Circle of Life


On Memorial Day, we went to a family cookout. In case we soon forget, it was ONE.HOT.DAY. 94 degrees in the shade and a small breeze.

My mom’s side of our family is pretty extended, my grandparents had 7 children (plus their spouses) who all have 2 or more kids (plus some stepkids), half of which are married and have kids (I think E is great grandkid #19?). I remember back in the day, even a few years ago, when almost all of us living in PA would get together for family functions. We wouldn’t think twice about stuffing 50 of us in a tiny living room just to be together. I was so jealous of these times when I lived in SC, so i really miss my cousins who can’t always join us due to distance. 

But recently, things have changed a bit.  I am one of the lucky ones who has a spirit of forgiveness (it goes both ways) and loves to be around my family as much as I can, so I put opinions and comments aside, keep my irritating behaviors to a minimum, and always enjoy moments spent with family. That might be cleaning a car, eating fresh popped popcorn at sunset, enjoying a shopping trip, or just being together. I try to manage time with family because it’s what feels good and right for me.

Also on Monday, we went to the viewing for a cousin’s father. The Circle of Life has been on my mind lately, and those moments really touched me. I don’t want to be making amends at someone’s funeral, I want to live in the moment and enjoy it! Like the unspecting fly the spider caught on Monday, we too never know how much time we have. That’s why I want to spend quality time with people I care about and those that care back.

I know I have talked about this before, but being a “Blue” personality, I have intense emotions and desire harmony. For me, that’s letting my kids now what love is and putting them in safe, loving environments. Luckily, I have a family that loves to love. We may not see each other all the time, but we do our best. This weekend we will be lucky enough to see people from both sides of my parents’ family, and that makes me happy. We are also excitedly counting down the days ’til we see our sc family.

Family is everything to us, and if you are part of our family, thank you for being there. The circle of life can happen at any moment, and I hope that when it happens to me, 99% of you have beautiful memories of me.

Sending love, hugs, and blessings to those who have recently lost someone they love, especially our cousins. <3

A Happy Anniversary

Tonight I would like to take an extra moment to wish G’s parents a happy 31st anniversary! This photo is from our wedding about 2 years ago, and G and I agree we cannot wait until we can say that we have been married for 31+ years.

Mom shared a great link to an article dedicated to “Fascinating Interracial Couples” which got me thinking. . .It’s only been 43 years since Interracial Marriage was made legal in all states. . . and even less since it has been enforced. Personally, as a woman raised by parents who are raised me to be “down with diversity”, I never realized this was such a big issue, but unfortunately it still is.

Our parents (both sets) are great role models for the institution of marriage. Mine have been married 29 years and G’s 31. I know their faiths have been a major player in their longevity. They are strong and love wholeheartedly, unconditionally. What great love to look up to, right?

I hope that my children can grow up in a world where there aren’t questions or stares. Early in our relationship, I remember specifically a time when G and I got stared at in a Subway in Myrtle Beach. It annoyed me something fierce [that there really were still people who were close-minded] and made me want to hold him tighter [which probably would’ve made them stare more]. Thankfully, that’s never too much of an issue here in the ‘Burgh even though we are still a minority of couples…but sadly, I think married couples are also underfire so much today that married couples can even be a minority.

Together, G and I will be raising our children to love unconditionally and to love those around them, too. What a great world it will be when we truly can all live up to MLK Jr’s dream!

Moms of Daughters, a guest post by Mrs ‘Ski

Today’s guest post is from my dear Chatham friend and mama-to-be, Mrs. ‘Ski of Oh Yeah? Roger That!. Enjoy!

After we announced we were expecting, the very first person to predict a baby girl was Little Miss A. You may not know this, but A has a successful track record of predictions, but the majority of our circle was leaning towards a son. B, better known as the author of this blog, made sure to remind me of Little Miss A’s prediction just before our third attempt at a sonogram. After the tech’s announcement and the excitement settled a bit, I thought of that prediction and how B and I would soon be in the same boat, the mother of a daughter.
Of course when we announced it was a girl, comments poured in about how cute girls’ clothes are, how easy they are to shop for, etc. While all very true, there is so much more to the relationship of a daughter and her mom, sticky, complex things that scare the bejeezus outta me, things you don’t think about right away unless you were expecting a boy. : ) I think I’ll feel better if I get it all out there. Here we go.

