because 82 is amazing

today is this lady’s birthday, and it seemed monumental enough to blog about after neglecting this space for over a year.

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if you are lucky enough to know ma (as just about everybody calls her…even my adult friends), then none of this will surprise you.  but if not, let me give you just a tiny glimpse of the woman she is.  

when she got married to my grandfather, she promptly informed him that she had always wanted to marry someone named doug.  his name was martin, but she immediately took to calling him doug.  bless him, he happily let her change his name.  doug stuck, and at christmas, ma would create three stacks of christmas cards…one was signed martin (or mart) for family; a second was mac for work friends; and the third, and largest, stack was doug.

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after raising two daughters, she and pa willingly took on the responsibility of raising me when it became clear that my parents couldn’t handle it.  they always treated me like a daughter, and for that i will be eternally grateful.  i didn’t always act grateful, and we had the typical parent-child struggles throughout my teenage years, but they hung in there, spending what should have been their retirement years traveling to every single one of my band competitions, sitting through countless concerts and piano recitals, and volunteering at my schools.  we laugh about it now, but in high school i had to walk the straight and narrow because EVERYone at my school knew ma, and had i gotten out of line, she probably would have known about it before i did.

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i don’t know if i can pick a favorite memory of ma.  there are so many good ones…summer vacations in hilton head, spring break trips, taking ice skating lessons together (that deserves a post all its own), singing silly songs in carpool, watching days of our lives religiously, and that time you sent me to school with a bud light instead of a 7up…there is rarely a dull moment when ma is involved, especially if you happen upon a bird of some sort, in which case she will insist on finding a man to escort her past the bird safely to her car, thus causing your teenage self to wish you were completely invisible.

so today, and every day, i am especially thankful for her 82 years, and so grateful that she’s been a part of my 34 years.  she really is one of my very best friends, and i cannot imagine life without her.  oh, and the fact that my girls get to know her and spend time with her is just icing on the cake.  

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ma, happy 82!  you used to tell me, “i love you just the way you are, always and forever.”  well, i have learned that those weren’t just words that you said…you backed them up (and continue to back them up) with your actions every single day.  even when i was completely unlovable (and there were plenty of those times!) you loved me anyway.  and now you love my girls, just the way they are, always and forever.  what a blessing you are to our family.  i hope you feel loved today (and every day) and that this is your best birthday yet.  you deserve it, and so much more. i love you, just the way you are, always and forever.

 

112

112 is how old my sweet holly was in doggie years.  she was with our family for all of those years, since the christmas of my junior year in high school.  if you had the pleasure of meeting holly, you will understand when i say that her life was not easy.  she was dropped on her head at a young age, which caused her to act oddly.  she frequently turned in circles, like a tiny little shih-tzu tornado headed toward the water bowl or her favorite napping spot.  and when she barked, she often fell over to one side.

we thought she would never get potty trained, and tried literally everything in an effort to convince her to do her business outside.  we even rubbed hot sauce on her gums when she had accidents in the house, but she was stubborn.  we used to joke that holly was the only dog in the history of the world who actually LIKED the hot sauce.

pa’s accurate affectionate nickname for holly was “dumber” because we were certain there wasn’t a dumber dog anywhere.  in spite of all of her oddities, she was loved.  after pa died, holly was company for ma.  she often complained about holly (especially when she woke up at 4am to howling and a box full of grossness), but as we sat in the vet’s office together on new year’s eve, it was clear how much she loved holly.

towards the end, holly was on doggie prozac, had doggie dimentia, couldn’t stand up, and was blind and deaf.  ma sent me this picture about a month ago…it is holly curled up with her favorite stuffed animal (a puppy that we got for her when she was just a tiny puppy), sleeping peacefully in her box.

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it was time, and holly lived a good life…but, gosh, she will be missed.

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silence

as you can imagine, there are not many quiet moments in a house with leslie and lucy.  rather than quiet, our house has a steady hum of make-believe princesses getting ready for the ball, justin bieber dance parties (oh, how i love a good justin bieber dance session!), cartoons, whistling (leslie’s newest accomplishment), and the occasional argument between sisters.  i love the soundtrack of our lives, and i love the noise, but it makes the quiet seem all that more precious.

i started 2013 with a promise to myself.  a promise rather than a resolution, because somewhere along the way, the word “resolution” lost its weight for me.  it became something that was okay to break.  but this year, THIS YEAR, i promised to be quiet more – to be intentional about being quiet – and to listen.  in a house with constant noise, this has not been an easy promise to keep, but i’ve been doing it.  i’m waking up at 5:00 every morning during the week.  yes, 5:00am.  it is super early, but the house is so quiet.  so i read, and i pray, drink coffee, and listen.  it is glorious.  i seriously do not know how i functioned for so long without the quiet.  i’ve heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit.  so far, i’m 15 for 15 in 2013, and feeling good about my chances of making it to 21.

