Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Donut/Rainbow Connection

Six years ago tonight I became a mother, and the most beautiful person I could have ever imagined was placed in my arms. I could not stop staring at her and was filled with so much awe for her beauty. Love filled my soul.



Today a man I've never met helped create the fun way for us to celebrate her, 6 years later.  My dad's college buddy, Jim Morgan, and I are on an email list that is connected to my dad and his college buddies from Vanderbilt.  Once when I wrote a blog about Daddy, I shared it with his friends; Mr. Morgan wrote me back a kind email. Somehow I found out he was CEO of Krispy Kreme and I almost became embarassed to share my little musings and family so comfortably with such a high-power group.


Recently I shared with the group a picture of my girls in their Vanderbilt outfits after a basketball victory and received another kind email from him. I can tell he truly enjoys making a connection, that he loved my Dad by reaching out to me even though we've never met.  He also asked me to let him know if he could do anything in terms of donuts for the girls. So in reflecting on the ways he had reached out to me with such kindness, I could tell that he is the type guy who enjoys making someone happy. So I took him up on his offer by telling him about Anna Cate's upcoming birthday. I knew a couple dozen donuts would make my little girl's classroom party special.

Well, my hunch about his genereosity was miniscule compared to the lavish way Anna Cate was celebrated today.

When BJ went to the local Krispy Kreme, he was given 11 dozen donuts, a bunch of balloons on pretty ribbons, party hats, pencils and a t shrit for every kid in the class. Anna Cate was given a special package, too.

The lady at the store said she enjoyed making these special donuts with "Happy Birthday" on them so much she made us an extra dozen.


Anna Cate loved it ... the donuts and sharing in life's celebration with the other children.

There were so many donuts that she got to share them with other kindergarten classes.

She loved that!


When Mr. Morgan's assistant, Jane, emailed me, she asked what Anna Cate's favorite colors were; when I asked her, she said, "do the colors of the rainbow."



Tonight as I think about how my soul is still filled with such love and awe for her beauty, I'm finding meaning in her wisdom of the colors of the rainbow.  When BJ and I ate lunch with her, we noticed how she speaks to everyone and makes them feel special.  A few weeks ago as we were walking out of school, I was so proud of her that she spoke to a little girl in a wheel chair and knew her by her name even though the child was not in her class. At dinner, she waved to a little boy and called him by name and was so excited to see him. He also is not in her class; he is older than she is and has Down Syndrome.  She told me she heard a boy tell a girl she was fat but Anna Cate told the little girl you shouldn't worry what people think. I received an email from her teacher in the beginning of the year telling me that Anna Cate sought a child out who many don't talk to and made her feel special. She knows everyone's name on her bus from kindergarten to 5th grade; when I see her walk through the halls she speaks to so many people. For her birthday party, she wanted to invite all of her class AND their siblings, knowing their names. She prays often for children who don't have mommies and daddies because she heard me talk about orphans in Russia over a year ago.


 I could go on and on about the ways her kindness and consideration of others allows her to make connections that warm my heart and make me want to be a better person. (I could also talk about the whining and not listening and stubborness, but I'm focusing on the rainbow tonight, not the storms).

A few nights ago, I didn't have time to go to the gym and we went to the track so that I could work out. There was another child there and she was playing with sidewalk chalk and Anna Cate wanted to draw with her.  The girl didn't seem intent on sharing, so I made Anna Cate leave her alone, and she sulked. I tried to explain that not everyone is good at sharing, and I just wanted her to play with Molly and BE HAPPY!!  I then found myself doing a guilt trip on her, "seriously, Anna Cate you are going to not be happy!? (after all I'm doing for you this week)  All I need is 30 minutes to work out...can't you just be happy?"  I later reflected on how that was not fair.  I felt guilty to take her time to go work out and wanted to assuage my own frustrations by forcing her to be happy. The next day, I told her that I was sorry and that it is not fair of me to expect her to be happy all the time. It is ok to be sad when people don't want to play with you.


 When she says she wants all the colors of the rainbow, she is wise...there are blues in the rainbow. In the big picture, we don't really remember the blues but the colors, the connections.

I celebrate this little soul and all the ways she connects me to so much about the world and the colors. Being her mother brings so much color to my life.

Thank you so much, Jim Mogan, in helping us celebrate Anna Cate's birthday. The "light was on." The colors, the connections, the celebrations.

Thank you, Anna Cate, my sweet spirited girl for helping me celebrate life.


She was so happy with the classroom Krispy Kreme experience that she insisted on wearing her tshirt to dinner, where we celebrated with Patti and her parents, Aunt Sarah and our family.

They sang and she smiled. She was happy; I was glad.

It was a good day; it is a good life. Thank you, God.

I can't stop time, I can't touch the rainbow but I can enjoy the present. I refuse to chase the gold when I have the beautiful hues of the present.



"The true harvest of my life is intangible -- a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched." -- Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Flowers

Perennials. These come up every year, on their own. 



These pansies require yearly planting. Annuals.



With Spring, we've enjoyed the simple pleasures of the season.


Being outside together.


Molly ADORES swinging and could probably spend hours in her swing.

Seeing my children happy are a little like the flowers. Sometimes, it just happens. Sometimes we have to do the work routinely.


 Rosie brings them so. much. joy.  

