 

If you’re like me, you pretty much obsessed over every wedding detail since you were five.

Of course, by the time I was 25 things changed. Like, I wasn’t going to have a horse-drawn carriage or a dress with a hoop skirt. The 80s of my childhood consisted of a lot of Princess Diana wedding dreams. Then my teens and early twenties took me to an obsession with Jackie Kennedy. So much so that I found a very similar wedding dress like the one she wore when she married John.

And in my typical fashion, it was on sale!

That’s pretty much where my Jackie Kennedy vision ended. Except for the wrist length gloves and strand of pearls I wore. But there were no dignitaries, senators, or heads of state at our wedding. And we also had a budget, so no old Bouvier money to pay for the jazz band I ordered.

I found a florist that I simply fell in love with. She created a ‘Martha Stewart’ type portfolio of lush foliage. And actually, Martha Stewart had only just started her Weddings empire in the early 90s, so all of this seemed ahead of its time. I kept in mind the orange blossom and narcissus flowers Jackie had used, but I also had a theme of hydrangeas throughout. Hydrangeas everywhere!

When we headed out for pictures the morning of the wedding with my bridesmaids, I was tucked in the backseat of my dear friend, Melissa’s Subaru Outback. My dress spilling over me, I dare not move, but the flowers had arrived and I wanted to see my bouquet. She brought it to me in the car and I carried it on my lap in its delicate cool-petaled glory. It was fragrant and felt just the right weight in my hand. I arrived at the park that had the rose garden we reserved  for pictures and for my groom to get his first glimpse of his bride.

It all went perfectly well. The clouds hung over us like they were about to rain, but held off, not sprinkling but creating a reflective veil of lighting for the photographer.

I felt fabulous in my dress. I felt terribly uncomfortable in my shoes! But that’s another story. They sure were adorable. Everyone looked beautiful. I held on to my bouquet tightly. It was an anchor for the day. Giving me something to do with my hands, drawing me in to its delicate, sweet scent. Scent is a powerful thing. It settles back in our ole factory glands and burns itself in our memory vault.

I had the florist make a mini bouquet for the bouquet toss at the reception. It was a sweet little nosegay of similar flowers so I could spare my bouquet and have it as a keepsake.

By the end of the festivities and cake cutting, garter throwing and first dances, so much was happening and time was running out to get changed and to our honeymoon suite. I felt like Cinderella at the ball. I didn’t want it to end, but the clock kept ticking and even though I wasn’t going to turn into any pumpkins, we had to keep a schedule. I knew my bridal party would look after all the cleanup and details that bridal parties do. All our bouquets were on the cake table to add to the floral decor. I needed to change and run off with my husband for our wedding night. Things like where to store my petticoats and paying the caterer were left to all my ladies in waiting of moms, aunts, bridesmaids, sisters, etc. I knew things would be handled.

The next day at my parent’s house was a wedding breakfast. An all day open house that gave us time to soak up each others company and bask in the post wedding glow. For friends and family that traveled from afar to be with us, this was an extra special day that gave us that time to share without so much of the craziness of the previous day’s events.

I saw many of the centerpieces from the reception displayed throughout my mom’s living room and patio.

“Where’s my bouquet?” I asked her.

After going through each and every box, vase and display, my bouquet wasn’t anywhere. Not one of my bridesmaids remembers picking it up.

Strange, because most of the flowers made it back to my parent’s house. How could this particular piece not?

I didn’t get too upset over it. Heck. Lots of things could have gone awry for the occasion and that was such a minor thing. So many of my cherished people were working so hard to make this day a success, what was a little detail like ‘we lost the bride’s bouquet’ going to really add up to in the end?

Anyway, we had a two week honeymoon ahead of us to New England to see the sights of Cape Code, Vermont and the shores of Maine. There wasn’t any need to worry about some dumb flowers.

After returning from my honeymoon, I still needed to get some last few personal belongings from my apartment I shared with my roommate, also a bridesmaid. I let myself in when she was at work, and packed up my final box of whatever. I noticed her bridesmaid’s bouquet sitting on a side table. It was drying and looked like a still life reminder of the fabulous event that had just happened two weeks prior. I felt a let-down of sorts.

