Guest Post #3: Dear My Younger Self

This week continues with a post from my mom. Among all the things that make her wonderful, one of them is that she’s a very good writer, so I was excited she wanted to play along this week. Her intro is self explanatory.

My beautiful daughter, Diana, told me she thought it would be cool if I wrote a letter to my 30-year-old self…like advice to myself back then given what you know now. Whew, that was a big order because I started to get confused about me then, me now, and who was to advise who.  So after some thought, I, as my daughter always says, “figured it out” and here is my letter from Loretta61 to Loretta30:

Dear Loretta30:

After traveling around the block a few times, I think I have, somewhat, figured out how to connect the dots of life to draw my picture.   However, it’s important you feel free to connect your own dots to draw your own picture.

  • Dot 1.  Brevity is refreshing – basically get to the point and don’t drag things out.
  • Dot 2.  Be a good listener, which takes some practice.
  • Dot 3.  Work hard and surround yourself with loving family and good friends.
  • Dot 4.  Don’t be afraid to move out of circles that don’t feel right.
  • Dot 5.  When you have your children, just enjoy them, because all you have to do is BLINK, and they are all grown up. You can buy them all the educational toys in the world, and provide fancy vacations, but what they will remember is the time you spent with them, making their lunches, taking them to the park, kissing them goodnight, and telling them they are LOVED.
  • Dot 6.  Marry someone who makes you laugh and most of all, makes you HAPPY.
  • Dot 7.  Avoid the narcissist type personalities, or as I call those personalities, “All About Me”.  They can become a real drag and there is no way you can ever please them.
  • Dot 8.  At some point in your life you will experience true heartache.  When I was your age, I experienced a loss that was out of my control and the loss just ripped through my heart.  If you find yourself in this situation, reach deep into your soul to find the grace you need to ride it out, and stay close to those who understand.
  • Dot 9.  Love your parents and always be there for them because they love you and will always be there for you.   Keep the word “Giving” in your vocabulary, and a sense of accomplishment will always be yours.
  • Dot 10.  Live life to your BEST, and you will never need to apologize

Now, Loretta30, you connect your dots, and form your picture of life.  And while you are forming your picture remember to enjoy each moment and SMILE!!!

Love,

Loretta61

Thank you, Mom, for such a lovely reflection. I’m sure there are a few dots everyone can relate to. I love the message about forming our own picture, because regardless of the advice people want to bestow upon us I think it’s important that somehow we ultimately figure it out for ourselves and connect the dots that make the most sense in our one wild and crazy life. And as we’re all trying to find the balance, and forge a path, I think Dot 10 could compete to be the new Golden Rule. 

Project 52: Mothers

This week’s theme is “Mothers” and I couldn’t help but use this photo I took of my own Mom last Sunday on Mother’s Day. She was acting goofy for this picture, but I just love how happy and vibrant she looks. And if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, then you know we celebrated my Mom’s 60th birthday a little while back, so can I just say that this lady gives true meaning to the phrase, “Age is just a number.” Or maybe it’s “You’re only as old as you act.”

I think both work ;).

If you’ve been following the news lately, then you’ve probably seen the controversy around Time Magazine’s Cover and “Are you Mom Enough?” headline. While I have 0% first hand knowledge of what it’s like to be a mom, I feel I’m more attuned with the demands of parenting now that I’m watching my friends journey into motherhood, and I have several colleagues who are hard working moms. What I find hard to understand is how “judgy” people tend to be about motherhood and parenting in general.

I have no idea what ‘method’ of parenting my mom used, but I’d put money on the fact it wasn’t anything with a fancy study behind it or some random researchers name attached to it. I have no idea how long I was breastfed. Come to think of it, I don’t even know if I was (but judging from my cheeks, the answer’s probably yes). And I’m sure 28 years ago there were far less fancy gadgets/items/videos/etc to sooth, swaddle, engage, and turn baby into Einstein.

What I do remember is that we were loved. Like, big time picnics-in-the-living-room, bedtime-stories, trips-to-the-zoo, constant-hugs-and-kisses kind of loved. And whether that love comes from a Mom, a Dad, a step-parent, a grandparent or WHOEVER, in my humble opinion I believe that’s the key to it all.

Less worry, less judging and more love.

I think we can all agree the world needs more of it.

P52 with Kent Weakley

Ode to Mom

When it comes to celebrating moms, I don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘a day late’. Moms should be celebrated every day. I might not have always realized that when I was little, but the older I get, the more responsibilities I have and the more I understand the dynamics of creating a family, the more I am in awe of my mother.

You rock, Mom.

Your beautiful spirit, silly ways and loving personality make me proud to belong to you.

Thank you for all the sacrifices you made to raise three, if I do say so myself, great kids. You are the glue that holds it all together and you should know that not only on Mother’s Day, but every day.

We love you, Zeets!!!

To all the moms, mom-in-laws, new moms, soon-to-be-moms and step-moms, I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day too. You make the world go round.