The how do I style a 3 y/o’s hair breakdown.
The I want my Daddy meltdown.
The I had a bad dream snuggle.
The you have to stop spoiling her talk.
The first bra shopping trip.
The your attitude is out of control and you are 11 talk.
The OMG you’re too young to have your period talk.
The how can you send 35,000 texts in one month talk.
The black nail polish really? talk.
The you can’t wear that in public talk.
The why is that your profile photo??
The we can’t afford that talk.
The sex talk.
The self respect talk.
The birth control talk.
The after-prom activities lecture.
The your boyfriend doesn’t deserve you talk.
The its called a breakup because its broken talk.
The her boyfriend isn’t much different than you, Dear talk.
The women’s colleges are great options talk.
The 80/20 wedding obligation talk.
The honeymoon is over first marital fight talk.
The life will never be stable and easy talk.
The she’s just like me realization.

And B and I may phone a friend for help on any or all of these, but its all for the love of daughters.

Mr. Ski and the ‘Lil Burghers…Mrs. Ski just told us she was expecting when we took this photo, so we have spared her the photo. 😉

Being An Aunt–Guest Post by ‘Rin

Since I will be away for work this week, I asked family and friends to help out. Today’s post is brought to you by Greg’s youngest sister, Nurin. Thank you for helping out this week!

Being an aunt is incredible. Having these amazing little people who are your family and who you love endlessly is so much fun. They are the cutest and I get to show everybody pictures of them all the time, and it’s great.

But being an absent aunt is really hard.

It’s so hard to form a relationship when I am lucky if I get to see them once a year. And that was before I joined the Peace Corps and came to Morocco.

Watching them grow up so fast only through pictures can be sad and frustrating.

Not knowing what is going on in their lives, the milestones that they’re passing, their likes and dislikes, it is not ideal.

But thanks to the great parents they have who document so much with pictures, blogs, facebook updates, I still feel like I get a part in their lives.

So, thank you B & G for the two little miracles you’re raising, being their aunt is one of my favorite aspects of my life.

Oh, and GO HEELS! 🙂

I will never live this down…but it was worth having Nurin post!

Guest Blog Post–Eliz

Today is a guest post from my friend Eliz (of SC and Yup, we’re having twins). Enjoy!

Since Bex and Greg are off on a mini Vegas vacay, i thought i’d share my thoughts on the Willis(north) 4.
I’ve known becky through 5 years and we’ve both changed immensely. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, but we’ve both made it through, and are better people for it. I’ve seen Becky change the most since Greg entered her life. They are truly a perfect pair. Arianna and Evan have just made their circle of love bigger, better, and stronger. Here’s what I’ve learned from them:

1. No matter the situation, there is ALWAYS some sort of resolution.

2. Where there is family, there is <3.

3. You choose your own family.

4. Becky and I CAN keep each other sane, through the trials and error of mommyhood, even from 10+ hours away.

5. We both love a good deal and will search it out. (though Bex is definitely the couponing queen!)

6. Children make great couples even better!

7. You don't need lots of $$ to have fun!

8. Moms cannot survive without our smart phones! hehe

9. Our husbands are the GREATEST!


Hope Becky and Greg are enjoying their vacay and the kids are having a blast with the grandparents!

Me and Eliz before we were mommies and when I was a southern gal she was still a newlywed. Wow how time flies!

Going Green, Giving Back

S, my lil E, and A with the magazines

The past few weeks, my cousin’s school was collecting magazines and catalogs as a benefit/contest for their school. My parents sent us with (what felt like) 100 pounds of magazines, so I needed a way to get them into the school. One day last week, Greg and the kids met my cousin and I to tote the goods she and I had collected into the school. We took two big loads of magazines in! It was such a pleasure to see the kids in the class super excited by the donation. Turns out, their class was just behind another class and ended up winning with over 1000 pounds of magazines turned in! What a great way to benefit the earth and a school. I love to expose the kids to giving back opportunities as much as I can, and I think this is another great cause and memory for Ari and Evan to be part of. Way to go, first grade!

Pacifiers Go to Heaven

This weekend, my little boy got a ‘present’ from his cousin E—a set of binkies in a tin. He brought him the tin and said, “Baby Evan, these are for you, for forever.” I asked E if he was serious, and if the pacifiers were just for the play date or really for forever. He yelled, “FOREVER!”

E’s mom has been trying to get him off the pacifier for awhile now, and it seems like “giving” the pacifiers to Evan has broke his attachment. Amazing! It was all on his terms, so even more glorious of a win for them. How did it happen? The dentist told him to find a baby he loved and give them to the baby. So E boxed up his pacifiers and “gave” them to my Evan. It’s been almost a week now, and he is going strong, how awesome! I am going to have to remember this trick if we ever have an issue with Evan—he has been off and on with his Ni Ni since I gave it to him in efforts to save my nursing, so hopefully we can break him before he realizes it’s gone.

But the cutest part of this story? Little kids always hear what they want, and E thinks that when anyone talks about Heaven they are talking about Evan and vice versa. So next time you see E and ask him where his pacifier went, he might just tell you they went to Heaven. I might be biased, but the boy is right. 😉