Archives for February 2012

How do you recap bliss when you didn’t get enough?


Right now is the time where, in post-conference glossy-eyed endorphin high, people start writing posts recapping the fun they had. They tell you about what they learned, who they met, all the fun. There are pictures – such fun pictures – of laughter and friendship and just complete and total JOY (bliss… if you will).

And I’m at the point where I see these posts and pictures and feel a little jealous.

Don’t get me wrong – I made the best decision I could at the time (by the way? Baby? Still floating around happily in amniotic fluid), but my mom said today, “I wish the doctors hadn’t told your sister she was dilated or effaced – and you wouldn’t have come home early and missed your fun.”

If, coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Nothing to be done about it now (Except plan for NEXT YEAR – and the interim gathering with friends I’ll need to have well before then, because frankly, once a year isn’t enough).


But better to have had twenty-four hours than none at all, and I’m glad that I had the time I did have. There was an amazing line up of sessions – particularly the photography related sessions – that I was very bummed to have missed. There were amazing sponsors that I have heard raves about (personally, I wanted to hang out with The Lorax – though was thrilled to get a copy of The Lorax in my swag bag — it’s my sister’s favorite children’s book and IF MY NIECE EVER COMES OUT SURELY SOMEONE WILL READ IT TO HER).

Without being there, I know it was an amazing conference that was beautifully done and was super fun for all – because it always is.

I’m just sad I wasn’t there.

And I am tempted to PhotoShop my self into pictures.


I had twenty four hours in Nashville with some of my favorite people. Had I stayed the duration of the conference, it still might not have been enough time. But even just one day made my heart so tremendously happy. So I guess that will have to do… til next year.

I followed my heart and 65 North

Wednesday morning I loaded up my car with a massive suitcase, a container full of brownies and a massive Lands End canvas tote containing shoes and only shoes. I met one of my dearest friends and one of her friends in Indiana, and we piled in to the amazing Chevy Traverse (thanks GM!) for our drive to Nashville.

We were minutes from our arrival at the Opryland Hotel when my first text from my sister rolled in – she’d had a doctor’s appointment, she was 3 centimeters dilated, baby’s head is VERY low.

Um. Dang.

I got a little freaked out but several people assured me, “You can walk around dilated to 3 centimeters for like… a year.” (Probably exaggerating a little)

Okay, fine.

I was still worried – still starting to have those wheels in my head turning: If my sister goes into labor RIGHT NOW, will I make it home for the baby’s birth?

Remember – my sister asked me to be in the delivery room to photograph my niece’s first minutes. My sister, who didn’t want a lot of people in the delivery room AT ALL, honored me by asking me to be there – and it did and does mean a great deal to me.

But, I hung out Wednesday. It’s that amazing feeling of coming together with your people when you’re there. Several of us went out to dinner (and to celebrate National Margarita Day). Margs came to the table and we all whipped out cameras and phones to document our drinks and food. THOSE are my people.

I spent Wednesday evening among friends I love, and yet during the night I checked my phone repeatedly to see if my sister had texted any updates.

Yesterday, while I was about to start the Blissdom PhotoWalk (pictures will follow in another post, eventually), my sister texted and there were updates about effacement, mucus plugs, la la la.

Um. Well. That’s different than just being dilated. More and more I began to think, If she called and said she was in labor now, there’s a good chance I would miss it all. We labor fast in my family (well – I did, my mom did. My sister might not – but yeah, I’m going based on my experience).

Every time I thought of not being there, my eyes filled with tears. I started seriously considering going home. I booked a rental car and I sat with my camera on a bench in the BioDome. That was right about when Casey walked by. “Is everything okay?” she asked.

And then I started sobbing.

The ugliest cry ever.


It was gross.
(I’m sorry, Casey)

She wrapped me up in a hug and I knew that I had to go home. “This will happen again next year,” she said. “Your sister only has her first baby once.” It was the extra reassurance that I wasn’t being crazy – my heart needed to be nearer. I couldn’t miss that moment.

I hastily packed my stuff, said goodbyes to the friends I love (way too soon. I miss them. I didn’t get enough), and got into my awful rental Camry (seriously, Toyota? That’s the best you can do? Who told you to put the cruise control mechanism there?). Ten plus hours of driving later, and I’m home. My sister is not in labor, her contractions have slowed, but I don’t feel like I came home for nothing.

(I’m not enthused about all the snow, though.)