Both of them are Daddy's girls.




These flowers were in our church vestibule last week in honor of their birthdays this month.

Given by Patti.





We enjoyed a date out to Carl's Friday night with soon-to-be Aunt Sarah.





We took Rosie with us, my first effort of taking all three girls out!

But the ice cream and the fellowship was worth the hassle.








Anna Cate's best friend slept over after an afternoon of tie-dying.



A few of my students came over who knew what they were doing, and Anna Cate thought it was very cool to have teenagers in the home. Not sure I can show their face on my blog but I'll show the hands.


I haven't been able to focus my creative juices or my time to blogging because I've got birthday parties on the brain (and the girls are in a wedding in April), but I've enjoyed documenting the moments through Instagram. Here are some glimpses of our days.

I find so many connections to my life in nature and when I think on flowers, I can think about some parts of mothering are like perennials.  My roots are so deep that the flowers just come up naturally, but other experiences I have to work on,  like planting yearly. . . so much delight in it all. Through the gratitude of my heart, the snap of a camera or the time I stop to reflect on these times in this blog, I find myself wanting to be present in their life, in this season. So much beauty in the season.... of spring and of their childhood. 



The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, March 5, 2012

Molly's Goody Two Shoes Party











I don't know if that is true, but our little girl certainly loves shoes so when discussing the theme of her 2 year birthday party, my brilliant husband said, "what about shoes?" 




The shoe theme was very fun.

I know I take her parties a little over the top, but it gives me great pleasure to take an idea, get the fabric, put the colors together and create a celebration of my child and of the people whom she loves and who love her. I wave the banner to welcome the celebration of Molly, of friends, of our shared journey.  I wish our home was bigger so I could invite everyone dear to us, to her.

For me, a party is as much about celebrating the connections in her life as celebrating her life. What I'm trying to say is that I do this to say "hey, thank you for being a part of her life" and plus I really like themes, colors, flowers and food as well as entertaining. I borrowed a lot of the pieces, used friends' help who are more talented than I,  and scoured the internet for easy ideas. But all the frill is just the backdrop for the reason we gather -- the human connections. I enjoy brigning people together, the celebration, the multi-generation symphony of friendships.



The fabric inspired the crazy colors: turquoise, orange, pink and green. 

The best part this year was that Molly knew it was her party.

At one point in the party, she climbed up on this stool in front of everyone and when I asked her "why did we have this party, " she threw her hands up in the "I don't know" gesture.

Whatever the reason, she was content.

The smile emanated from her little soul as we sang her Happy Birthday.

She picked up her fork to eat the smash cake, and then looked up and said, "I want pop."

But don't worry, this cake did no go without some love.



Credits:
First, this was a team effort. BJ and Mom were so helpful.

Molly helped make the cupcakes and when she ate them, she'd say, "I made these."



And, this girl was awesome!!! So helpful. I'm not going to lie and tell you that her behavior was pefect through all the attention on Molly, but all in all, she makes life easier, not harder and for that I'm grateful.




-Molly's Smash Cake, Cake Pops and Favor Cookies are from my super talented friend Chas with Mommy Bakes (find her on Facebook by clicking here). She brought it by the house to set it up and help ice some cupcakes. Molly eyed those pops for almost 24 hours!


My friend Marie made these beautiful turquoise poms to hang from the ceilings!




 
-Bib from Beth @ (http://www.etsy.com/people/mylittlehedgehog)
 
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-Molly's outfit and bows are from Lil Bug clothing at Sweet, Sassy Boutique. I sent her the fabric and she helped me with the design and to customize it with the shoe applique.  (http://www.etsy.com/people/sweetsassyboutique)


 
-All printables (cupcake toppers, tented labels, and door signs) are from A Blissful Nest http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlissfulNestStudio


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-Shoe shaped soap from Sherry at Soapsational Favors. http://www.etsy.com/shop/SoapsationalFavors. She has a very fast turnaround and sent an extra bag for "the birthday girl" with about 10 extra soaps.



- I made arrangements with flowers from my friend Carolyn Helfrich (http://carolynhelfrichinc.com/).  Believe me, her arrangements are spectacular and much better than mine, and her taste is phenomenal but she is so generous and shared her tips on colors and flowers.  

She also let me borrow all the orange and green pieces! I would NEVER own anything orange, but I have to say I loved the orange for the party.



- My friend Lindsey Haun (mother of Molly's best friend, Owen) let me borrow her beautiful turquoise pieces. 



-Anna Cate's Outfit, table cloths, runners and banners were made by the talented Liz Spears, seamstress extradonaire in my hometown, Centerville, Tn. 



The above is just 4x6 photos on paper plates, a spin off of pinterest idea using paper plates for a back drop.



The letters for the banners were cut out by my friend Kristen, who is a kindergarten teacher.  It is so good to have kindergarten teachers in your life! 
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Mom has had the chance to stay a few days after the party and on the way home from church and spending time with some of my friends yesterday, Mom said how much she loves my friends. In reference to two in particular, she said she appreciates how much Patti and Norah love me. I jokingly said, "well you act as if I'm a hard person to love." She quipped with just how much she appreciates people loving her child. And even though, I joked I do get it -- I'm also grateful for those who love my children, who lift them up.

That is worth celebrating.


Where there is love, there is life. —Gandhi