Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Photos: Weddings

Before we get started on today’s post, I would like to announce the winner the Thirty-One Giveaway!  The winner is  . . . Jennifer K.!  Congratulations!  Please email me, Jennifer.  I would like to thank everyone who participated!  I would also like to thank Brandy for donating this prize for the contest!

Yesterday, I wrote about how I felt about my wedding day nine years later.  I figured it would be a great time to share some of those shiny, red-carpet moments with you. 

But first, let me show you the picture of Marie as a flower girl in my cousin’s wedding.

She is so beautiful in this picture.  It kind of makes my heart ache a bit.

Here are some from my wedding.  I decided not to touch them up so you get the full effect of actual film.  (And I'm also exhausted).

It's official.  I am a married woman.
Please note: I did not like my bouquet, but I went
along with the florist because I thought she knew better.

Showing off the bling in the limo.
Also: the date is wrong in this photo.

I look so happy!  Yay!  I married the love of my life!
And I get a KitchenAid Mixer!  Woot!  Woot!

I wanted something simple, bright, and not stuffy.  This totally worked.
Until some over-served guests used the leaf place mats as loin clothes.

This is one of my most favorite photos of the day:
happy and not posed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cake and Champagne

My younger cousin just got married this weekend.  The ceremony and reception took place in this charming barn and the rustic theme was carried out beautifully.  Marie also happened to be the flower girl.

Having been married over nine years and two kids later, I was feeling very nostalgic. My cousin, who stood up in my wedding, was now walking down the aisle, and my daughter, who was just a glimmer in my eye at the time, was her flower girl.  It was very surreal.

I remember my wedding and process of planning such an event very clearly.  Almost too clearly.  And I have to say, although I was marrying the love of my life, it was not the happiest of times.

First of all, it was a HUGE transition going from living alone for a large portion of my early twenties to living with someone and compromising on everything.  EVERYTHING!  We had to compromise where went to the grocery store.  We had to compromise what we ate for dinner.  We had to compromise what kind of toothpaste we had to buy. I felt like every time I turned around, BOOM, another compromise. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same tools I have today to deal with such change and compromise.  Thank you very much, blogging, yoga and therapy.

Second of all, Harrington’s parents were in the middle of a non-amicable divorce.  I won’t bore you with all the salacious details, but it’s hard enough to get two *totally* different family cultures to coexist; however, it becomes infinitely more difficult when one family had a hard time being in the same room together.

Third of all, my boundaries at the time were not as strongly defined as they are now.  It is possible (and by possible, I really mean probable) that I *may* have been swept up in the type of wedding all my friends were having, along with expectations of my family traditions.

As imperfect as it was (although you would never know it from all the shiny, red carpet-esque photos that were taken that day), it was a good representation of who I was nine years ago:  young, people-pleasing, romantic, and *slightly* self-involved (but what twenty-something bride doesn’t get a little me-centric while planning an event in which, traditionally, she is viewed as the star).  (On a related note, I may not be as well-rested as I was in my early to mid-twenties, but these kids do a damn good job of making me feel grounded).

Having said that, if I was granted a redo of our wedding day, I would have taken the money given to us to pay for the reception and build a better nest egg (especially, if I knew the economy would drop the value of our house so much.  Ick).

Instead I would plan a simple, yet elegant cake and champagne reception.  No drama over traditions, protocol, and family issues.  No months and months of stress over flowers and food.  Maybe we could focus on how we wanted to be as a married couple instead of worrying about a seating chart for a party.

Ah, damn you, hindsight for being so 20/20!

We will be married ten years this August.  So maybe this would be a good time for a redo.

Is there anything different that you would do at your wedding?  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just Words

Recently, I have been called a string of expletives.  And not as term of endearment, if you know what I mean.  Not like, “Back off.  That’s my bitch.”  Although that sounds pretty icky, too.  No, this was a personal attack.  And unfortunately, this was not the first time; I have been a target for this kind of behavior since I was a young teenager.

When verbally attacked like this, it takes all my strength to keep my integrity intact.  It goes against my upbringing, really.  See, I grew up in a loud family, and whoever yelled the loudest and the most abrasive usually won.

I usually lost.

Anyway, when this perpetrator has exorcised all the venom, it is quite clear that I am hurt; I am shaky, and I avoid eye contact.  I try to keep my cool by counting until 152 because even though there is an empty space in the conversation which traditionally would be filled with a vicious retaliation, I wait for the final phrase that signifies the end of the “discussion:”

“Why are you so upset?  It’s only words, Erin.”

