A Friday ritual . A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
Happy first birthday Baby Jane!
Jane was happier than it appears in the photo, it’s just that she was already taste testing the frosting that she swiped off the cake!
While our internet was misbehaving I wrote many posts that I never got a chance to publish due to technical difficulties. I wrote this the evening of Clara’s birthday…
From the time Clara arrived, Ivy was a dutiful big sister. When Clara was a baby, Ivy was so attentive to her baby sister that I worried about ever leaving them unattended, a quick trip to the bathroom and I’d come back to find Clara under stacks of books, toys and blankets that Ivy just couldn’t wait to share. Of course as they have grown Clara is now happy to be buried under Ivy’s toys and Ivy is usually happy to play with Clara. But their sweet sisterly ways have been experiencing some growing pains since Ivy started school. Now Ivy drags herself off the bus, tired out after a big day of school and greets Clara’s happy rush to greet her with a “NO thank you Clara.” There has been more fighting between them than there ever has been before and the last weeks have been trying on everyone.
As Clara’s birthday approached we made sure to include Ivy in all the preparations and the big hearted sister that she is showed right back up. Ivy sewed Clara a pillow for her baby doll as her gift to give her. Then she gave me a special piece of fabric that she had been saving so that I could make a blanket for Clara’s baby. When we went shopping she asked if she could pick out Clara a present with her own money all by herself and she did. Ivy discussed cake plans with me, watched John build a doll cradle, wrapped gifts and even picked out some of her toys that Clara likes and wrapped them up to give to her.
When Clara’s birthday arrived Ivy had a bit of a tough time – it’s hard to be the big sister when it’s not your birthday. But when all was said and done, Ivy told Clara that she could pick out all the bedtime books and when I thanked her for being such a good big sister all day she admitted that it was pretty good, “Except for a few moments of cryin’.”
Ivy was right, it was a good birthday. Clara turned three and was as well behaved as a three year old can be and Ivy turned back into the big sister that we all know she can be. Tomorrow is back to school and regular schedule and I’m certain that the two girls have more rocky times ahead, now and in the future. But thank goodness for birthdays, and the opportunities they bring for teaching, thoughtfulness, and smoothing a bit of the rocky road, even if temporarily.
Just over a month later I’m happy to report that Ivy (and the rest of us) are getting used to school and her new schedule. There are still days where Ivy draaags her tired feet off the bus to the house and refuses to talk to Clara but there are just as many days that they are happy to see each other and disappear up the stairs in a fit of giggles.
For the last two months we’ve been asking Clara what she would like for her birthday and the answer has been:
“Golf balls, all colors.”
This kind of consistency from a girl who can’t decide what shoes she’s going to put on and stick with that decision all the way out the door- we got the hint. John and I spread the word and today the gift that got the biggest squeal was the one that also had her exclaiming: “My golf balls!!! They are all colors!!!”
Clara is now officially three years old and the proud and happy owner of at least 28 golf balls.
And because I know you are on the verge of asking, no, I have no idea why she wanted golf balls or where she got the idea. But, after today I can tell you what Clara will do with them. She will carry them around in her shirt, she will pretend to juggle them, she will “sell” them to people, she will “buy” them back, she will roll them, she will fill her new baby cradle with them and put her new doll to sleep on top of them, she will put them in bags, she will take them out of bags and before bed she will pick the perfect spot that her golf balls “want to be” before she crawls into bed herself!
Happy birthday Clara! I hope I never forget your happy squeals over your golf balls because I have a sinking suspicion that we are going to be finding them in odd places for about the next 28 years!
Sunday was Great Gramps’s Birthday party.
We pulled out the red fat bat and recruited the neighbor kids to join us in a baseball game…
Happy Birthday Gramps hope you had as much fun at your party as we did!
I am shamed to report that I have backed out of a pact with my husband.
We stood in the kitchen and pinky swore. John promised never to wear Crocs and I promised to never wear giant, bug eye, sunglasses.
I have broken the pinky oath.
I now own, and wear, bug eye sunglasses… with sparkles.
Oh, what a change…
My birthday was last week and for weeks prior Ivy had been telling me that she bought me a present with Grandma Mary. Ivy kept her present secret all the way up to my birthday and when the time finally came to hand over her little box she was grinning ear to ear and about to burst with excitement. Looking behind her to the grin on my Mom’s face it was with a bit of trepidation that I opened her gift.
Ivy had got me sunglasses for my birthday. My very observant and thoughtful daughter remembered that I left my old sunglasses in a friends car over the winter and hadn’t yet got a replacement pair. According to all reports, she picked them out herself. This I do not doubt, they are large, they are round and they have sparkles. They are Ivy sort of glasses, they are glasses Fancy Nancy would be proud of, they are not unfashionable, hooded sweatshirt and jeans wearing, Mom glasses.
Oblivious to the giggles of my rotten family who were enjoying watching me squirm, Ivy beamed with pride in her gift she leaned in and said, “Don’t worry Mom, if you lose these, I can just get you another one!” And so, I did the only thing a mother could do when faced with ugly glasses and a child beaming with pride. I ignored the snickers of my family, mentally discarded my half formed thought of losing the things, (Ivy was clearly ahead of me on that one), put on my new sunglasses and gave my daughter a big hug as I assured her that I was indeed so happy that she got them for me.
