The Summer I Grew My Bangs Out

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I remember it like it was just yesterday.

It was the summer before sixth grade. The year that I would start middle school. Gone were the days of that elementary school safety net, and soon, I would have to navigate the halls to get from class to class among hundreds of kids I had never met before. I knew it was time to give up little kid things, and along bangs. Those were first on the list.

I recall telling my mom that I was ready. I was ready to ditch the bangs that I had had for years; that had fallen like a thick sponge on my forehead. That was before hair straighteners were popular, and I thank my lucky stars those were discovered before I hit high school. High school was ugly as it was, but without a straightener...well...let's just say no picture of me would have survived from those years. 

So, thus began the summer, which I will always remember as "The Summer I Grew My Bangs Out." My mom and I were ready to tackle the beast. I was equipped with head bands, bobby pins, and butterfly clips. Ohhhhh butterfly clips. One question about those: why?? Really, just why??

We spent a lot of the summer up at my grandparents house in Rochester. I remember playing with my little brother, Drew, in the backyard. I'd spray him with the water hose and we would splash in the small baby pool filled with freezing water for hours. 

I think that was the summer I gave up playing like that, too.

Every morning, I would wake up and check the status of my bangs in the mirror. I'd pull them down straight over my eyes, thinking maybe if I tugged just enough, they'd grow a bit more. I remember being disappointed because it was just sooooo slow. (A lesson I've learned time and time again as I constantly fight the "bangs or no bangs" battle.)

By the time September rolled around, my bangs were just long enough to clip to the sides. They still looked horrendous, mind you. The funny thing is, I distinctly remember walking into my new building that first day of school, and I noticed that were a lot of girls just like me: bangs pinned back after a summer of growth. I'm sure they had spent their summer in front of their mirrors, tugging at that hair just like I had. 

When do we grow up like that? It's taken me years to look back at that moment, and be able to pinpoint it as such. An "Oh, there you go. You changed a little bit" moment.

What made me think of this? Well, as of late, S has been telling us that she was ready to grow her bangs out. She'd constantly push them away from her eyes, and it would make me cringe because her bangs pushed to the side like that just looked a little...well, let's just say, not my favorite look. Part of me was sad because she's had bangs since her very first haircut. I love that they still make her look like my little girl. By getting rid of the bangs, I thought I'd have to just give in to the fact that my little girl was getting older.

But! But! Today she told me she wanted me to trim her bangs. You better believe I raced her upstairs and pulled out those scissors in about ten seconds flat. Which, let me tell you, is quite the feat these days because I can barely walk up the stairs without getting winded!

And what's best is she was so excited about it! When I finished, she asked if she could look in the mirror. She took one look at herself and giggled. "They look beautiful!" she said. For the rest of the day, I caught her looking at herself in the mirror a few times, and very gently laying her bangs flat.

Girl, whenever you're ready to outgrow those things (bangs, getting tucked into bed, nose kisses, holding hands in public, etc.) I can't guarantee that I'll be one hundred percent on board. I can't guarantee one hundred percent that I won't stop trying to reach for your hand. But you better believe I'll still one hundred percent love you no matter what.

Granny Cannon's Muffins

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yesterday, C forwarded me an email and wrote, "Thought you might like this." It was an email that his aunt had sent out to the family that included a bunch of Granny's recipes. I opened it up immediately, excited and curious to see what was in there. I was hoping her fruit dip recipe would be in there, but no luck. I've made a mental note to ask. Her fruit dip is so good that I'd be fine eating it without any fruit whatsoever. Just hand me a bowl of that good stuff and I'll go at it with my fingers!

As I was reading through her recipes, I would think, "Hm, yeah. I think I can make that without butchering it." Or, "There's no way I'd be able to make an edible version of this." 

Right away, I picked out a couple that I knew I could easily make with the kids. They looooove helping in the kitchen, and so I decided our first Granny Cannon recipe we would try out were her muffins. Fortunately, because I make waffles or pancakes three or four mornings a week (the kids are absolute waffle and pancake monsters) we had all the ingredients we needed. (It's amazing how quickly we go through flour here. I think I buy a new bag every other week. (Someone buy me some stock in flour for Christmas, okay?! ) Anyway, I also had some strawberries that were begging to be used, so strawberry muffins it was. 

The kids took turns standing on their little white chairs, and helped me pour and mix and measure. We did have a little mishap with the baking powder (my pregnant brain decided that t and T were the same thing...yeah, SOOO not) but I was able to salvage it. I'll admit that at first glance, I thought for sure we would end up with rocks. So I added a bit more milk and hoped for the best.

