Twenty One

I remember.

I remember waiting and waiting during that long month of January.  We thought you would never come. I didn’t know what to expect and I worried about what kind of Momma I would be, if I could keep up with three of you. I wondered if you would be an easy baby…if you would be happy or difficult to soothe…if your sisters would accept this new change for our family.

I remember the storm that followed your entrance into the world.  The day after you were born the skies opened up and a blizzard arrived. The hospital was so quiet that day.  It was our time to be alone before the whirlwind that our life was now to become.

I remember those first few months when you made your presence known. You yelled and cried and would not be ignored. It was a difficult time, but it brought us all closer, trying to find ways to pacify you. Everyone pitched in, your Papa, your sisters, and the rest of the family.  We all had our time of getting to know you.

I remember your independence and persistence and shouts of “ME DO IT!” as you kept up with  your sisters.  You taught us all patience and understanding as we watched you learn and grow. It was wonderful to see how quickly you learned new things. You were never one to be left out.

I remember leaving you at the sitters when I went back to work.  You cried and held on to me…she had to rip you from my arms so that I could go. My heart broke.  I drove away blindly, my eyes overflowing with tears. I felt so guilty to be leaving someone so small with a stranger.

I remember watching you transform into a sparkler, our “smiley” one. The little girl who made friends easily and was always the one that the other children wanted to sit by and play with.  Your beautiful blonde bob was always whirring around the group, very easy to spot! (I know you hated that haircut, but it suited you so well)! You danced and laughed and sang and made a mark on everyone who crossed your path.

I remember the teenage years, when you fought so hard for your independence.  The need to be different from  your sisters, to succeed on your own. You didn’t want to be known as the “littlest” one – you wanted to be counted on your own merit. It was hard at times, but you did a wonderful job of forging your own path.  You are such a true leader!

I remember long car rides to Buffalo, and Ohio, and Kentucky, and Atlantic City.  All those hours talking and singing every song that came on the radio.  You have such an amazing memory for all of those lyrics, it astounds me!  We spent so much time together during those years that you were the “only” one, after your sisters were gone.  You put up with me not only as your Momma, but your coach as well.  You were such a great example to all of the younger ones, and you made me proud so many times on that big blue mat.

I remember looking for colleges and hearing about your plans for your future. You were serious and thoughtful and so mature. It surprised me a little that you weren’t my baby any more.  The excitement of finding a place – then finding a better one.  The shopping and planning and preparing for you to leave us, then the awful/wonderful moment when you did.  The quiet and adjustment of your absence on a daily basis. The joy that you found a place where you feel so happy. The tears when I look at your empty room.

On this day, my beautiful daughter, I marvel at how quickly it has all flown by.  Twenty one years, gone in a flash! You are truly a “grown up” now, not the little tow headed tag along of all those years ago. You are amazing and smart and independent and strong.  You have made friends and started your journey out into the world on your own. I am in awe when I watch you do your thing, with your sisters, with your friends, with your co-workers and supervisors.  I am happy and proud and a little bit sad sometimes because I miss your presence.

I remember all of the hours of joy that you have brought into my life.

Please remember that I am ALWAYS here.

Happy Birthday! ❤

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A visit to the Steel City

One of the nicest things about having children who live in other cities is the ability to visit them from time to time.  Last weekend was just such a time that BOTH my husband and I got to “get away” to Pittsburgh, PA to spend a couple of days with our middle child.

She has a very comfortable apartment just outside of the city and is a wonderful hostess. Her sister (the youngest) was gracious enough to babysit (I would say dog sit, but it REALLY is babysitting with those two) the “boys” for the weekend.

