Friday, April 29, 2011

Aja and the Acceptance

If you've met me, remember me from high school, or seen any pictures of me, you know I am not a fashion plate nor am I a glamour girl.  I almost never wear makeup, I blow dry my hair for special occasions only (if I have time), and my manner of dress is not what most would consider trendy (or, on some days, flattering).  Through the years, though, I have tried just about every hair style I could, from a wicked pixie cut my junior year of high school to long, straight locks right before our wedding, and everything shy of a mullet in between.  When I have an itch to cut my hair, it usually results in a major change, usually cringe-worthy, and rarely well-thought out.  I don't know why I always gravitate towards new haircuts when I am searching for something new, but that's me, I guess.

Anyhow, the itch came up the other day just as Mollie was using my hair as both a leash and a rope swing.  I looked in the mirror and saw a rat's nest atop my head, dangling locks of semi-wavy hair dusting about my shoulders, and I began to long for something new.  Something better than what I had.  I envisioned a short haircut, or maybe chin-length, who knows?  The point is, and most close to me agreed, what I had was not working.

Which is what I told Aja (pronounced "Asia"), the hair stylist I went to see about my mop.  I liked Aja immediately; from the mess of curls atop her head to her effortless style and demeanor, she looked the part of the hip hairstylist I needed to fix my hair issues.  I was excited to have fashionable, style-laden hands ready to sculpt my coif, and tried very hard to control my glee as we walked back to her station.  I did not expect what happened next.

"I just LOVE your hair!" Aja proclaimed.

Huh?  What did she just say?

"Really, it's awesome.  What do you want to do with it?"

"Well, it just feels so messy all the time.  My young daughter likes to use it as a leash/swing and ends up pulling out a lot of it.  And it's just ... it just doesn't look right.  It isn't working for me," I replied.

Aja smiled knowingly, and spent the next hour or so convincing me that my hair was awesome just as it was.  Yes, she reshaped it and added some gradual layers, told me about some new hair products to try, and cringed when I told her what shampoo I used (Suave, thank you very much).  But what she taught me about my hair was even more amazing.

For certain, most days it will be a little wonky in one way or another; I am not one of those blessed with consistent hair.  But rather than shape it into something it isn't - a perfectly smooth, sleek coif, impervious to all humidity and weather conditions - I should embrace the wave, embrace the imperfect.  She taught me that I do indeed have wash-and-wear hair; it's just not perfect.  And that's okay.  If I go into the day knowing and accepting that my hair won't be perfect, I can love it for what it is.  It is beachy waves tousled about, ready to fly in the breeze or entertain my children.  If I have the time and inclination, I can blow it dry - either diffusing my waves or using a round brush to straighten it out.  I have versatility at my fingertips.  But the best part of it is that I can just let it be, and it will be okay.  It will be me.

So, though I've had several people say, "What did she do, exactly?" I can look in the mirror and see exactly what she did.  The subtle layers, the curl encouragement if you will, are there, but more importantly I see the smile on my face when I know that what I've got is just perfect for me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Aunt Christine's Birthday Party

After spending a lovely afternoon outside, the kiddos and I headed out to help celebrate Christine's birthday.  We grabbed a delicious dinner at Carrabba's then went back to my parents' house for presents, cake, and ice cream.

Of course, my dad was at a meeting for work, so we waited for him to get home before we started most of the festivities.  Mom and Christine kept Baylor preoccupied by playing "match game" (a.k.a., Memory).

He got pretty excited when he'd find a match.

Like an adorable little vulture, though, he circled around her presents like he was stalking his prey.  Apparently he was certain she'd let him help open them.

Mollie kept busy by carrying around my husband's shoes.

She even went over and gave Bryson an impromptu hug and some of her time.

Baylor was pretty excited to see my dad come home; in part because he loves him and wants to spend time with him, and in part because he knew that we could now start opening presents.

He waited patiently for her to open the first card.  Mollie helped illustrate just who the birthday girl was.

Then they decided to invade Aunt Christine's space.  Lucky for them, she's an amazing aunt and took it in stride.

Mollie thought the whole thing was hilarious.

Then she decided to go in for the snuggle.

The slightly overreaching snuggle, as it turns out.

Baylor appropriated Aunt Christine's new muffin tin as his own and filled it with the faux lemons in Oma's coffee table centerpiece.

Later he used the pot holders we gave her as a reason to put the pan of lemons in the "oven".

Mollie kept busy checking out the bag o' tissue Mom had made.

Baylor lost himself in gift-opening concentration ... just look at that chin tilt!

Christine got an adorable apron!

And an awesome clock ... that Baylor took upon himself to open without permission.

Before opening each gift, Baylor would ask Aunt Christine what it was.  As she pointed out time and time again, "That's the whole point of the gift opening exercise!"