It was over. All the planning and dreaming, magazine clippings, dress shopping, fantasizing was done. I had had my wedding that I wanted. It was a dream come true.

I was jealous I didn’t have a bouquet of my own drying on an end table.

One year later, celebrating our first anniversary, we had planned a weekend getaway to Victoria, B.C. We were going to visit the gardens and have high tea. It would give us that feeling of the wedding that took place among the gardens and flowers a year prior.

The night before we were to leave as we’re packing, James tells me to close my eyes and he wants to give me my present.

I’ve had presents and surprises from him before. Mountain bikes. Hmm, that didn’t go over well. Ice cream cakes. Okay, sweet, but I’m lactose intolerant. I figured this would be something charming and funny in his typical style.

I didn’t cheat. I kept my eyes shut. But I could smell it before I could see it. The fragrance hit the back of my sensory triggers and brought me all the way back to the beautiful day a year before when I married this man.

There was my bouquet. Not the same one from the wedding, but an exact replica he had the florist recreate.

I cried.

Its petals were cool and soft. It had the same weight of the first one, anchoring me in place as a bride. Orange blossom, freesia, roses and narcissus wafted above.

I couldn’t stop looking at it, smelling it and holding it. Much like a little girl getting a new doll, I was enraptured with my bouquet! I also, was unbelievably overwhelmed with gratitude and fulfillment that the man I married could see into my feelings and heart so much to know this mattered to me.

It meant more than any jewelry or crystal, paper or clocks, that any anniversary list could have.

I kept that bouquet for 16 years. I only just threw it away after going through a revamp of my living room. It was disintegrating and dusty. I didn’t preserve it professionally. I didn’t need to.

I had had my fill of my flowers, I had my memories and pictures. And I had my husband who cared so much about me and understood sentimentality like I could only hope.

It was a dream come true, that I hadn’t even dreamed in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like you. Do you like you?

I have seen a lot of stuff lately on the Internet about embracing our own quirks. I have a lot of quirks to embrace, so my arms might get tired. That’s a joke.

There’s the Colbie Caillat video “Try” how she is tired of being photoshopped. Go Colbie! I love it.  Deconstructing all the fake hair, lashes, gloss and softening to show her no makeup, still beautiful self. Mostly, I love that video for the little girls in there with their makeup and their flat irons being ditched for the natural curls, young complexions and innocent faces that are more their age.  Stop trying so hard! Right?

Far be it from me to tell you to abandon your makeup or anything that makes you look different than you actually do. I like to think makeup enhances my features. When you’re blond and fair like me, you can’t see my eyes well without some liner and mascara. And I will be the first to admit, I love makeup. I love looking airbrushed and ‘perfect’. Whatever that is. I like ‘blurring’ my wrinkles, without telling someone to just squint when they look at me. I cover the redness from the Rosacea I have. I give myself a smokey eye to be alluring and so you can see me across the room, or at least that’s what I’m trying to do. I use thickening products in my hair to make it have volume, I’m constantly battling wrinkles. I’m trying pretty hard I guess.

Watching the teen girls in the Colbie Caillat video made me think of my 14 year old daughter. She’s beautiful, with milky peachy skin. Gorgeous blue eyes. And a smattering of freckles across her face.

She hates her freckles.

She spends many minutes in front of her mirror covering those freckles with BB cream and concealer. To her credit, she has lots of ‘no makeup’ days too. But she’s always hated her freckles. So when she was allowed to wear makeup, the first thing she did was cover her spots. Her freckles ruin the ‘perfect’ look. They take away the ‘airbrush’ quality she envisions for herself. I think they make her look fresh and young. She thinks she looks ‘dirty’.

She’s not the first girl to not like her freckles. I didn’t like my freckles growing up either. I especially didn’t like the ones on my upper lip that made me look like I had a mustache. Now my freckles are more like age spots, so I don’t really like them still.

I tell her that I love her freckles. She rolls her eyes at me.

Then there’s my son. My son is skinny. He hates being so skinny sometimes. I love that he’s skinny. He’s just like his dad. I tell him he can run fast and he doesn’t have to worry about his clothes getting snug on him. But kids make fun of him for being so skinny. I guess kids find anything to tease about another kid.