Ten minutes later, these came out. And while they may not look beautiful, they were so soft and fluffy and delicious. I always like to add a bit more sugar to things when I bake them, but decided against it because I wanted to stay as authentic to the recipe as I could. S and I added a little jam to ours, and our plate full of muffins soon disappeared.

So, I'll admit. The recipe was not rocket science. When I called Granny last night to tell her that we were planning on making her muffins, in true Granny fashion she said, "Oh. Well, we lived during the Depression. We didn't have a whole lot, you know. We just worked with what he had and made it work." But, to be honest, that's what makes these even better. I love knowing that this recipe was the same one used by her and her own mother before that. I love knowing that in between those cups of flour and teaspoons of baking powder you can find stories. 

I'd like to think that Granny used to eat these muffins with the "Depression jelly" that her mother would make. Granny has told us about Depression jelly so many times. Because they didn't want to let any food go to waste when she was young, her mother would use the peels of the apples to make it into a jelly. It's a wonderful shade of pink, a shade that I know S would love, and tastes delicious. It's one of my favorite things that Granny makes. And though I hate to think of it already, I know it will be one of the things I miss most when she's gone. 

And when there are gaps to those stories behind the recipes that I haven't learned about yet, I can fill those gaps with new stories. New memories. Like how when J saw that I was sad today when I had used too much baking powder and considered giving up, he looked up and said, "Are you sad, mama? It's okay! We can fix it!"

Luckily, we did. But maybe making perfect muffins isn't the point, is it? Maybe it's something else. And that something is the stuff that lasts.

When Jonas came to visit.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Last week, all our winter dreams finally came true. The kids had only been asking for snow for weeks, and it was finally our turn to get some. The night before Jonas hit our neck of the woods, the kids and I made paper snowflakes together, and they eagerly put them under their pillows. Don't seemed like a fun idea and those kids LOVE putting little trinkets under their pillows.

S was in total heaven as she looked out the window to see everything covered in snow.

So glad I was able to catch that smile. Pure joy, I tell ya!

Superstar dad right there! I could barely pull one, and there he goes showing me up by pulling both. I was fine with him winning the "Fun Parent of Day" award for the day. I'll get you next time, Jonesy.

Snow-beard. I'm predicting that it will be the next big thing this season. And no, I didn't just marry this guy for his looks. But, they certainly helped. 

We also took the kids sledding in the woods by our house. It was such a beautiful day. They loved sledding down that hill.

Unfortunately, J suffered from "not-working legs" syndrome, and had to be pulled all the way home. He miraculously recovered when we arrived at our doorstep. I, on the other hand, contracted "my-arms-are-about-to-fall-off" disease.

Also. I should really be hired as writer for Doc McStuffins. My ability to come up with a totally-legit sounding diagnosis is top-notch.

What you can + can't ask me.

Please don't ask me...

+ what's for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner.
+ if I'm ready for the baby to arrive. My brain is ready. My heart is ready. Not much else is "ready."
+ for another snack. I really hate that "s" word. Don't try to disguise it with "treat" or "little something" either. 
+ where the baby will sleep. I have no idea.
+ why my laundry is never finished. 
+ where the Apple TV remote is. (I think theres a chip in those things that make it disappear precisely fourteen minutes a day just to drive you crazy.)
+ where your (insert anything) is when I gave it to you two minutes ago.
+ to take you out of the bath so you can poop three minutes after I had just gotten you in.
+ why I can't carry you. It breaks my heart and I so wish I could, buddy. 
+ why I donated your Easy-Bake-Oven. You weren't supposed to see that.

You CAN ask me...

+ for another hug/kiss/cuddle. I'll never run out of those.
+ if I'd like you to bring me home a chocolate chip cookie on your way home from work. 

I know my belly is pointy, okay?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy first day of February from me and this thirty-two week belly!

As I was waking up this morning with a sick little Pato laying next to me, it hit me. Ohmagashhhh! It's February! That means when people ask (which, by the way, I've hit the point where everyone and their mailman is starting to ask) I can say, "He's due next month!"

Next. Month. That's wild.

Also. Can we just agree to think twice before commenting on a woman's pregnant belly? Let that be your "Lesson of the Month."

Yesterday, C and I were hanging in hallway after church had ended, when around the corner I hear a completely unfamiliar male voice say, "It's a boy, right?"

Well hello, person-I've-never-ever-even-seen-before.

Me: "Yup! It's a boy!"

Unfamiliar man: "I thought so. Cuz you're pointy."

Me: "Your face is pointy."

Okay, well mayyyybe that last part was said in my head and not out loud. And just like that, he walked out the door and out of my pointy life.

Can you tell it's a sore subject here?

Ps. In completely unrelated news: Pato has been calling his sister "Lily" for the last half hour. I have no idea where this came from. But, apparently, I just agreed to let him and Lily jump on the bed.

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