Family photos! And no one's crying or grimacing!

09/27/2012 at 9:47 am | Posted in family, Friends | 10 Comments

I haven’t stopped staring at these photos since my friend Ann sent them to me a couple of days ago. I may have taken breaks to eat and sleep and work, but mostly, just staring.

Aren’t they beautiful? Just look at the girls. And even though Sophie wouldn’t smile if all the yogurt puffs in the world depended on it, these shots capture her little (big) personality so perfectly.

Now. To decide which ones to hang. All of them? Too much?

THANK YOU, Ann!! You are so very talented. We’re happy to be your guinea pigs anytime.

Silver lining

07/24/2012 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Friends, Motherhood | 12 Comments

I started the day on only five hours of sleep.

So I should have known it would go down like this …

Scrambling to get the girls out of the house for a playdate, I realize at the last minute that I haven’t packed water or hats or sunscreen. For a 90-degree day outside. I text my pal Cary to say we’re going to be late (shocker) and start grabbing sippy cups and snacks and hats while trying to keep Sophie from emptying the contents of the kitchen cabinets. Then with one leg out the door, toddler on my hip, diaper bag on my shoulder and Lily pulling on the hem of my shorts, it dawns on me that I forgot the sunscreen. Again.

I grab the first bottle I see and go.

At the park, the stroller won’t open. Sophie is hollering from her carseat while Lily troubleshoots the problem with me. I yank on the stroller this way and that, sweat pouring down my face. Finally, the little latch clicks into place and the thing stays upright.

We head to Lily’s favorite patch of sand and I start slathering the girls with the sunblock. Within seconds, bees appear. Two or three around each girl and a handful more hovering over the sunblock bottle perched on top of the diaper bag. Lily freaks. Sophie ambles around, happily unaware that she’s being trailed by bees.

I swat. Cary swats. The bees don’t let up. So we each grab some wipes and begin scrubbing little arms and legs. The bees aren’t fazed. I’m allergic and scared, so I wrangle the girls and head to the bathroom to wash off the sunblock. Where, of course, there are no paper towels. And the faucets only run for a few seconds before shutting off.

Sophie LOVES being in the sink, grabbing at the faucet, the soap dispenser, the front of my shirt (which, at this point, is so stretched out and drenched with sweat that it’s practically hanging open). I manage to wipe the both of them down and blot them dry with toilet paper.

So now we can’t be in the sun. At the park. In July.

Time for the carousel, I announce. Which, mercifully, is indoor and air-conditioned. We clamber aboard and it cranks up, spinning much more quickly than I’d imagined it would. I become dizzy. I focus on the girls’ faces and force back a growing wave of nausea. After the ride ends, I chug some ice-cold lemonade. And start to dry heave.

Cary, as sweet as she is, manages to usher us all to a bench in the shade, where I put my head in my hands while she assures me that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. After a few of Sophie’s goldfish crackers, the nausea subsides and I can stand up without seeing spots.

We take a train ride, then part ways for lunch and naps.

I manage to lie down with Lily that afternoon but still feel sick and can’t really fall asleep. My mind spinning with all the chores waiting for me, I force myself not to get up. Just be still and listen to your child sleep. This moment is a gift, I tell myself.

Then Sophie wakes early and screeches her discontent for the next two hours.

Finally, the silver lining.

In a desperate move to kill the last 30 minutes before bedtime, I decide to take Sophie for a stroll. As I’m strapping on her shoes, Cary rings the doorbell and hands me a CD with photos that take my breath away.

Just like that, the comedy of errors comes screeching to a halt and peace settles into my heart.

Giveaway: The Blooming Tulip

02/21/2012 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Bloggy, Friends | 8 Comments
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My friend Dana is one talented designer. We worked together at the university until she had her sweet baby boy, and now she’s a stay-at-home mom pursuing her own business, The Blooming Tulip. In other words, she amazes me.

She’s done all sorts of beautiful work for our little family. Pictured above is an adorable 6-month announcement all about Lily. And here is Lily’s first birthday party invitation. The “flame” on the candle is a piece of ribbon. So clever!

