How a Crown Brought This Halloween Full Circle

Friday, October 31, 2014

I didn't plan on writing a post about Halloween. 

I mean, I don't really "plan" more than a few hours ahead most of the time on anything, and I certainly hardly ever "plan" on what I'll write on here. Has anyone noticed that I still have never posted about the kids' birthdays?? For shame! 

But, as I sit here watching some Halloween version of Curious George with S cuddled next to me, I realized that I actually really enjoy this holiday. Like most big holidays, it's all about the anticipation, no? 

I mean. For weeks now, every time we run into Target ("For just ONE thing,") S breaks into a very adorable but very loud rendition of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," every time she would spot one of those huge decorative spiders that hang from the ceiling. Pato is an expert spotter, so the two makea pretty great spider-spotting-singing team. I tell ya. I could never lose her in that place. I'd just have to listen for, ".....DOWN came the rain and WASHED the spider out!" 

Most people are pretty nice about it. We've gotten more than a few people looking around to see where the noise....I mean...gorgeous singing....came from. Hey, at least they weren't screaming, right? 

I should mention....they DO do their fair share of screaming-in-Targets like most other children. We are not immune. 

But, like I said, this post is about Halloween, not spiders. 

October always feels like "Halloween month," and I love that. I used to love dressing up as Mickey Mouse (NOT Minnie) because I had a huge crush on him. I said crush. Yes. Don't ask. 

One year, when I wasn't dressed up as Mickey, I was dressed up as some princess/fairy/angel...thing. Something thrown together and a hand-me-down. I remember being sad because even though I didn't really know WHAT exactly I was dressed up as, I knew I was lacking a crown. I probably pouted a bit, but nothing a bowl of Doritos Nacho Cheese chips couldn't fix. (I used to put. that. stuff. DOWN!) I remember seeing my mom doing something at the kitchen table, but I wasn't too interested to look. 

Well, some time later, she said she had a surprise for me. 

And I'll tell you what. There are few presents that stick out in my mind from my childhood, and this is one of them. Because even at that young age, I knew it came from her heart. 

Cardboard, tin foil, some tape, and a white shoelace from one of my sneakers. She had made the perfect crown. 

I was over the moon. It was PERFECT.

I was happy, and I could tell my mom was happy. 

What I didn't know then, but I do know now, is that her heart was positively bursting. 

I remembered this story as I was working on my own daughter's little crown yesterday. 

S has been really adamant about dressing up as herself this year, and nothing could change her mind. So, we decided to try and dress her up without her knowing. Genius right? 

As I sat and worked on making this flower crown, (my first time ever, by the don't look too closely!) I kinda-sorta started pouring my heart into it (and blood....darn wire) and I hoped she would just not hate it. 

She loved it! She really loved it! This little crown that make-a-whole-costume-out-of-toilet-paper-and-a -toothpick moms would surely laugh at. 

It didn't matter that it wasn't perfect. But it was good enough that she couldn't wait to show daddy. And when it hits "show daddy" status, you KNOW it's good. 

So, I guess this Halloween, I had my own full-circle-moment. And it was something I'll always remember. Because that's what being a parent is all about. Doing everything you can to make your baby happy...even for second. Wanting to make their dreams come true. Even if it means it's going to hurt a little. 

And lastly....


That crown from all those years still the most perfect crown. I know there was more to that crown than I could write on here. Thank you for making my childhood a happy place. 

A follow-up.

I felt like I needed to write a quick post that addressed the one before it. 

And what I have to say is this....

Home is really, really, good, too. 

A Little Homesick

Monday, October 27, 2014

We just got back from a quick trip up to my old hometown in New Jersey. Living in Virginia, I've been really lucky over the years to have had the chance to visit quite often. Also, lucky that my husband has been so willing to drive us up all those times and lucky that my parents were always begging us to come. 

Long story short, we drove up because we were scheduled to have family pictures taken in the city. The timing was perfect, and we had friends who were so generous in letting us stay with them. It was our first time back since my parents moved to Hong Kong, and I'd be lying if I didn't say it was terribly sad. Not all of it, of course. But, driving down all those familiar roads, seeing so many familiar faces and eating all those familiar foods that just make me feel like home, was, truth be told, hard. Hard because I don't know if my parents will ever end up back there. What if my little family moves across the country? What will bring me back?

It's funny. When we went to church on Sunday, none of the nursery leaders at church recognized us. We were asked several times if we were just visiting, and I almost wanted to respond, "No! You're the new one here! Are YOU visiting?" 

Okay, so I know home is where the heart is. Yes, yes, I agree completely. But, after this trip, I realized that a tiny part of my heart is IN the town I grew up in. I don't know if that tiny little part will ever reunite with the rest of my heart, but for now, when I think of Summit, I have a small feeling of longing. 

In my mind, Summit exists in a never-ending autumn. The REAL autumn. Not the kind that turns brown before it has the chance to turn red, and teases you with t-shirt temperatures. The sky is the perfect shade of grayish- blue and the leaves fall from the trees as you drive past them. The chilly air turns my cheeks just cold enough and I actually feel like my lungs are happy. Every inch of me feels happy.  

I'm glad my kids have gotten to experience this. J is too young to remember much, but S already remembers. She remembers that real bagels are doughy and I hope she'll remember what a real fall feels like. 

I hope they will have the chance to create more memories there, and when the time comes, have wonderful memories of wherever they will call home. 