While Aunt Christine chatted on the phone with Aunt Cynthia, ...

... Baylor went to work putting candles in her cake.

He wanted nine total and it just so happened that that's all Oma had!

She got the sweetest gift of all from Baylor: a smile while we sang her "Happy Birthday".  As you'll recall, he usually cries through that song, so this was a vast improvement!

Then he helped her blow out her candles.

Mollie seemed to enjoy the cake ...

... but only when I would feed it to her.

Baylor, on the other hand, had no trouble diving directly in and enjoying every last morsel of his cake.

And here we all are (sans Dad, who is taking the picture)!

We had a great time helping Christine celebrate!  Thank you, dear sister, for letting us help you celebrate and for being such a fantastic sister and aunt!  We love you so much!

Little Giggles

She's a funny one, my little girl.  Mollie started laughing at my sister's birthday party the other day, so I whipped out my camera and got a video of it.  Enjoy!

Mollie and Mommy's Spring Time

Mollie has been waking up early some mornings, and it throws off our schedule quite a bit.  On Monday, for example, she started falling asleep at lunch time and had to be put down for her nap at about 1:00, at least an hour earlier than usual.  And while she slept for two hours, that still left her awake a full hour before Baylor got up from his nap.

We rarely have this kind of time together, so I tried to take advantage of it as best I could.  She wanted to snack, so I let her sit in Baylor's booster seat.  She was beyond geeked, let me tell you!

Who doesn't love a Goldfish cracker snack while jauntily resting your leg on the counter?

After her snack, we loaded up the car to prepare to leave for my parents' house as soon as Baylor woke up.  Then we decided to explore a little since the weather was so divine and flowers were blooming all around the front yard.

Mollie actually kept her sunglasses on the entire time we were outside!  Amazing, huh?

The hyacinth smelled so wonderful!

As I took some pictures of the flowers, I had set Baylor's monitor on the porch next to Mollie.  She, ever in love with her brother, took the responsibility of holding onto his monitor and keeping him close at hand.  We looked at this.

We looked at that.

And, of course, we paused for a chat and a smile.

She only wanted to go for a ride in the red wagon, but our monitor doesn't have that great a range so I tried to distract her by taking her over to our maple tree to teach her about trees.

We felt the bark and looked at the mossy stuff growing on it.  She'll probably like it more in the fall when the leaves are on fire with color.

After walking around a little more and exploring the breezeway ...

... we headed inside.  Mollie, much to my shock, started crying when we went inside and protested with all her might.  But Baylor was up and we had to get going, so we just kept moving and she was okay with it.

I have a feeling, though, that I have a little outdoorsy girl on my hands.  Hooray!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Antics

As I'm sure you all know, Easter was this past Sunday.  We don't celebrate it much other than to get together with family and eat a big meal for lunch instead of dinner.  But it's fun and so nice to see family we don't see often.

Our day started out like most Sundays do.  Baylor and Bryson enjoyed the paper together.  For some reason, Baylor was particularly interested in the weather section.

Mollie tried actual apples for the first time and really seemed to enjoy them.

She seemed moderately excited about having a bow in her hair, though.

Baylor was happy to smile for the camera.

After breakfast, we got all packed up and headed to my parents' house.  Once my grandparents arrived, Mollie and Christine opened some birthday presents (belated and early respectively).  Mollie got this cool crown from my Aunt Peggy, as well as the adorable jacket.  The little girl loves clothes, what can I say?

Baylor was less than impressed with her new presents but enjoyed sitting next to GG.

Then, as most one year-olds do, Mollie took some time out to enjoy the wrapping and tissue paper.

She was a total chatty Cathy on Easter, even gabbing us up while she was trying to stay on the little stool she dragged out to sit on.

And she seems to be getting over her stranger anxiety a little quicker these days.  By the middle of the day, she actually walked over to my grandpa and let him hold her for a half minute!  Trust me, this is quite the accomplishment.

After the kids finished their naps, we headed outside to enjoy the beautiful spring weather.  Mollie got to do some bubble mowing.

She was beyond delighted, let me tell you!

Mom blew some bubbles for Baylor to chase after ... though it kinda looks like the bubble is chasing him!

Then it was my turn to be the bubble blower.  Had this one stayed whole I would have considered myself a bubble pro right off the bat.  Sadly, it burst before it left the wand.

Besides a key lime pie I made for the day, we got to enjoy some beyond-delicious lemon macarons my sister made.

Perfect consistency and a refreshing lemon filling.  Nice work, dear sister!

Baylor, however, preferred an M&M cookie, his personal favorite.

Mollie absconded with my dad's right shoe.  It was awesome!

We had a great time and so enjoyed seeing my grandparents!  It was a lovely day for one and all!