Posted in Happiness

A Day Well Spent…Happy Birthday, Katie!

Birthday cake pancakes to start the day!

She was so eager to dig in...

Birthday surprises...

So curious...

The one thing that she asked for...a camera!

Surprise balloons from Daddy...

She said it was the most beautiful cake in the "entire world." (She clearly hasn't seen many cakes!)

All that really mattered was that it was light blue...her favorite color.

It really doesn't take much to make a four year old so completely happy. What an absolutely lovely day we had.

 

 

I’ll Never Ask

I was sick a couple of weekends ago. I spent forty-eight hours in complete misery. I don’t do sick with any grace whatsoever. I cried, felt bad for myself, and moaned, all while quarantined in the guest room.

And my children were fine. Actually, they were more than fine.

They went to the library, to the grocery store, and for a long walk.

They played games, blocks, and babies.

They were bathed, loved, tickled, and read to.

All while I lay in bed on what felt like the verge of death.

I could hear squeals of laughter, the muted, happy tones of back and forth daddy-daughter conversations, and endless Matthew giggles.

My husband.

He brought me water, then broth, then soup, and finally toast. He made certain that my bucket was clean and nearby.

He anticipated my every need and rubbed my back when I cried.

When I finally emerged, weak from my stomach flu-inflicted stupor, the house was completely clean, the dishes done, laundry folded and put away. I can’t remember the last time that my washer and dryer were not only empty, but had no clothes piled on top.

The refrigerator had even been cleaned out.

He stepped in and took my place. He filled the shoes that I so often feel like I can’t even begin to fill.

He accomplished more in forty-eight hours than I do in a week.

And, although I appreciated having the time to focus on my misery, when I emerged, I was filled with conflicting emotions.

My children were smiling and clean.

My house had not fallen down around me.

Meals had been made, eaten without complaint, and cleaned up.

And I had no hand in any of it.

If I’m honest, there was a part of me that was uncomfortable with the realization that the rhythm of my family continued in my absence; I suspect that perhaps things went even more smoothly.

I looked around, hoping for a stray sock, a dirty plate, a misplaced toy.

Nothing.

Craig had not only coped with my absence, but he had excelled where I often feel like I’m just barely hanging on.

I should have been happy with that. Our children were happy, loved, and content. Why wasn’t I?

So much of my self-worth at this point in my life is tied up in my role as a mother. This job of mothering is incredibly difficult in that there are no performance reviews, no raises or promotions. No pats on the back for a job well done. No real way to measure success.

When someone steps in and appears to do your job better than you do, it’s humbling and disconcerting.

But, there’s a huge part of me that finds comfort in knowing that Craig handles it all with such ease. I know that if something should ever happen to me, he could handle things. He would remember which outfits match Katie’s brown shoes and how to do her hair. I know that he would make Matthew smile and help him grow into an amazing man.

Then, two days after my return to the land of the living, Matthew was sitting in his highchair and his sippy cup completely leaked. It had been incorrectly put back together. Craig had somehow missed one of the eighteen puzzle-like pieces necessary for a leak-free cup.

And I stood in the kitchen, looked at the massive puddle and Matthew’s soaked shirt, and I smiled.

I’m fairly certain that Craig threw me a bone.

But, I’ll never ask.

Wine in January

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being in the company of thirteen amazing and dynamic women (and one gorgeously tacky purse named Pursey Galore) who gathered with me for a day of wine tasting and lunching in the Napa Valley.

We began our day at the gorgeous Whitehall Lane Vineyards, where we were treated with a lovely tour and tasting. We were scheduled to sample four delicious wines, but before our tour was over, we were surprised with a fabulous fifth wine to taste.

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Though we had some beautiful white wines, if I’m completely honest, I only have eyes for reds.

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Just like back in school…the ones in the front were paying attention, while the kids in the back were goofing off (okay, fine, they were tweeting about the event). ;)

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We were guided through the first part of our tour by our knowledgeable host, Douglas, who made us all smile with his dry wit.

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As our tour was wrapping up, Doug came by to check on us and charmed us with his knowledge of the family’s history and the gorgeous glass corks that Whitehall uses for a couple of their wines.

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I kept trying to figure out how I could sneak one of these into my trunk…or swim in it. Either would have been acceptable.

Brix

After our amazing experience at Whitehall Lane, we moved on to Brix Restaurant and Gardens where we were escorted to the private Cottage Room.

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Pursey Galore was the first one in and she liked what she saw.

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The lovely Lori, of In Pursuit of Martha Points, dreamed up and spearheaded Project Purse and Boots. She kicked off our luncheon with a bit of information about what we’re trying to accomplish and then sang for her supper. Okay, not really, but she did delight us all with her lively rendition of Hey Big Spender as we passed the purse around for donations. (Thank you so very much, Lori! )

Cheryl and Nichole

The lovely Cheryl (L), from Mommy Pants, was our guest of honor for the day. Look at that beautiful smile!