So what do I not like about me that other people like about me?

It’s weird to think of. My stretch marks? Hmm, I don’t think other people love those. My poochy tummy? Yeah, still haven’t heard much love for that.

I’ve always not liked my lips and my mouth. I have big lips and a big mouth. The years before ‘troutmouth’ and Real Housewives got lip implants, my lips seemed to be my downfall. I felt like they were misplaced and didn’t belong. Why couldn’t I have a sweet, delicate pucker? Why did I have to have this horse mouth?

Once I was old enough to kiss a guy with those lips, I started getting compliments on them. Huh. Apparently full lips are desirable. The teen me didn’t know this.  It was surprising to be admired for them later in my 20s. Beauty consultants behind the counter at department stores always compliment my lips when I try on lipstick, telling me I have the perfect shape. Really? I started to accept that they were part of me and I just had to make the best of them.

What made me most self conscious was starting to become my best asset.

So eventually I started to appreciate my pout. I wear lipstick in any shade I want. Once I read that full lips shouldn’t wear dark lipstick as to not bring too much attention to the mouth. Pfft to that. I will wear whatever goddamn color I feel like! Yeah, I laugh loud, and I smile big, but now I’m pretty much proud of this giant gob. Or cake hole as my dad would call it. I can fit a lot of cake in my cake hole.

What is it about yourself you don’t like? Is it your curly hair? Is it your gangly long legs? I bet if you asked someone else, they would say you have a beautiful head of thick hair, and they wish they had long legs like you.

Because the grass is always greener, right?

I hope more young girls start liking their freckles, their curly hair, their moles and skinny legs their big lips. Like Colbie says, you don’t have to try so hard.

Start liking you. You might be surprised.

I like you. Do you like you? By Frugalista Blog

 

She could have been a doctor, but she’s just my mom

It’s my mom’s birthday today. She is 73. Sorry mom. I suppose divulging your age is the first rule of lady code I just broke.

Well, I say wear your age proudly. Because when you’ve lived 73 years and seen what my mom has seen, I think you just throw your hangups about age out the window.

My mom is my compass. She’s my lighthouse in the dark. She is my mom and that’s my everything.

I am probably one of the luckiest humans to have such a woman in their life that breathes into her hope, inspiration and security.

My mom doesn’t have it easy. She takes care of my sister, who is disabled. Mom has had her own bout of hardships. Three joint replacement surgeries, a life saving surgery when her intestine was blocked and she could have died. OH, and she’s a cancer survivor. So, there’s that.

Also, when you’re born in Frankfurt in 1941 you are surrounded by a world at war. To think this little being and many others like her, came in to this world under Germany’s darkest years. But if there’s a light one can not extinguish even during this dark period, it was my mom coming forth. Little Uta. I think she was born speaking and solving problems, but that’s just my admiration for her. I know she was a regular little girl, a person with her own hopes and dreams before she was my mom. It’s hard for us as children to picture our parents as people. I mean, you’re telling me they had lives before they devoted it all to us? Indeed. This is a hard fact for my own children to accept sometimes. When you wear the badge of ‘MOM’ it’s hard to be seen as anything else.

Sure like other children, I have fond memories of the way my mom smelled (Chanel No 5 during the 70s) and the smells of her kitchen too. We would have her homemade pizza every Saturday night. We watched the Muppet Show from our kitchen table my dad built. Kermit was smaller then on the 18 inch color television that wasn’t even remote control yet.

But I also have memories of my mom when I was in high school and college. The morning after a late night out, she would sit on my bed while I would sip a cup of tea she brought me. I’d share details of the night like I would share to a girl friend. I would preface certain stories with, “Okay, you’re not my mom right now, what I’m going to tell you.” And she would listen without raising an eyebrow. She didn’t judge or scoff. Let’s be real though. I was a pretty square kid. I didn’t really drink, I never did drugs, I was usually home by midnight, and my male conquests were theater boys I would crush on from afar only to find out they were gay. Translation- I didn’t get much action in college!

