350 pictures later, Brinnley's first birthday was a hit. How could it not be? Look at this face?
Tell me how a party with those cheeks could be anything but a smash?
It was also new camera's first big outting. I was a little concerned, so I brought the Ol' Pentax with me. Both cameras played nice and had a grand time together.
Happy Birthday, Brinn!
Thanks for letting me join in on the fun; you're a total peach.
We're so excited. So happy. Nervous about the future, but at the same time knowing what this means and coming close to tears each time.
It took us a long time to get to this point.
And it was a big leap of faith to take for two RTC (resistant to change) people, who like their lives the way it is, to make such a move.
Here it is.
The big announcement:
We've bought a new camera.
Here are some of her first pictures.
Nothing earth shattering, but I know the difference.
Some families have strong gene pools. You've seen them before. I'm sure of it. Where Mom and Daughter are one fanny pack away from being identical and you literally swear the brothers must be twins because no other explanation is possible. You know what I'm talking about, right? Tap your computer screen twice if the answer is yes.
Do you come from one of those families?
Because I would say I do not come from one of those families.
I mean, really? Do we look like a family or more like a collection of hair color samples for the new Loreal line?
And have you ever met sisters so clearly from the same gene pool?
(don't you love my long, stringy 2007 hair?)
Can you pick up on my sarcasm? I'm laying it on Jiff-peanut butter thick.
Chuck's family on the other hand. We'll call it Gene Pool Dominance, example numero uno.
It is startling to see Chuck, his Dad, and his uncles together. I find it painful because it makes my head spin. 6'4" 150 something x 4 = GENE POOL WHAT? (Sorry Mark, I'm playing Sesame Street on this picture. FYI: You are the thing that doesn't belong here).
In college, the first time Chuck's Dad came 'round, the dorm hall was a flutter with activity because it was like seeing Chuck's future and everyone wanted a glimpse. Sometimes, I think Ladd is magical because he must be Future Chuck sent to us from another time. At our wedding, Chuck's uncles were congratulated more than the Father of the Groom because no one really knew who was who and I couldn't blame them. "Who's Chuck's Dad?" "Tall, gray hair, skinny." That really narrows it down.
So here's the thing.
We got Life Insurance, you know, and we got the paper work back on the premium to pay. Guess who didn't qualify for the Super Preferred Cheap O'Rific Price because "weight to height ratio indicates health concerns"? I'll give you hint. It wasn't Jack.
Be honest: If I sent in this picture of his family do you think it would clear up the "malnourishment" concerns?
Because we are fighting a serious gene pool here and no amount of ding dongs, drum stick ice cream cones, or strawberry shortcake is going to fix it (all the following items have been consumed by El Skinny in the last 24 hours).
Kinda makes me wonder about ol'2053. Crap shoot like my side? Or absolute certainty like Chuck's?
It's summer vacation. Don't judge me and my extra-curricular activities.
Anyhoo, I was less than thrilled with the service I received. You must have won the lottery, because lucky you -- you get to hear all about it.
Dear Make-up Girl,
Today's make-over wasn't exactly what I expected. I mean, it was exactly what I paid for (free), but still. I picked you because of the quality of your material, because I prefer Sephora makeup, but it just didn't scream "professional".
First of all, you used a glitter eye shadow all over my face.
I know that I'm no professional make-up artist, but I'm reasonably sure you were applying the shadow in all the wrong places.
Then, you put powder on me with an eye shadow brush.
Now, again, I don't want to butt in, but isn't powder a starting item? And don't you need a bigger brush?
At least you added more glitter eye shadow to my chin to re-smooth the surfaces.
What got me in the entire experience was that I'm pretty sure that "I" (the customer) was supposed to be the one getting the make-over. Look, all I'm saying is that the girls at Clinique would never dab a little on themselves as a top off mid-make over.
Just check your handbook. See what it says about turning the brush on yourself. Get back to me on that.
And the final end-all-be-all was the incident with the lotion.
Again, I don't want to harp on professionalism, but what would your manager think if she saw you with your head in the Ponds, no matter how funny it was?
I'm wishy-washy at this point if I'll recommend you to a friend.
All kidding aside, I do look stunning right now.
My hands don't smell like Goldfish Crackers anymore.
I haven't looked down at my pants today and wondered if that was my booger or someone else's.
And I didn't have to wait for a "quiet hand" in the last 48 hours because I'm not trying to teach mathematics and manners all in the same lesson.
I get to use the loo when I want to now. I don't have to wait for a bell.
I can have lunch when I'm hungry, not when it's my time.