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To my left, you see that the gorgeously pregnant Amy (far R), from Diary of a Madwoman, is either napping or seriously considering stealing my bread.

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We were thrilled to have Courtney (L) from Cupcakes and Wine and Kristy from She Just Walks Around With It, Promtacular, and partner at Clever Girls Collective, who really isn’t playing charades, even though it looks as though she is signaling for a touchdown.

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What more could we have asked for but to be greeted with more wine?

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Brix didn’t miss a detail…notice the customized menus.

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Though my first inclination was to grab a spoon to eat this butter, I resisted the urge.

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Grilled salmon with creamed spinach and green lentil vinaigrette.

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Chicken breast with creamy farro and chanterelle mushrooms.

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The most amazing, little details.

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Irene (L) from Creative Ways and Playful Days and Stephanie (R) from Mommy vs. Madness.

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Courtney, with a happy, wine-induced smile.

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Amy, the spokeswoman for beautiful pregnancies.

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Kristy (L) and Helen Jane (R), from her blog of the same name.

Amy, Flat Amy and Eileen

Eileen (R), from Bringing up Bronwyn, with Amy (L) (and flat Amy from Baby Baby Lemon).

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Tara (L) from Bite the Bedbugs and Melissa (R) from Confessions of a Dr. Mom.

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Cheryl, Lori, and me.

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From left to right, me, Amy, Paige, from Slightly Off-Balance, and Jennifer, from Today According to Me.

And since a girls’ get together wouldn’t be complete with a discussion about shoes, I give you…

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…pregnant (!) Amy’s red smokin’ hot boots…

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…my bejewelled shoes…

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…and Courtney’s super cute, Pursey Galore-inspired flats.

If I thought I could have gotten away with it, I would have never parted with Pursey. She was so happy with me. We had something special. But alas, I had to send her on because she has a far busier social calendar than I ever will.

Project Purse and Boots is dear to my heart, as Craig’s mother passed away this past summer from a series of small strokes. Please, if you have a moment, pop over and see the amazing and selfless work that Lori is doing for the American Stroke Association.

I would also like to send a huge thank you to Doug, from Whitehall Lane Vineyards, and Matt, from Brix, who were truly lovely to work with on this project. I couldn’t have pulled this whole event together without their guidance and partnership.

All photo credit goes to Eileen and Lori.

Say That You’ll Be True…

When I was a young child, even younger than Katie is now, my mother would sometimes invite me into the living room to dance with her in the evenings after supper or on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

She would choose our favorite album for dancing, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle. Ever so carefully, she would slide the large disc from its cardboard sleeve, leaving behind the white paper lining. After lifting the lid on the record player, she would gently place the 33 on the turntable and pick up the needle.  I can still remember the way the needle sounded when she slowly lowered it onto the vinyl album…the slight scratch of the needle as it found its way into the groove, beginning with our favorite song, Suzie Q.

My mother, then a young woman in her mid-twenties, would stoop down and swing me up into her arms and spin and dance with me to the music. She was truly beautiful and her smile was brighter in those moments than I remember seeing at any other time in my childhood.

Those moments were ours alone.

Oh Suzie Q

Oh Suzie Q

Oh Suzie Q Baby I love you

Suzie Q

Swirl, dip, hug, and the reprieve from any sadness.

like the way you walk

I like the way you talk

I like the way you walk I like the way you talk

Suzie Q

Spin, dip, giggles, and the beauty of forgetting the things that we didn’t have.

Oh say that you’ll be true

Oh say that you’ll be true

Oh say that you’ll be true and never leave me blue

Suzie Q

Squeals, dip, I love yous, and the belief that life was good.

Oh say that you’ll be mine

Oh say that you’ll be mine

Oh say that you’ll be mine Baby all the time

Suzie Q

Twirl, dip, neck kisses, and the hope that she would never release me.

Oh, Suzie Q

Oh, Suzie Q

Oh, Suzie Q, Baby, I love you

Suzie Q

Spin, dip, hair stroking, and the feeling that I was the center of the world.

I like the way you walk

I like the way you talk

I like the way you walk, I like the way you talk

Suzie Q

Belly laughs, dip, gasps for air, and prayers that the moment could last forever.

Oh, Suzie Q

Oh, Suzie Q

Oh, Suzie Q, Baby, I love you

Suzie Q

Hugs, snuggles, cuddles on the couch in a heap, and the yearning for just one more song.

Just one more song.

Those small moments with my mother sustained me through the rough times and offered a beautiful contrast to sadness.  They showed me a happiness that made me hopeful about this world.

Thank you, Mom.

This post an excerpt from my book and is in response to a prompt that invited us to write a piece of work using a song as inspiration.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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