Dana also does all of the graphic design for Posy, including our logo, business cards, banner and web ads. Laura and I couldn’t be happier with it!

And today, just because I think Dana is awesome, we’re throwing a little Blooming Tulip party here on the blog. She’d like to give one lucky reader a set of custom stationery, much like the design below. You’ll get to pick your colors and theme — she has great options for everyone, even the kiddos and menfolk!

To enter this giveaway, just pay a visit to The Blooming Tulip and leave a comment below telling us which design you like best. We’ll announce the winner on Friday. xo!

Love to Zaria

08/30/2011 at 11:39 am | Posted in Friends, Love, Love to Zaria | 245 Comments
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I can’t write this without crying.

Just a few days after this photo was taken, my friend Hope (bottom right) went into labor at 21 weeks pregnant.

Twin girls were born.

Abigail was stillborn. And little Zaria, who survived the NICU for just more than a month, left this world on Sunday morning.

The emergency delivery happened while Hope and her family were on vacation very far from home. I just can’t imagine. The good thing is that they were visiting family, so they had a place to stay. And a car to borrow for countless trips to and from the hospital. But they’ve been displaced, with two kids who miss life back home.

The family had to break their lease here in North Carolina and move their belongings into temporary storage. They’ve also had to put their pets (including a flock of backyard chickens) into foster care.

But soon, they’ll return home, carrying an unimaginable burden of loss and grief.

Here is a photo of Zaria. You can see Hope’s hand beside her:

Hope for Zaria

Here is Hope holding Zaria for the very first time, on Wednesday:

And here is Luke giving his daughter some comfort:

In Hope’s words:

************

From the early ‘honeymoon’ week Zaria introduced us to what a strong little fighter she was. She faced chronic lung disease, grade 3 brain bleeds, and heart surgery within the first few weeks of her stay. Every time she met these obstacles we were all surprised because she didn’t want to show us any signs of her distress.

As she healed from each trauma we breathed a collective sigh of relief. We spent hours and hours at her bedside peering into a plastic womb and getting to know our littlest daughter. When possible we held her head and feet as she spread out her toes and caressed our fingertips as we sought to soothe her and her us.

Finally we met the scariest and biggest challenge, the life-threatening gut disease NEC. She didn’t show a sign as most babies do, but eventually a bloody diaper and failing body signals finally sent her back to the O.R. to have a little over half of her gut removed. We waited and loved her for just a very few days before more signs of NEC were detected. This was only showing on an x-ray, as she showed no signs of deterioration and was revisiting the characteristics we saw in that original ‘honeymoon phase.’

After holding such strong hope for our girl through all the ‘you must give up care’-s for her from the doctors, we could not allow our minds to fathom that she had more of the disease. The surgeon finally realized that it was futile to convince us as we saw the glimmer of hope in her words of “most likely will not live”. ‘Most likely’ can’t convince two loving parents who want with all their hearts for their daughter to survive the NICU and come home with them. The doctor realized she would have to show us proof.

After an exploratory bedside surgery and a photograph of the perforated gut and decaying tissue, we finally began to swallow our hope for saving our daughter.

Still she showed great health in her micro-preemie way. We were given free reign of holding her and spending hours of ‘kangaroo care,’ or skin-to-skin loving. On Saturday we starting noticing the signs of health deterioration and watched as she began to wince more in pain. We spent one last night holding, singing, loving, cherishing and getting to know our daughter.

On Sunday morning, August 28, we realized we should let go (I couldn’t use the term ‘withdraw care’ because what mother can really withdraw care of their child?)

Luke and I stood by her bedside singing lullabies and caressing and reassuring our daughter of what was to happen, how she would be released from the pain of her body and would always be loved by her family. We told her how countless people who had not even met her loved her and supported her journey. The nurse removed the tape holding on her breathing tube and Zaria quickly yanked it out of her mouth.

Finally! She had been trying to do that for a few days. I held her warm body to my bare chest and soothed her fears. She lay in Luke’s lap at sunrise by the window; and as her heart faintly beat she lightened our loads as she flew away home. We studied her beautiful face (looking much like her brother’s), stroked her reddish brown hair and held her little fingers.