Here is the paragraph you should skip reading if you own these types of sunglasses, that way we can still be friends. Prior to my birthday I had just assumed that people who wore gigantic sunglasses blindly followed fashion trends without caring or realizing they looked like a bug. Because, clearly if they had thought about it they would realize that looking like a bug is a bad idea. No one looks at a woman masquerading as a bug and thinks, “Now there’s a smart lady.” Nope, bug looks elicit other less kind thoughts about the intelligence of the wearer, (trust me on this one, I’ve made them). Which is why many months ago in the kitchen I had swore to John that I would never wear glasses that made me look like a bug.
But that was, as I said, prior to my birthday. Now I know, it’s possible that there are other reasons to wear ridiculous sunglasses and I am reminded once again why it’s recommended not to judge people. You just never know, perhaps other women also have daughters that are as thoughtful as mine.
Ivy’s thoughtfulness didn’t end on my birthday. No, she makes sure I do not forget my new sunglasses when we get in the truck and if I happen to be driving when it’s sunny out she helps me remember to put them on in case I forget.
She is so very proud to have picked out such a perfect gift for me.
So, while I am shamed to report that I have broken a pinky swear with John, I just can’t help but wear my new sunglasses with pride as I think of my thoughtful daughter….
…at least so long as nobody is looking!
Turning five is hard work.
Going to the zoo and making monkey noises in the truck on the way home and lunch out and presents and movies and skiing in the yard and dinner and playing – it’s no wonder she could barley muster a smile for the camera.
Congratulations Ivy, you made it through your big day and even had one smile left for the camera!
But thanks for that funny smile, I haven’t stopped laughing since I saw the picture!
Happy Birthday Ivy we love you and all your smiles!
Today is my friend Sarah’s birthday.
Therefore I’d like to take the opportunity to tell you all that she’s pretty darn cool.
How cool? So cool that we have managed to remain friends for twenty three years. Twenty three years that have not always been easy years to keep a friendship going, but we have. Over the years the obstacles have changed but we’ve still manged to be there for each other the whole way through.
In second grade Sarah moved to Pewaukee and ended up in my class. It didn’t take long before we became friends and up until fourth grade life was easy. Our main challenge to overcome was whether or not Sarah had vacuumed yet and if she was grounded or not. Sarah was grounded a lot. For a girl that seemed pretty good, she must have been a terror behind closed doors.
In fourth grade she and another friend decided they hated me. You would think this was a large obstacle, but due to a fortuitous combination of my being stubborn, unable to take a hint, and my lack of other friends, I hung in there and we came out the other end friends again.
From fourth grade on to high school my swimming schedule threw a monkey wrench in things. Swimming a half hour away from home every night, plus practice and/or meets on weekends kept me busy in the pool. Fortunately Sarah still had a lot of vacuuming (amongst other activities) to keep her busy and we manged to stay fast friends.
Then things got tricky. In the summer between sophomore and junior year of high school Sarah and her family moved to Canada. Many tears later, chat rooms were discovered and we spent hours keeping in touch while jumping around rooms to avoid anyone who might intrude on our conversations. I attribute my typing speed and abilities completely to those years, unfortunately for my spelling, Sarah was a champ at figuring out my interesting words. To this day it’s a good thing that I have spell check, and a husband to tell my how to spell obstacle when all spell check can come up with for my typed word is obstetrics.
Sarah moved back to Wisconsin in college and joined me at UW-Stevens Point – it was a good time. We lived together for two straight years with only one spat the entire time (don’t move my bed, it turns out I hate that) and had more fun than is prudent to mention on a blog my family reads. By the end of college we were closer than ever and husbands were on the way.
Turns out husbands are no big deal. They are understanding of our friendship, get along great and suddenly we had four people for card games. If ever we needed some girl time we could always easily get rid of the boys by waving a video game in front of them.
Not too long after the husbands became official we each had a kid and only two months apart we pretty much entered into motherhood together. While it was harder to chat and visit with two kids around other than one very memorable and exhausting trip where Ivy learned that if she yelled “MINE” it would cause Natalie to freak out, they have gotten along remarkably well.
But, now there are more, our second kids are four months apart, and Sarah’s third trails them by a bit over a year. Now when we get together our weekend seems to consist solely of feeding kids, breaking up fights, putting them to sleep, and waiting for them to wake back up while trying not to drown in a sea of toys. Once this summer someone asked when we were all visiting together if Sarah and I had fun… Umm yeah… Wait was Sarah there? Yeah I think we had fun, I don’t know I have to call her later and talk so I can find out…
Things aren’t as easy as they used to be. I continue to have trouble getting away from the animals in the summer while Sarah works during the school year. We may spend quite a bit more time wondering if the weekend we just spent together was “fun” or exhausting and as the kids grow we will continue to cross our fingers they’ll remain friends, or at least friendly. In the meantime we’ll continue to have phone conversations squashed in between the rest of life, and be thankful for free mobile to mobile minutes.
While I’m always sad when we can’t spend a birthday or other important event together, it’s good to be able to look back at a lifetime of friendship and know that this challenging time will also pass. Lately we’ve been talking of a husband-less/kid-less trip when we turn forty. And who knows, one day we’ll probably end up sharing a room at an old folks home. One day we’ll be celebrating our birthdays together again even if we are no longer sure how old we are!
Happy Birthday Sarah!