I kept my cell phone on all day and actually returned texts in a timely manner.
No one cheered when I walked around the corner this morning at 8:55.
No one fought for my hand like it was a prized possession.
And no one bowled me over with a hug so full of love and appreciation that you actually wonder who those people are that could ever, ever, ever hurt a kid.
I miss them.
I miss my 18 friends.
I miss our inside jokes, because yes, you can have inside jokes with 7 year olds.
Everyone, EVERYONE, always says the best part of being a teacher is June, July, and August. It's true. We love our summer vacation. Whether you believe it or not, we earn our summer vacation because what we do is so physically demanding. I'm not going to toot my own horn, but [toot].
But it's sometimes a sad adjustment into summer vacation.
It's sad to abruptly stop seeing your co-workers each day. To stop having lunch together. To stop 10 month long conversations because you have to go back to your "real life" when isn't work supposed to be real life?
It's sad to let go of your "clients". My kids are the closest thing I'll probably ever have to clients and you invest in your clients, you take every opportunity to help your clients grow, to help their careers flourish. You love them, unconditionally, because for 180 days they are yours and then one day the bell rings and they aren't. And it's hard.
Yes. I love my summer vacation.
I love sleeping in. I love doing all those little projects that I never could do otherwise, like ironing the napkins or steaming the couch. I love the gift of time.
But yesterday, and today, and maybe Monday, I'm a little sad.
I miss my friends.
Look, I get that most people say that childhood ends when you have kids or some crap like that, but kids are on the proverbial back burner for us so really, when am I old enough to know better or act better?
Lucky me, the Life Fairy left an answer under my pillow. The Life Fairy is a little bit like the Tooth Fairy except you don't have to leave any body parts and what you get back is traumatic and hurtful, not shiny and fun. I would kill for a quarter from the Life Fairy.
The Life Fairy's answer was simple: When Janelle (Chuck's perfect, adorable, and proof that kids in that generation can turn out right, 10 years younger cousin) graduates high school, I cannot be a kid. Seeing her graduate this weekend puts me somewhere on the old continuum between growing up and hecka old. Life Fairy reasoned and I begrudgingly agreed, that if the "adult world" is welcoming in Janelle then I need to relinquish the big toe I still have planted over the childhood line. Funny thing, Life Fairy, but I'm pretty sure 10 year olds like Janelle are not adults.
I will not, however, be changing my ways anytime soon to deal with said permanent residence in Adult. Despite Janelle's graduation (aka funeral of Susie's Childhood), I just don't feel I'm ready for Adult.
I will not stop shopping in the Junior's department of Nordstrom. I know you can't see all the dress here, but trust me it is a-dorable.
I will not stop taking jumping pictures because I think they are a riot and those babies are not aging. Unlike me, they are timeless.
I will not stop doing stupid party tricks outside with "the kids" rather than talking with party guests and "mingling" like a grown up.
I figure with my time as a teacher I can squeeze a few more years of sitting at the "kids table" with my extensive "knowledge" of the child species and ability to "handle" them.
This is me "handling" the children.
I am an amazing child handler.
We had a good run childhood. A good run. Keep in touch. HAGS.
side note: Chuck and I are arguing about HAGS. Please to discuss. Do you know what HAGS means? Anyone. Bueller?
double side note: Happy Graduation Janelle!! How you grew up and who allowed that is beyond me. You're 10, you have a bob hair cut, and cute blue glasses. But it's ok, really, because I kinda like being your friend better than a Big Cousin.
The guy who once cleaned my hairbrush and then (instead of throwing the hair away) fashioned a Hair Doll for me with a note that said "Your Welcome", he brought two people into the wedded world. This just screams responsible.
Who affixed a ship's wheel to our staircase.
Who picked Meatloaf as his big birthday dinner treat.
Who takes fruit cups and snack packs to work.
That guy officially, legally, forevermore, married two people and it appears this marriage will actually be upheld by the State of California. Is it possible to object, not to the marriage, but to the person marrying them? Would "speak now or forever hold your peace" have applied to misgivings about the officiant? What is etiquette here, Emily Post?
But regardless of how ridiculous I thought this was, I said it yesterday, I'll say it again. He did it perfectly which is still a little shocking.
Part of the deal for Chuck marrying Paul and Shiann was that I would write the ceremony. It was a struggle to write void of sarcasm, sans double entendres, and without so much lovey wuvey lip smack that Chuck could read it and still feel masculine. It also took everything in me not to copy the ceremony from Wedding Crashes. It was a one of life's greatest challenges.