So there really wasn’t a whole lot for her to judge me on anyway. BUT, I still felt comfortable sharing all my funny stories, crazy happenings when there were some, and girl to girl details only other women get.

I remember one time either in my early adult years or when I was still in high school, my mom and I were having a heart to heart. In one of her somewhat bleak moments, she said to me with tears in her eyes, “You know, I could have been a lot of things. Maybe a doctor. Maybe a scientist. But I’m just a mom.”

It broke my heart. How could this woman not be satisfied with anything more than being my mom?! Had she been a career woman and not stayed home with her kids, what would life have been like? Selfishly, I was glad this was all she was. My mom. Our mom.

But I told her that she is more than ‘Just a Mom’. She is patience, and trust, nurture and light. She helps the downtrodden, she advocates for the helpless. She friends the homeless and the addicts. She counsels the stranger she strikes up conversation with.

She is an amazing woman that is more than just a mom. But a person who betters this world just by living in it. She raised me and my brother and sister. She looks after my dad and is his partner of 55 years. She reads and swallows up information by the libraries. She is one of the smartest people I know. She can cook up a pie crust and help you with your 401(k) paperwork. I don’t know how this woman does it.

Did I mention she moved here from Germany when she was 17 after marrying my dad? They had my brother a few years later and within less than 10 years had their own two children and fostered troubled children. Mixed race children in the 60s! They took a road trip with their black foster daughter and their own two children down to Atlanta. The guts they had. This is how my parents live. By example.

So yeah. You turn 73 with 3 grown kids of your own, 4 grandchildren, a husband you’ve been married to for 55 years; you wear that age proudly.

And mom,  if you ever think you’re ‘just a mom’ and there was something else you could have been, think for a minute the lives you’ve touched. The ripple effect of what your living has created. How there should be more people like you that are as selfless, reliable and loving. I have never been more proud of you to just be my mom.

Happy birthday.

 

She could have been a doctory but she's just my mom by Frugalista Blog

My mom in the 1950s.

12 life lessons from Siona

Today would have been Siona’s 10th birthday. She died before her 7th birthday of Leukemia.

She was our neighbor’s daughter. Our friend, the little girl who wanted to pet the dogs that walked by and ride her pink bike. She was sick from the time she was 4 years old.

4 year-olds shouldn’t have to wear feeding tubes. It’s not fair.

But what lives on in her legacy are her Life Lessons we call them. Such wisdom from a 5 year old. Siona’s older brother Sohil, is a good example on living these life lessons.

He keeps his little sister’s spirit in his heart and makes sure others feel that spirit too.

He posted on Instagram for today his friends to wear their ‘Siona shirts’. The ones they’ve worn each year for the Big Climb in Seattle to raise money for the American Leukemia Society.

I wanted to share with you today Siona’s Life Lessons. You can read her story here that her mom wrote.

Carry on about your day and look for butterflies. Siona loved butterflies. Happy Birthday Siona.

Siona's Life Lessons on Frugalista Blog

 

You’re a terrible writer

I was told this by my 10th grade high school English teacher. God bless Mr. Merrier. I have heard he has since passed away after battling cancer. He was a good guy. Just maybe not the best cheerleader for me and my shortcomings.

I remember vividly the essay we were writing on Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar. I struggled with it. He proofed a draft and I remember clearly standing at his desk when after so many red marks through the page he just said, “Geeze Rebecca, you’re a terrible writer.”  Without a hint of irony in his voice, my heart sank. I think I looked at him and shrugged. Well, yeah. I’m 15 and clearly confused you idiot! But I didn’t say that. I just went about finishing my essay. I think I pulled out a C+ on that assignment.

This was most shameful as an honors student in a room full of A+ work.

It probably hit me harder than if someone told me I was ugly or I had awful hair. Ever since that day I convinced myself that I was a terrible writer.

I am 41 now. Twenty six years have passed, three published works, contributor to several websites, and I still think I’m a terrible writer.

Perhaps it’s the self-deprecater (or the fact that I make up words)  in me. Believe me, I know when my writing sucks. I have 61 unfinished posts in my DRAFT folder in this blog’s website. Is that normal?

