Archive for category lily

Not Exactly Scrapbooking…

…but pretty much.

I’ve been working on a scrapblog photo album for Lily since she was born. The initial idea was to do one for her first year of life, but I didn’t finish in time for her birthday. So I thought, I’ll do 2 years for her 2nd birthday but then I ran out of time again. This last minute time crunch has been happening for the past 5 years and it has always ended in failure. So, what do I do? I try again, because I’m no quitter…and I’m highly motivated by guilt.

Her 5th birthday is in 2 months and I plan to have 5 photo albums printed into books for her, come hell or high water. I think she’ll love them and I’m pretty determined to get them done this time. Which is why it’s after midnight and I just finished her 5th year. I’ll show you the others at a later date.



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On Planning and Persuading

I haven’t had any real pressing news to share in awhile. Busy with work, thinking about selling our home, finding a new one, sending Lily to pre-school and everything in between (finished reading Poisonwood Bible this weekend – my favorite bible!). Not much time for mulling things over.

I’m going to be preparing Lily’s 4th birthday this week. Her birthday/party is Saturday and we can hardly wait. I love doing this for her. We’ve always had a nice party for her and it’s one of my favorite things to do as a mother. I pore over websites for theme/party ideas, stay up all night making cupcakes, mull over gifts for weeks and then just bask in her sweet, unaware face the entire party.

She’s not the most expressive child in unfamiliar situations so last year was interesting. She hardly smiled and watched curiously all the people around watching her. Like she never fully comprehended that we were all there to see her. Like she thought she was there to see us. I think she will get it a bit more this year. She’s been talking about it a lot. Today she told me she wants a birthday cake with a picture of our kitchen on it. I think she meant she wants lots of icing and that would take a lot of icing, I guess? I don’t know. Disect the 4 year old mind.

I was planning on buying cupcakes this year from a local bakery that is absolutely amazing and known for their cupcakes but dang if she doesn’t keep asking for a cake. Haven’t decided what I’ll do yet. Will I cave? Will I enforce the cupcake? I’m sure Dave will weigh in and save the day.

I’m planning to have quilts laid out around the yard with balloons tied to each corner, lights strung in the trees and flowers in old glass and plastic jars all over. I’m going with a “garden” theme, though Dave says I shouldn’t limit myself to one idea. Also summer’s almost over so it’s a little late for a full on garden thing. Though my big activity will be having them all plant their own plants to take home with them. I’m envisioning a big bowl of dirt, shovels , pots and plants for everyone.

Then all finger foods, punch, (cup)cake(s) and home-made ice cream.

Anyway, I’m super excited and plan to post pics after.

Also, I ordered myself a Kindle today, at Dave’s insistence. I’m so glad he’s so persuasive that I am worth it and a gift like this is long over due! My birthday’s next month, anyway, so it’ll be my birthday present. I cannot wait until it arrives.

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Not That Sorry

I made a girl cry yesterday. I didn’t mean to, I honestly wasn’t thinking about how she might hear what I was saying. I talk about death so much now that I forget the rest of the world still tries desperately to ignore it as much as possible. It’s such a common topic in my household, I guess I’m a bit hardened. The girl is a coworker, she came to my desk to ask  about a friend who’s mother recently passed away. See? Death. It’s everywhere; inescapable. How did I avoid it for so long?

My friend’s mother had been ill for quite some time. While I was out on leave after losing Olivia, she had been rushed to the emergency room twice with breathing problems. She had a tracheotomy and was on a breathing machine. She was on bed rest and just grateful that her first grandbaby could sit in her lap – with help, of course. I don’t believe it was a shock when she finally quit breathing for good. It may have been a sort of relief. But my friend talked about her mother constantly. She quoted her, bragged about her cooking, had her make pound cake for the office (when she was well enough to do so), she was definitely a mama’s girl. I couldn’t mention Lily without her telling me what her mother would say, or what her mother did when she did whatever Lily had done. On that front, I know my friend is devastated.

So Lily and I took her some food. I made the same thing I’d made when her grandmother died. Her mother had sent me a thank you asking for the recipe. I had considered that such a compliment, the way my friend regarded her mother’s cooking skills. But I never did give her that recipe. What a lazy asshole. The least I could do was make it for her this one last time.

As soon as I put Lily in her carseat to leave, she asked my friend a question. Why did your mommy die?

Because she was sick, my friend said. But she’s better now because she’s in heaven.

My baby sister was sick.

I know. Maybe my mommy can take care of your baby sister in heaven.

Lily lit up. Yes! she said. And they can take care of my buddy, too!

Buddy is the slug we found and put in her little insect house. He died in there, much to Lily’s dismay.

So I was telling my well-meaning coworker about the conversation because personally, I think it’s adorable and the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.

My coworker apparently thought it was the saddest thing. She was obviously embarrassed, though, and I didn’t mean to do that to her. I kept thinking about going to her desk today to promise not to make her cry every time we talk (I’m new to the area so I didn’t want to give her the wrong impression).

Yet, somehow, for some reason, I just couldn’t do it. Because you know what? I don’t really think I’m sorry. I regret making her feel bad, of course, but I’m not sorry that she can’t deal with the subject of death. Death is a reality. It’s my reality. I’ve been through enough, dammit, I really don’t think I should have to apologize for it.