Saturday was crisp and beautiful.  It was quite sunny and not too cold, so we decided to park at the Casino and take the T to Station Square, where we rode the Monongahela Incline to the top of Mt. Washington to admire the view:PIttsburgh skyline

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After that we visited the Shops at Station Square. photo (31) I had been here several years before, and I had to admit that they are sadly run down.  There wasn’t much to be found here, but we did have a bit of fun, tasted some regional wines and saw an impressive Gingerbread House village.  Apparently the artist (who was on-site, happy to tell everyone who would listen about his creation) had been working on it since the  past February! I think it was the last day that it would be available for viewing, and that’s ok because 11 month old candy can be a little scary!!

 

photo (24)

While we were there we decided to go to The Melting Pot for lunch.  The men were a little wary of a lunch of things dipped in cheese and chocolate, but after we got started they were seriously impressed! Lunch was great – if pricey – and a lot of fun! We only did three of the four courses – cheese, salad and chocolate.  I know I am dieting, but who can go for fondue and not have chocolate?? (Besides, I actually ended up losing last week…it must have been the walking!)

 

After our lunch we decided to ride back to the Casino and try our luck.  I am not a real gambler, so after I spent my $20 dollar budget in about ten minutes, I retired to one of the many comfortable bars and drank wine and checked my smart phone while the rest of them had a great time.  My lucky husband even won enough to pay for the entire weekend! 537425_4717380809187_864953629_n

By the time they were done gambling, we were in need of sustenance again, so we decided to splurge and went to Joe’s Crab Shack in Robinson for a late dinner.  I had decided that seafood would be good because of the diet, but honestly, I was very disappointed in the restaurant. The prices there are so high for what you get…..if it hadn’t been “found” money I would have felt much worse, though.

photo (251)On Sunday we grabbed a quick breakfast and then headed over to IKEA.  If you have never been there, it is definitely worth the visit, but just know ahead of time it is an expedition not a quick shopping trip.  It was so interesting to see all of their wares set up as if they were already in use! I got a lot of good ideas and even found a bed/wardrobe that I like – I might just have to buy it when I finally redo my bedroom next summer. (Like THAT is going to happen!)

After the obligatory “parents are in town, better stock up on stuff” trip to Target we headed home, tired but happy to have had a small adventure.

These guys were happy to see their Dad…I believe this is how they spent most of the weekend. waiting for Dad

Thank you to our lovely daughter and her boyfriend for showing us a great time! Now I need a weekend to rest up from my weekend!

mama needs a camera!

mama needs a camera!.

A lovely post by my daughter, A Vicar’s Wife,  on her own blog.

She is actually asking for a little help, and if you don’t mind, we’d all appreciate it!

This way I can get many more (high quality, I might add) photos of my adorable grandbaby, Fee.

Thank you very kindly!

A Vicar's Wife and my adorable Fee!
A Vicar’s Wife and my adorable Fee!

 

Fashion after Fifty

I am not sure when it happened.

All of a sudden I am feeling a bit out of the loop fashion-wise. Well, that is not entirely true. It really wasn’t sudden.  As a child of the seventies, I have always been a bit out of it as far as style goes. Let’s face it, when I was in high school my main “uniform” was a pair of Levi’s, a flannel shirt and a pair of work boots.

My style was something like Donna'sPhoto credit: www.tv.infinitecoolness.com
My style was something like Donna’s
Photo credit: http://www.tv.infinitecoolness.com

In the summer I might swap out the jeans for a pair of cut-offs, but I rarely showed my legs, so it had to be VERY hot for that to happen! I was a late bloomer, so the hippie style of the sixties was really my thing.  The most feminine thing that I owned was an embroidered gauze top. Being stylish wasn’t one of the things that I worried about.  My biggest memory of clothes and shopping when I was that age was talking my father in to letting me actually buy my jeans at the local “County Seat” store rather than the overstock farm store that sold fake Levi’s with the orange tab cut off.  It was all about that orange tab!

When the disco craze started at the end of the decade, many of my contemporaries started to dress up a bit – ala “Saturday Night Fever”, wearing heels and polyester fabric.  I have to admit that I tried a few of these styles, but I was always a bit uncomfortable with all of that.  Being a part of the ‘disco sucks’ contingent, I stuck to my hippie attire until the advent of the Preppie faze, which started conveniently during my college years.

