Archive for the ‘Girl Stuff’ Category

This won’t change your life…maybe just help organize it a bit

January 5, 2011

In the spirit of sharing little parenting tips that I think are handy, I thought I’d pass along another one I recently came by. It certainly won’t take your breath away, but it might just help you get a little more organized, and who isn’t all for that in the new year?

I should preface this tip by noting that my daughter was born with a full head of hair, which though everyone told me she would lose shortly after birth, she never did. See exhibit A.

Exhibit A

At 21 months, she continues to sport a thick, full head of hair (with gorgeous curls that leave me envious and more than a little curious as to from where they came). See exhibit B.

Exhibit B

Needless to say I need to contain her hair via pigtails, ponytail, barrettes or some other assortment of hair accessories. I’ve accumulated quite a collection of such things since her birth, so many so that I often find tiny hair ties in the oddest of places (my laptop bag, the cup holders of my car, the kitchen floor, the dog’s water dish…you get the idea). And since I am so often losing these tiny hair ties, I am finding myself at my favorite place to shop (Target) on a somewhat regular basis to purchase more rubber bands, toddler barrettes and the like. Though I try to keep them contained in a zipped-up cosmetic case, I still find my supply depleted on a regular basis.

So imagine the “aha” moment I experienced when my sister-in-law whose two daughters have sprouted luxurious locks of their own produced a pill box neatly containing and organizing dozens of hair ties by color. I loved it! And I let her know. She promptly shared that she stole the idea from her own sister-in-law. So I found myself at Target upon our return from our holiday trip to the in-laws’ to find just such a container for my daughter’s many hair ties. And not a day has gone by since then where I haven’t been able to find matching hair ties for my daughter’s pigtails.

So simple. So practical. So portable. Thanks for the parenting pearl of the day Jessica!

Did I Tell You?

July 13, 2010

I found something the other day that I can’t stop looking at. For all of you moms with daughters going off to college or just leaving college–heck for any mom, this find makes a great gift for your little, or not so little, girl. It did when my mom presented it to me 10 years ago.

“Did I Tell You?” by Elizabeth Knapp is a short booklet of what one mom hopes for her daughters. She shared it with the world so that people like my mom would find it and give it to daughters like me. This week I’ve found myself looking at it repeatedly at various times, and I feel that even at age 32, ten years out of college and in the work force, it still offers valuable guidance for me as a daughter, a mother and a woman.

It starts,

“Now that you are almost grown, I look back and ask myself, ‘Did I tell you’?” Did I tell you all that I meant to tell you, all that I felt was important. Did I tell you, or was it lost in the shuffle of our everyday lives, the busy full days when we taught and didn’t know it. What did we teach? Was it strong? Was it good? Will it root you in something real that will allow you to grow with a firm and sound foundation? Did I tell you…”

Ms. Knapp goes on to share her hopes and advice for her daughters on love, on thoughtfulness and on courtesy. For example, she writes:

“Did I tell you to be courteous not to display empty manners with no meaning but to live the courtesy born of caring. And to express this caring through the small formalities and customs born of the years.”

She continues to share her thoughts on being bold, on being cautious, on service, on maintaining a sense of the past and on nature. On this she writes,

“Did I tell you to find a part of nature that speaks to you then know it intimately and well. For some it is a mountain peak, for some a windswept beach. Find your own and in it find your restoration.”

She concludes by sharing her hopes for her daughters on laughing, on dancing, on singing, on creativity and on the joy and challenge of being a woman.

This last point is worth sharing in its entirety:

“And did I tell you the joy and challenge of being a woman. The joy and challenge of having a child…knowing and sharing a new life. The joy of making a home…the center but not the limit for the lives of those you love. The joy of exploring a third dimension…a world of your own discovering and fulfilling your own capabilities.”

I love the phrase “the joy of exploring a third dimension.” I’m not sure exactly what Ms. Knapp was getting at, but that’s precisely what I like about it. I think the third dimension just might be that part of us that is separate from our roles as mom, daughter, wife or friend. It might be that part of us that still wants ice cream simply because it tastes great.  It’s that part of us that still holds dreams for where our life might go. It’s that part of us that gazes in wonder at nature’s beauty. It’s that part of us that finds a booklet from her mom and hopes that she’s living a life that makes her proud.

A naptime discovery

July 1, 2010

During my daughter’s record three-and-a-half hour nap on Sunday, I organized four kitchen drawers and two kitchen cabinets. I packaged up old bottles and pacifiers in a bin for storage in the basement. I staked our eight tomato plants. I pulled weeds from between the cracks of the bricks in our garden. I folded two loads of laundry. I called my mom. I sent an e-mail. I cleaned the kitchen. I straightened up the upstairs bath and bedrooms.

And after all that, I still had time to look through old journals that I had stumbled upon in our guest room. I love the little treat of reading a journal entry logged when I was in the fourth grade and then turning to another journal and reading an entry from when I was in my early 20s, single and living in the city. Frighteningly, my handwriting had not changed much.

While thumbing through a journal from the latter period of my life, out fell about 20 pieces of loose paper covered with my chicken scratch and lots of dates. I knew at once what the words on these pages were meant to communicate — the five things I was grateful for on each of the dates listed. As I thought back, I recalled what — or rather who — got me started with this ritual — Oprah. During an episode of her show back in the day, she had explained that each night, she recorded five things that she was grateful for that day into a journal at her bedside. Even on her not so good days, she’d make a point to jot down even five seemingly minor or mundane things that made her happy or made her day that much better. She said this ritual had changed her life.

