My Earliest Memory

I am again The Last Girl To The Party! Carrie‘s Wordy Wednesday party asked “What’s your earliest memory?” (Last Wednesday. Hey, better late than never, yes?)

My earliest memory is going to Schuncks (a local St. Louis grocery store) on a cold, dark night to pick up a cake for my new sister, Jennifer. I remember sitting in our breakfast room in the dark, with only the candles on the cake for light, anxiously waiting for the singing to be over and the cake to be cut.

I also remember being sad, scared, and confused with the impending addition of my sister to my family. Those scares are not as fresh today, and they have faded into the background of my memory of that day. Fast forward to today, she is one of my closest confidents and biggest cheerleaders. I am impressed by her maturity and self confidence; one of her best qualities is the sound advice she gives after listening to a particular dilemma.

julia jennifer bath My Earliest Memory

However at three years old, she was anything but a blessing.  In fact, it would take almost two decades for us to become friends.

The rest of this memory is actually my grandmother’s. She had come to town to take care of me while my parents took care of my sister. (Recently I heard a debate on the radio regarding paternity leave… Clearly the host did not have little children and failed to realize it takes a minimum of two people to keep ahead of a tiny dictator newborn. In my book, paternity leave is just as much for Mom as for the new baby. Someone who is not under the influence of massive hormones fluctuations needs to be in charge!)

Even though she only shared this memory with me once, it is as vivid as though it is my own. After we had eaten the cake, she walked me up the stairs to my room. I paused at every stair (all fifteen of them) and asked her, “What am I going to do?” At three years old, I thought my parents were having another child to replace me.  I thought that there could not possibly be enough love in their hearts for both of us. I was being replaced.

As a parent, I have a better understanding of why my parents wanted another child and a sister for me (a few years later I got another one). The love for your child is limitless and there is always enough to go around. My parents loved being parents so much they had another child.

Years of therapy have taught me that while feelings are important, they are not fact. Many times, feelings will insert themselves as truth even though reality is very different. For years, I reacted to my sister as that lost, hurt three year-old. Thankfully, I have released that resentment and we have moved forward in a (mostly) functional adult relationship. As with anything worth doing, it took a while.  It took a long time for us to stop expecting the worst from each other. We worked our way into a cautious friendship, and now, we are not only sisters but also the closest of friends.

julia jennifer laura xmas 2012 My Earliest Memory

Justice Was Served- Daddy Served Detention

I have always been one of those people who sneaks in at the last minute; the girl who sits down in her chair just before the bell rings, red faced and breathless.  As an adult, this is my fault. However, I learned this bad habit early. My father made me late for grade school almost every single day… and while it was his fault I was late, I was the one stuck serving the detentions.

I voiced (loudly) my opinion of the unfairness of it all, but it did no good.

After a few months of detention, I explained to my teachers that it was not my fault I was late. It was my father’s.  Once Miss Seratri finished rolling her eyes, she explained that she didn’t care whose ‘fault’ it was, I was late and therefore serving detention. Miss Serati was used to tall tales from her students, and she clearly thought that I was making excuses- not an unfair assumption.  Bottom line: I would be serving the detention; I was late for school.

Over dinner that evening, I tearfully informed my Dad that I would be serving HIS detention. Again.

He listened to me and apologized, saying the detention should be his- he was the tardy one, not me. He promised to rectify the situation.

The next morning when we got to school, instead of dropping my sister and me off as he usually did, my Dad parked.  We walked into my classroom together, and while I hung up my coat and backpack, he spoke with Miss Serati… and later that afternoon, I did not have to serve detention.

My father had explained to Miss Serati that it was not my fault I was late; it really was his fault. If someone needed to serve detention, it should be him. He said that he would be more than happy to do it- just have the school call his secretary to schedule it. (He said this without any sarcasm, he was very serious. Truly.)

After that day, I was still routinely late for school. However, I no longer had to serve detention.

History does have a way of repeating itself, but I am very hopeful that I can get my act together so that Emma arrives to school on time… because I am not serving detention.

Late Is An Inherited Gene

I am almost always late.

I am one of those girls. I should join a 12 Step program. Sadly, my tardiness affects my daughter as she is habitually late to school when I am in charge of drop off.

However, it is not my fault that I drop Emma off late for school, but rather it is my father’s.  I have a history of tardiness: when I was a senior in high school, I was fired from being a carpool driver because I made the freshmen in my car tardy for homeroom, and thus the recipients of detentions.

I would, however, arrive at school with enough time for me to make it to my homeroom. Sadly, the freshmen weren’t so lucky.  At Nerinx (my high school), the upperclassmen had lockers and homerooms close to the entrances. The freshman lockers and homerooms were far, far away in the basement; which was nicknamed The Dungeon.

