Father’s Day Adventures

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Yeah, it’s been a while. I know. I’ll explain that later, but today it’s Father’s Day. Dad’s, thank you. Thank you for setting a good example, being brave and strong, killing bugs, teaching how to dream, encouraging, supporting, loving, raising, disciplining, playing and being a little crazy with us. I hope you all got some extra love today.

We celebrated Dad’s day today with a little adventure, because that’s really the only way to do it for Luna’s Dad. First stop. The Treetop Adventure ropes course at Nashville Shores! While everyone else did ziplines, Tarzan swings, cargo nets and obstacles, Luna and I headed to the water park for some Mommy Toddler time. They climbed, sweated, swung and crawled while we splashed, sunbathes, snacked and swam. Not bad. (Although, I should add that spending the day with a baby by yourself at a waterpark can be a little challenging.)

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The swings were by far her favorite thing in the whole water park.
The swings were by far her favorite thing in the whole water park.

After wearing ourselves out in the the very hot sun, we had a late lunch with friends at Panera and THEN a movie date with more friends and dads to see Inside Out!

woohoo! movie time!
woohoo! movie time!

So good, so emotional, so sweet and funny and so Pixar. I’m always in my head anyways, now I feel like I know my head slightly better, or at least have characters to refer to now. Peter and I both cried…which maybe had a little to do with the fact that we have a little girl of our own. That, and we are both saps.

The night ended with sugary bowls of cereal in bed, topped with video games and trash TV. Honestly, it was such a good day, it may as well have been Mother’s Day. The only thing that would have been better was getting to spend it with my own Dad. Thankfully, we at least got to video chat. Love you and miss you Daddy!

Me and my Daddy... a few years ago.
Me and my Daddy… a few years ago.

Happy Father’s Day!

Cheers!

Do Me A Favor?

Today, I have a favor to ask of each of you. Today, my Dad (the one I told you all about in “Dear Dad“), is having surgery. He has been dealing with a tumor on his skull for too long and today he is finally getting it removed. It’s a big long surgery (like 10 hours), but he’s in great hands at MD Anderson in Houston and I’m positive he will come out even stronger once this is all said and done. After all, the man has already survived 2 cancers and much more!

It is killing me to not be there right now. After lots of debating, we decided to fly to Texas in a couple of weeks. We want my Dad to be able to spend time with his Granddaughter and it wouldn’t be possible if we were there now. I know it’s the right choice, but I want desperately to be there for my Mom who will be anxiously waiting for this long surgery to be over. Thankfully, she won’t be alone. My sister and a few other relatives will be there.

What I am asking of you is this…sometime today, whenever you get a chance take a moment to do one of the following: say a prayer for my Dad and Mom, send some positive vibes towards Houston, send an actual positive message.

I believe prayer and positive thinking can go a long-long way. SO, if you  have a moment write a positive comment to my Dad below, leave a kind note for him on my Facebook page, OR please message my Mom. I know several of you know my Mom so to help keep her distracted and happy today, drop her a line, send her something funny and spread some love! Let her know we are all thinking of her and my Dad. Remind them both that everything will be okay and that their support system is huge. I’ll definitely share every word I receive with them.

Thanks in advance from the whole family!

pawpaw

Cheers!

Learning Something From the Men

So there’s this blog going viral that everyone is up in arms about, rightfully so I should add. Typically, I wouldn’t want to give a negative and hurtful article any attention, but this one has bothered me, and what’s bothering me, no one else seems to be discussing. The article in on thoughtcatalog.com and it’s called  I Look Down on Young Women With Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.

To be honest, I thought this was going to be a humorous post, maybe even satirical, but it comes off mean, a little ignorant and very arrogant. The most shocking of lines are..

You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.

The rest of the post is basically saying that having kids and getting married is super easy, and we should stop acting like it’s worth anything. Before, I get into what bothers me most about this post, I’ll give my opinion on the piece in general.