It makes me sad what I’m missing – time with my people, the people who I relate to, my friends, the people who will take a picture before lifting a fork to taste an entree. The people you can laugh with about nothing at all. I see them tweeting about the fun they’re having and sure, my heart is heavy that I’m missing it. (I’m also bummed that I won’t be there to wear my awesome black dress that I would have worn tonight for the party. I look great in that dress. AND NOW I DON’T KNOW WHEN I’LL GET TO WEAR IT AGAIN.)

See? There it is. Yes, I’ve worn it before. But it’s pretty. Sigh. Maybe I’ll wear it someday while eating toaster waffles over my sink.

Gratuitously Wedding Guest

(Gratuitous bathroom photo made classy by the appearance of the hotel toilet. Fancy, right?)

But, having said that – I’d have been immeasurably devastated to miss the arrival of my niece. To miss her first moments, her first cry. And I tell myself that even though there’s a possibility that I rushed home for a baby who may hang out in utero for another week, the peace of mind of BEING HERE makes up for it all.

Oh sweet baby E., I hope you know how much your Aunt Sarah loves you already.

Thursday Ten: Sugared Up For A Good Cause edition

1. This week was my THIRD ANNUAL bake sale to raise funds for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I raised a nice chunk of change (yay!) and was really thrilled to have been welcomed back once more to raise money fora great cause. But lesson learned: people apparently don’t like Snickerdoodles. I just don’t get it. Oh well. More for me.
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2. Whitney Houston died. Whoa, right? She had a brilliant catalog of music and it’s sad to see her light dimmed too soon. Because of her death, I’ve gone back and listened to more of her stuff lately – which is why I spent a good chunk of yesterday with “I Have Nothing” stuck in my head.

3. Less than a week until Blissdom and Nashville. Can’t believe it – and am ready to get in the lovely Chevy Traverse (Thanks GM!) and road trip down with one of my favorite people (Hi Kat!) and spend several days with some of my favorite people, learning new things and being thoroughly entertained. (Are you going to Blissdom? Lemme know in the comments!)

4. Entertained because… they announced Blissdom’s entertainment yesterday – Rascall Flats (I always get it wrong – two Ls in Rascal? Or two Ts in Flats? Y’all know who I mean, though, right?). Joe Jonas. And the lovely Chris Mann. I’m looking forward to it.

5. I sent my sister the link to Etsy the other day so she could look at props for newborn baby photos. Can I just say how EXCITED I AM to photograph a little bitty baby? Still a few more things I would like to get (a super fluffy blanky to photograph the baby with), but it’ll happen.

6. Speaking of my sister – after her doc’s appointment yesterday, they are no longer really concerned about pre-eclampsia – but they want to keep an eye out on her blood pressure. They anticipate inducing labor the first week of March. I cannot believe it’s almost here!!

7. The Princess’s doctor said the kiddo needed shoes with better support to combat the heel pain she’s been having. How is my nine year old in a SIX AND A HALF SHOE already? Granted, I have big feet, so… odds are not in her favor of having tiny dainty feet. But whoa. When did that happen? (And I’m embarassed to admit that the shoes she HAD been wearing were 4s. My god, those must have hurt like hell).

8. I have been reading the Steve Jobs biography for a few weeks now. It’s a big book. It’s a really big book – so well written, but it’s slow going. I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel though, and I can’t WAIT to start reading something else.

9. The other day, Pumpkin and The Princess were on a chess kick. I don’t even know how to play chess and yet they played off and on all day. It amazes me. The Princess won most of the time, but I think as Pumpkin gets older and figures strategy and thinking a few steps ahead of herself, she may give her sis a serious run for her money.

10. This weekend is the second of baby showers I’ve had this winter (can you believe my sister and best friend are pregnant at the same time? BABIES BABIES EVERYWHERE!). Both are having girls. I may try re-doing my Oreos on a stick. I’ve re-thought my Oreo dipping strategy and I think I’ve got the solution to a gorgeous cookie. We’ll see, huh?

Plant a Kiss – A little bit of love in a storybook.

It goes like this.
Little Miss planted a kiss.
Planted a kiss?
Planted a kiss.

And so begins “Plant A Kiss”,  the latest children’s story book written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (@missamykr on Twitter – and author of some of my favorite kids’ books – as well as the beckoner of lovely) and illustrated by Peter Reynolds (You may recognize his style from the Judy Moody series.

Little Miss plants a kiss and she nurtures and cares for that kiss and patiently waits for it to grow.

