I love to look at old Halloween pictures at this time of year, so of course I’m going to share a few here. 10 of my favorites from the past few years.
A chunky baby Reagan as Stitch. I don’t think she liked it. She certainly fell asleep on me in that costume before the night was done.
Little Jenny as Mulan. Her hair looked just like Brinky’s does now.
A little cheating with a two in one, but this pictures always makes me smile. Wonder Woman Jenny and Princess Reagan doing some kind of powerful poses.
Tinkerbell Reagan with her long hair and cute striped tights.
A Cheetah girl Jenny. Isn’t she cute?
One of Jenny’s favorites: a crazy-eyed green-haired witch.
Can you tell what this one is? It should be obvious. A devil monkey. That’s what Reagan wanted to be for some unknown reason, and since I’m not a crafty mom, we pieced it together from a Littlest Pet Shop monkey costume and devil ears and pitchfork.
Jenny was an angel the same year Reagan was a devil monkey.
Reagan as Batgirl last year.
And Brinky as Wolverine without the hat, and with much less hair than he has now.
Sharing some of my favorites (a week after Halloween costumes was the Monday Listicles topic) as we get ready for this year! I’m not sure how great our pictures will be since they’re all going to have to wear big coats over their costumes if it’s as cold as the forecast says.Read More
Does this ever happen to you?
This weekend I took some pictures of Brinky after his bath because he was just looking so incredibly cute with his big eyes and wet curly hair.
Doesn’t he look like such a sweet little boy? Anyway, when I showed the pictures to my husband, he and I both said the same thing. Brinky looks so much like Lee did when he was little. Especially the curly dark hair. Since that was our immediate thought, we pulled out some old pictures to see if we could find any where he really looked like Brinky. These were a few of my favorites from around the same age.
Of course when we looked I also noticed a lot of the differences. Lee was more of a skinny boy than Brinky. And his eyes were much bluer. But that hair is definitely the same! And wasn’t Lee’s mom beautiful, even though I only pulled pictures where her eyes were closed?
Linking up with Galit, Alison, and Tracy for Memories Captured’s October Link-up! (And oops! I just read the prompt after I’d already written my post. But I hope I do honor my kids every day.)Read More
I love flickr. While I’m more consistent about posting pictures on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter these days than flickr, I still love its archiving functionality. I don’t think I realized until about a year ago (after using flickr for 3 years) that I could view my archives on flickr so easily and that they were organized by either the date the pictures were taken or by the date I posted them on flickr. Through the magic that is flickr, I can see photos that it knows I took in 2003 even though they weren’t posted until 2008 or so. I love this!
So today I decided to look at some old pictures taken in the month of September to see what was going on in our lives at this time of year. And it was so much fun! Here are a few pictures I found:
We always used to take pictures of Jenny in her Steelers outfits at the beginning of football season. She liked it – can’t you tell?
This picture always makes me laugh. This was shortly after we painted Jenny’s room pink and Reagan climbed out of her crib for the first time and started sleeping with Jenny. One night when I went to check on them before I went to sleep, I found Reagan this way. Apparently it didn’t disturb Jenny’s sleep because she looks quite peaceful in the background.
Jenny was heading to her first Level 1 gymnastics class I believe, in 2008. I’m not sure why the front door needed to be open behind her.
Reagan took a dance class that same year. I don’t think I pointed out that she should turn her feet out – she probably learned that in her class.
I think I’d blocked out the fact that we had hamsters. Hamsters we were assured were the same sex when we purchased two (one for each of our girls). We learned otherwise when hamster babies appeared in their cage.
This was a cellphone picture I took of the girls on the swings when I was standing above them on our deck. I love this picture even though it’s blurry.
A visit to the park, just last year, to take pictures of a 9 month old Brinky.
I love looking at old memories captured, don’t you?
Linking up with Galit and Alison for Memories Captured fun!
And because I’m running short on time this week and one of the pictures above was taken with a cellphone, I’m also linking up with Greta and Julie for #iPPP:
This week’s Monday Listicles topic is love. I’m going to take the lazy route with it and feature pictures. 10 pictures I managed to scrounge up of me and Lee over the years. Some are pretty crappy quality because they are so obviously pictures of pictures, but still kind of fun, right? I’ve told our love story on here a couple times before, so I won’t bore everyone with the story then, but I don’t particularly enjoy pictures of myself, so I don’t often include them. But here they are – I probably should have left a couple off, but I honestly only managed to find 10 easily available digitally (thanks for letting me steal from your flickr, Charlotte).
My senior prom, previously featured on this blog. The rest won’t necessarily be in order, but I know this is the earliest.