It sounds like a young girl who is unhappy with her own life. Those who shame other people’s “accomplishments” and “happiness” are clearly unhappy with themselves. It’s wonderful that this woman can choose to not be married, not have kids and live a life with a fulfilling career, but what she fails to recognize is that not everyone finds happiness in their job. We do not all feel accomplished because we got a promotion, the same way we do not all feel accomplished after bathing and feeding 3 kids. Everyone defines success and happiness differently, and that is okay. It’s not fair to assume that your way is the right way.

I have traveled the world, got multiple degrees, worked great jobs, been promoted, received tenure, yada yada yada and, uh…didn’t feel “fulfilled”. I felt great, yes, proud even, but it was not what filled my cup.

She may also want to consider the fact that most career “accomplished” women were raised by dedicated mothers, who are often married. Let’s not even get started on the fact that countless women are happy and successful at being married, raising kids and working. My pediatrician actually has 5 kids and opened up her own practice 15 years ago. Or, what about people who choose not to have kids or fancy-paying jobs? What about the people who love life living like a vagabond and just enjoy life itself? This is why I think this must be a young author with little life experiences. She doesn’t quite grasp the vast variety of values and lifestyles in our world.

Okay, but now what really bothers me is this line…

I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this…Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”

If men never speak of this, it is because they do not do the housework, aren’t married or do not have children. There are many men who are stay-at-home-fathers who actually blog about these exact things every day. This got me thinking though… one thing men do not do or talk about is how much other men suck. There are no “daddy wars” happening today, only “mommy wars”.

I am so sick of all the Mom vs. Mom, breastfeeding vs. formula, stay-at-home vs. working, kids vs. no kids, vegan/gluten-free/dairy free/soy free/gmo free vs. whatever-the-hell-my-kids-want-to-eat Mom fights going on everyday. What are we doing to each other? Why? Why are we so obsessed with wanting every other Mom or woman to live, think and behave just as we do? Are we so afraid that what we are doing is wrong we must prove that every other women is actually doing it wrong? Does that make us right?

Of course not. We have to accept the fact that mothering, like teaching, or like living, does not have a “right-way”. There are many different paths and styles that lead to success. We must not all be alike to be successful. So, today, and perhaps today only, we take note of what the men are doing and stop bashing other women. The happier we are for each other, the more love and support we show one another the better off we will all be in the end.

Cheers!

 

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

Today is Father’s Day, and like many other holidays I wish I was able to be with you, and I feel a twinge of guilt for living so far away. I woke up this morning thinking about our relationship over the last 28 years and how it’s evolved, had ups and downs and is often taken for granted. I may talk to Mom everyday, and I definitely inherited her shopping gene and her tendency to worry about everything, but I see pieces of you in my actions and choices everyday.

As a little girl as I was happiest being by your side. I loved being “Daddy’s little girl” and was even happier when you once called me “your only son”. I wanted to be just like you. One of my favorite memories is going to and from basketball practice and games with just you. We would stop at the 7/11 to pick up beef jerky and Gatorade, and you would tell me how I was the fastest kid on the team. On the way to games we would often have breakfast together at McDonald’s and I felt so cool to have that alone time with you. We weren’t like Mom or Sister; we were tougher, stronger and wittier. We liked to workout, play hard, be outside and be on the water. I was always SO disappointed that I couldn’t go hunting with you, but now I am so thankful you never let me. Shooting Bambi would have scarred me for life, and you obviously knew that.

Riding Jurassic Park together at Universal Studios.
Riding Jurassic Park together at Universal Studios.

I grew up to be much “girlier” than my days as a tomboy, but thanks to all my time with you I still know how to kick off my shoes, bait a hook, shoot a gun, drive a four-wheeler, change my oil and my tire, life weights, skin a fish and drive a truck. I just have better hair and painted nails while I do it.