I wrote. I erased. I edited. I rewrote. And Chuck practiced. And practiced. And practiced. I think the ol'Allisons didn't do too shabby on this one.
Just try and imagine Chuck, on a beach, actually for once being serious.
I may have gone picture happy. But oh well, I like a good wedding and I like a good couple and I like to see Chuck doing something I never, ever, in a million years thought I'd see.
A joint venture by the Allisons.
Special cannot begin to describe today.
Today in our lives to bear witness. Today in the lives of Paul and Shiann as they take life's greatest leap of faith. Together. Hand in hand.
Outwardly, today changes little. The world sees two people. Two people who have spent nearly a decade in love and who will continue to be in love tomorrow. They see two people who live, work, and breathe together.
This changes nothing.
And yet, it changes everything.
There's no more "will they, won't they", because they have.
No more "when is the right time?" Because it's now.
It's more than a name change.
It's a declaration only they can hear.
It's a change only perceptible in their hearts and minds.
"Your decision is my decision. Your life is my life."
All the questions have vanished. You are. Finally. And it is as it should be.
Paul and Shiann, remember today, cherish today, and may you never forget the feelings you have for each other right now and the love that brought you to this point.
Continue living as you've lived:
Showing each other respect, compassion and love.
Appreciating each other as unique and independent people.
Living for each other.
Congratulations, Paul and Shiann!
It was one of those quick loves, where you fall so fast you can hardly remember to breathe. They had everything in common, every reason to find love. Same ideals. Same beliefs. Same hobbies, humor, friends. It was fate.
Their names are Chuck and Paul.
They met in FLT 141: Principles of Flight and their friendship blossomed into one of the principle of their lives. That was 2001. If anything, they're more in love today then back then. In fact, that's exactly the case.
It's said that you get one great love in your life and I want desperately to believe that that's me in Chuck's life, but I'm not that naive. I know the score. Paul is Chuck's soul mate and fine by me. It kind of takes the pressure off when you know you don't have to be someone's end all be all.
Sometime in 2003, Chuck and Paul decided to aim for the ultimate friendship dream: could they get their girlfriends to even mildly enjoy each other's company for the greatest double dating possibilities of their lives? Years later, they would refer to this as The Great Experiment. Back then, it was dinner with That Paul Guy and his girlfriend. I never could remember her name.
We sat awkwardly in the restaurant booth. It was a friendship blind date but I didn't even have the eharmony 29 dimensions of compatibility to fall back on. I was apprehensive, but that's just because I hate meeting new people. I like consistency. RTC (resistant to change).
About 30 seconds into "This is Susie" "This is Shiann" and silence, the boys conversationally ditched us. Had we known, we would've have taken a picture to commemorate the moment. The first time of many, many times they dropped us like we were two-ts hott. It was at that exact moment that Shiann and I each did the huffy breath eye roll "pilot talk" sigh, and then we were instantly clicked.
And thank goodness we hooked or the last 7 years could have been really painful.
Instead, Chuck got the love of his life and I got a heckuva friend. We consider it a mutual win.
But those boys.
They are quite a pair.
Paul and Shiann agreed years ago on a small beach wedding long before he'd bought a ring and she'd said yes. It was just a matter of time before they tied the ol'knot. Still. They knew what mattered on their big day and who they'd want there. Parents. Siblings.
But of course. Paul had to have Chuck there.
So. Naturally. When the time came, Paul asked Chuck to marry him.
Reverend Chuck (this is what I've been keeping from you. I've known since November, but I had to wait).
Chuck married his best friend and his best friend's girl on a beach in Malibu on Monday.
Things I'm proud of:
1. Chuck didn't laugh once doing it.
2. I didn't laugh once during it.
3. He was legitimately good. I was legitimately impressed.
Perhaps it's because we took the necessary precautions.
Chuck got his giggles out at the "rehearsal dinner".
This is his Holy Snuggie Robe.
He fake married them first. "Mawrriage is what brwings us towgether towday."
But then, he really did it.
And he kinda nailed it.
I mean, it's still a little ridic. He married his best friend. He pronounced Paul and Shiann Husband and Wife by the powers vested in him by the state of California and UniversalLifeChurch dot com.
I made them take a best friend Married picture.
They were not happy with me.
They rarely are.
We did the wedding. We did the pictures. And normally, I guess, the bride and groom would take off for alone time. OR they'd pile into a car for alone time with Chuck and Susie and head to In and Out Burger.
That's just how it has to be. Shiann and I know the score. If we want to be a part of the boys' lives then this foursome is a package deal.
Not such a bad deal to wind up with.
Really. It could be worse.