Around the time of my high school graduation.
In my dorm’s kitchen my freshman year of college.
On the way to…somewhere. With Lee’s family.
Cheesy, right? I’m not sure what’s up with that watch, either. Lee gave me a gold watch for my high school graduation that I still wear, so I’m not sure why I wasn’t wearing it.
Just hanging out. With my giant legs.
With the best dog, Randy.
Nice face, right? I’m talking about mine, not Lee’s. I probably should have just left this one out and said nine pictures was good enough.
In the dark. But I think we look happy if you look really closely.
This was just last year, the only recent picture of us I can find without kids. I can tell that we’ve been talking about The Lion King a lot recently because when I look at this picture “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” starts playing in my head.Read More
I’m back to linking up with Stasha for Monday Listicles after taking a break for no good reason at all. The same reason I only managed to post once last week. Just life in general, and a busy week with lots of sickies in the house. I’ll write another post about what’s been going on the past week later.
For now, I’m excited that this week’s topic from Bruna is to tell your life’s story using songs or videos. I love music, particularly reminiscing with old songs and remembering what was going on in my life at particular times. So I thought this sounded like fun. But also, very difficult. Lee makes Top 100 or 500 lists of his favorite songs all the time, and I’m completely incapable of ranking songs and making choices like that. So it was hard to choose 10. But I did it anyway.
1. Who’s Johnny by El DeBarge -
This is one of the first songs that always comes to mind for me if I try to think of a song I loved as a kid. I have a vivid memory of being in the back of my mom’s minivan on the way to the pool and being so happy when this song came on the radio. And I still think it’s awesome.
2. Please Don’t Go Girl – New Kids on the Block
Skipping ahead to my middle school years, I LOVED New Kids on the Block, like so many other girls my age. And this song is still my favorite of theirs. I may have forced my girls to go to their reunion tour a couple years ago. But it’s cool. Their show was still as awesome as it was when I was in 7th grade.
3. End of the Road – Boyz II Men
This song makes me think of high school sock hops and rides on the cheerleading bus to games. Basically, it really brings me straight back to high school.
4. I Just Can’t Wait To Be King – Lion King Soundtrack
I went through a Disney phase in high school – I loved Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid and Aladdin. And then The Lion King came out my senior year, and it was amazing. And it has even more special memories for me because I saw it with Lee when we were first dating. I’ll sing this song on Disney Sing It on the Wii with my girls if they force me to (or if I force them to really because they don’t even like it – what’s wrong with them?).
5. Least Complicated – Indigo Girls
When I went to Summer Governor’s School the summer before my senior year of high school, I discovered the Indigo Girls. And I never turned back. I listened to their music in my room at night – using the CD-ROM drive I installed in my computer myself. Cool, right? I could still listen to their music all day long. Their concert at Wake Forest when I was a student was one of the best music experiences ever.
6. Mayqueen – Liz Phair
Liz Phair is another one of my favorite artists of all time. Lee introduced me to her music my freshman year of college. She’s one of the artists we both love and love to listen to together. I THINK this is my favorite song of hers. It’s fun. But I could also pick at least 10 others that I think are my favorites. This is just my official favorite.
7. Seven – Prince
This song is one here not because it’s one of my favorites, but because it makes me and Lee laugh any time we hear it. It’s so strongly associated with a memory of a girl on my hall freshman year who played it on repeat one night.
8. A Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins
I was going to choose When We Dance by Sting for this one instead because it was our first dance song at our wedding, but this was second or so, and I like it better than When We Dance. Mostly because I think any songs with the word “groovy” in them are always good. Anyway, I’m choosing this song to represent our wedding. Though I did think hard about I Want It That Way, Lee’s secret favorite song at the time, that his brother Justin performed at our wedding, outing his secret. Or I thought about picking an R.E.M. song because we mutually love R.E.M. and have seen some concerts of theirs. See why I have trouble making a list of 10?
9. Science vs. Romance – Rilo Kiley
Justin introduced Rilo Kiley to us a few years ago, and I definitely consider them my favorite band of adulthood. This is my official favorite song of theirs, though like with Liz Phair, I could pick several others that may actually be my favorite. I love them.
10. Shelf – Jonas Brothers
This one’s on here to represent some of the years with kids. And because, you know what, I like the Jonas Brothers’ music. I was choosing between one of their songs and a Miley Cyrus song, and I realized I just like this better. So here it is. And it’s good. And yes, we saw them in concert twice. And if you want the rest of the embarrassing truth, this album came out during the three months I was reading and re-reading only the Twilight books, and I managed to relate every song on the album to Twilight. So this one? Is about Bella putting Jacob’s love on a shelf. In my mind.
