Three tomato plants on the back porch. One lone tomato growing. Mad monitors it’s growth daily. After checking on it today she exclaimed “Mommy the tomato is THIS BIG NOW!” As she showed me it’s size with her hands. Apparently we now have a good twelve inch tomato on that back porch! Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “everything is bigger in Texas”!
-Mad, the day before her 5th birthday
Our one & only monstrous tomato!
Today would have been my Granny’s eightieth birthday. She passed away when I was sixteen. Oh how I adored her. Some of my favorite childhood memories were spent alone with her. Which was extra special since our family was so large and while I was the first grand baby there are so many of us grandchildren now!
Granny & Paw-Paw had drastically different sleep patterns. Paw-Paw would go to bed very early and wake up long before sunrise to drink his black coffee with one ice cube and watch his fishing shows. Granny on the other hand was the night owl. A trait I may have gotten from her. She would stay up all night long watching QVC. I can still remember her having her QVC account number sticker on every phone in the house. Then at some who knows how late hour she would go to sleep in her very dark bedroom and sleep in. It was these different sleep patterns that would allow me to have time with both of them and then one on one time with each of them during my sleep overs that I doubt either of them knew just how much I would forever cherish. I remember I almost always never brought pj’s there because Granny always had this one Orange Crush t-shirt that she kept for me to sleep in. Ironically, after getting sick from a glucose test that was orange soda flavored while pregnant with Budah I have never drank that stinkin’ soda again. Yet I still think of my Granny as soon as I see it anywhere. Red lipstick also has the same affect on me. Maybe that’s why I like to wear it all the time now?
There are certain rituals she had that I doubt I will ever forget. Like her red lipstick, late nights with QVC, her long brown cigarettes, her single scoop of K&B vanilla ice cream each night, her ability to always make every single grandchild feel special, how she managed to pull off the very best parties, the bobbing for apples at Halloween, the change filled Easter egg hunts, how she would have each of her children come at a specific time for Christmas so she could watch each of her six kids individual families exchange gifts before we all had a Christmas dinner together, & probably one of my favorites that always seemed to amuse me was her coin purse with all of her cash & a pill bottle that she always had tucked away in her bra. She was a hoot! But one thing she made sure of before that heartbreaking day on November 21, 1995 that she left us was that we all knew just how much she loved us and what an incredibly strong fighter she truly was. She is still so very missed all these years later. And her memory carries on as I am able to pass on some of the same traditions to our lil monsters now. Happy birthday to my beautiful spit fire of a Granny!
Not really sure how it’s possible. But our wild child will be five years old in just five days! She just about jumped out of her skin when I reminded her. Mad is beyond ready for her Willy Wonka themed birthday party and gets down right giddy each time I tell her someone has rsvp’d. It’s going to be fun celebrating this amazingly sweet, rambunctious, and always curious little tom boy of ours with lots of family & friends!
After a long weekend alone in Chicago with my love for our first time since our honeymoon seven years ago we are finally home with our lil monsters again! We had a fabulous time in what has easily become one of our favorite cities in just four short days.
Some of the things we enjoyed on our little vacation:
Wicker Park! My love got to stand in front of a building that was in a scene of one of his fave movies “High Fidelity” for a pic. We had lunch at an old lil pub called “Pint”. We hit up a rad lil local Skate shop to get our son some souvenirs we knew he’d like. We rode the El for the first time. Bought some goodies at Hershey’s & Ghiradelli’s for our lil monsters. Had dinner at Giordano’s at the recommendation of our friends. Then that night Matt went to catch his friend’s punk show while I went shopping with my friend Mandy before she left to go out of town the next morning. After his show Matt met up with us and we checked out the lounge on top of our hotel and then the three of us had a drink at Gino’s East next door to our hotel. Gosh I love that lady and the fact that her doing a hash tag search for #brusselsprouts two years ago gave me one of the kindest souls for a friend!SATURDAY….
At the recommendation of my friend we had breakfast at an absolutely beautiful place called “The Grand Lux” overlooking Michigan Ave. Then walked to Millennium Park to take pictures of “the bean”. Probably my favorite part of that moment was that our daughter facetimed us while we were there and we were able to show her as well. The complete look of awe that she had was priceless. After a little more exploring it was time for our Chicago mob tour. It was ninety minutes full of all sorts of interesting facts. That evening was our much anticipated murder mystery dinner. Our Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gift to each other. By far one of our favorite things we did while we were there. We had to pick our own alias names, of which Matt picked out for us “The Blacksheep & The Blacksheep’s Wife”. It was in a beautiful hotel downtown. The entire show was full of comic relief. And we even got to channel our inner detective in us and we solved the case! So much so that we figured out all four of the actors that were planted amongst the guest too! We jokingly attributed our mad detective skills to watching far too much Investigation Discovery over the years, ha ha.SUNDAY….