Terrible-Two's Ain't Got Nothin on Three

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oh, my girl. You know how people talk about the terrible two's? Up and down I said, "Whatchu talkin' 'bout?! Two is the BOMB!"

Okay, maybe not in those words exactly, but pretty close. I loved two with her! She could speak in full sentences, which was awesome because we no longer had to play the guessing game with her. She was eager to do little things for me (like grab a diaper for me from Pato's room) without asking, "Whhhhhyyy?"  

We are now over a month into three...and basically we're pros around here at this three thing. Basically.

And now I get it when people said, "Forget two. No, wait till three!" Three is where it's at, folks. And by IT, I mean the fact that my toddler is now a full fledged little person with thinggggs. Opinion thinggggs. Emotion thinggggs. Whine-y thingggggs. And saying NO to lots of thinggggs. In the words of S herself: "draaaaammmaa!"

Dress c/o Little Hip Squeaks
It's something I'm getting used to. Having a little one who observes all and has an opinion on all things. I feel like I'm re-learning mom things daily. Just when I thought I had my groove down...bam. Time to step back and re-evaluate. Just when I thought I was doing okay on the patience meter, I realized that I could always work on it some more. More and more often I'll find S upset about one thing or another (ie. she doesn't want her her hair up OR down, she wants breakfast but doesn't want anything we have in the house, etc.) and more and more often I've found that I need to close my eyes, take a breath and ask, "Sweetheart, do you need a hug?" She almost always says yes, and thank goodness because part of me really really needs that hug for my own sanity. 

I'm writing this not to complain about my daughter, but to admit that I'm not a perfect mom. I have times where I just open the door and beg my kids to play outside so I can have a few minutes of quiet time. And my kids are not perfect either. The beauty of life is that none of us are perfect, and that's kind of a great thing. 

I'll give this professional three year old some credit though. When she kneels down and says her personal prayer every night, she always prays for everyone she loves. She prays for her cousins, her aunts and uncles, her primary teachers and for our family. Today she prayed that, "Heavenly Father will help us take care of our bodies." She loves having "family-meeting" (FHE) every week, and always wants to give the lesson. She has the biggest heart.

So maybe she's a little extra whine-y lately. And maybe sometimes I would rather rip my hair out than hear another second of it. But, when I hear my little girl's heartfelt (and wiggly) prayer, I know I have a best friend at my side. She and I will do this growing thing together.

I just hope I can keep up.

Pumpkin Hats

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I know I sound like a broken record, but seriously, I love watching these two! They make each other laugh and drive each other nuts.

I'll often hear S telling Pato that he should go to timeout, and then he turns around and yells at her. And THEN they both come running to me. One in tears because he doesn't want his sister to send him to time out, and she's crying because he just won't listen to her. Annnnnd, there may be a toy car being thrown at someone's head in there. 

But, then there's the times they lay on the floor and line up all the cars. And sometimes when Pato is frustrated with something, big sister will say, "Mama, he just doesn't want that. You should leave him alone." 

I took these pictures the other day. I had planned on taking a picture of them holding their pumpkins, but immediately S put hers on her head, and instructed Pato to do the same. They laughed and laughed about it, and I decided these shots were much better than any other shot I was trying to get anyway.

It makes me so happy to know these two will always have each other. I love our times together, but I look forward to seeing THEIR times together. 

I predict those times will be filled with lots of silliness, definitely a fair share of button-pushing, and hopefully lots of love.  

Pato Snippet

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I took these while we waited for S to get out of her music class. It's one of the few times during the week that I get one-on-one time with my little Pato. The few minutes after his class ends and we just talk and play...or go for a walk outside like we did today. 

It reminded me that there are a few things I don't want to forget. Little things that would probably escape me. 

Like how every time I sneeze, he stops everything and says, "Sess you, mama." 

Or how this afternoon he kept pointing out every bug he saw. "Moooore bugs, mama!" (Yes, he adorably ends a lot of sentences with "mama" when he's talking to me.) 

He also kept answering me with, "I can't!" I asked him to throw something out for me...."I can't!" 

And lastly, when it was his turn to repeat notes back to his music teacher today he would just look up at me, then at her, then slowly and loudly exhalaaaaale. 

Little monkey cracks me up. 

September Farewell

See ya later, September!

I'm actually a little sad to see you go. I decided a couple years ago that September took the spot for my favorite month. Doesn't everyone have a favorite month? That's a thing, right? 

Anyway...I came to this conclusion because I feel like September is like opening a really awesome present that you've been waiting so long for. Been waiting all summer for, to be more precise. September means you can get ready for boots, and leaves changing colors. And pumpkin everything. Summer has finally decided to loosen its grip around here, and if can feel my heart singing (note: my heart, not my voice sings. I'm a terrible singer. My heart....well that thing sings every song from the Amy Grant Christmas album once the weather dips below 70.) 

This month brought a lot of fun to our little circus. A trip to D.C, pumpkin picking (that'll be its own post if I can get my act together), lots of time outdoors, and doctors check-ups. Pato is quickly catching up to big sis, and will outgrow her in no time. As our beloved pediatrician put it, "She's built like mama, and he's built like dad." 

September is also a big birthday month in our house, with balloons and cake and a disgusting amount of sprinkles taking over at the beginning and end of the month. 

September, you old girl, you were so good to us this year. It was the break and breath of fresh air that I needed. I'm feeling more on track than I've felt in a while. 

Hey, October...I'm ready for ya. With a bag of popcorn and ready to watch the entire Gilmore Girls series. (Thank you, thank you, Netflix. Bless you!) 

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