feeling all the feelings

I don’t know about you, but when I turned thirty it seemed like the very next day my body ached and I seemed more tired than usual. It could have been a hangover, but I think it was my body just being an asshole and reminding me that I was getting older. In that same sense, it’s hitting me really hard that Hayden is five. In just a few months, she’ll start school. Our day to day is going to drastically change and she’s going to be completely immersed in a world that doesn’t involve me. I’m silently freaking out. But I’ll get to that in a minute. First up, her birthday! We started the day with sunshine and dancing to her girl, T Swift.

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Dancing with these two is one of my very favorites. They both groove and shake it like nobody’s business and dance parties are the absolute BEST way to lift any mood. They happen often at our house.

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We did the finishing touches with her party decor and I got the food prepped while Reid napped. Tip of the day: using a small fitted sheet as a tablecloth was GOLD! I bought a cute one at a thrift store for a couple bucks. It stayed on the table for two days while the kids ate, and spilled, drank tea and juice and spilled some more. They colored and glued and brushed out the hair on her new dolls, and at the end of it all, I shook it out and threw it in the wash. Whether or not it got destroyed I would have only been out a couple bucks and didn’t ruin a nice tablecloth.

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Her friends showed up and we had tea and sandwiches. Cookies and cake. She had a blast pouring her friends tea, and all while they giggled and goofed and pretend played.

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She opened presents and was spoiled with clothes and puzzles and nail polish. Dolls and Shopkins. Play D’oh and singing cards. They got goodie bags filled with bubbles, and crayons. Magic wands and sticky frogs. Suckers and stickers. They chased each other around and did puzzles. Ate more snacks and took silly pictures.

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A few of the girls stayed for a sleepover and the night was filled with musical chairs, pizza, dress up, a Chipmunks movie, popcorn and candy and finally having friends to sleep in her teepee in the living room. I think I had just as much fun as she did.

Now moving on to all those feelings. Hayden has been asking for months about going to school. She was unable to attend preschool this year, it’s a long story, so that meant she wouldn’t get to enjoy the school life until Kindergarten. Enrolling her in preschool this year would have meant that we could get her adjusted to a school schedule slowly. Waking up, brushing teeth, eating breakfast and getting dressed. All in a timely manner. Learning to focus a little better in a group setting. Being respectful and listening to her teacher when tasks are being asked of her. Not interrupting 47 times during a book reading. Just a couple things we are working on at home that are going to come into play once she starts school. But what scares me the most is her innocence. She is perfectly naive. She’s not interested in boys or having tons of friends. She has her own sense of style and isn’t phased about looking like everyone else. She’s goofy and silly and completely oblivious to kids thinking she’s dorky. She laughs at her own jokes and likes to eat her food in really strange combos. Ex: a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and Doritos on top

I notice it more now that all her neighborhood friends have started school. They talk differently and are interested in things that I personally feel aren’t appropriate for their age. She’s clueless to the fact that she’s unique and different and as a mother I am overwhelmingly scared that her personality is going to get eaten up by school kids. We’ve done our best in the past five years to teach her to be kind and generous. To be honest and respectful. Without “throwing your kid in the deep”, how do you teach resilience? How do you find the balance of teaching them to have strength and courage while shielding their little minds from the unjust in the world? I’m dreading the days of her coming home in tears because she was made fun of or because someone doesn’t want to be her friend. That she can’t read as well as the other kids or she doesn’t run as fast. Things that might seem so small, but to a five year old are a big deal and can be hard to understand. If I don’t handle the tiny hardships right, I’m faced with the fear I’ll set her up for failure when she comes to head with something that’s genuinely difficult. There isn’t anything I can do besides letting her go and allowing her to face the world and figure out a path of her own. I have to have faith that we’ve raised her to have a good head on her shoulders and make good choices. Allow myself to let go of the reigns and remain in theĀ background to provide her with guidance, support and love when she needs it.

I can’t be there with her and her friends and tell them that they are saying things that are inappropriate. I can’t be there to comfort her when she gets her feelings hurt. I’m not going to be the one to calm her down when she doesn’t understand something and is disappointed and frustrated. I’m not there to remind her that we don’t lift up our dresses and show people our underwear because you didn’t have to wear leggings and your “legs are free today.” There were so many times I imagined when she would start school and I have would have all this free time again. Now all I want to do is spend all my time with her and keep her in a bubble with me to soak in everything that’s wonderful about her. The saying of , having a child is deciding to have your heart go walking around outside your body, has never felt more truer than now. This coming fall we will both be faced with a new challenge. Hayden will start a new chapter of growing up and I’ll be doing my best to not completely fall apart when she walks out that door. Some of you may read this and think I’m being dramatic and over reacting….. Andy. šŸ™‚ But I’m just a mama who wants her sweet little girl to stay just that. A sweet little girl.

On a brighter note, it’s beginning to look a lot like spring around here! The snow and ice are melting and in just two short weeks we will be on a plane heading to Idaho to spend a couple weeks with our family and friends. The sunshine and the longer days have us all excited and for now, that’s all that really matters.

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five is approaching

 

Hayden’s birthday is on Saturday, along with her party. In typical fashion, on top of party planning, I started fifteen more projects that I need done by Saturday as well. I’m not even completely sure how it happens. It’s like auto pilot and then I realize at some point that I’m in over my head.