My father routinely made me late for school when I was younger. I would be ready and waiting by the door- literally standing there, with my back pack on, ready to go. The wait would vary by the day- sometimes it was only two or three minutes, but others it may be twenty. My teachers gave everyone a five minute grace period (I went to Catholic school and everyone either walked or was dropped off by parents; we didn’t have buses) to account for traffic (or late parents). If a student arrived past the grace period, a warning was given. After the warning, detentions were handed out.

I got more than my fair share of detentions. At first, I grumbled about the unfairness of it all. Grumbling did no good; we were still late to school. My grumbles turned to shouts, but still we were late.

And I was still accruing detentions faster than I could say ‘Hail Marys’ at confession…

I Always Run Late

Don’t you just hate that one friend of yours who is always late? I do too.

Except when it’s me.

My daughter is supposed to be at school every day by 8:30 for Circle Time. When her father takes her to school, she is there by 8:15- 8:20 if he’s running late.

When I take her, I count anytime before 8:35 a win.

always late funny quotes I Always Run Late

I am not sure what happens to those magical fifteen minutes every morning. You know, those fifteen minutes that seem to stretch in front of you and almost any chore seems possible. It’s the fifteen minutes that makes you think “We don’t have to leave for at least fifteen minutes. I will just throw a load of laundry in/empty the dishwasher/tidy up the family room/take the trash out.” Those fifteen minutes beckon me, practically screaming ‘Do something! Don’t waste time! Do something!’ As you are patting yourself on the back congratulating yourself on your efficiency and mentally checking something off the To Do List, you notice the clock on the wall behind you…. And panic because there is no way on God’s Green Earth you are going to make it to school on time. Again.

kids chore list template1 I Always Run Late

This happens to me every single time. And every single time I am surprised that I have run out of “fifteen minutes”. My girlfriends totally get it- I think it’s the women/multitasking thing.  My husband, on the other hand, shakes his head in incredulity. I can practically hear him saying, “I mean, COME ON, Julia. You knew you didn’t have enough time and that you would be late for school.” He says he cannot fathom why I make the same mistake again and again (God forbid I am actually early!). He does not bring it up anymore because in doing so, he would be welcoming a discussion of that “one time” he Didn’t Ask For Directions and we got so damn lost…

A Few Thoughts On Motherhood

Sometimes, others say things more eloquently than I could ever hope to. Here are some of my favorites on motherhood…

Happy Mothers Day to all Moms and all Hopeful Moms. Most especially to MY Mom…

julia mom savannah 20131 A Few Thoughts On Motherhood

 

Irish Baby Blessing

May all the blessing of our Lord touch your life today.
May He send His little angels to protect you on your way.
Such a wee little fit, sent from above.
Someone so precious to cherish and love.
May sunshine and moonbeams dance over your head.
As you quietly slumber in your bed.
May good luck be with you wherever you go.
And your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.

“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match

Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of life.
~Maureen Hawkins

 “The decision to become a mother is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

“For the mother is and must be, whether she knows it or not, the greatest, strongest, and most lasting teacher her children have.”

 When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.  ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

“God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.”

 

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.” ~ Jill Churchill

julia emma mothers day 20131 A Few Thoughts On Motherhood

Six On Sunday, The Tuesday Version

1. Pollen. Green is the New Black. It is covering EVERYTHING. I moved to Atlanta nine years ago and it still blows my mind every spring. Words cannot do justice to the amount of pollen, so just look at the pictures and be smug you do not live here!

2. The Pink House. Thomas and I went to Savannah for a wedding this weekend, and we finally made it to the Pink House. The Pink House is a historical building that was a favorite hang out of Revolutionary war heroes. It was saved in the 1950s and converted into a restaurant. In all the years we have been visiting Savannah we have never been there, despite our best efforts. From all accounts, it combines several of my favorite things- history, great food and drinks, dress required (in the dining room), and pink! On Friday, we finally made it!  As an added bonus, my parents attended the wedding as well and came with us. It was wonderful.

3. Phone 5. I got a new phone- the iPhone 5. I love the bigger screen and the fact that is it more lightweight. I HATE the fact that I had to buy all new chargers for it. Well played Apple, well played.

4. Sirrus Satellite Radio. Wow! How cool! I realize I am the last one to this party, but I am finally here! The drive to Savannah flew by with the addition of Sirrus. In an added bonus, I am discovering all kinds of 90s tunes I had forgotten about- C&C Music Factory anyone?!

