Remembering JFK

I’ve been following @todayin1963 as NPR tweets the events leading up to and news coverage after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago. I keep trying to imagine what that day must’ve felt like.

I’ve only lived through a few moments in history that I can recall where I was when I heard the news.

When President Obama won the election in 2008, Tevis and I were with our friends, The Aldermans, huddled around their giant flat screen as the votes were tallied. We were newlyweds. I felt a sense of hopefulness for our future. I imagined that the children we’d have someday would see the 44th president of the United States as a symbol of change. They would not doubt how far their dreams could take them.

On September 11, 2001 I had just come back home after graduating college. I was sitting in my parents’ family room, at the computer, looking for a job (I had my heart set on children’s book editing at one of the publishing houses in NYC) and my Dad called to tell me to turn on the TV. I watched both towers fall and spent the rest of that day crying.

Today I asked my mom what she remembered about this day 50 years ago. She was in the 3rd grade. She attended a Catholic school in Indiana. The principal came into her classroom and announced that the President had been shot and killed. Everyone cried.

We exchanged emails all day about her memories of November 22, 1963 and other moments that impacted her over the years. I saw history from a different perspective and heard anecdotes about my family I had never known. Why hadn’t I thought to ask her these questions before? I guess I’m realizing for the first time that my own history starts long before me.

Diaper Drive

Math was never my favorite subject, but let’s give this problem a try.

One year ago, a little baby girl was born. In her first months, she needed a diaper change at least 8-10 times per day. Over the course of the year that number has decreased to 6-8 per day. So let’s average that she used 8 diapers per day for one full year. That is a whopping 2800 diapers consumed in one year. She lives with her family in a low income apartment complex in the city and they do not have a car. A package of 36 diapers at the corner costs $14.99. How much will it cost per month to provide diapers for baby?

I came up with $97.16.

Can you imagine how hard it might be for some families to keep their babies dry and healthy? Did you know safety-net programs like food stamps and WIC cannot be used to purchase diapers?

diaperbanklogo

As part of our celebration of Bean’s first birthday, and hopefully a tradition of generosity each year, my family is having a Diaper Drive to support the Diaper Bank in our community. We are aiming to collect 1000 diapers by the first week of November. We are already halfway there thanks to my amazing WISH friends (more about them in a future post). If you are interested in making a donation, please contact me.

HVN Lady Project

A few weeks ago, I gave my niece this piece of advice. Sometimes it’s hard to push yourself to stick to plans or to honor a commitment (whether to others or just yourself), but it feels good to know you are someone that follows through and you might even be happily surprised by the outcome of your steadfastness. Okay, so I didn’t use the word steadfastness. She’s only 7.

Just days later, I was in a similar scenario. Last Friday night I made plans with a girlfriend to attend the kick-off event for a new group in New Haven – the HVN Lady Project. At the last minute, she needed to back out. So there I was, on a Friday evening tired from a particularly grueling week at work, with two choices. Hop in my car in search of my comfy clothes, a glass of red wine and snuggles from Bean. Or stick to my plan. Be there for the first ever event. Possibly meet some awesome women doing amazing things (after all, that’s their tagline).

I chose to follow my own advice and I’m so glad I did. I gave up just 2 hours of family time and in exchange, I gained a few new professional contacts, was encouraged by a veteran mom and inspired by the ardent women in my community (oh and I had that glass of red wine!). Here’s how it works. The Lady Project invites 3 women to share their stories with the group in 3 minutes. Their parting words are something for you to take with you. I especially appreciated Hannah Brencher’s advice to have the courage to reach out to those you admire. Fueled by her encouragement, I put myself out there and introduced myself to a woman I recognized and told her how much I admired her incredible work. It felt good to share that admiration and from her reaction, I bet she felt like a rock star. Why is it so intimidating to go up to someone and tell them that they kick ass? That’s so bizarre. But it’s real. Isn’t it?

HVN Lady Project

Many thanks to the ladies that brought the Lady Project to my city. I hope my local gal pals will join me for a future event. Promise, you won’t regret it!

Dancing in September

This morning Bean and I woke early, left Tevis snoozing in the bed and crept downstairs. We made coffee, Bean ate her breakfast and we listened to the sound of the thunder and soft rain drops outside. She likes to eat the moment she wakes up; she gets that from me. I could not survive a single day without my first meal. It’s incredible to see little pieces of me and her dad in her already.

While she ate, I broke out my laptop to catch up on my bloglovin’ feed. I put on my Labor Tunes playlist – seems fitting for this Labor Day weekend. While I was pregnant, I poured over articles with advise on how to prepare for childbirth. One tidbit I loved was creating a playlist for the different stages of labor. Our birth experience did not go the way I had planned (does anyone’s?) and we didn’t have the opportunity to use this calming technique (or many of the other ones I had prepped myself for). But that’s a whole other story!