This final attack outrages me almost more than being called a bitch or a retard.

Words are so important to me.  My love affair with them started at an early age as I devoured any book that I could get my hands on.  I started journaling at age seven.  Blank pages made my eyes twinkle and my heart race with the excitement of endless possibilities.

I try to choose my words very carefully, and not just because I love them as my true medium of expression.  I understand, and maybe more importantly respect, the power of words.  Words express our thoughts, our intentions.  Having said that, I do take responsibility for my tendency to expect others to choose their words wisely.  Sometimes I get hurt when the right words are not used; I think that is called being oversensitive.  That aside, I do understand the importance of practicing patience if someone misspoke.  I have tried not to jump to conclusions and ask questions first if someone is having a difficult time expressing themselves.

But vicious name-calling isn’t a slip of the tongue.  It’s hurtful.  It reopens old wounds.  And it’s downright confusing when the conversation is supposed to be centered around healing and understanding.  And don’t even get me started on the confusion and anxiety I feel when people’s words don’t match up with their actions.

I am trying to teach the importance of words to my kids.  I am trying to show by example that practicing kindness is important.  And the loudest yeller with the meanest thing to say isn’t the winner.  I think the word that describes that person is a bully.  My kids know that bullying is not tolerated.  At all.  Or in the carefully chosen words of Taylor Swift, “Like, ever.”

So, yeah, words are important to me.

How important are words to you?


Thursday, September 13, 2012

In Photos: A Thirty-One Giveaway and Brandy Nicole Photography

Do you remember when I had headshots done this summer?  My sister-in-law, Brandy, ofBrandy Nicole Photography did an amazing job.  Check these out awesome shots that she took of me:

Not only is Brandy an amazing photographer, but she now is selling Thirty-One products.  Between swim lessons and hanging out at the pool, I have to say that I pretty much lived out of my Expand-a-Tote that I bought from her.  I also love my Picnic Thermal bag!

Brandy is going to be giving away this super cute thermal tote in Pink Parisian Pop.  I have this tote in another print, and I love it!  I can fit water bottles for me and the kids (that actually stay cool), and it fits in the expand-a-tote very nicely!

This print is part of the U R U collection, and a thirty-one cents from each U R U collection will be donated to a charity that helps to empower women and girls

What do you have to do to win such an awesome prize?

-  Become a member of Brandy’s Thirty-One Group on Facebook by clicking this link and leave a comment of your favorite product.  Be sure to check out the new fall catalog for new products that might become your favorites!

- Leave a comment on this post about your favorite Thirty-One product and that you signed up at her group.       

To be eligible, you must live in the continental United States.  The contest ends on Wednesday, September 19th at midnight EST. 

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To Thomas: On Your First Day of Nursery School

Dear Thomas,

Today you start your very first day of Nursery School.  You woke up today so excited that today was The Day.  While we waited for the bus to come pick up Sissy this morning, you proudly told everyone, “Today I go to *my* school.  All by myself.”  And in case the people could not glean the excitement from your voice, you jumped up and down which communicated your statement in bolded, all caps and exclamation points.

Around lunchtime, as we were getting ready to leave, your energy shifted.  You became upset that you couldn’t eat your lunch at school.  I couldn’t tell if you were truly upset that you couldn’t eat your lunch at school, or if it was a diversion from actually going to school.  Daddy magically got you to come to the table and eat your lunch.   I reminded you that I packed the pictures of us in your backpack in case you missed us.  You looked up with those blue eyes and asked if your baby doll, Baby Jammies, could come with you.  I told you, “Of course.”

On the way drive to school, you were quiet.  I asked if you were scared, and you said, “I not scared.  I told you.  Just nervous.”  Pretty articulate for such a little boy.

Which makes me feel confident that you are going to be fine in school.  In fact, I think you are going to be better than fine.  You are going to be terrific!  You have such a great way of communicating your feelings.  You not only use your words, but you use your whole body and face. 

You also know all of your colors, letters (and their sounds), and numbers up to fifteen.  And last week, when I was meeting your teacher, I saw how you listened to her and were not swayed by those who were having a hard time sitting still in circle time. 

All your nervous feelings melted away once we got to school.  You were back to being excited.  I watched you as you hung up your backpack by your symbol that you chose last week and went to find the monster trucks.  No tears.  No nothing.