Looking back at this list, there are so many other songs I can think of that I should have included. Tons of oldies I loved to listen to with my parents. Songs I remember dancing to for recitals or cheerleading. Songs I remember recording onto tapes from the radio. Songs I love dancing to with my girls now if we have a dance party night. But I think this is a decent representation of my life through music. And it’s probably good to restrict myself to 10!Read More
Even though I just started this blog this year, I thought it would be fun to participate in this link-up and share my first couple posts about how Lee and I met because I love reminiscing.
How the Coolest Kids Met (A Love Story, Part 1)
As promised (and I’m sure I’ll return to my regular procrastinating ways and not blog for several days after this), here’s the story of how we met.
Once upon a time, this girl met this boy.
It was 1993 when we first met. We were both cool enough to be going to a Governor’s School for Math and Science. All the new Governor’s School students went on a trip to Wallop’s Island before school started to do science-y stuff and meet each other. I remember noticing that guy, who clearly didn’t like anyone there and didn’t really hide it (something he still does very well). I don’t remember us actually speaking on this trip, but it was when I became aware of his existence.
Fast forward a few months and again, because we were so cool in high school, we both advanced to the state science fair with our science projects. He was clearly more into it than I was because he had fancy cheese shaped science fair display boards for his project that was something about mice and circadian rhythms. But what we both did at the science fair was spend the whole day in the bleachers really talking to each other for the first time, and perhaps missing some of the judges who would have liked to talk to us about our projects. Neither of us won the science fair. But I don’t believe we cared.
As a side note, Lee was for some reason allowed by his mother to go on this trip outside of the chaperoned group that I was in. Don’t worry though – his 13-year-old brother Marcus was his chaperone. I’m not sure what Marcus did at a hotel alone all day, but I bet he was well-behaved. He was certainly interesting when I met him for the first time at Fuddruckers.
We returned from this trip and returned to not really talking to each other at school.
We had a couple other exciting experiences that school year. We were invited to the Virginia Junior Academy of Science (I think that’s what VJAS stood for) to present our projects. I have a few fun memories from this trip.
- Watching MTV in some dorm common room with Lee. I distinctly remember some Aerosmith videos. I may have been jealous that he seemed to be hanging out with another girl there, so I stuck around. Or maybe I wasn’t.
- Going to a dance for a few minutes where Bump ‘n Grind came on, and Lee made some sort of dance move because he was so excited when the song came on.
- On the bus ride back, we sat in a seat together and read Stephen King’s The Stand. Or as much of it as we could read on that bus ride. I never finished the book.
We also both attended the prom at his home high school, which he has already documented here.
The way I remember it, we both definitely recognized there were some feelings at that point, but Lee already knew he was going to graduate and move at the end of the school year. So we resigned ourselves to never seeing each other again.
But that’s obviously not what happened, is it?
Lee responded with a post on his blog:
Love Story, Part 1.5
I want to say first of all that Love Story makes me think of the Taylor Swift song (pop remix, duh), and it makes Katie think of that movie from the ‘70s that she hasn’t even seen. So I win.
It’s really cute how Katie says that there were some feelings between us after the VJAS trip, which was April or March of 1994. I humbly suggest that this might have been an understatement. Of course, she was, at the time, still pretending like she didn’t have any feelings about anything except Disney movies. I was doing no such thing. I got home after that trip, after Katie and I sat together not really reading—or breathing, or moving—for the entire bus ride from JMU to Pulaski, and I broke down in my kitchen. My mother said something dismissive that she may have intended to be fortifying—maternal strike 70 or so, at that point—but it took me a while to pull myself together enough to talk to anyone. It was ridiculous, and I was very aware of that, but I couldn’t stop crying anyway. This wasn’t fair. This was too much, finally, somehow, too much cut short and too much lost. My Dad was gone, dead less than six months. My Mom was gone, too, twisted by grief and desperation into a lost little girl trying to hide or, failing that, run. When she ran, she took me, my brothers and my sister with her, because she was technically the head of our family—nice one, Dad. A month after he died, Mom promised us that we would never lose our home, that she wouldn’t take that from us after what we’d already lost, no matter what. A month after she said that she decided to move to Virginia Beach to be closer to her family. She told me I could go to a new high school for my senior year, or I could stay with a friend’s family and finish high school in Pulaski. I said hell no to option #1, and I didn’t believe Mom would follow through on option #2, so I came up with a third option: finish my junior year in the fall, get all my remaining senior year credits in the spring, and graduate from high school in three years. It was a plan that I could execute myself and it wouldn’t stop Mom from running away from grief and responsibility, so it won her enthusiastic approval. But I had to move quickly, to line up the credits I needed to graduate, to apply to colleges, to decide where to enroll in the fall; no time to hesitate, to think, to regret. So goodbye Pulaski, goodbye 620 Prospect Ave., goodbye senior year, all in the name of speed and fear. It sucked, but I was handling it. By the time I met Katie the plan was in motion and it was working: I would graduate in June, we would move to Virginia Beach two weeks later, and I would be a freshman at Chapel Hill in August. So why was I sitting on the floor of my kitchen sobbing over some girl I barely knew? I’d lost both my parents, the house I grew up in, my childhood and all my opportunities for self-contained senior-year stupidity, not to mention all my goddamn Star Wars toys—why did thishurt so much? I didn’t understand. I don’t really know this girl, I thought. Why is it killing me that I never will?