So I tried it. And I even stuck with it for close to a year. The sheets of paper I now held were entertaining, and at times moving, to review these nine years later.

On the entertaining front, I smiled as I came across these entries: on April 3, 2001, I was grateful for a scone my co-worker Leslie gave me. On December 4th, I was grateful to be recognized by name by the manager at Cosi. On November 17th, I was grateful for beers with Jamie and Filip. On April 15th, I was thankful for the nice lady at Radio Shack. And on March 28th, I was thankful for some guy smiling at me at the gym.

On the more moving front, on November 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th, 2001, I was grateful for hope. On March 15th, I was grateful for a chat with my grandma. On February 20th, I was grateful for the support of my friends. On January 10th, I was grateful for a healthy newborn nephew. And on the list pretty much every day that I recorded my “five things,” I was thankful for my mom and dad and some gesture they made on my behalf.

In reviewing these entries on Sunday, and again later as I drafted this post, I was overwhelmed by the support of friends, family and kind strangers played out in these pages. What a great little ritual. I wonder why I ever stopped. So, I bet you can guess what I’ve been doing since Sunday in a half full journal I found in my desk.

I don’t know if this daily ritual will change my life as it did Oprah’s, but what if it does?

A Michigan gem for moms and their daughters

February 27, 2010

From time to time, my husband and I will ask each other questions like, “if money were no issue, what would we want to do with our lives?” I always list off the usual suspects: travel more, become a master gardener, walk our dogs more, write a novel, learn to use the sewing machine in my closet, take piano lessons once again, etc. Then we inevitably get to the point in the conversation where we discuss whether we’d miss “work” if we didn’t have to do it. We both decide that yes, even if we didn’t have to, we’d most likely want to work in some capacity.

On more than one occasion, when contemplating what I’d do if I could do anything, I’ve expressed my desire to him to own and run a small tea room in the city next to the one in which we live. The Franklin Village Tea Room is like a page out of a story book. To me, this little eatery seems like it belongs in some New England town, but lucky for me, it’s a mere five minute drive from my home. This establishment, which I can best describe as completely charming, often hosts young girls celebrating their Sweet 16, red hat clubs meeting for a cup of afternoon tea, girlfriends catching up on the goings-on in each others’ lives, and families celebrating the arrival of a new little miracle with a baby shower.

Antique tea sets and feathery flowing hats decorate this small room where the menu is generally always the same, and the atmosphere is one of whimsy. At Christmas, white lights line the windows, and though I’ve never been there during the Christmas season, I imagine it smells like cinnamon and gingerbread. (It surely would if I ever worked there!)

Though I’ve only patronized this establishment one time, I’ve driven past it at least a hundred. I believe that I may have liked it so much, in part, because three generations of my family enjoyed blackberry tea and finger sandwiches there on a sunny Wednesday afternoon last summer and created a memory captured in the photo below.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have a hand in running the Franklin Village Tea Room or something like it, but I’m grateful someone does because it means I get to continue driving by this little place. And that makes me happy.

My next indulgence

August 19, 2009

Growing up, the smell of Chanel No. 5  (in the black bottle) meant only one thing to me: babysitter coming. Though I’m sure age has made my recollection somewhat cloudy, I recall my mom wearing this fragrance only when headed for a rare evening out with my dad. It always made me panic a little to catch a whiff and know she’d be away for the evening. (If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you know I’ve always been slightly too attached to her.)

To this day, Chanel No. 5 still reminds me of my mom and the panic I’d feel knowing someone else would tuck me in. I wonder what, if any, scent will remind my daughter of me. Right now, I’m guessing it would be Tide since lately she has given to burrowing her head into my chest to relieve what I can only guess is an itchy nose.

Tide’s not so bad, but I think I may just pick up some Chanel No. 5 to continue the tradition.

Feeling a little soft

August 4, 2009

My Aunt Janet gave Baby Blue the cutest bathing suit when she made her world debut. I haven’t had a chance to put it on her yet, and I fear that before long she won’t fit into it. So I decided to take her to my sister’s pool this past weekend and get the requisite baby-in-pool-footage for her scrapbook. But of course this whole experience meant I would have to put on a bathing suit too–yippee! I’m still a little “soft” from the whole carrying a baby in my body thing, so wasn’t entirely thrilled about donning a bathing suit quite yet. But as I contemplated this task, I recalled a GREAT post I read on one of my favorite Mom blogs. Really rings true, so I share the link to it here.

Heel hunt is on

July 23, 2009

Picture1I wonder if you’re wondering if I really own a pair of four-inch hot pink stilettos. I don’t. But I wish I did. Well kinda. More accurately, I wish I had the balls to wear ’em. I’m about an eighth of inch shy of being five feet, 11 inches tall, a and I’ve struggled with my height off and on for about as long as I can remember. But I love the way high heels look and make me feel when I wear them–which isn’t often if I’m being honest.

But I thought I’d have a little fun with this. If anyone comes across a killer pair of pink stilettos, send me a link (either by posting a comment or e-mailing me–see About Me for my e-mail address)! I’ll be on the lookout myself. And once I collect some options, I’ll post the links in an upcoming blog, add a poll to this site and crowdsource the best option. Then I’ll purchase a pair and wear them out on a night on the town. I’ll document in video and photo my experience looming tall in my pink pumps and post the fun here.