Today is The Day!

Thomas, you are going to rock nursery school this year!  Since you already have a lot covered before you even began school, I just want to tell you this:  that little voice that tells you right from wrong – listen to that.  Always.  We are going to be apart for four hours a week, and you won’t be able to look at me with those part curious, part mischievous eyes for an answer of what you should or should not be doing.  Listen to that little voice, and remember to always practice kindness.  There are a lot of people out there that don’t value the importance of kindness.  Give those people space because they like to make everyone around them feel small and sad. 

And you don’t deserve that.  You deserve to be around kind people that shine from in the inside.  Just like you.  You have an amazing light that shines from you.

My wish is for you to always have that light that shines from within.

I love you forever,


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In Photos: Lunch with Ricki Lake

Last Monday, I had lunch with Ricki Lake

Me with Ricki Lake

Well, not actually lunch as in we sat together and shared a meal.  Actually, I was lucky to enough to sit next to these wonderful bloggers and social media mavens.

Lauren from Mrs. Weber's Neighborhood,
Emily A. Hay and Betsy Critchfield
from Hay There Social Media, me, and
Elena Wollborg from Mommy is in Timeout 

While we ate an amazing lunch of grilled chicken and kale salad, we were listening to Paula Tutman from Local 4 interview Ricki Lake.

Ricki Lake and Paula Tutman

I am super excited for The Ricki Lake Show which premiers on September 10 at 3pm on Local 4!  I think the way that she plans on incorporating social media into her show is incredible.  Ricki has created the hashtag #FriendsofRicki on Twitter so viewers can continue the conversation after they are done watching the show.  Also, the Friends of Ricki Facebook fan page is a great way to connect with viewers.  What I think sets her apart is not only that Ricki’s production team accessible via Twitter, but they have production meetings that are open to the public (I had the pleasure of meeting Josh from Team Ricki, and he was very friendly).  You can log in at the website and participate -  seriously, how cool is that?!

Ricki talked a lot about how she has evolved as a person and how her life experiences (marriage, motherhood, divorce, producer of The Business of Being Born) have helped her to gain a better understanding of her authentic self.  As someone who is trying to figure out this new stage in her life, I connected with this statement.  And I like how she used evolved rather than reinvent.  I look at it like this: to “evolve” is to take life experiences and learn from them as opposed to “reinvent” which sounds like forgetting the past and disregarding any lessons learned.  

My day could have stopped there, and I would have been totally happy.  Hanging out with fellow bloggers and meeting Ricki Lake was such a fun way to spend the afternoon.  But the cherry on top was meeting Local 4’s weatherman Andrew Humphrey (who is so incredibly nice and tech savvy), chatting with Paula Tutman, and getting a little peek at the Local 4 studio.

Me and Andrew Humphrey

I savor these moments that are totally out of my normal routine and soak up all that I can, whether it be adventure, inspiration, or fun (or in this case, all three).  It was an incredible day, and I feel so fortunate to have been invited!  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

To Marie: On Your First Day of First Grade

Dear Marie,

Today is your first day of first grade.  You’ve been wanting to go back for weeks now, and today is the day.  You are so excited that you have been making a fact book about London and Olympics for your teacher since watching everything Olympics (including past highlights from Beijing and Greece) was one of your favorite things this summer.

You are ready.

And you are going to rock.

To say you have a handle on reading and writing is an understatement.  Seriously, you could read, write, and create all day if I didn’t ask you to break for meals.

So here’s the thing –

Being smart and loving school is such an awesome thing, but don’t ever estimate the value of kindness.  You deserve to be around people who treat you kindly.  And on the flip side, remember the importance of practicing kindness to others.

Remember that girl who said she was your friend one day and then not the next?  Give her another chance this year.  People can change, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while.

But if she pulls these shenanigans again?  Give her the space she needs to figure out what being a true friend is all about.  You don’t deserve that kind of drama.  Ever.

Now, I can’t be there to whisper all these little things in your ear.  But in all honesty, you don’t really need me there because you, Marie, you have an amazing moral compass.  You know right from wrong.

But just keep this one very important point in mind: don’t be afraid to follow your instincts because you fear you might get in trouble or don’t want the attention.

Forget fear.  Just forget it.

Follow your gut, even if you must stand alone.  This is not easy, but let me be clear: fear will dim your light and hid the real you.

And the real you is far too beautiful to be hidden.

Let your light always shine.

 I love you forever,