Celebrating the important holidays


Yesterday was a big day.

In case you didn't know, it marked its 68th year.

Around here, this holiday is probably second only to Christmas for one of my children.

Still clueless?

Then you must be new around here.

You see, every year, on June 6th, we celebrate the allied invasion at Normandy during World War II. Otherwise known as D-Day. Or Operation Neptune. Or Operation Overlord.

I know all these things, you see, because he tells me.  Every year.

Whatever you call the day, it's a big deal in the heart of my boy.

First thing out of bed, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, his face is in mine, as he wishes me a Happy D-Day. He then proceeds to follow me around the house, sharing time lines and details from that morning long ago. He doesn't just find it interesting; he breathes it in his soul. His passion spills over to the rest of us, and we can't help but get caught up in it, too.

(Though, for his brother and sister, I suspect a lot of the enthusiasm comes from the annual cake that Chase makes to celebrate.)

This year, it was a tank, made up and created entirely by Chase.


So, fallen brothers at Normandy, let your souls be at peace. All the way across the pond, in a little suburb of St. Louis, a 12-year-old boy remembers your sacrifice.

And makes sure that none of us forget it either.


I think it's pretty freaking awesome.

Just when you think there's nothing to post about...

Last Friday, the Husband lost his iPad.

He left it on a Delta Airlines flight to who knows where.

Yes. The brand new iPad that I surprised him with on Christmas morning.

The iPad that I so sneakily hoarded funds in order to keep a surprise from him, rather than just plunking down the American Express.

And, due to my incredibly sneaky hoarding of funds, when its loss came to our life, there was no American Express to step up and replace it.

I asked. But, strangely, they weren't interested in replacing an iPad that they didn't help us purchase.


We both have been in mourning about it for several days now. [I mean, thank heavens our diamond shoes are still safe. At least THAT gives us some consolation in our bleak, bleak trials of life.]

Well, yesterday afternoon, the Husband received a call from Delta that we never thought would come.

The iPad? Not lost! Turned in by some good samaritan and on its way to St. Louis. It's traveled to a few cities and seen the sights, but it will be in our hot little hands come Wednesday.

I know it's trivial, and I know it's just a thing, but it makes me oh, so happy.

There really ARE some decent people left in the world.

And wherever they are, whatever they are doing, I hope life sends lots of good things their way.

The extraordinary ordinary

The house is quiet but for the sound of pages turning, novels held in the hands of my boys. Their tired lids fight to finish just one more chapter before sleep washes over them. I look up periodically as one of them pads down the hall to share a funny part with me. I smile, taking in their broad shoulders and long limbs. These boys that are turning into men right under my nose. And me, powerless to stop them.

Hannah has finally succumbed to sleep, and tonight that is no small victory. Her repeated pleas to sleep by my side were rejected, one after the other, each more creative in its attempt to persuade. Were it not for the cold I am fighting, I would have given in. Her snuggles keep me company most nights in my life as a travel widow. In spite of her flailing limbs and all-night-thrashing, her presence is comforting in a quiet bed. But tonight, I need rest above all else. The calendar this week is dotted with line after line of tasks and activities, all of which will require my best self.

The phone rings, and a familiar voice closes the gap of miles that lie between us. I share every moment, even the ones mundane. He laughs at our idiosyncrasies, the ones he knows so well. He vents a little of his own day, and my heart aches for him and the stress of his life. We say goodnight, and I offer a prayer of gratitude for the good man that he is. For his capacity to love that is seemingly endless.

I weigh the choices before me and pick up a book instead of a remote. I relish the extraordinary ordinary that is my life. I snuggle under a blanket and close another day. I am grateful and humbled by the peace I feel deep in my soul.

Life is extraordinarily good.

It'll be okay. Don't worry.


A few years ago, when I first heard Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, I was moved to tears. Partly for the tragic horror it would be to face mortality and its consequences as a parent, but partly also for the magnificence of Randy Pausch's mother in letting him draw all over his bedroom walls.

Pausch says:
"When I was in high school, I decided to paint my bedroom. I always wanted a submarine and an elevator. And the great thing about this is they let me do it, and they didn’t get upset about it. And it’s still there. If you go to my parent’s house, it’s still there. And anybody who is out there who is a parent, if your kids want to paint their bedroom, as a favor to me, let them do it. It’ll be OK. Don’t worry..."
That quote has come to my mind many times. When my kids have asked to hang a particularly ugly poster on the wall in their bedroom or begged to paint their room a hideous color. Without fail, each and every time, I've said no. And patted myself on the back for not letting them make decisions I was confident they'd regret later.

Deep down inside, it's haunted me.

So this weekend, when I announced that I would be painting their walls as part the The Remodel, I was fully prepared to say no when they asked to help.

But I thought of Pausch, his mother, and I somehow found myself saying yes instead.


In the beginning, it was all I could do to not take over the job myself. Every fiber of my being cried out against this loss of control. When I stepped in large gobs of paint spilled on the floor. When I caught their paint drips racing down baseboards, and discovered I had caught them too late.

Most especially when one of them fell off a five-foot ladder, landing in a painful heap on the hard floor.