My deck shoes, button downs and fair isle sweaters served me well for most of my adult life; taking me from my first job at a local high school, straight on through.  I have been a classic dresser during times of slim fitness and when I have been overweight. There always seemed to be stores where you could find a good cable knit sweater or a pair of chinos. No sweat and no real thought involved.

When I returned to the workforce in my thirties, I started wearing suits and slacks, so that was no problem, either. My casual wardrobe started to dwindle, but again, the classics prevailed and my biggest challenge was what type of jean leg to choose.  I stuck with boot cut and felt (fairly) comfortable for several years.

My recent wake up came when we attended my husband’s company Christmas party.  It was held at a local Japanese steak house and was a casual evening.  I chose to wear (surprise!) a wool sweater and jeans – I dressed them up a bit with some sparkly flats. I topped it with my black pea-coat and a beautiful pashima that my kids had given me as a gift last Christmas. I asked my youngest, who is still home on break, how I looked before I left and she said “great”, so I thought I was all set.

My husband telecommutes, so he does not work in a typical office situation.  Although I have never met any of his coworkers, he speaks of them often, so I have pictured them all in my mind.  Imagine my surprise when we walked up to the bar and were confronted by about 20 young, hip-looking people waiting to be seated.  A cruel twist of fate – we are now the “old folks”.  Even my husband’s boss is in his mid-thirties.  Much to his credit, I do say that Jim fits right in.  Even if he is a bit greyer than the others, he doesn’t look out of place at all.

The first thing that I noticed, when I looked around, was that I was the ONLY woman there not wearing knee length leather boots. (Well not the only one…there was one other woman who was dressed in a flowy, sixities-type flowery number, so I guess we weren’t the OLDEST ones there) Now, I have seen these boots and have actually mentioned to one of my children that I might like a pair.  As a matter of fact, she rolled her eyes and said “Mom, you know you have to wear skinny jeans with them, don’t you?”

Raising three teenaged daughters has taught me that there are certain lines that mothers do not cross. The most important rule is that Moms do not shop in the same stores as their children – unless it is Old Navy.  Nothing is more horrifying than a mother wearing a pair of American Eagle jeans.  Gap is ok, but nobody want’s their mom to have the same pocket pattern as they do! When I was thinner and in my early forties, I have to tell you that jean shopping was a terrible chore.  When did the waistline lower itself to my hips?  And how do I avoid my middle, which is much less firm after three pregnancies and the natural loss of elasticity that comes from aging, hanging over the edges.

So the question remains….what, exactly is appropriate after fifty?  A few years ago I decided to bow to the fashion gods and I bought a pair of Ugg boots. I had to promise to wear them UNDER my jeans (although I have to admit that when I wear them to work because it is actually snowing, I do tuck my dress slacks into them – I know this is a huge faux pas, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do).

Sperry Love <3 Please note the modern color and styling (and the boot cut jeans)
Sperry Love ❤
Please note the modern color and styling (and the boot cut jeans)

I was pleasantly surprised when last year or the year before my beloved Sperry started producing new and hip shoes. Gap, Old Navy and Department stores will continue to sell classic clothing, and I guess I am not quite ready for a lap rug – just yet.

I do think that I might reward myself, after I lose a few more pounds, though. Rest assured that I am pretty sure that no amount of spandex can make me look appropriate for the public dressed in “jeggings” (although it does seem that whoever thought of a jean that fits like a stretchy legging MUST have been thinking of middle-aged women –  am I right?), but perhaps a pair of skinny jeans might find their way into my closet.

If that is the case then perhaps I can go shopping for a pair of these:

Photo Source: www.macys.comI hope they come in 'Wide Calf"
Photo Source: http://www.macys.com
I hope they come in ‘Wide Calf”