So when Bean and I have our special girl time, I play the music that inspired me while I was growing her in my belly. They go from sweet songs like “Banana Pancakes” and “Three Little Birds” to smile inducing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Feelin’ Alright” to the adrenaline pumping “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” and “Drumming Song”.

We must’ve woke the sleeping bear upstairs with our singing “I Like the Way You Move”. Tevis came downstairs, pulled me up from my chair at the dining room table and twirled me around the room. Bean stared at us with a toothy, blueberry stained grin. It brought me back to watching my parents as a little girl. My dad was always running up on my mom in the kitchen, dipping her backward with her head in his hand, then planting a big kiss on her lips. Our home had it’s share of ups and downs, but those moments of affection between my parents made me feel happy and secure.

Seeing Bean watch us this morning reminded me that she’s taking cues from us every day. We’re shaping how she sees the world, how she learns to love others and how to enjoy life for it’s small, precious, wonderful moments. I pray that our home is where she feels safe and loved and looks back on the everyday moments knowing she came from a happy place.

P.S. I failed to properly wish my sister, Diana, a happy birthday on the blog this week. Hard to believe she’ll be exiting her twenties one year from now. I have a feeling she’ll go out with a bang!

Summer Summary

Oh blog, how I’ve missed you so. We have been enjoying every minute of our summer. August was packed with day trips, family celebrations and firsts for Bean. She’s mastered crawling and I couldn’t picture her exploring in a better season than summer. Gotta love the instinct to put sand in your mouth! I wasn’t sure that she’d love being in the ocean. The first time we dipped her toes into the water, she freaked at the sight of the tiny waves washing over her toes. But as she watched the big kids splashing and having a good time, she warmed right up to it. Maybe some swim lessons next summer! Somehow I missed the new mommy memo about applying sunscreen before you get to the beach. You might as well squirt the goop in your palm and then give it a good roll through the sand for good measure!  And why do babies immediately rub their eyes with their greasy fist? You’ll get the hang of this stuff, mama.
Bean’s so curious about animals right now. I get such a kick out of watching her nervously pet dogs and stare in awe at the birds in the sky. We can’t wait for a visit to Auntie Laura’s farm this fall. I know Bean is going to squeal with delight at those little piggies.
Bean and Horses 1
Bean and Horses 2
We’ve spent more time outdoors this summer than any I can remember. Our picnic blanket hasn’t left the trunk of the car. I’m not sure what it is about eating outdoors, but everything just tastes better. I sufficiently stuffed myself with lobster rolls, ice cream cones and fresh squeezed lemonade with the whole lemon right in your cup that you can only find at the fair.

August 2013 playing in the grassWhen we missed 4th of July fireworks I was bummed that we’d lost the opportunity this year. Luckily, we caught a great show at the Potato and Corn Festival, though we were a little too close up for this nervous newbie.

August 2013 PoCo Fireworks

No fear of heights though. On one of those days that felt like early fall rather than the usual steamy August, we took a hike up to the top of Sleeping Giant. I’ve got to give a big shout-out to Daddy for carrying Bean all the way to the top. I got the easy leg on the way down. Can you spot the two of them at the top of the tower?

August 2013 Sleeping GiantA tradition we started as newlyweds has only gotten better with the addition to our family. Every Thursday night we walk up to our town’s green to enjoy live jazz concerts with friends. On a recent Thursday we celebrated Honey’s birthday (that’s my Mom; she’s the most incredible person on the planet). The weather was perfect and the crowd was a delight.  I know it made her happy to be surrounded by good food, great music and a tremendous people. I’m all about pull apart cupcake cakes right now. How adorable is the ice cream cone cake?
August 2013 Jazz
One of the highlights of the month was visiting my Dad (Papa) and his girlfriend (Mimi) for a weekend at their vacation rental in Newport, RI. The beaches are spectacular. The sand is velvety soft and the waves are perfect for little swimmers. Even I got to experience a first this summer. Paddleboarding wasn’t one of those activities I was dying to try. It seemed incredibly difficult from a balancing perspective. And for someone that hasn’t done a lick of exercise since her pregnancy, I was downright terrified of waking up the next day to pain in places I didn’t know could hurt. I’m so glad I gave it a try and I’m eager to get back up on the board again soon. It’s a great workout and an awesome way to venture out into the deep ocean. You know it had to be amazing for me to post a pic of me in my bathing suit!
August 2013 Newport
August 2013 Paddleboarding
Thanks to my bestie over at www.flowingwiththego.com for introducing me to http://pixlr.com/express/. I had a lot of fun collaging my summer photos.

We have one more holiday weekend to sneak in the last of our summer bucket list. I’ve got my heart set on a stop at a farmers market, another picnic in the park, and maybe even a date with my sweetie to watch the sunset.

Happy Labor Day weekend!