But once I'd made peace with the inevitable paint smeared on the ceiling, the paint dripping down the closet corners, and the extra hours it took for all of this, I noticed something.

I noticed the eagerness in their eyes as they talked about where they'd place the furniture in their new rooms. I noticed their smiles and laughter, as they sang along to the music. I noticed the teamwork as they helped each other navigate tricky angles. I noticed the ownership and pride on their faces at being given the responsibility of such a grown up task. I noticed us working, side-by-side, as our happy chatter passed the time.

And I noticed something I had missed all along: It's really not such a bad thing to let your kids paint on the walls after all.

And it'll always be okay.

Because the things that matter are not drips in the corner or smudges on the ceiling.

The things that matter are the three wonderfully perfect little people who put them there.

My lucky day

A few weeks ago, I went on a little trip across the pond.

Or did I mention it? My trip? Yes?

All right then. Shut up.

While there (and properly following the instructions on my electricity converter, mind you) a slight mishap occurred that involved me and a Chi flat iron.

It broke my heart. (But mostly because it meant I had to walk around London and Paris with bad hair. And how would Darcy, Prince Harry, or Daniel Craig ever be able to fall in love with me?)

Because smooth, straight hair? Slightly important. Unless the Diana Ross ever comes back in style. Then I'm all set.

ANYway, the point of this rambling post is that I had to buy another one. So, first day off the plane, I stampeded my big-haired self into my local Ulta. Hannah came with me because, hello, she's female, and that store is like a magnet for us X chromosomers.

While in the checkout line, the clerk asked if I would like to donate a dollar to breast cancer research.

This happened at the exact moment that Hannah began tugging on my sleeve and whispering asking in a loud voice whether I thought the clerk was a boy or a girl.

The clerk, who was very obviously a boy, was wearing more make up than Cher on her best day in Las Vegas.

In a cheery attempt to distract Hannah and keep the He/She busy, I said that, sure, I'd love to donate to breast cancer. Oh, and what is that lovely thing over there?

I have no doubt that the He/She heard Hannah, and I got out of there as fast as I could.

Fast forward to today. I get a call from Ulta saying that I had won the breast cancer giveaway, which was $600 in free beauty products, and would I mind coming in to pick them up?

Would I mind driving five minutes down the road to claim my free stuff? Heck, I'd have crawled there in my underwear while wearing a crown of mayonnaise on my head. I love that store and spend a fortune on anything promising to make me look 12 again. Now you want to give me a whole bag of it FOR FREE?

Internet, I give you the booty, bounty, and beautiful pile of free stuff from the tragically gorgeous He/She at Ulta:


Shampoos, lip glosses, a blow drier, a curling rod, face creams, hair spray, nail polish, perfume...you name it, I've got it.

Even three pairs of fabulously pink reading glasses.

I'm thinking today HAS to be my day to play the lottery.

Either that, or I should just put everything on my face at once, head over to Ulta, and take a photo with the He/She.

(I'll bet he'd (she'd?) still look better than me. Seriously. Boyfriend rocked the make-up.)

Je voudrais chocolat viennois...

Internets, I would like you to meet one of my favorite things about Paris:


Chocolat viennois. My sole source of caffeine after my one and only attempt at drinking coca cola light, a.k.a, the horrible French version of diet coke. It was disgusting and not worth drinking. So, tragically, I was forced to move on to bigger and better things.

I had so many of them that it's no wonder the jeans are fitting a whole lot tighter this week. Yikes.

C'est la vie, right?

Other highlights from the trip included:











* The Eiffel Tower both by day and by night. We stayed about a block from the famous landmark and crossed under her massive steel girth many times. She is as magnificent as she looks in the movies. My favorite view was after dark when she had her lights all turned on.

* Unexpectedly catching mass at Notre Dame. Completely amazing in spite of not understanding a word they said. And the cathedral? UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE. So beautiful. So amazing. How did they build such massive perfection without the use of modern tools? Geniuses.

* Walking along the Seine and stopping at little shops.

* The Lock Bridge - you write your name and your lover's name, lock it up on the bridge, and supposedly your love is sealed forever. I was not necessarily excited to pay 15 Euros for a lock, so my love with the Husband remains unsealed. Here's hoping we survive.

* The Louvre. Absolutely fantastic, but way too crowded. My favorite part was eating at Cafe Richlieu which served food from the Angelina's menu. Divine. Especially the dessert.

* Also? Napoleon's dining room is a wee bit fancier than my own. But only slightly. I clearly need to get my gold on.

* Fat Tire Bike Tour through Paris. Amazeballs. Do it if you're ever in a city where they are. Worth. every. penny. Biking on cobblestone streets through the heart of Paris? Nothing like it anywhere else except, well, Paris.

* Fat Tire Bike Tour to Versailles. Slightly scary to put a bike on the subway with 20 other people and their bikes, but so fun. Gorgeous, surreal, and impossibly gaudy. So picturesque to ride around the grounds at Versailles. And definitely a cultural experience to order food at a French farmer's market, as well. Hmm. A food reference again? Are we detecting a theme here?

All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime. I never got tired of Annie, looking at the fabulous architecture, eating all the rich foods, and pretending to understand the language. It was JUST like they tell you it's going to be. It was everything they say and more.

It was magic.