Dealing with Disappointment as a Parent

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I really had high hopes for Valentine’s Day this year. It’s the first time I remember ever being excited at all about it, really. I had big plans to take David and Libbie to Atlanta to visit Kayla with Tiffany. Then I had planned and shopped for a delicious meal of Shrimp Scampi Bake with broccoli and Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Lasagna for dessert. Libbie LOVES shrimp and strawberries, so I thought she would be thrilled with this menu. On top of that, she had her class Valentine’s party scheduled for school Thursday.

The snow was the first factor in what became a very disappointing day. Libbie’s preschool (and Mr. V’s school and the public schools …) were canceled all this week except Monday, despite the fact that there was not a flake of snow that we could see on Tuesday. So my girl missed out on a week of what I’m sure would be fun, heart-shaped activities, culminating in a sugar-laden class party.

Then sickness hit. Joshua spent Thursday miserable, sobbing with red eyes, green stuff pouring out of his nose. The school nurse practitioner diagnosed him Thursday night with infections in both ears. Libbie complained for days of a sore throat and had a slight cough. She spent all of Valentine’s Day laying on the couch, watching these Valentine’s TV episodes and being pathetic. Her temperature was over 101 tonight, and she went to bed at 6:30.

Still, before I knew the extent of Libbie’s sickness, I was sure it would be a great day. I got up early to print off that Valentine’s banner and coloring sheets for the kids. I made Libbie’s request of heart-shaped chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast (to which I got a “finally!” when I handed her the plate). (She was reprimanded, of course, and then barely ate anything.) I made the dinner and we all sat at the table. Except Joshua cried, David said he doesn’t like that, and Libbie’s didn’t eat a bite and complained of her legs aching.

Finally, we took Libbie’s temperature and put her straight to bed. We cuddled the baby and tried to get him to drink water. David put every sticker from a new booklet of Hot Wheels ones from his Aunt Ashley on the backs of the sticker pages and the covers. And I am not exaggerating when I say I had a very hard time holding it together as I stared into space and listened to The Beatles.

There’s nothing I could have done to prevent snow or sickness. But hearing my daughter cry, “This is the worst Valentine’s Day ever!” broke my mama heart. I reassured her she would still have her school party Tuesday.

For my own sake, though, I’m trying to gather up the few redeemable things about the day and hold them in my hands. Libbie and David loved their gifts of books – Libbie got Tallulah’s Solo and Tallulah’s Nutcracker and was THRILLED that they were not library books and she could keep them; David got Mo Willems’ I Broke My Trunk, because it’s a silly book, and he is all about the silly lately. (I am still waiting to get Tallulah’s Tutu and Go Away, Big Green Monster!) They also loved the package in the mail from Nana and Popi.

Mr. V and I bought each other a new game to play on the iPad for Valentine’s, and we played it several times and enjoyed each other’s company tonight. He was happy because he spent time with each of the kids today.

I enjoyed running to Wal-Mart with my sister, talking about her fiance and upcoming marriage and our Valentine’s menus. It’s a blessing to have her so close here!! And she gave Joshua a bath to try to quell his fever while I made dessert for her and her fiance for tonight.

I was and am still disappointed on how today panned out. But grasping on to the good is a gift from God. As is the fact that His mercies are new every morning. We can celebrate love any day of the week.


All We Have

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Mr. V and I will have been married 9 years tomorrow. And this is all we have to show for it:

10C 30C 46C 53C 58C 64C 70C 87C

Three gorgeous children. Five homes. One foreclosure. Seven jobs. One degree. Thousands of meals. Over a million minutes. Dreams fulfilled.

I mean it when I say I am privileged to spend this life with my best friend, the goofiest, smartest, calmest man I know. Seeing him as a daddy has only multiplied my love each time.

Through the good and the bad, he has held me and helped me hang on to my sanity.

Love you, Mr. V.

Nine years. When did we get old??


Vacation and a Wedding

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Despite the crazy circumstances leading up to our vacation/wedding trip to the Outer Banks, I think I can file it away in my memory as pretty fabulous.

I got to see my little ones see the ocean for the first time, to dip their toes in the water and dig up sand with their hands and shovels. Libbie got great kicks out of waiting by the water until the wave rolled in and then scurrying away from it up the beach. Her leg muscles are obviously in much better shape than mine!

I always enjoy seeing my parents and my sister love on the kiddos. The kids love it, too! They adore Nana, Poppy, and “Ashy-Roo.”

I was amazed at how much Libbie loved exploring the historical Roanoke Island site we went to. I wasn’t sure I would be able to drag her off the ship!

And to top it off, I got to be in the wedding of my very best friend, my soul sister, and get reacquainted with friends from college. We’ve vowed to not let it be so long between visits the next time!

Somehow, I have no pictures of me in my bridesmaid’s dress! I thought it was quite pretty and I loved my hair and make-up.

This week we’ve been in recovery mode, I think, from all the travel and moving. I am flat-out exhausted. As soon as I pull this apartment into shape, though, I’ll share pictures – especially of Libbie’s precious pink butterfly room.

When You Can’t Bring Yourself to Throw Away a Scrap of Paper

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source: awhiskandaspoon

We’re in the midst of moving once again, and in the repacking I just found a tub of miscellani that definitely had not been unpacked since we moved from Nashville, two and a half years ago.

Which of course begs the question: when is it time to let go?

It was mostly framed pictures, a few from our wedding and a few of friends not spoken to for years. Falling-apart frames and ones with itty-bitty pictures glued around the outside. Frames proclaiming the year 2004 and “i do!”

No longer newlyweds – our 8-year anniversary is in July – is it time to let these things pass on to younger thrift-store shoppers? I removed some of the pictures from frames, tucking them into albums, posting them to Facebook for a smile.

Some photos caused me to pause, like the one of my best friend’s mother dancing with exhilaration at my wedding. My friend is marrying in July – I am in her wedding as she was in mine – and her mom won’t be there. She succumbed to ovarian cancer three years ago.

And that thought makes me cling to the pieces of the box, wondering if there will come a time when I wish I hadn’t thrown away the slip of paper with a Chinese take-out order on it in my own mother’s handwriting. What if I need that piece of her? What if I bemoan the loss of a vanilla candle, a stuffed toy, a piece of newspaper in the coming months?

Why is it so difficult to part with “stuff”?

I so long for simplicity and vapidly declare my intention to weed out half of our belongings during this across-campus move. In my head, I believe it. But tugs of my heart won’t let me toss the loopy cursive of my mommy in the trash can.

Gluten-Free Snack Night

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Oh, snack night. You are so good. You fueled my love for dips and appetizers and caused me to eat many a mozzarella stick or jalapeno popper.

Since I was a little girl, my family would occasionally break all the rules and have snack night. It was a must for New Year’s Eve, but any night could become a special occasion with plates of appetizers and a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Last week I was in Pennsylvania with my parents, my sister, and my kids. It’s kind of strange being without my husband. I feel that I revert to some former, surly, teenaged version of myself, despite the fact that I have two small children. I guess it’s just playing the roles that we had until the time when I left home.

Anyway, we decided to have a snack night Friday—with the only update being that my sister has been eating gluten-free since January. I’m proud of her for keeping it up; she really feels much better. And since we try to support her and not “lead her to temptation,” we made a completely gluten-free snack night.

So while I am not a gluten-free girl, I know many people who are and I wanted to share the fantastic snacks we had. Maybe you can use them for a snack night of your own!

Chive and Onion Deviled Eggs

Sausage Cheese Balls

Potato Skins [We used bacon instead of chorizo and regular baking potatoes]

Mexican Corn Dip