In years past, we’ve done the family only party. The big party. The multiple parties. The parties where we go to a venue and have two hours to party, eat and open presents and rush to get out the door with ripped down decorations in our arms. This year she turns five, and I wanted something different. Her request was for a pool/pizza/tea party with her friends. So we compromised with a tea party at the house, Alice in Wonderland themed. Her and five of her favorite people friends are going to tea party it up, Mad Hatter style.

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This week has been filled with making signs, and giant poms. Tassel garlands and goodie bags. Photo booth props and table decor. Cookies and cakes baked to decorate tomorrow night.

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As said before, all this was being done along with swimming lessons, gym classes, working around Andy’s ever changing work schedule, a teething toddler, laundry, and attempts to keep the house somewhat clean. As if this wasn’t enough, I felt the need to paint a couple rooms too.

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Hayden’s room being one of them, so it needed to of course be done in time for the festivities. I didn’t want her friends to sleep over in a half finished bedroom. Who needs that kind of judgement?

For some of you, probably my husband included, all the blood, sweat and tears going into a five year old’s party is over the top. Unnecessary and silly. And a bit dramatic. But perhaps what gets overlooked, is the fact that this is one of the FUN parts of being a parent. My day to day consists of tantrums and bad attitudes. Countless loads of laundry and picking up the same toys fifteen times a day. Meals and snacks ALL DAY LONG. Wiping booty after booty. Trips to the bathroom are never in solitude and more often than not, once I get a meal it gets picked apart by the tiny people who at that very moment are STARVING.

When the time comes that I get to be creative and be something a little more than someone’s mom, I thrive. I get to be a party planner. Baker. Decorator. Chef. Event Coordinator. Hostess. Crafter. I may pile on the projects and take on more than I can chew, but the end result is always worth it. Some of my most vivid memories as a kid was my room. Every time a new Disney movie came out, I become obsessed. My mother would spend countless hours repainting my room. Hanging wallpaper. Buying new bedding and throwing me themed parties. The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Pocahontas and Beauty and The Beast to name a few. When I think about it now, it was so much work for her but I remember it made me so incredibly happy. It fed my imagination and I played for hours living in this magical world she had made possible. It all makes sense now.

We can spoil our children with the newest toys. Phones, and tablets and the latest games. With expensive clothing and the trendiest shoes. While all these things make them happy, I find it’s short lived. I want to show my children with a little paint and hard work, your room can be transformed into something special. With patience and effort, you can create magic with something as simple as paper and glue. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy party, or you can spend very little and use your imagination to turn your own living room into an entirely different world where you and your friends can be anything you want to be. All my energy and efforts and the curse words under my breath are so that when my daughter turns five she will have lasting memories where she dressed up like Alice and poured tea for her friends. Where she chased them around in a circle during musical chairs. Built secret hideouts. Where she watched movies and ate popcorn and got to giggle with her friends all through out the night when they slept over. I imagine she will get all sorts of exciting gifts from her friends, but I’m doing all this so that when she wakes up the next day, and hopefully the weeks to come, she will talk about her Alice birthday party. I do all this to create incredible memories, not only for her, but for me. Because to see this goofy happy face gives it all a beautiful purpose.

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a winter getaway

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Since Andy and I have been together we’ve made date nights a priority. Even something as simple as lunch and errands without the kids. Most are low key. Dinner and a movie. Cocktails with friends. But on occasion we make them special, and longer than a few hours. While taking another amazing tropical vacation was out of the picture, a staycation to a nearby resort was very doable.

Alyeska is only a couple hour drive from the house and GORGEOUS. The drive there is one of my very favorites and even though the weather was very much not in our favor, it’s still a very spectacular place to visit.Ā Ā DSC_1058DSC_1068

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The resort runs a special each winter for a “winter romance” package, if you book during the week. It includes an overnight stay, a bottle of champagne and chocolates, and 2 tram tickets to ride up to the top of the mountain. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it seemed like a perfect idea for us to get out of town without the kids.

We had enjoyed the beautiful drive down and checked in before we headed to Double Musky Inn. A restaurant that’s been on our bucket list for years now. It’s a quaint little spot in the woods that serves cajun cuisine and was SO worth the wait. It had all sorts of crazy fun decor, delicious drinks, great service and we ate way more than we needed to.DSC_1164DSC_1168

Our original plan was to have dinner and head back to the hotel and catch the shuttle to go out for drinks on the town. On our way to dinner it started raining pretty hard and was an icy slick disaster out. We had treats, champagne and a killer pool back at the hotel so a relaxing night in was a better choice. To me, it feels like staying in a castle. It’s filled with stone and the rooms are rustic. It’s just fancy enough that you feel classy, but still has a comfort and coziness like being at home.

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Ā It was relaxing and romantic and we chatted and laughed and ate our hearts content of chocolates and a brownie that was to die for!

Our morning plan ended up getting a makeover as well and the beautiful sunrise at the top of the tram didn’t happen because of weather. Murrrrr….

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It’s always a blast to ride in the tram though, and there is still plenty to see even when it’s snowing.

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A cup of coffee and some people watching at the top, we caught the tram back down for some last sight seeing before we hit the highway back home. Girdwood is small. No fast food or big grocery stores. The sidewalks are always filled with people walking to and from, regardless of weather. And most everything revolves around the mountain. Just driving around, taking it all in, makes it special every time we go.

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Our trip was short and sweet and had everything we needed to make it feel like a real getaway. I’m hoping next time it will have a little less snow, and a lot more beach. Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovers out there!