Like all of Miss Amy’s stories (that’s what we call her in my house – we kind of really love her – a love that was cemented even further when she called The Princess and read a story to her on her birthday a few years ago), this book has much to do with love and kindness and giving – and the simplicity, along with the whimsy of the illustrations, brings such joy to my heart.

It’s a very very sweet story, and one that I’ll love long after my children decide they’re “too old” for it.


I received this book free for review but this post is 100% from the heart and I was not compensated for writing it. I do like my opinions and I’ll give them for free. Especially when books are involved.

Thursday Ten: Is It Too Late To Talk About SuperBowl? edition

1. The SuperBowl was on Sunday and because I didn’t really care who won (and I barely knew who was playing), I was able to only pay a tiny bit of attention to the game while waiting impatiently for the commercials. No real favorites, but I did snort during the Greek yogurt commercial when that woman head-butted John Stamos. She must really love her Greek yogurt. Hey, I like it too, but… not enough for a head injury. [Also, I thought the Madonna halftime show was better than I had anticipated. She covered her arms – YAY, and frankly, she’s an icon. I was a huge Madonna fan when I was younger, and she’s really just classic. Weird sometimes…but classic.]

2. THEN, I waited impatiently for all the post-game-blah blah blah to end so I could catch the premiere of Season 2 of The Voice to see Chris Mann do his thing. He was absolutely amazing and I was not surprised to see the judges hit their buttons. He’ll be on Team Christina this season and if you missed it, make sure you tune in to catch him and support him. Not only is he phenomenally talented, but he’s also a nice guy. I really hope to see him succeed on the show and I’ll be tuning in to cheer him on this season.

3. As I do every winter, I just got bored with my hair, so I decided to get it colored. I saw someone other than my regular stylist, so I was nervous. The color? I think is okay. The cut? WAS SOOOOO NOT OK. Saw my regular stylist on Monday and in a matter of snip-snip-snip, my cut was one I was happy with again.
Why did I get highlights again?

4. Gearing up for a huge bake sale on Monday to raise funds for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I’ll spend all day Sunday baking – and hope to raise a few hundred dollars on Monday to support my team in the walk. What should I bake?

5. I went to The Princess’s school yesterday to surprise her because her teacher had let me know she was getting an award (it was a secret to my kiddo). I sat through 20 minutes of some useless presentation by the school guidance counselor before watching the five minutes of the children getting their awards. It was a bizarro rendition of “Deal Or No Deal” and I’m not entirely sure what it had to do with the presentation of awards. Hmmph.

6. We met at a sports bar for book club last night. I felt a bit like playing “Name that Tune” with the restaurant music. Immediately recognized a song by the Eagles by the opening bars and then it took me far too long to realize it was “Victim of Love” (I love the Eagles, by the way. Don’t hate). Speaking of book club, we decided to take it easy from hard core serious books and are reading Mindy Kaling’s book this month. Whew.

7. Two weeks until Nashville – are you going to Blissdom?

8. I really need to find a tailor – because wearing taller shoes as an alternative to getting my pants hemmed is starting to hurt my feet.

9. Pumpkin ended up with some cootie/cough yuck that kept her home last Friday. She fought against the antibiotics because she insisted they “clogged her cough”. Seems like at six years old, giving medicine would be easier. Not so much.

10. I actually had a really interesting dialogue on Facebook (I KNOW!) yesterday about education and how teaching children by rote can sometimes inhibit creativity – and it evolved into “teaching for tests” and so forth. First of all, was pleased to not have that blow out of the water – as I’m friends with several teachers on Facebook. But it’s also pretty awesome sometimes to realize that I am friends with a group of really smart people – and not just generically smart – their areas of knowledge are so varied and it’s pretty amazing sometimes to when you hit a topic that is someone’s area of expertise and you get to see them in a different light as they are sharing what they truly know and are passionate about. It was pretty cool. And it was on Facebook! Blows my mind.

Not nearly enough writing.

I am finding one of the things I dislike most about having to be somewhat on a “real world” schedule is lack of time to write. I suppose, I guess, that I could have been writing instead of channel surfing reality television this evening. I could have been writing in between commercials during last night’s SuperBowl (some great commercials, by the way – and some lame ones too).

But I didn’t and I haven’t and occasionally I have these ideas floating through my head, things I should write about, things I should share. I have had this post about my daughters tumbling through my head for a week now – I just need to write it. I keep wondering if I can make my words match my heart. How do I describe how truly amazing they are without it sounding cliche – or like a typical mom telling you how great her kids are? I don’t know.

