Watching him take off has been incredible. He literally rode it out of the store.
(And yes, those are the world's biggest training wheels, but we have a tremendously long gravel driveway and that bike can't even think about wobbling).
Today is my 34th birthday. Damn, that is old. It was a day at home for us. A half hour of false fire alarms didn't wake this little girl, but her brother and I finally woke her up to go outside and play. (Her pillow is oh-so-useful).
We had a little Face Time with Ammy (apparently she was simultaneously speaking on her cordless phone from 1995).
My heart quickened the other night when I got a text asking if I'd seen the news. We lived in Norman, just south of Moore, for the first three years we were married. The people of Oklahoma...they are unbelievably kind. They accept military families as their own, knowing that their time there will be short-lived. They bring you into their communities, their homes, their hearts. I will probably never return to the state, but I will always have a spot for it in my heart (and friendships made there that will last a lifetime).
One of those friends, Laura (or "Nurse Laura" as most of my friends know her) and I had dinner the night after the tornado. She gave me this, heavy-hearted, as an early birthday present, something she had ordered awhile ago. (It's from here if you are interested and they are donating $10 of each Oklahoma print sold to the Red Cross).
Then, just a few minutes ago, one of the other friends I made at my very first job in Oklahoma who called me (and still calls me) her, "Favorite Yankee," donated the gift that moved Team Moustache to $1,500, tripling our fundraising goal.
...thank you for your kind comments about Charmer. I always knew she was more than our dog, your comments always confirm that.
The last of my college friends was married on Friday afternoon. I traveled up to Philly to celebrate with some of my closest friends and couldn't quite grasp that it's been almost 16 years since we first met.
There are lots of babies, babies to come, babies babies babies. We ended the night early, our ears ringing from the band.
The next morning I woke up and met my mom at Terrain.
Ever walk in somewhere and feel so overwhelmed because you want one of everything?
Yeah, that feeling.
On the way home, I drove by my first place of employment. For those of you have heard me tell the story about how I worked at the very first Rita's water ice, here she is:
(I was stopped, don't worry). For some reason, there is no plaque commemorating my employment. Hmph.
On Sunday, we drove back up to Pennsylvania as a family to celebrate my baby cousin, Devin, graduating from college. It is hard to type those words. The day she was born is one of my first vivid memories.
And we celebrated the fact that the three of us could be together.
Since moving, we have a lot of new people in our lives. People who wonder about our frequent references to Charmer. She's the name of our wifi. The art on our walls. The golden retriever ornaments on the Christmas tree. She's my username on Instagram. So what do I tell them?
Her name was Charmer and she was our dog.
She was obsessive about tennis balls.
She was much more into people than other dogs.
She had a light pink dot on her nose and a big black spot on her tongue.
She was the most popular guest blogger I've ever known.
She treated begging like a professional sport.
She was just starting to get to know her little boy, Charlie.
She has been gone for three years, today, and I can still remember how that clump of fur I'm grabbing felt.
She has been gone for three years, today, and this pillow sits in our new family room, in our new house, in our new town that she would not know. And we still call it the, "Charmer pillow."
Her name was Charmer and she was our dog. And we miss her, more than you'll ever know.
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
I have a really easy job. I get to ask people to give money to a really great cause. But what makes it even closer to my heart is that its a cause that has changed my child's life. (I only use italics when I'm serious, folks).
When Charlie started to babble, we heard one sound:
Last summer, we found Radcliffe Creek School in Chestertown,
Maryland. The school is a special place for students with learning
differences, and to our benefit also had a preschool! It has almost been
a year since we made our first trip here and Charlie now not only has
words, he has sentences. Yesterday, he told Clara she was, "Making a mess." (She was).
He is learning language through his peers (now his friends) and also
through his sessions with one of the School’s speech therapist. I know it’s hard to believe
that a word like, “Moustache,” can bring you to tears, but when you
worry that your child will never talk, it does.
He still has a long way to go. His speech is different. But that is what is great about Radcliffe Creek. He is not compared. He is learning that it’s OK when people are different, and actually, it’s better.
But the School needs help. In order to continue changing children's lives, private donations are imperative.
The School has its biggest fundraiser at the end of this month, the Run for Radcliffe. It is the biggest source of income for the School's financial aid fund. I don't run (unless I'm being chased) and Ken is a retired long-distance runner, so our family set up a ghost team, basically to raise money so the education Charlie is receiving can be available to all children who need it.
Our goal is $500 but I'm not-so-secretly hoping to blow that out of the water. Would you consider helping me do this? Click on the button below to learn more or to donate today. Any amount can truly make a difference.
I know all the four year-olds appreciated my calligraphy.
Invitation was from here (awesome to work with). I buy all my vintage stamps from Bid Start - the selection is unbeatable. And let me tell you, vintage stamps come in some of the most unique packaging you'll ever see.
The invitation was pretty much the beginning and the end of any kind of theme because we had the party at a local kid's gym, where I'm convinced all birthday parties should be held. We were in and out within two and a half hours AND I didn't have to wash the floors.
Charlie's shirt is from here. I've gotten him one every year so far. Ken asked if he will have one when he's 18. I looked at him, in all seriousness, and said, "Of course."
A lot of Charlie's new friends came, but some of his oldest too (and some of my oldest too, including Mercer and Molly Marine, babies in tow).
Oh, the train theme continued with the cupcakes, I suppose. Imagine the Island of Sodor, made out of Cool Whip. God Bless Acme.
(That's Ken's finger in the bottom right in case anyone's wondering. And my mom behind Charlie).
Clara liked the cupcakes just fine too.
The next day, we drove all the way to the Island of Sodor for a ride on Thomas with one of Charlie's friends. Charlie went last year, but this year he was mesmerized.
Hmm, or he might have been watching the police escort. It was Baltimore, not really Sodor, folks.
Sweetest girl. And yes, I'm wearing my Stitch Fix shirt.
Monday was Charlie's actual birthday (yes, it was like the Royal Wedding with events from Friday-Monday).
It was a school day for us, and so fun to be there with him as his class celebrated.
That night we had three presents for Charlie, and this was his last. We now officially own the entire Island of Sodor.