Twenty nine reflections


I subscribe to several blogs online.  Some are those of friends and family and some are those that I have never met, yet their writing and photos make me smile and give me a sense of happiness. They provide different views of family life, shed light on motherhood, and give a different perspective on obstacles we all as humans face.  Reading them allows an escape from any chaos, yet parallels a feeling of, “I am doing something right”.  It’s comforting.

Lately, the posts I’ve read all have a common thread—reflecting on this past year and the idea of going forward, looking ahead into what may present itself in 2012. One in particular caught my attention.  She spoke of her birthday always landing at the end of each year, allowing her to reflect on what she has learned and gaining a momentum to move forward. 

That said, my 30th birthday is in eleven  ten days.  Yes, THE dreaded 30 that I hate to even mention.  Truthfully I haven’t embraced the whole idea yet.  In past years, I’ve been excited of the upcoming festivities my birthday withholds. This one? ...not so much.  I don’t know why it bothers me so much.  Maybe its saying goodbye to those “20s”.  I’ve labeled the phrase “you are still so young” to only belong in that sacred decade. Knowing that security blanket of a phrase will be forever lost come next Tuesday is daunting.  But Tuesday will come and I will be forced to mark a different age category.  I knowingly must embrace it somehow.  And reading these posts on reflection gave me a momentum to embrace this new era in my life.   I quote Kelle Hampton, (her fantastic blog here) saying, “I've learned that every year brings more experiences, more layers, more character chiseling--a gradual metamorphosis into a better, brighter, wiser, more compassionate being. And that fact alone makes birthdays and new years thrilling. I whole-heartedly embrace Thirty-three  today.”  I second that—minus three.

So—I’ve decided to go full force into this newfound decade.  Happily.

It’s a tradition for her, and I am sure for many, to reflect on things she has learned within the past year. What better way to look ahead at a new decade then to reflect what I’ve learned?  I think I’ll borrow this annual notion and reflect some.

--With numbered days left in my 20s, I give tribute without delay.  Here are 29 things I’ve learned in 2011--

1.       I’ve learned a deeper definition of family.  Simple and strong as that.

2.       I am a morning person.  The notion of sleeping in until noon passed over a decade ago, but the idea that I enjoy waking up early is a new found one.  There is something about the warmth of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, the hum of the computer as I check emails, and a peace in knowing the men in my life are upstairs blissfully asleep.  Waking, only to learn I am the first up has become a pleasant invite to my days.

3.       I share the same pinky toes with my brother. Slightly stumpy.

4.       “mommy” is the best name--hands down.

5.       Laundry and emails can always wait—reading “Mr. Brown can moo, can you?” cannot.

6.       I become anxious quite quickly.  Not my best trait.

7.       The very reason I love peanut butter as much as I do—my mother ate a lot of it while pregnant with me. A validation long awaited.

8.       I underestimate my creativity.

9.       “I love you’s” will forever be in this family’s vocabulary.

10.   Party planning is my secret indulgence. I love a themed party. If a party is on the calendar, you can bet I am on the hunt for the perfect favor, topper, and recipe…even if it involves late nights, phone calls to the post office ensuring delivery, and hours of ‘pom pom’ assemblement. Yes—I am that gal. A slightly proud one at that.

11.   When I have an idea, I go with it.  My mind focuses on nothing else--tho a good trait to carry, I've learned it doesn't always deliver a perfect outcome. I am learning that my plans aren't always Gods plans and going  off course once in a while or slowing down isn't always a bad thing.

12.   My husband ceases to amaze me. His determination and drive has always inspired me, yet he continues to challenge himself. A trait many strive to carry-he humbly holds.

13.   My son has rhythm...I like to say he inherited  that from me. His best moves are usually seen on Sunday evenings. There's something about the football theme song(and maybe a little Faith Hill) that bring his spins and claps to new levels.

14.   Patrick has come to the conclusion, and I agree with him, that Lionel Richie is a modern troubadour. A song bird. :)

15.   Succumbing to comparisons always leads to worry. It also leads to a false definition of who I am as a mother.

16.   Iam slowly becoming a "yogi". The act of "being still" ironically is a work in progress.

17.   I have always been a woman of routine--recently, I have become more spontaneous. It's refreshing.

18.   There's something special about the things we learn from grandparents--as adults or as children.

19.   Most days--I'll choose comfort over casual. Proof? Aside from special events--Tell me the last time you saw me in shoes other than my black sweater "Bear Paws"?

20.   The award for "Best maker of airplane/trucks/train sounds" will forever be awarded to Dadda. Mommy just never makes the cut.

21.   Training always pays off.

22.   Traditions lie within that definition of family stated above. They hold strong.

23.   Naps (or lack thereof) can make or break a day.

24.   Couponing requires effort, time, and strategy. It's not difficult, but rather is practical and ethical. Most of all--it's rewarding.

25.   Getting coffee will forever be in my list of "to-dos". That’s just me.

26.   There's a difference between understanding and accepting.

27.   After 29 years, I still worry what others think of me.  Yet, the process of accepting those perceptions (both positive and negative) has become easier.

28.   Friendships grow deeper with time.  At times, true friends may know you better than yourself.

29.   I am blessed beyond measure.  I have none other to thank than my God above.

Happy New year and cheers to turning thirty. 


Hancock Christmas 2011


Snapshots of a Hancock Christmas...

Christmas pajamas and captured moments before Santa comes..
First moments of realization--
Traditional cinnamon roll breakfast--

Gifts ('cars') galore--

A BIKE (!!!!)

a perfect remembrance


Yesterday we celebrated Christmas with the McCarter family.  Several family members came together from afar to celebrate.  We ate a delicious dinner and all gathered in the downstairs room by the tree to open gifts.  My memories of Christmas will always hold dear to my heart.  And being in the midst of it all yesterday brought back memories of my childhood and all the joy and wonderment I held at Christmas--The tree all lit up, the chaos of opening presents, the warmth, the smell, the decorations. This year held all of that.  It was perfect. 

McCarter Family Christmas 2011

The remembrance of Christmas I carry is exactly what my mother wanted for her grandchildren this year. For a moment, just a small moment, I sat from across the room and watched my mother. She grinned as she witnessed all the wonderment of Christmas in her house.  I knew she was content.  In that split of a moment I captured, I knew she had received that perfect gift she worked so hard to receive.   She witnessed grandchildren in awe of Christmas.  The soft glow of colored Christmas lights on the tree, the joy of opening yet another gift from grandma and grandpa, eagerness as children opened their stockings, "mmmms" from the taste of grandma's frosted sugar cookie--it was all there. She witnessed  the sharing of toys with cousins, the twirls of her granddaughter's new Christmas skirt, the giggles, excitement, and an abundance of  "Thank You"s.  It was all accounted for.   

Merry Christmas, Mom.  You've given us a gift in itself this year--a perfect remembrance of Christmas.

ONE year photos


A little late.  Okay--more like 8 months late--but here are photos that were taken on Jonah's first birthday.  


Santa 2011


Jonah loved Santa and actually told him he wanted a bike for Christmas.  It was fun seeing him interact with Santa. Here are a few snapshots of this eventful occasion--