How do we get through the countless moments of sadness, desire, uncertainty, and loss? One moment at a time.

We love, have always loved and will continue to love this sweet strong soul who honored our lives with her presence.

Her loving brother has proclaimed and taught us these words with each meal’s blessing: “LOVE TO ZARIA!”

************

I have felt so helpless, sending up prayers and hugging my children extra tight. Until a couple of weeks ago, when I realized I can help in a way that’s bigger than just me. I have a platform.

So here I am, asking you to help my friend and her sweet family.

To dig into your pockets and your hearts and help alleviate some of the stress of hospital bills, lost income and mounting expenses back home.

Some amazing people have rallied together to help me host this fundraiser. Their contributions and kindness toward perfect strangers are overwhelming.

Check out all of the wonderful items up for grabs in this giveaway:

Featured Sponsor:  Scandinavian Child // Svan high chair

Petunia Pickle Bottom // Touring Tote
North American Bear Company // $100 gift certificate
Jam Jewelry Designs // $100 gift certificate
Charm Design // FOUR zipper pouches (valued at $25 each)
Modern Nursery // $50 gift certificate (and, if at least $50 is spent over the original $50, the company will donate an additional 10% of the difference)
Emma Dear Vintage Goods // $50 gift certificate
chock full of … // custom name banner
Hot Pink and Sequins // set that includes headband, earrings, ring
Michelle Smith Designs // Watercolor flowers pillow
Sweetpea Prints // $40 gift certificate
Epona & Oak // new baby gift basket (includes Coconut Milk & Oatmeal Organic Baby Soap from Ablutions Organic Skin Care, Organic Shea Butter Baby Lotion from Ablutions Organic Skin Care, an adorable handmade Bunny from Mr. Sogs Creatures, and a 30-minute massage from Epona & Oak)
Roulette Vintage // $25 gift certificate + vintage apron
Brilliant Handmade // $25 gift certificate
The Blooming Tulip // set of personalized stationery
paperbird (available at Epona & Oak) // set of notecards
Marbles Kids Museum
// Family 4-Pack

For a $5 minimum donation, you could win one of these awesome prizes. My goal is to raise $1,000 for Hope and her family. You can make your donation by clicking on the “donate” link at the bottom of this post, or in the right-hand sidebar. All funds will go directly into a PayPal account for the family.

Leave a comment below letting us know that you’ve donated, and please provide your email address (which will not be displayed publicly) so that we’ll be able to reach you if you win.

For ONE extra entry in the giveaway, leave a comment below telling me one way you’re going to help spread the word about the “Love to Zaria” fundraiser. Think Facebook, Twitter, email. Link back to this post, and please use the #love2zaria hashtag.

Here’s a sample tweet: “Help a family in need and enter to win one of many cool prizes: {link} #love2zaria”

The giveaway will close at midnight EST on Tuesday, September 20. I’ll draw the winners at random and will announce here the following day, along with the grand total of your donations.

Thank you for opening your hearts.

Love to Zaria

Pig pickin'

07/10/2011 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Friends, snap happy | 2 Comments
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pig pickin

In North Carolina, barbecue is a noun. And the way it’s cooked depends on which part of the state you’re from. Vinegar in the East. Tomato-based in the West. To me, it’s all good.

But the best is when you get to eat it right off the cooker. At a bona fide pig pickin’.

My friend Catherine’s family has carried out this tradition for years, where Budweiser is the drink of choice, country music blares and family and friends crowd the picnic tables with casseroles, salads and desserts. Her dad, who sadly passed away last year, was a pig-cooking legend, and I always loved watching him in action.

For Saturday’s party, his son and sons-in-law cooked a fine pig, keeping alive the trade secrets passed only to them.

I honestly can’t tell you how much barbecue I ate, nor the number of portions of banana pudding that made their way into my belly. Lily’s favorite part was the chocolate cake. And Sophie enjoyed the ruckus, sleeping soundly most of the time.