I get great ideas. I have crazy dialogues in my head that want to come on to the page. But somewhere between idea and execution there’s a chasm of dead space.

You’re reading this and thinking, ‘Uhm, that’s called writers block, Rebecca‘. Yeah, duh!

Maybe that is the lament of writers all the time.

You're a Terrible Writer by Frugalista Blog

 

It’s nothing new. I’m not the only one. Probably all artists and craftsmen feel like this.

But honestly, those words were so profoundly engrained in my frontal lobe (?) that it took me decades to get over it. I hated all writing assignments in college. I never let anyone read my work except the professor.

When I got my first ‘real’ job after college and I had to draft letters to environmental firms, or city officials, I would struggle and pine over them until my boss would read it and tell me they were fine. And they probably were fine. I mean, who cares? Just write the damn letter!

So many times we hear of success stories from the under dog. J.K. Rowling was homeless writing on napkins. She was turned down numerous times by publishers. The Help author, Kathryn Stocket, was turned down 14 times before her book was published.

My story is not uncommon. But I feel like it’s just another reminder to use your words carefully around the young and impressionable.

“You’re a terrible writer.” Them’s are fighting words. But I was too young and impressionable to know better. For some, a put down is what they need to stomp their foot in the sand, huff a big breath and stare down the target and charge like a bull. But for those like me, it can wilt us like a flower left in a car without water on a hot day.

I do not hate Mr. Merrier for what he said. I resented him for a long time though. Then I felt terrible learning he had passed after  fighting a disease.

We all say things out of impulse without thought. Now I’m trying to think back if I’ve ever told my children they were bad at something. What if I have? Is it life changing for them?

When people ask me what I do or what I am, I do not answer with writer. Or I didn’t used to. But I’m slowly starting to call myself that.

Isn’t it true that anytime you are paid to do something, you are considered a professional? So I’m a professional writer. Hmm. Still seems strange.

I wish Mr. Merrier could read my works (well, some of them!) and see me now though. He might change his mind. I mean, I’m not THAT bad.

 

 

Join me in Baltimore for Blog University. If you’re a writer or blogger, you need this conference. Find your niche. Find your tribe. Get your tickets for an awesome weekend with me and several other faculty. You’ll get schooled in a good way.

 

 

Sorry (not sorry) about my cellulite

Here we go again. It’s ‘bikini season’. Otherwise known as, let’s shave all our nether areas and expose them to strangers while romping at the pool or beach with our kids wearing a strip of fabric to cover our butts.

I know it’s occurred to some that wearing a bikini is pretty much like wearing a bra and panties, but in public. I think I would prefer the 1920’s swim fashion of bloomers and long shirts, but that’s just me. I don’t want to feel like I’m wearing a bra and panties in public. I like coverage. Is this because I jiggle and have pooches? I don’t know. Maybe.

All winter long as I stuff myself with scones and donuts, I think of how I should be drinking green tea and sipping watercress soup if I want to look good in a swimsuit come June. And let’s be honest, I’m stuffing myself with scones and donuts, not just in the winter, but all year around. The fact that I’m NOT a size 1X is pretty much due to genetics. I have my father’s side to thank for that. Although, back to the watercress, who the hell eats watercress?

So then here comes June. Actually, here comes spring break. April. And I put the swimsuit on for the first time in months but I don’t look at myself in the mirror. I just put it on and head out to the pool with my swim cover on and sit in my chaise.  I am thinking, why didn’t I work out more? Why is there so much cellulite this year than last year? What is that weird looking vein cluster? Was that there before?

But then I look around. And not to get too uppity, but there’s a few of some other moms with cellulite too. And I start to feel better. I relax a little as I’m shoving Pop chips in my face. What’s pool time without snacks? If you don’t bring chips to a pool, you’re dead to me.

Okay, then there’s one mom. There’s always THAT mom. The really fit one with like, 4 kids, to make us feel bad. If she works out, why don’t I work out? And she’s wearing a two piece she bought from Athleta. Heck, she’s probably one of their models. And I put the Pop chips away.