Scenes from a Saturday: Bayside

As the ancient proverb states, “When in doubt, call your mom.” Ok, you caught me, not an ancient proverb, but definitely a phrase that’s worth putting on a bumper sticker. I had to get my car’s emissions inspected this morning and after I passed the test with flying colors, I realized I had no real plans for the rest of the day and no real desire to head home. So I called my mom, and made a hard left in the direction of the Bay.

On the way there, I did something I haven’t been able to do for the past several years. I turned into our old neighborhood and drove past our old house. It was weird. A little emotional. But I’m glad I did it. Hey NYCathy, I know you recognize this…

More from this beautiful Maryland day…

Found the most perfect housewarming gift for a certain someone at this cute consignment shop. You’ll have to wait and see though!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Bay Day…And a Dress

After a very busy 4th of July holiday weekend, I tried to return to the idea of Planning Nothing this weekend since “open” weekends are about to get far and few between. Long story short, I decided Friday night to head down to my mom’s Saturday and, by something not short of a miracle, the fabulous Pam101 was available to come along too! Last time Pam101 ventured into Maryland it took months to get the date on the calendar. Maybe there’s something to this Planning Nothing thing. Or maybe it was the fact that I mentioned the words “Wedding Dress.” More on that in a minute.

The weather was beautiful today which meant putting the top down on Sally and enjoying the pretty country roads of Maryland on our way to Mama’s house. And then of course we took a walk by the water (after a bottle of wine and some crab dip), and had some fun playing on the rocks.

That’s Mama modeling for the next issue of Coastal Living magazine.

OK, but onto the dress. On a bit of a whim, I ordered a wedding dress from J.Crew a few weeks ago and needed some trusted opinions on it. The dress is a classically simple J.Crew dress, which I love because it leaves the door wide open for some great statement jewlery (like this piece, which I still can’t get out of my head). With my two stylists on hand, I tried on the dress and we had our very own little Say Yes to the Dress experience in my mom’s bedroom…

Having fun with some of my grandmother’s old costume jewlery…

I haven’t actually said YES to the dress yet, and do have about a month to return the sucker, but it was fun to get some input and see how the dress photographs without any annoying sales people rushing me along. Here’s a riddle for you — What has two-thumbs and loves the thought that her potential wedding dress arrived at her front door in a small cardboard box?

This girl!!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

A Perfect Mother’s Day

First off, could the weather have been more perfect today? It was a fabulous day to celebrate moms and family, and celebrate we did. Oh, and I must say that I tried very hard to whip out my inner-hostess-with-the-mostess, and think I did so rather successfully…

And while weather, pretty decorations and good food are all wonderful things, days like today really boil down to the people you’re with…

Mom and her brood (plus my fur-children)

Sandi (FMIL) and her pride & joy

Sarah and her little wild-child 🙂

Crazy #1 and Crazy #2 - PS, Joey is behind the camera holding a treat, which explains the look of longing in the pups' eyes

Uncle Jimmy 🙂

Bubbles make everything better

Ode to Mom

Mommy & Me

Happy Mother’s Day to every single Mama out there — fyi, four-legged and furry children definitely qualify you. A mom’s job is never done – I feel like I need my mom just as much today as I did 15 years ago. While I may no longer need a ride to dance class, lacrosse practice, or the movies on a Friday night, I certainly still look to my mom every day for support, guidance, advice or just a laugh. And my mom is very good at making me laugh with her funny stories (you should hear the one about how she just won a $100 gift card ‘for her brain’ not ‘by luck’…it’s a good one :)).

The message is plain and simple, Mom – I love you.

My Mom Mom, whose beautiful spirit will be with me always

Mama Bear and her three cubs

Happy Mother's Day Mama!

Mother’s Day Luncheon

First, apologies for the lack of blogging lately! I have so many thoughts running through my head, but haven’t found the time to push the keys and get it all out. I O U.

Lets talk about this upcoming weekend though – psssttt…it’s Mother’s Day! I’m so excited that I’ll be having my mom and my FMIL over for a little Mom’s Day celebration. And in the spirit of trying harder not to suck at being an adult, I’ve decided I want to throw a proper little luncheon. Enter some inspiration from The Finer Things:

I really  love the yellow and green color palate, not to mention the idea of Limoncello Cream Cupcakes! (You can find the recipe here) I have some shopping to do, and a whollllllle lotta cleaning! But I think we can all agree that if there is ever a person who is deserving of ‘the extra mile’ it’s Mom.

Stay tuned for how thing whole shindig turns out 🙂

Down By the Bay

Does that title not instantly start a Raffi soundtrack in your head? No? Just me. Ah well. Childhood rocked.

Anyhow, wanted to share some photos I took while down at my mom’s place last weekend. We made a point to check out the neighborhood community center, ya know, just in case there was a reason to throw a theoretical kick-bootie party there sometime, say, Springish of, I don’t know, 2012 maybe.

Front Porch - I ❤ Adirondack Chairs

Those BEAMS! In theory, how amazing would they be drapped with twinkle lights 🙂

Beautiful Panoramic View of the Bay

"The Point" - Theoretical cocktail hour anyone?