So I marinate in my words.

I have a pain in my neck.

Literally.  A pain – a dull ache – the back of the left side of my neck, shoulder and a little bit of my back (trapezius? lats? I don’t know – it feels like a muscular ache back there). The pain is probably because I sleep on my left side, head propped up on two very puffy pillows. It’s been nagging at me all day – this pain.

And now, my head is tired, my eyes are heavy and this pain – and I think to myself, perhaps I should ditch one of my pillows tonight. Maybe that will help.

I have my clothes already laid out for tomorrow morning – pants, cardigan, camisole, new shoes. Anything to make my morning smoother.

Six months of this routine and it’s still such a different world than getting my kids off to school and starting my day in comfortable clothes, fuzzy slippers. The process of getting up and putting myself together is not a process I love – but a necessary one.

I miss my fuzzy slippers.

I miss writing but the words I give are not the words I want to write – and it seems I’ve fallen out of practice. I guess I’ll have to work on that. I promise I’ll try.

Thursday Ten: Holy Jalapeno IT’S FEBRUARY Edition

1. February. Wow. How’d that happen already? Today is Groundhog’s Day and while I don’t know if Phil saw his shadow or not, I heard they’re saying six more weeks of winter. Fabulous. Don’t they say that every year? You know why? BECAUSE IT’S FEBRUARY. OF COURSE THERE ARE SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER. Sigh.

2. So, Chris Mann – the guy with a voice like buttah (I’m not entirely cool enough to pull off describing his voice that way – but HIS VOICE. Sigh. Amazing) is going to be on The Voice this Sunday after the SuperBowl. I don’t really care about the SuperBowl, but am so looking forward to seeing Chris because I know he is going to kick ass. How could he not? Go check out his EPs on iTunes if you haven’t already, and when he wins The Voice you can say you knew about him WAY before The Voice. Oh, and here he is. I love this picture that Rachel (A Southern Fairytale) took at Blissdom last year. Check him out on Sunday on The Voice after the SuperBowl.

3. Holy jalapeno… that’s an exclaimation from Pumpkin’s favorite book series these days – Skippyjon Jones. They’ve been reading them in school and she ADORES them. I don’t know, I can take ’em or leave them (they’re kind of long for bedtime story reading), but some of the sayings make me laugh. Since I hate cats, I don’t blame Skippito for pretending he’s a chihuahua. Dude, I would too. If I were a cat.

4. I’m going to attempt the candy-coated Oreos on a stick once more. This time, instead of putting the freshly dipped Oreos on a cooling rack (oy, the grid marks), I have purchased a styrofoam block at a craftstore which will be covered with foil or parchment paper, and I will put the stick in the styrofoam, nearly right up to the pop (so frosting doesn’t drip down the stick), so it will look pretty from all sides. I’ll update y’all. I think it’s still gonna be a messy project. But yummy. And yummy trumps messy…almost every time.

5. My sister’s doctor is saying that she has pre-eclampsia and that the baby is measuring kinda big – which means my niece may be here a few weeks early. I’m kinda looking forward to meeting this new little person in just about a month. I can’t wait to see what she looks like, what her temperament is like, and frankly, I just want to spoil her.

6. When I stopped in for my cappuccino, the new kid working at Starbucks said I should get a venti because I “looked tired”. Was he trying to upsell me or was he clueless? Who knows. And yeah, I got the venti.
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7. The Princess had a gymnastics meet on Sunday where despite very tough judging managed to bring home three red ribbons and a white. She found out a few days later at practice just how CLOSE she was to getting a blue ribbon for her floor routine – a frustrating discovery for her. BUT, she knows what to work on and hopefully she’ll improve that aspect for the next meet. And really? Every time she competes she is just so much better than the time before. Her progress is noticeable, visible and really just amazing to see. I’m very proud of her.

8. Got an email from The Princess’s fourth grade teacher that the unit on recorders in music class is over and that the kids should keep their recorders at school just in case they need them again. Hallelujah. I love music and I love my children being involved with loving and learning music – but that recorder? ANNOYING AS ALL GET OUT. No one sounds good playing one.

9. In just a few short weeks I’ll be road tripping down to Nashville with Kat for Blissdom – will I see you there? Looking forward to learning new things and seeing some of the friends I only get to see once a year. I sure hope Kat’s ready to karaoke with me again.

10. Book club meeting is next week to discuss “The Night Circus” and I need ideas to suggest for March’s book selection. What are you reading? Are you enjoying it?