5. Dance Lessons. We did not see a lot of my parents at the wedding because they were too busy dancing. They took up dance lessons last year and have been tearing it up ever since. There was a wonderful eleven (!) piece band at the wedding and they made the most of it. I think they intimidated everyone else because no one else was dancing! It was great to watch, and Thomas suggested that we take lessons. He might or might not have been on his second bourbon when he said it, but I am taking it! Now, we just have to find a place that will accommodate his schedule (which is basically open ended ALL THE TIME).

dancing with the stars logo 455x320 Six On Sunday, The Tuesday Version

My parents would totally rock this show!
soucre

6. My allergies. My allergy woes continue. I recently found out I am allergic to thimersol, which is a chemical commonly found in contact solution and make up. After switching all my contact solutions and make up, I am still having the same issues… and this time, they think the culprit might be nail polish.  Anyone who knows me AT ALL has never seen my fingers (let alone my toes) without polish. A small (OK large) piece of me DIED when I heard that… .thankfully, it is not confirmed. Confirmation will come in the shape of more long term patch tests… cannot wait…

Good Skin Is Priceless (Or, Least $62.39)

Everyone knows that kids are mean. I can personally attest to this, thanks to the major breakouts I suffered as a teenager. In good news, I was not bullied as severely as some, but my breakouts provided plenty of material for the ‘cool kids’.  Back in those days, the only medicines available would turn my face into a bright red, swollen disaster- picture a swollen sunburn.  Granted, it was a pimple free disaster, but it was not the look I was going for.

When I looked in the mirror, I could almost hear them teasing me! I endured acne once; and I was not interested in enduring it again. (I did have the thought that if I ever broke the law and went on the lam, I would totally use terrible skin as a disguise.)

I ran to my dermatologist, pleading for a solution. “Fix this!” I beseeched her as I waved my hand around my face. “Please!” She took one look and then grabbed her prescription pad. Ironically, one of the medicines she prescribed was one I had used in high school!  The shame! As we discussed the mess on my face, the culprit became clear- the CeraVe. Target, you savings minx, you sold me out!

My attempts at budgeting, while noble, were not sensible. These attempts were actually expensive when the co-pay for the dermatologist visit and the prescriptions were factored in.

 Saving money or not, it became clear (pun intended) that skincare was not an area of economizing in my house.  After all, my self-esteem is priceless. 

My brush with youth was terrible. It was most definitely a waste, but not in the way my dad proclaimed. This ‘youth’ was red, ugly, and scaly. Not to mention a waste of time and money!

Thankfully, I had the gifts of age, wisdom, and American Express.

American Express Good Skin Is Priceless (Or, Least $62.39)

source

As I drove myself to Nordstrom, I silently mocked my dad- if this was the ‘youth’ he was talking about, he could have it! I am much more interested in being a grown up with clear (sometimes a little dry, to be fair) skin. As soon as I parked, I practically skipped to the Lancôme counter, knowing the my salvation was a mere $62.39 away.

That was possibly the best $62.39 I have ever spent.

As I write this, my skin is healing, and the evidence of ‘youth’ is fading. I no longer resemble a unicorn, and looking in the mirror does not reduce me to tears. I am confident that very soon, I will look the “young” thirty something that I am. 

The morals of the story: With age comes wisdom; and DO NOT CUT CORNERS WHEN IT COMES TO SKINCARE.

 

My Mom’s Quiche- The BEST Comfort Food

Yesterday, I blogged about my mom’s quiche- one bite and I am thrown back to my childhood.

julia attitude My Moms Quiche  The BEST Comfort Food

It is GLORIOUS! (Both the quiche and my childhood.)

Here is her recipe, and, like all great recipes, it uses approximations and has Mom-esque love at the end.

Enjoy!

Julia’s Mom’s Quiche

quiche My Moms Quiche  The BEST Comfort Food

You can preheat the crust for 5 minutes or so. (always preheat)
grated cheese – a good cup (we always use swiss, but feel free to make it your own)
sliced ham – cut in small pieces (or bacon, or my favorite, leeks) (really you could use anything- spinach, mushrooms, etc)
3 large eggs or 4 medium
1 c milk
1/2 c half and half
dash nutmeg
1 T flour
Put mixed cheese and ham in bottom of pie crust. Mix eggs, milk, h&h; add nutmeg and flour. Pour into crust. Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
About 30 minutes in check to be sure the edge of the crust is not browning too quickly. If so put folder silver foil over the edges.
It will come out puffy and then settle as it cools.
oxox

Six On Sunday (The OMG it’s Tuesday Version)