View from the Point looking back at the Community Center

Thanks for the tour Mama – ideas are fun 😉 Now, about the making decisions part…

There are Spa Girls, and Then There’s Us…

Yesterday afternoon my mom and I met for a little post-holiday pampering (read as, time to use those holiday gift cards!!). I’ve always said if I had infinite funds I’d love to be one of those ‘spa girls’ who bi-weekly treats herself to a massage/facial/mani/pedi etc…but now I’m not so sure. I’ve decided those spa girls take their relaxation a little toooo seriously for me. Here’s how it all went down.

The Meet Up

Me: Hey Mom! Are you excited about our spa day?

Mom: Yeaaaah, it’ll be fun.

Me: It will be!….but…it’s kind of weird too, right?…Like being in a dimly lit room with a perfect stranger’s hands all over you???

Mom: I know! Do you know how long it took me to get ready for this appointment? I had to shave and give myself a pedicure!

Me: O my gosh, me too!! I exfoliated and lotioned up all morning! It was very stressful…

Check In

At this point we’re put into this “quiet” holding area to fill out forms with all sorts of strange questions. I felt like we were in middle school cheating on a test.

Me: Psssttt…What are you putting for how much water you drink?

Mom: Psssst….I don’t know, what are you putting for where you hold the most stress??

Me: I don’t know! What are you putting for places your don’t want massaged???

So we do the best we can to fill out the form, and grab some mints from the candy dish.

The Locker Room

Time to get our robes and sandals! We go into the locker room and get a quick tutorial of where everything is, “Here’s the steam room, here’s the showers, here’s where you can grab an extra towel…” We change into our spa finest and check out the place.

Me: Oooo, cool cucumber and lavender infused wash cloths. (I pull one out of the iced bowl)

Mom: Oooo, how nice. (She pulls one too. We both look at the wash cloths and then at each other)

At the same time: What do you do with it? (laughter)

We decided to just wash our hands since we didn’t want to take off our makeup. Works for us! Then, as I realize the locker room is empty, I decided to grab my camera!!!

Now, I swear we are not the Clampetts and that we do get out often, but you wouldn’t have known it as we played with the cucumber slices and took pictures of ourselves in the mirror. Ala these and the one above:

Tranquility Room

Ok, this is the part where I almost lost it. I don’t do well in places where there’s no talking allowed! We walk into the tranquility room – picture dimly lit, nature music playing, candles flickering, an assortment of herbal teas and flavored water…O, and women in robes lying around on comfy lounges.

Things started out well. We walked in like tranquility room pros, grabbed some cucumber water and made ourselves comfortable. But I couldn’t find my place of zen because all I was thinking about was how bizarre this was. A room full of strangers all trying to get their relaxation on. And then a door will open, and someone’s name gets called, and you leave the tranquility room. It was all very “A Brave New World” to me. And when I looked at my mom, I could tell she was having a hard time relaxing too because she was checking out the wallpaper, the floor boards, the textiles etc… – apparently mentally preparing to design a tranquility room of her own.

Then my mom gets up to go back into the locker room, and the second she leaves, “the door” opens and in walks….A MAN! It caught me off guard because I wasn’t thinking this tranquility room was co-ed! And then, of course, he decides to plop his big butt into the space formerly occupied by my mother. When my mom walked back in she realized her seat had been usurped and quickly took a seat across the room from me.

At this point, I could feel the giggles coming on. This whole thing was just TOO bizarre. And when I looked up at my mom, our eyes met, and I lost it. I had to look down and cover my mouth because I had spun into one of those uncontrollable fits of laughter. I held my breath to keep the sounds from escaping but it took me a good minute or two to compose myself.

I wonder if anyone has ever had to be removed from the tranquility room?

Massage Time Baby

Finally! My name is called!

Masseuse: Diana…. Diana…

I get up and walk out the door

Masseuse: Hi, I’m Gloria.

Me: Hi,  Diana…o…wait, you know that. (Doh, I’m such a dork.)

I follow her down the hall and we get this show on the road.

Masseuse: So where do you hold your tension.

Me: (I’m face down on the table at this point so in essence talking to the floor) Umm…  I don’t really know. (Isn’t that your job to figure out, lady?)

Masseuse: Is this as relaxed as you can get?

Me: Ummm…I…guess…so (What the heck kind of question is that? Guess I should have taken the tranquility room a little more seriously.)

Masseuse: You just seem a little uptight.

Me: Ohhh, ok. (O, ok, so call me uptight and that’s supposed to make me relax?)

The End

Fast forward 60 minutes later and the massage is over. My mom and I meet up in the tranquility room, enjoy a little more cucumber water and then we’re on our way! Outside of the spa:

Mom: Did your person massage your head??

Me: A little. Not much.

Mom: I told my person not too because I didn’t want my hair to be greasy.

Me: Did your person massage your butt???

Mom: MY BUTT?! No!! Did yours?!

Me: YES!!!

We fall into a fit of laughter!!!

I guess when the initial form said “Is there anywhere you don’t want massaged” I should have thought a little harder about it 😉