I take stock in the fact that I try. I do. And even though I keep seeing magazine cover after magazine cover (Us Weekly, I’m looking at you) of “Kim’s Wedding Workout” and I’m sick of seeing it. But I have to admit that even though she’s got curves, she’s looking fine. OH WAIT! She spends thousands upon thousands of dollars zapping her cellulite in some plastic surgeon’s office.

Ha! So there you go. If I spent thousands of dollars zapping my cellulite, I’d look like Kim too. But I don’t. I put that money in a college fund. Or family vacation. Or a woman I sponsor in Rwanda. (I’m not bragging or anything.)

My point is- WE ALL HAVE CELLULITE! (Except Athleta mom. You just go back to your paddle board, lady, I’ll deal with you later.)

You have cellulite. And you have cellulite- and YOU and YOU and YOU!

If we surround ourselves with real women, moms and grandmoms, sisters and friends, NOT magazines, we will appreciate what we have and not worry about the extra.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m planning on working off those winter scones and donuts. But it’s not because I want to fit in a bikini. It’s because I need to climb the ladder to my son’s loft bed each night. It’s the case of wine from Costco I want to be able heave into my minivan without throwing out my back. Use it or lose it baby. And I plan on using my quads and arms for good. Not just at the pool.

Sorry, not sorry about my celllulite by Frugalista Blog

Hope is what keeps us going. Donna Day 2014.

I didn’t know Donna. The little girl who died from a brain tumor at the age of 4. You can read about her story here- Donna’s Cancer Story by Mary Tyler Mom

I did know Kyle, my friend that died from a brain tumor at the age of 8.

And I did know Siona. The little girl that died from Leukemia at age 6.

I didn’t know Joey, a little boy that died from a brain tumor at age 6. Joey’s story is here- Kissing the Frog: Joey’s Story

You know what else I do know? That writing about children dying of cancer is exhausting. And I don’t want to do it anymore. But I will.

Because of Donna’s parents- Sheila and Jeremy.

For Kyle’s Mom – Christin.

For Siona’s parents – Nigam and Reshma.

For Joey’s mom- Kathy

There’s something that each of these parents hold in their hearts as survivors of children lost to cancer have, that no other parent has.

Hope.

They hope and pray that there is a day where not another parent has to bury their son or daughter after a horrible painful struggle through cancer.

They hope that money will be raised to find a medical breakthrough.

They hope they never know another parent to endure this pain.

They hope for a cure.

My post today is not just to get you thinking about the little ones in your life and their precious health.

Honestly, the bottom line of my post today is to ask you for money.

Cancer isn’t cured by bloggers or the worry of mothers everywhere. It’s not cured by words on a page or hours campaigning behind a laptop.

It’s cured in the lab by scientists who dedicate their work to finding the one key to unlock the puzzle for a cure.

Hope doesn’t find cures. But hope brings us together to create the opportunities to raise the money to finance the potential cure.

Where would we be without hope?

I don’t want to know.

Here’s how you can help.

You can buy a t-shirt- (click on the photo to take you to where to order)

Donna Day Super Hero St. Baldrick's t-shirts

 

Or you can give to the event directly that is Donna’s Good Things at Candlelite Chicago

Please donate any little bit you can.

Hope is alive and well on Donna Day 2014.

My son got a loft bed. And then my heart broke.

My husband doesn’t build things. He is handy. But he doesn’t just start crafting things in his wood shop. I mean the crap pile of tools and things that need to go to Goodwill that makes up our garage. However, he had promised Owen a loft bed and he was going to build it. Like Noah. Just kidding.

Owen has been so excited for his new bed. He’d been talking about it for months. He and James drew up the plans together and he was so anxious for it. It was promised for the new year and I really didn’t think it was going to come to fruition.

Well, long story short. James built the loft bed. And he did a great job! An entire weekend he spent sawing, measuring and drilling in the garage. This was weeks ago and there’s still saw dust everywhere. But that’s beside the point, right? Right.

The frame was immediately up in Owen’s room as soon as it was assembled. It’s about 5 feet off the ground. The kids and the dog, wasted no time checking it out. The cat does too! Both Emma and Owen are enjoying the bed above the ground, and the space under the bed for sitting and reading or playing games. I join the fun too and heave myself up the little ladder. Nothing makes you feel your age more than having to climb a ladder and expertly swing your leg over on a bunk bed without getting your arms and legs in a tangle. Holy crap, I was never meant to be a fire fighter.