1. Grandma & Poppa. My parents came to visit. I always enjoy seeing them, and I am truly blessed in that I am actually not only friends with, but I enjoy spending time with them. (Except when I get Directions And Insights On Living My Life, but I figure that is sort of part of the package!) Emma has a wonderful time playing with Grandma… Also, after they leave I find myself desperately wishing for a nanny…

2. Indiana Basketball. As March Madness approaches, I am gearing myself up to jump on the fan bandwagon. To be fair, I am an actual alumna of the school so I get some credit for that! My senior year the Hooisers went all the way to the final game… and biffed to Maryland. To this day, I hate turtles.  My grandfather, who was an almost life long resident of DC called after the game to ‘talk trash’. I was horrified- I never even saw my grandfather without a tie on (unless on the golf course), and here he was, debasing my team! I wish IU all the luck in the world, and I will be watching (once we get through the beginning of the tourney and things get interesting, anyway).

3. New Pants. I lost a little bit of weight (it’s amazing what happens when one stops eating Goldfish Gram Crackers by the entire carton) and now need new pants.  I have actually needed them for a while, but I wanted to wait to make sure my current size wasn’t a weird fluke. In good news, it’s not. In not so good news, I actually have to shop now. Shopping, unless for jewelry or purses, just isn’t fun. Nothing ever seems to fit the way I want, and everything is so expensive! It took me YEARS to buy new underwear, and no one but me sees it! Anyone have any good ideas for not stupid looking pants? Please share!

4. Chuck E Cheese. I had to go. I have avoided this place like the plague for my entire life. Growing up, it was called Showbiz Pizza (Where A Kid Can Be A Kid!) and my mom thought it was totally creepy and did not allow us to go. As an adult, it should be self explanatory why I did not patronize them… Emma was invited to a birthday party, and because I am nicer than my mom (not really, it just sounded good!), we went. And I think I have succesfully checked something off the bucket list. I’m sending Thomas for all future CEC playdates.

 

5. Patch Testing. I have not been able to wear eye makeup for over a year now. Last Christmas, at the direction of my eyebrow threader, I tried castor oil on my eyebrows in the hopes it would make them grow in faster and thicker. Something in the castor oil make my eyes VERY ANGRY, and a result, I have had horrible allergic reactions to everything- from eyecream to make up. After trying everything short of the three day patch test, I finally resigned myself and went and had the patches applied yesterday. Come on Thursday!

6. Tuesday. Good grief it’s Tuesday as I write this. How did life get so busy?!

Six On Sunday, Version 31

1. Sinus surgery. Is terrible.  My husband had it last Thursday, and he has been awake and upright for maybe thirty minutes total since then.  He is one of the toughest people I know, and I have never seen him in this much pain. It’s terrible… everyone who has had the surgery says it is 100% worth it in the end, so we are hopeful…

2. Keratin (or, as I like to call it, What The Baby Jesus Gave to Hair). I finally finally had time to make an appointment to get my hair did. While I am so relieved to FINALLY have it done, I am in hair hell as I cannot wash it (let alone tie it back) for 72 hours… I am on hour 25 and I am SO OVER IT.  The sticky product in it has already made me resemble a homeless person, I cannot wait to see what Tuesday morning brings… Whomever said “beauty is painful” wasn’t kidding.

3. Kourtney & Kim Take Miami. Do you think they are trying to be that ironic on purpose?! It is truly stunning… From Kim yelling at Kourtney because she is such a sloppy mom to Khole giving parenting advice it is just a trainwreck.  Also, could Scott BE a bigger dousche?!

4. My Hair Is In My Face And It’s Driving Me Crazy. Oh Tuesday, why can’t you already be here? (Tuesday morning will be 72 hours of the treatment sitting on my hair. It takes 72 hours to get the full affect, or so they tell me…)

5. Red Velvet. I have written before about my love affair with Menchie’s Red Velvet fro yo… I will do very, very bad things for their red velvet flavor, especially if you cover it with chocolate sprinkles… I took Emma yesterday, which made her week- her idea of heaven I believe is a Menchie’s store, minus the mom in the background telling her “that’s enough!” “hands to yourself!” “no, that’s enough toppings!” and “get your hands out of that!”. I think Menchie’s puts some sort of MomCrack in that stuff because every mom in the joint was huddled next to the RV machine, multiple red stained “trial” cups in their hands…

6. Making Fun of The Bachelor. I have discovered that the best part of watching The Bachelor is talking sh*! about The Bachelor. Not only can I spend hours discussing the ‘ladies’ with my girlfriends, I can read blogs about it all day long! Here is a link to The Funniest Stuff I Have Ever Read In My Life… Enjoy! And don’t say I didn’t warn you- if you are reading in public, you might make a scene…