Does that make me cold?


All About Me

I’m not sure if this requires an explanation but…I’ve said all along that the one thing Olivia has given me that will not be taken away is the desire to make things better. She’s given me the will and the heart to take control of my life and turn it into what I’ve always dreamed of. For myself…for my daughter…for my husband…for my future children…

So, I’ve written a mission statement, posted it on my wall and saved it in my phone so I can read it anytime I need focus.

I will be the type of wife and mother who supports without attempting to control. I will treat my husband as my equal and my daughter as her own person, not an extension of myself. I will serve my family by cooking for them, planning fulfilling activities with them on a regular basis and organizing our home in a way that allows everyone in our family to focus on obtaining happiness with clear minds. I will teach Lily how to think for herself and develop her own set of principles; I will help her develop her own script and to avoid relying on whatever default she is given by us or her environment.

I will work with the following characteristics in every situation: integrity, honesty, reliability, creativity, enthusiasm. I will make sure my work does not interfere with my personal life.

When it comes to our possessions, I will buy quality items we can afford and that are worth taking care of for years to come. I won’t forget that all things can be replaced; lives cannot.

I will strive to find joy in every situation – or at least look for the silver lining. And I won’t forget about the importance of physical closeness with my husband.

I will be open to friendships outside of my relationship with David by returning phone calls as well as kindness. I will look into people’s hearts for their sincerity and reflect that in my own heart. I will seek to understand differing opinions without judgment.

I will look for and be open to opportunities to provide service and contribute to my community; to show Lily that community service is an obligation, not just a nice thing to do.

Above all, I will remember that I deserve no more or no less than anyone else. Working with others is the best way to achieve common goals.

I will live my life according to these principles which are solid, do not fluctuate and cannot be violated. I will strive to live by them in all I do.

It’s actually quite a process coming up with a comprehensive list of everything meaningful in your life and then simmering it down until there’s no more liquid and you’re left with a rich, shimmering pan of thick, yummy goodness. I’m sharing because I believe when you say something out loud, it has more chance of coming true. Sort of like the stories we tell, or the ones we’ve been telling for so long we can’t remember if they’re actual memories or just pictures we’ve turned into stories, or stories we’ve heard that we think we remember. It’s all a blur the older I get.

What would you put in your mission statement?


Picture Perfect

I have two things to say about Lily.

  1. She got into the Pre-K program we wanted for her.
  2. She has picture perfect vision.

Yes. That awful assessment I put my sweet, grudging Lily through paid off. I coached her well (evil laugh, though I didn’t really coach her at all). If you don’t remember, the goal of the assessment was for her to score low enough to convince the school that she needed to be there. We received the letter last week letting us know that we succeeded.

Lily will be going to school in August! I am so excited for her. I hope I don’t freak her out with my enthusiasm. I’m just so sure she’s going to love it, especially after watching her just a couple of weeks later. She’s come out of her shell so much lately that the other day I wondered what she’d done with Lily as she was yelling “hello” to kids riding their bikes past our house. She was climbing the tree in the front yard and she was a completely different child. I shouldn’t say different, though. That’s misleading. She was just being herself in the presence of others. It was wonderful to see because people respond to her. She is so refreshingly sincere that you can’t help but become consumed by her. And she’s started doing this thing lately when she talks; she tilts her head just so and shakes it back and forth while she makes this no-nonsense face. David’s mom said tonight, “gimme a brick, lemme put it on your head so you can’t grow!” What a funny exclamation. And so uniquely southern.

My second thing was that we took her to the eye doctor today. She told me on the way in she was going to be just a little bit scared (not shy – scared) but it only lasted like 5 minutes. It wasn’t long before she was answering every question, taking every little test. She was so curious, you could tell she couldn’t help herself. We walked in the room and there was a basket of toys, the top one a puzzle just like one we have at home. She immediately went to it and started taking it apart. She pointed out to me that we were missing one of the pieces in our puzzle. I need to look for that.

The doctor asked questions about what kinds of things she likes to do. Does she like cats? Does she ride a bike? Lily mostly whispered her answers to her questions. She was never louder than a quiet, “two balloons…a car…a hand”. The doctor calmly and patiently asked question after question, watched her hand/eye coordination, watched her eyes with every move she made. It was so amazing to watch. This other adult communicating so easily with my child and my child so confidently proving herself…until she picked up the ball.

The doctor wrapped up the exam and was just beginning to give me the results. Lily laid down right there in the middle of the office, flat on her back and started kicking the ball in the air. Then she went across the room and we rolled it back and forth for awhile. Which, as it turns out, the doctor explained, is a very good exercise for their little eyes. It requires them to focus in and out on the ball at different depths. So we did that for awhile and then she kicked the ball and it hit the doctor right in the head.

She kicked a ball into the side of the doctor’s head.

How embarrassing. We were just sitting there talking, she giving me the recap filled with nothing but compliments to her performance and vision and she gets a ball in the side of the head. I was just about to put her in time out right there in the doctor’s office when she intervenes, just takes the ball and blows it off all together. Besides, she was the one with the ball in the office in the first place. What else would she expect a curious 3 year old to do?

But her reaction was so calm, so smooth, so unsurprised. What a great doctor. What a great woman. She was wonderful with my child. I hope Lily encounters people like Dr. Summers her entire life.

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