Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to Matt

This is a most important and special day. This is a day for which we are all thankful for in this household. A day that helps to make everything that we are and everything that we have possible. A day that we honor. A day that we celebrate. A day that we love.
Today is Matt's birthday. A most special and important day.
He is my husband. Their daddy. Our hugs and smiles. Our happiness. Our love.
And no matter how OLD he gets, he's got the heart of a kid. Big and pure and true.

We love you so much!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Green Vortex

Unlike last year, when I spent the day cleaning out the garage (see blog post, we managed to find some fun for the family for St. Patrick's Day. Armed with determination and strong will, we made the trek downtown to 5 Points in Columbia for one of the biggest parties in the state. Is it a great idea to bring kids to this kind of a shindig? Probably not. Did we do it anyway? Yes. And before you go getting all judgy on me...we also armed ourselves with shields of common sense to protect our little ones' eyes from the debauchery that is a part of the 5 Points festival. Also, we didn't stay after a certain time...when most of the alcohol had been imbibed and when the bad decisions started making their appearances, and appearances they do make.
We were joined on the way down by our friends, Andy and Lauren, who came to visit from their home in the mountains, and the Harpers...Denise and Martin and Jackson and Parsons. I'm pretty sure I found the FARTHEST spaces in the world for us to park in, and I would have been happy to search for something closer if it weren't for the pressure of Matt and Martin to seal the deal quickly. (Note to self: IGNORE the guys. Women are ALWAYS smarter.) The journey into the green vortex wasn't so bad, but the trip out was quite uncomfortable... for this constantly sneezing, fetus-pushing-on-the-bladder, pregnant lady anyway.

One of the main reasons that we decided to go was to see my baby brother's band play (John Wesley Satterfield and His Damn Fine Band, for those not in the know). The benefit of him having gotten us free passes helped, too, because, seriously, who in the world wants to pay 15 bucks for one ticket to SOBERLY mill around thousands of sweaty, cussing drunks in the hot, hot sun with kids? Not this pregnant chick. Anywho...John Wesley's performance was fun. Ella and Summit think it's pretty cool to see their uncle up on the stage with a bunch of people singing and dancing and giving him their undivided attention. Ella especially (Dear God, please let her finish college in a timely manner). They also L.O.V.E.D. having him dedicate a song to them, and I love that it makes them feel special and proud.
We also got to see our lovelies from Charleston. Ashley and Bryan and their friends from New York got to come...without their kids and without being pregnant...and they got to join in on the good, old-fashioned debauchery that includes slamming 20 ounce beers before they get too hot and shooting vodka-laced green jello from over-sized syringes into their mouths. Good for them. Good for them. I wasn't jealous at all. Not.At.All.
There's also a cute little kids' carnival in MLK Park for the wee ones to enjoy...but, let's get real, that's not necessarily the best reason to endure said sweaty, cussing drunks. Since we were there, we ventured to the land of partial sanity, where kids were jumping wildly on jump castles and riding those rides that used to be outside of grocery stores when I was a little girl. There was a stage set up for double-dutch jump ropers and a spot designated for kids' karaoke. Much to my amusement, some parents were more than happy to get up and share their musical talents...parents who clearly are legends in their own minds...and I know how they feel...though I would never have been brave enough to broadcast my voice to a park full of people. However, I'm sure happy they did.
After downing some energy-recharging Hawaiian shaved ice, we made the intelligent decision NOT to go back into the green vortex, and began the expedition back to the car. It wasn't short. Or easy. Or fun. I couldn't walk fastly enough, and I couldn't walk slowly enough, if that makes sense. The descent of pollen into my olfactory glands, which has never bothered me before, sent me into a sneezing frenzy. The descent of pressure from the baby girl growing inside of me onto my bladder was exacerbated by the sneezes, and no matter how many times I tried to stop and squeeze my legs together to prevent the sneeze and bladder pressure from "affecting"me, the result was NOT awesome. (Seriously, Baby Girl, you have GOT to change positions in there!)