We got up early and headed over to the Sears (Willis) Tower. Apparently the locals still call it the Sears Tower. Pretty much like we still call a bridge back home “the green Bridge” when it obviously hasn’t been green for many years now. Tell that to a local though! I have an incredible fear of heights, but am thankful we weren’t in the Hancock Tower that has a new glass box that tilts out. We had a perfect view of that box from our hotel room and that looked terrifying to me. After coaxing myself into it I somehow managed to step out into that stinkin’ glass box that is on the 103rd floor that is 1,353 feet in the air. I faced my fears. Mainly so that I could tell our lil monsters. I never want them to let their fears control them or prevent them from seeing the world (even if it happens to be from a glass box at a frightening 1,353 feet in the air). They can do ANYTHING they set their mind to! Outside of that glass box there was an absolutely stunning view of Chicago that I just couldn’t get over! From there we went Oz Park to take pictures of the Wizard of Oz statues for our lil monsters since it’s one of our family faves. Did a little more last minute shopping before dropping off our things to the hotel and meeting Phil & Katie for lunch at Gino’s. Then we went to the a Navy Pier and explored the Stained Glass Museum and loved taking in the beautiful view of the Michigan Lake and city skyline. Then we walked over to Garrett’s for the infamous “Chicago Mix” popcorn (that happens to be cheddar & caramel, interesting mixture) for our popcorn loving daughter before walking back to the hotel. Sunday night we went to the “Midwest Live & Loud” show and Matt got to see his favorite band, Noi!se. He finally got to meet the lead singer that he genuinely admires for his musical talent, his family values, & his military background. Just an all around good fella. Sounds like I just described the man I am blessed enough to call my husband. It’s no wonder why he looks up to him.MONDAY….
We enjoyed out last breakfast in the city out in front of our hotel before walked over to Giordano’s to pick up pizza to take home for our lil monsters to have yet another taste of Chicago. I loved exploring that city mostly by foot and really getting to take it all in. After checking out we headed over and caught the Metra out to Buffalo Grove and got to spend the day with Matt’s cousin Rachel. Her dad & step mom even came out to spend some time with us, incredibly sweet people. We just love Rachel! She is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. I’m so thankful we were able to spend some time with one of Matt’s favorite relatives and well one of mine too! On the way to the airport she took us over to see the place that his grandparents’ home once stood. It’s now a big building there, but still so amazing to be able to show the picture to our lil monsters and show them even a tiny piece of family history. Back when we went to New Orleans my dad showed us the home that my great grandparents once lived. It’s almost unbelievable to me that it’s still standing and in fantastic condition. How amazing is it to show our monsters the home that their great great grandparents lived in?I have to say it wasn’t easy being away from our lil monsters, and I likely wouldn’t have gone had they not been able to stay home and in their environment with their maw-maw. Two of them even got to go have some fun with my friend and her girls. FaceTime was also extremely comforting to be able to still see them daily. It was a fantastic four day weekend spent with the love of my life. The last eight years we’ve shared together have been full of amazing experiences and I’m incredibly thankful to be able to add this to our ever growing list! It was fun Chicago, but we are so happy to be home with our monsters where we belong!
This morning maw-maw and I decided to bring Mad & Bitty to a local coffee shop that we love while out running errands. Though it’s been made very clear these lil monsters love going there for more than one reason. They have banana frappes, cupcakes, & a swing set. Something Starbucks lacks. It was such a beautiful morning that we were able to enjoy sitting outside chit chatting while these little dolls played away together.
Today was the first time Bitty went on a big girl swing. After watching her big sissy for maybe a minute she decided she was ready and backed up to the swing for me to put her on one too. I’m pretty sure Mad was more concerned about it than I was.
As I stood there swinging the two of them I had to fight back tears. Our babies are growing far too fast for this mama! While Bitty may be two and our “baby”, she is working hard to keep up with her big sisters and is quite the little dare devil when she plays with her big brother too. And then there is Mad. So independent and anxious to do so many things on her own now and always eager to help me with anything. Not that lil tot that always needed daddy and I for everything. Now she’s in her last days of pre-k and about to head off to the big kid world of being in kindergarten and our Aub is entering her last year of Elementary school. It’s sad enough that I blinked and our oldest is already turning eighteen. But these little ladies are right behind him. I hope my heart is ready for this! This house of ours may always be loud and chaotic, but I don’t think I will ever be ready for them to be grown and gone.
I literally have NOTHING to say about the latest round of nonsense. People can choose to believe what they will. The ones that matter know us well enough to know better or themselves have had run ins with the same person. We will continue to hold on to our faith, our family, our friends, and the rest means nothing to us. I meant what I said a week ago in this blog, and that’s as far as I will go into this mess. As my husband said “it is what it is”. We will consider the source and continue to do what is necessary to protect our family. So much so that I will never even bother reading the latest slander and only ask that no one relay said nonsense to me. I truly could care less. Life is far too precious to keep going backwards and we have a much brighter future ahead of us. And that is all of the time I will waste on this old beat down topic again.
Every night when we sit down for dinner Aub & Mad say grace together. When we all say Amen, Bitty usually doesn’t say a word but claps, which at two years old is nothing short of precious. Tonight was the night she got it. She happily screamed “AMEN!” over and over through prayer. And when our whole family said Amen, she was beyond ecstatic to be able to say it with us.
What an absolute blessing these four lil monsters are! We are firm believers that children learn by actions. And while we may not have it all figured out in our day to day life faith is something we always strive to instill in them. Our kiddos are full of daily funny and sweet quotes that I enjoy sharing on my blog or Facebook so we will always be able to remember and out of hopes of brightening another’s day. I plan on making each of them a book full of all of these precious moments. Hearing Bitty say Amen for her first time will forever be one of my favorites. Nothing sweeter than the innocence of a child that gets to grow into her faith along with her family.
-Bitty, 2 years old, May 2014