Was it weird to have my son suspended from wooden 2×4’s 5 feet off the ground that my non-carpenter husband constructed? Yes. But the amount of bracing and bolts in the thing assured me it’s not going anywhere.

That night Owen is more than excited to go to bed and try out his new sleep digs. All his bedding is ready. He’s lined up his stuffed animals and pillow pets along the wall and railing as an extra barricade.

I don’t bother climbing up there. One, I’m scared my weight will be the tipping point for the wooden slats to bow without yielding. Two, it’s just really hard to get up there.

Owen doesn’t care. He’s snuggled in and ecstatic to go to sleep! I get up on my tippy toes and he leans to the railing for me to give him a kiss. He kisses me on the cheek. “Love you, good night, sleep well.” Is what he always says. I kiss him on his cheek, and steal a kiss on the top of his head, I rub his head a little extra and fluff his hair. Giving his arm a squeeze and leave him as I turn out the light and shut the door.

And then it hits me like a curve ball. No more can I lean down and kiss him goodnight or kiss him good morning and lean in to smell his head and put my nose in the curve of his neck. How did I not see this coming? Had I remembered this, the last night in his old bed, I would have done extra snuggles. I felt completely blind-sided. I hadn’t prepared for this stage of the parenting game.

My heart was broken. A little something died in me.

I know that sounds melodramatic. But he is my baby. My very tall, gangly limbed 10 year old baby. He’s a mama’s boy. And a little piece of his childhood went away with that old twin bed he’d been in since he was 2.

With all the excitement of the new bed, the wondering if James was really truly going to build this thing, I had forgotten about the sentimental aspect of what the old bed meant.

You always think of the transition from crib to Big Boy bed. It’s a huge deal. And seeing that crib disassembled and all packed up off to a Craig’s List recipient gives your heart a start, of course.

But I didn’t think of the Big Boy bed to No Longer a Boy but Almost a Teenager bed.

I see the horizon already of puberty and adolescence with Owen. His moods are changing. His sleep habits are evolving to where I need to wake him for school and he’s no longer MY alarm clock. He gets angry easily and pouts more often. A sign of the surging testosterone in his body. Oh help us. We braced ourselves when Emma went through this hormone tornado, and is STILL going through this. But the first couple years seem to be a different storm.

The cusp of child to pre-teen is even more difficult than full blown teendom. It’s confusing. It’s vexing. He’s a little boy still, you think. How can this be?

I’ve noticed a few changes over the months. Less cuddles on the couch. XBOX and hanging with his friends has replaced our sessions of Harry Potter movie watching. A trip to Barnes & Noble or a coffee shop for a treat with mom is not as fun as getting to play Halo at the neighbor’s.

For some reason, this has been harder than when Emma approached teenage-hood. She was always independent. Ditching me at a play place or preschool to go off with her friends or make new friends. Owen was my apron string clinger. Mild mannered, even tempered and my little shadow.

Funny, what I would pay today to get one more session on the couch of his chubby cuddles watching a Harry Potter movie. He’s all angles and corners now! No more baby pudge anywhere! He’s all his dad. Lean, tall and not an ounce of fat anywhere.

My takeaway from all this – I’m climbing that stupid ladder to his bed to kiss him goodnight. Sometimes I’ll lay next to him and give him an extra squeeze. He lets me. It’s not a pretty sight watching me arrange myself at the top, but I figure, while I’m able- I will climb it.

In a blink he won’t let me up there anymore, I know. He’ll be hairy, deep-voiced, and all hormones and in high school. Let me put it this way- I won’t WANT to be up there.

So I take what I can while it’s there. Parenting is so much hindsight. Well, here’s some foresight for you from me- breathe in the backs of the head right at the neck when you wake them up in the morning. Or, ha, realistically, when they come in to wake you up!

Oh, and if you think I’m climbing up there to change the sheets, no way. Owen knows that’s his job now.