Eventually, we made it back to the car, safe and sound, but definitely worse for wear. Most of all, I think everyone was happy to just sit a safe, alcohol-free zone. (I would say pee-free zone, but that wasn't the case for all of us.) Another St. Patrick's Day down. Another good time. This St. Patrick's Day didn't disappoint...but next year, I'm making plans for myself. Plans that don't include cleaning out garages or growing babies.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The B Sides

I've always fancied myself as a yet-to-be-discovered singer-in-waiting. In my head, I sing fine, and by fine, I don't mean 'alright fine,' but more like 'right on fine!' I mean, I have heard myself sing...and I'm not tone deaf...right? That's what I've always thought. So what if those closest to me hadn't professed their love for my so amazing voice. So? They must have been tone deaf...right?

Because I got tired of waiting around to receive the praise and adoration that I so very much deserved for my personal renditions of my favorite songs, I decided to test out my theory on my own. I was gonna prove to myself that my Madonna voice was just as good as the Queen of Pop, that my bluegrass twang could hang with Dolly, that my soulful, throaty song was perfect enough to soothe JB's ears. Armed with my iPod blaring bluegrass into my ears and the Voice Memo app on the iPhone on record, I belted out my best delivery of Spider John by Sam Bush in the car on the way home from the gym one evening. And the results? What did I learn of my talent?

Well...thank the good lord I was alone. My plan was to keep the iPod plugged in my ears to help me get the tones right. Further, I didn't want any music to mask what I was certain would be heavenly tunes drifting from my vocal cords. When I played back my recording, what I heard coming out of the phone was NOT what my ears had been witness to for most of my singing life. What? How could this be? I kept wondering, "When did my tone break?" It was like listening to one of the worst of the worst contestants on American Idol. All of a sudden, I felt like William Hung. Why did nobody have the decency to put an end to that nonesense? Why has it been allowed to go on for so many years? So many.

All at once, my singing career came crashing down around me. It was done. The cold, hard reality of never being a back-up singer for Lady Gaga was now mine. It is mine. And I now know... I owe a big apology to my friends and family. For all of the misplaced Like a Virgin moments, all the times when I thought I sounded like Garth Brooks in Friends in Low Places, for the Ripple and Ain't Life Grand and all of the other commotion...I am sorry. However, I don't plan on quitting. I just wanted to say sorry.

There is a silver lining, though. My kids, bless their little hearts, still love it when I sing them good night songs and when we turn up Adele and sing her music at the top of our lungs...but I'm pretty sure I can sing like Adele.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Their Hands

Little hands make me smile. My kids' hands. I love them. Love holding them, kissing them, squeezing them, looking at them.
I can close my eyes and think back to different times in their lives and see their hands clearly in my mind. Soft, tiny baby hands. Fat, sticky toddler hands. Markered, dirty preschool hands. I remember holding their hands for their first steps, them grasping tightly my hands when we crossed streets, baby hands all over my face, little fingers grabbing my nose and pulling my ears. I remember holding onto Ella's hands when she was in the hospital that summer and begging her to be okay. New hands full of new discoveries. Little hands that held on for dear life when they were learning how to swim. Hands that still reach up and seek out reassurance when they're trying new things. Those hands. They are so much. A physical connection between us, symbols of a lifetime of memories, possibilities for a lifetime.

I love my kids' hands. I can't wait to see the hands of this little love that is growing inside of me. Her hands, I feel every day...even as I write this, I feel her hands exploring her world in my body. And, with each passing day, the kids on the outside can better feel her making her own presence known, too. This is one of the best parts of being pregnant for me. Having Ella's or Summit's hands on my belly, waiting patiently for their new sister to kick against their hands...seeing the smiling, surprised expressions on their faces when she does...there is nothing in this world that could ever replace the love and happiness in those moments. Nothing.

So, it's no wonder that in this crazy, busy, wild time in our lives when the thought of life can be so overwhelming and challenging, it's my kids' hands that center me, ground me, and make me find my way back to appreciating the love in our world, which is the most important thing, after all.