Katie was not unappreciated amongst the gentlemen of the magnet school we both attended for math and science. My friend Brian was talking to me one day after the VJAS trip about how Katie was the hottest girl there but she wouldn’t go out with anyone, that no one could have her, and he didn’t know what it would take to get her. I didn’t think of her that way. I couldn’t deal with what I did think, but it wasn’t that. I understood Championship, of course, and that’s what Brian was talking about. I’m not sure why I said something, but I did. “She would go out with me,” I said. “How do you know?” he asked. I didn’t say anything else immediately, and I didn’t want to have said what I said already, but that’s not a boast you just leave alone when your buddy makes it. It wasn’t a boast at all, but Brian didn’t know that. “So why don’t you ask her out?” he pressed. “Because I can’t,” I said. I didn’t go for some inflection in my voice to shut down that conversation, to make it clear he and I weren’t talking about the same thing. But I wasn’t boasting, that would’ve been obvious. I was hurting. We didn’t talk about that again, although to be fair, the conversation had been an aberration from the beginning. Usually we stuck to Beavis and Butt-head impressions and Doggystyle lyrics.
I was a coward. I thought I was being noble, denying myself the chance to fall in love because I had to hold my family together, but that was garbage. It was a false choice, framed the way my mother taught me to frame decisions. If I couldn’t have unambiguous happiness handed to me on a plate, I wouldn’t have it at all. I would run. I might have regretted that cowardice forever, but it turned out to be just a few weeks after we moved that I got a letter from two of my friends and this other girl I still didn’t really know. It was a slim chance, but Katie and I never needed any more than that, and this time I didn’t let it pass. The longer-term twist was that not only did Katie help me to be stronger for my younger siblings and my mother than I could’ve been without her, but she almost certainly did more for them herself over the years than I did. No one among her four children did more to help my mother, especially near the end of her life, than Katie did.
Our own children will have this to use against us one day. “But I love Braydon!” Jenny will announce. “I have to be with him! It’s just like you and Mom!” A little teenage moral leverage is a small price to pay, though. Besides, I still have “You won’t do that because I’m your father I said you won’t.” And don’t think for a moment I won’t use it.
And I wrapped up the story (at least the beginning of our story) on my blog:
Love Story, Part 2
At the end of my junior year of high school/Lee’s senior year, he moved away to Virginia Beach with his family. We never expected to see each other again.
That July, I went to the summer Governor’s School for Humanities on the campus of University of Richmond. My two best friends when I was there were from Lee’s hometown and they were longtime friends of his. One day the three of us decided to write him a letter, full of lots of silly stuff, I’m sure. Much to my surprise, we each got letters back individually.
I loved my letter so much. I won’t write it all out here, but I can tell you the first line that will be in my memory forever. “You are the person to whom I have the most to say but know the least how to say it.” I kept this letter with me all the time, in my pocket, under my pillow. It looks a little rough these days, but I still have it, stored in a box with hundreds of other letters. (Incidentally, I still enjoy remembering another letter that came to all three of us, where he mentioned a new musician he liked – Cool 10. At least we thought it said Cool 10. It was Coolio.)
After that first letter, we wrote each other regularly. And once I was back home, we started having weekly phone calls, too. I loved our long weekly phone calls because I loved talking to him, and because they usually came during our Sunday after-church weekly cleaning time (sorry, Mom). We made plans to finally see each other again over the Christmas break. During the last couple weeks leading up to Christmas, I received daily postcards from Lee, and wondered if there was any significance to the LOVE stamps he used (I think there may have been).
He came to my house for a visit shortly after Christmas, and that was that. He went from staying with one of his friends to staying at our house so he could spend more time with me. I met his mom and Justin (mini-Lee) for the first time. I remember my mom telling me after he left that she assumed we’d be together forever unless I told her otherwise. That was 16 ½ years ago.Read More