 

 My son got a new loft bed. And my heart broke.

The new Bonbon Break is here- and say hello to one of the newest editors…

ME!

That’s right. I have an official fancy pants writer job. I’m an associate editor of Bonbon Break Magazine! AND Bonbon Break is newer and prettier than ever!

There’s a whole group of associate editors with me, including our master and commander at the helm, Val Curtis. She is dedicated, fearless and completely sleepless, I’m guessing, based on the number of hours she put in to snazz up the site. She wrangled all of us together to bring you what we hope to be, the best of little bites of inspiration, fun, ideas, escape… whatever you need you hope to find in an online magazine.

So without further ado, let me take you into the Bedroom– where I’ll be inspiring you, humoring you, and hopefully entertaining you.

My inaugural post, presenting ….

You’re Hotter Than You Think

click on the picture to take you to the post and don’t forget to subscribe to Bonbon Break!

You're hotter than you think Bonbon Break

Bonbon Break

I fall asleep counting my blessings

It’s the lyrics to one of Bing’s songs in White Christmas. I was watching it right after I tucked in Owen on the night before Christmas Eve.

I thought it perfect after the conversation I had with him just then.

He was starting to get the anticipation jitters. He knew he was on the verge of exciting stuff. Grandma’s house is always on the schedule for Christmas Eve and grandma likes to spoil. Like grandmas do! Part of me was glad he was still catching the magic as a 10 year old.

But part of me was also itching to temper it down a little for him and remind him of all the moments to savor. Not to rush to the finish because then it’s just, well, over. December 26th comes and it’s like a huge dose of cold turkey. No Christmas left anywhere. Well, except in our house, but you know, in the big old world out there it’s pretty much over.

I told Owen he has it pretty damn good.

He doesn’t have to wonder what presents are coming if at all from the giving tree at church or school, like the other families that were sponsored this year. He can take comfort in having both his parents home for Christmas dinner and one of them doesn’t have to go work their shift at their minimum wage job while the other sleeps because they’ve got the night shift.

I remember my dad working on Christmas day when I was about Owen’s age. We did all our Christmas celebrating the first half of the day and then off he went. I didn’t think of it much then. But it sure would have been nice to just be home all together.

Owen gets to wake up Christmas Eve morning to a delivery of donuts that will come with the groceries I ordered from the local Amazon Fresh. One of the perks of living in Seattle. Geeze louise we’ve got it good!

He has two sets of grandparents to shower him with gifts. My grandparents lived in Europe when I was a child. There was a box sent from my Opa (my mom’s dad). But honestly, it was more for her than us. It was full of chocolates and little things. Obviously, the 6 year old me didn’t appreciate it like I should have. Probably because it didn’t contain the Cher Barbie the 6 year old me was hoping for.

The one year I was 7, we moved across country from Illinois to Washington. We had the Ryder moving truck packed up and we left December 26th. There was no tree, there were a few presents, it was- interesting. We were all together and we  were happy, so I thought. Now thinking back, I realize my poor parents were probably stressed out of their gourds. Gee whiz.

So here it’s 2013, I sit in my heated home that is decorated for Christmas, and filled to the brim with riches and belongings most of which I am sure we don’t need. The children got all their heart’s desired (except the hedgehog Emma says she thinks she wants). This year it wasn’t electronics but soccer team jerseys for Owen and Lady Gaga tickets for Emma. Even James and I shopped for each other, something we don’t always do.

My point is, I wanted Owen to feel in his heart that no matter what gifts he gets from whatever relative or Santa, he has everything he needs. We all want to give our children everything we didn’t have, and yet we also don’t want to spoil them into being little assholes. It’s a fine line. But gratitude, I mean, right?

I know there’s those of you missing loved ones this holiday. There’s pain in hearts that only is magnified by the memories of Christmases past. I wish I could give you all  a salve of healing that could smooth over that pain.

So not just Christmas Eve, but every night, like Bing says, I fall asleep counting my blessings. And I teach my kids to do the same. Because when we count what we have, maybe we don’t miss as much what we don’t have.

I hope YOU had a blessed holiday full of riches felt in your heart.

 

Counting Our Blessings