Dad and I in Time Square
Dad and I in Time Square

Besides all of the wonderful “southern gal” skills you taught me, there is so much more. I know that my compassion to help others comes from you. I’ve seen you go out of your way to give someone a hand, spend time with a lonely family member and even support my best friends. When I was in high school I had a few friends who often needed a place to crash for a weekend, and sometimes a few weeks. Not only did you let them stay with us, but you loved them like your own daughters. You expected them home by curfew, and you treated their boyfriends like mine…by often scarring the sh*t out of them if they attempted a move on your turf.

Celebrating Natalie's 30th birthday
Celebrating Natalie’s 30th birthday

I know that I got my work ethic from you as well. There is not a time in my memory where you were not working hard. I remember you coming home in you nomex and heavy work boots, covered in sweat in the Texas heat, and then spending your weekend taking care of the house, remodeling rooms, mowing the grass and fixing every broken toy and tangled necklace I brought you. Numerous times, you reminded me of the importance of hard work. You expected me to make good grades, work hard, be respectful of my teachers and bosses and to do work that I will be proud of. Although, what really mattered is that you were proud of me.

Graduating with my Masters
Graduating with my Masters

The words that touch me the most are these, “I’m proud of you Hil”. Hearing that phrase after graduations, dance recitals, basketball games, career accomplishments and my wedding day was the poof I needed to know that I did well. This phrase is never tossed around lightly. I never hear it for doing frivolous activities or expected chores. No, you say it when you mean it most, so I know it’s true.

Taking Dad around NYC
Taking Dad around NYC

Every child thinks their Dad is the bravest. I know I thought you were. You weren’t afraid of the dark, the monsters in my closet, the bugs outside or climbing ladders. Now, as an adult. I am positive that you are the bravest. I have seen you stand up for yourself and for others, watch both your daughters move away and start their own families and look cancer in the eye (more than once) without fear. (However, I now know that you are a little afraid of bugs.) I don’t know how you do it Dad. You have been through trials that would tear me to pieces and break me down, but you always seem to come out stronger on the other side.

wedding

You may be watching me grow over the years, but I’ve seen you grow as well. Each year you become wiser, more sensitive, more spiritual and definitely more handsome. I’ve also seen you be promoted from Dad to Grandpa with Micah. The most proud I have ever seen you is with your Grandson, he’s one lucky little guy.  I cannot wait to one day see you with my children.

Thank you for teaching me to be thoughtful, hard-working, respectful, appreciative, strong and brave.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, love you most.

Cheers!

 

Mom and Dad

My parents are here! My parents are here! I am so excited that they’re really here! This is the first time that BOTH have them have come to visit me in two years. I have BIG plans to take NYC by storm. They are here until Monday, and I’ve made a full detailed itinerary for every second of each day. Hope they weren’t planning to relax!

They arrived the exact same time that Peter arrived from his bachelor party, so luckily they could all take a cab together from the airport. I was excited for Belle to see her grandparents, and excited for my Dad to finally see where I live, and excited to have an apartment full of people I love again. Dad was actually really “impressed” with the place…or at least pretended to be. (I’ve been heavily exaggerating the size and stability of the place to prepare them, so it was probably better than he expected.)

After settling in, we had a really nice Italian dine at Uva, a cute little place that reminds of Albanian restaurants right near our apartment. Then we had dessert at Fresh Fruit Co. (My favorite dessert place…it’s all Vegan ice cream! And, it’s fabulous and crazy delicious.) We always try to fatten up our guests from the moment they arrive.

We just talked and caught up on each other’s lives in our teeny apartment the rest of the night. I am so glad that both of my parents are here to spend time with me and Fiance (and Zoey!). It’s going to be a great weekend, I am even off of work Saturday AND Sunday (for the first time ever!) but I cannot promise I’ll keep up with my blog (especially since this one is already being posted a day late!).

So, if you do not here from me much this weekend, just know I am spending quality time with the family, and preparing to tell you all about it.

I have a feeling the phrase “You can take the parents out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the parents,” may come up.

Have a great weekend!

Cheers!