It was darn near perfect.

pig pickin

Auntie Julie

06/28/2011 at 9:38 am | Posted in Friends, Love | 10 Comments
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You know that friend? The one who doesn’t think twice about wiping your kid’s butt or telling you that you have food in your teeth?

How lucky I am to have that friend.

The girls’ Auntie Julie flew down from Ohio to spend last week with us. And she jumped right into the trenches. She did every household chore you can imagine, not to mention entertain Lily and take many a shift on the rock-bounce-sway-Sophie rotation.

She is an angel. Our angel.

Just what the doctor ordered

03/15/2011 at 9:54 am | Posted in Friends, just plain fun, oh the places we go | 9 Comments
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Beach weekend with girlfriends = silliness, fun, rest, sunshine, food, more food and more silliness.

I’ll let the photos do the talking!

If I use too many more words, this post will be ridiculously long. And I want to spare you. Because I’m kind like that.

Christmas in the city

12/08/2010 at 2:54 pm | Posted in family, Friends, oh the places we go | 10 Comments
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This is my absolute favorite time of year to visit New York City. Even though it’s always eleven degrees and WINDY. But still. The lights, the tree, the Salvation Army bell-ringers. I love it all.

Julie and I have been making this trip every year, with few exceptions, for the last decade. This year’s trip was especially fun because we got to stay with our friend Simone, who is based there on a brief contract with work. And my college pal Kristen joined us in the city for a day, but for some crazy reason (because of course I had my camera with me at all times) I didn’t get a shot of her.

Here are highlights of our adventure, in words and photos. Because I’m too tired for many more complete sentences. What a wonderful weekend.

pancake “wrap” stuffed with eggs, bacon and cheese
the smell of roasting chestnuts
a Central Park stroll
the tree

colossal cupcake from the Cake & Shake food truck
getting stuck in the subway turnstile three times before I figured out how to do it right
snow flurries
construction at the World Trade Center site
a plain cheese slice at John’s Pizzeria
“Promises, Promises” (ESPECIALLY Sean Hayes)

DJ Pauly D sighting (I swear, it was him)
the Met
Nuts 4 Nuts
cheese tray and ice-cold coke in a mason jar at Cask
the lights and windows of 5th Avenue, like this one at Juicy Couture:

lovely, cozy dinner with my cousin Joe at Nizza
peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream
little blue lapel pin from the Met
Chinese take-out
Empire State building lit for Hanukkah

shopping
the beautiful skyline
laughing with old friends
coming home to my sweet family

Boone!

11/19/2010 at 11:21 am | Posted in Friends, just plain fun, oh the places we go | 8 Comments
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Our little adventure in the mountains was so much fun last weekend, I just had to share more photos. Kinda wishing we were heading back up there today. The weather was gorgeous — sunny and crisp — and tailgate was a blast. I love Boone. Walking around King Street, hitting up the candy barrel at Mast General Store, cheering for the ‘Neers at The Rock. Too fun!

Pictured above are the boys loading up the truck with tailgate provisions. And, here’s what happens when you give the Deputy your camera (there were about a half dozen shots in between these two):

Chilling at tailgate … just before burgers and dogs came off the grill:

I ate every bit of this. And only felt a little sick.

Isn’t he cute?

See all of us girls reflected in the Deputy’s sunglasses? This was Kelly’s idea. Love how it turned out.

Back at the cabin. Minutes before I hibernated on the couch.

Hope you have a happy weekend! I’m really looking forward to catching up with old friends tomorrow night. And …. stay tuned for a fun giveaway on Monday. Just in time for the holidays! xo!

Photography exhibit in Washington, D.C.

11/17/2010 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Friends | 6 Comments
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My very good friend Amy Joseph just launched her first color photography exhibit in Washington, D.C. Her black-and-white work is spectacular, and I can say firsthand that everything she shoots turns to gold. I will always be grateful to Amy for photographing our wedding, as well as Small Fry’s infant portraits.

If you live anywhere near Washington, you MUST check out Amy’s exhibit, “land lines,” at Busboys & Poets (2021 14th Street NW). There is a reception this evening at 5:30, and the exhibit runs through the end of the month.

Here’s a peek at more of Amy’s beautiful work from the exhibit:

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