Photo Jan 03, 5 39 22 AMthe girls have also noticed that i’m spending time being quiet on the weekends (obviously, i’m the only one up at 5am on weekdays so there are no witnesses to that!).  in fact, last sunday, lucy was being impossible (as 4 year olds sometimes are) and i was yelling discussing her behavior with her.  leslie came over, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, “excuse me, mommy.  i think you need to go have a little quiet time with jesus.”  how right you are, sweet leslie…how right you are.

 

2013

2013 already?  how is that even possible?  more importantly, how is it possible that my two children, who would not nap on new year’s eve, stayed up until 2:30 in the morning on new year’s?!?  they were serious troopers.  we spent our new year’s eve with some friends who have two kids the exact same ages as leslie and lucy.  leslie and caroline are best friends forever (bff for those of you hip on the lingo), and caroline’s little brother ben is seriously the love of lucy’s life (and the feeling is mutual, lest you think that lucy is some crazed four-year-old man-chaser).  the kids had a great time playing, and the adults enjoyed a few board games and lots of delicious food.  we counted down to midnight as the ball dropped, and the party was complete with noise makers and silly hats.  there was champagne for the grown ups and sparkling grape juice for the younger crowd.

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sadly for goose, her sweet ben just couldn’t make it to midnight, so she sneaked into his room and planted a little kiss on his cheek.  he stirred, and she said, “happy new year, ben.”  be still my heart.

after midnight, the girls enjoyed some dancing (and maybe even argued over whose boyfriend justin bieber is).  we knew bedtime was necessary when lucy had a crazy meltdown because leslie didn’t want her to turn the lights off.  she was literally wailing.  i guess after being awake for close to 20 hours, her little body was ready to crash.

no major resolutions at the forston house this year other than trying to be more present in our day-to-day lives.  i’m focusing on spending more quality time with the girls…less tv, more books, and lots of games (l&l’s current favorites are these go fish and old maid games).  we played old maid yesterday after school, and when lucy ended up holding the old maid card she yelled, “i’m not the old maid!  i’m not even a teenager yet!”  so maybe 2013 will also include some lessons in being a graceful loser old maid…

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christmas recap

happy 2013!

our family had the best christmas.  leslie and lucy are at the perfect ages for all the wonder and joy of the season, and michael and i soaked up every second of it.  we celebrated first with michael’s parents on the friday before christmas.  they were heading to visit michael’s sister for the holiday and stopped on their way through town.  we went to the candlelight service at southland on saturday night, and aside from lucy almost setting her hair on fire, it was a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of jesus with our sweet girls.

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on christmas morning, we had breakfast at our house, lunch at me-maw’s, and dinner at ma’s…it was an intense amount of eating and celebrating, but the girls loved it all.  santa brought a dollhouse, and it was a huge, huge hit.  

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a few days after christmas, leslie woke up to snow on the ground and shouted, “it’s a christmas miracle!”  she had so hoped for a white christmas, and was thrilled to find that white blanket.  all she wanted to do was throw snow balls and drink hot cocoa, and this mommy was happy to oblige.  it was really a great day (and the girls were both so exhausted that they fell asleep earlier than usual, which made for a great night, too!).

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the rest of our break was spent taking the christmas decorations down and relaxing.  we watched an embarrassing amount of tv, including all the movies our girls received.  lucy’s favorite is ‘brave’ because of the part where one of the men moons his comrades and says, “feast your eyes!”  she reenacts that moment for us at least once a day!  

the girls have really been loving playing with their rabbits lately, and they’ve also become more involved in taking care of them.  we can’t tell if the bunnies appreciate it or not, but regardless, they are getting plenty of love and attention from l&l:

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(notice lucy’s lack of pants…all the more easy for her to moon us!)

new year’s eve post coming soon…as a teaser, i will tell you that our girls stayed up until 2:30am…

hope your holiday was everything you wanted it to be!