Happy 12th Birthday, Lakin!

My oldest daughter Lakin’s 12th birthday was yesterday, but she’s decided that she’s not “officially” a year older until exactly 10:55pm, the time she was born on July 16, 2001. I was going to post these pictures yesterday, but she requested that I wait until she was “actually 12”. So, here we are!

We had an awesome Pokemon birthday party on Saturday, complete with super cool Pokemon “Pokeball” fondant cake that David and I spent all night decorating. {Check out this post with fondant cake decorating tips and hints for beginners!}

We also decorated two dozen Pikachu cupcakes — and in case you don’t speak Pokemon, Pikachu is one of the more popular characters, widely considered to be the mascot of the Pokemon franchise. He’s not Lakin’s absolute favorite Pokemon, but we were pretty well out of energy by that point and fondant decorating two dozen cupcakes to look like Squirtle the turtle just wasn’t going to happen. Next year!

Pokemon & Pikachu Tween Birthday Party!

Early Sunday morning, we headed over to the video game store so Lakin could use the gift card that was burning a hole in her pocket. She traded in two older games for store credit and used the whole amount to buy… a new Pokemon game! Who would have ever guessed?

In addition to the new game, she is also the proud owner of FOUR new Pokemon t-shirts, several brand new outfits, and a make-up bag with mascara (clear), powder (ivory), and lip gloss (nude). I’m willing to let her start wearing a little make-up, but as you can see, I’m not ready for it to look like she’s wearing make-up. In time, my girl, in time.

Pokemon & Pikachu Tween Birthday Party!

All in all, she said it was an “awesome” birthday – the highest of compliments from a tween!

(I can’t believe I’m almost the mother of a full-blown teenager! Yikes! Where did the last dozen years go!?)

Pokemon & Pikachu Tween Birthday Party!

Mother’s Day 2013

I have been a mother for almost a dozen years, and this is the first Mother’s Day that doesn’t feel completely happy.

I am grateful, of course, so grateful for my daughters, Lakin and Addah. They make me smile. They make me cry. They make me angry, and they make me laugh like a crazy person. They are wonderful spitfires, and they make me a better person than I ever could have been, every day of my life.

I would be nothing without them, and I know this completely.

They are beautiful, and I love them so very much.

I have been showered with a breakfast in bed, handmade cards, and a sweet little potted flower. They are trying very hard to be good to each other, and I am grateful for their deliberate kindness.

I would change only one thing about this Sunday, that our baby girl could be here today. I have no idea what she would look like now, but I imagine she would be a lovely amalgam of her big sisters. She might have Addah’s elfin chin, Lakin’s big bright eyes, and David’s handsome nose. She could have slept late with me today, waking up to nurse while I enjoyed my breakfast of eggs, bacon, and buttered toast. Maybe I would have had to pry her sister’s handmade card from her pudgy fingers, so she wouldn’t teethe on it.

I will never know. She will never be here in my arms on a Mother’s Day, and this will never fail to make me sad. Her sisters are here though, always ready to hug me, kiss my face and tell me they love me, and this will never fail to make me happy.

I have been a mother for almost a dozen years, and it is the best thing I have ever done.

Mother's Day Collage

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers – those with their arms full of their children’s hugs, and those with their hearts full of children they cannot hug, and those, like myself, whose hearts and arms feel both full and empty. You are all in my heart today.


My Daughters’ Names

What’s in a name?

Choosing my daughters’ names was not a task that I took lightly. We made many lists, and considered ancestry, word origins & the meanings of different names. First names have to flow properly and sound right with the middle and last names. There’s so much to consider, because you are not really naming a baby, you are naming an adult. I feel that any name must work for whatever profession my child chooses to pursue , whether that be writer, teacher, lawyer or President of the United States.

My oldest daughter is Lakin Leigh. Lakin is my middle name, and my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Leigh is the more feminine spelling of her father’s middle name, Lee. It flows beautifully with our last name. Her name was decided before we knew she was a girl, before we were even pregnant. Her name suits her perfectly.

Lakin Leigh

If she had been a boy, the name we had chosen was Andrew Patrick. I loved this name at the time, so much so that we considered it again when pregnant with our second child. Ultimately, I can’t picture myself as the mother of an Andrew or a Patrick, though I’m sure I would still be in love with the name if my oldest had been a boy child. Funny how that works, eh?

My second daughter is Addah Shannon. I had loved the name Addah since high school, when I had a brief friendship with a beautiful blond girl by that name. Her middle name is from the River Shannon in Ireland, and goes well with our very Irish last name. As it turns out, “Ada” is a family name, though I did not know that when we chose the name. I realized pretty quickly after Addah was born that we would forever be correcting the spelling and pronunciation of her name, but it never seems to bother her. The English meaning of Addah/Ada is “happy” and the Irish meaning of Shannon is “little old wise one”. My Addah is indeed a very happy and wise child, just as her name suggests.

Addah Shannon

Unlike our first pregnancy, on the second time around, we did not find out whether we were having a boy or girl via ultrasound. If Addah had been a boy, which I was absolutely convinced of until she was born, the name we had chosen was Rory Patrick. I still love this name, though it didn’t feel right anymore by the time we were pregnant with our last baby. Different husband, different place in my life, but still, a lovely boy’s name.

David and I considered hundreds of names for our third baby before we settled on Clara Edith. Clara means “clear, bright, famous” and Edith means “prosperous in war”. We had five early miscarriages before we conceived Clara, and we were in a very dark time financially when we became pregnant with her. She was the symbol of our clear and bright future, and we felt very prosperous in love, even during the war we were waging on our financial circumstances. Clara is a lovely old-fashioned name, and not one that you hear very often, which is exactly what we were looking for. Edith was my paternal grandmother’s first name, which makes the name even more special to us. It is the perfect name for this beautiful child.

Clara Edith (photo by Carly Marie Project Heal)

We had a perfect boy name picked out as well, in case Clara had been a boy. It is still our favorite boy name, and we hope that we will one day be able to bestow it on a son, so it shall remain private for now.

I adore all of my daughters’ names, and wouldn’t change them for the world. I think their names suit them perfectly, and I can’t imagine them being called by any other name.

How did you decide on your children’s names? Are they named after family members, friends, or famous people? Do you prefer classic or unusual names?

Easter Flashback Pictures

It’s time for an Easter Flashback!

I love looking at pictures of my big girls when they were little. Looking at the girls now, at 10 and 11, it’s hard to believe they were once so toddler chubby adorable, so kindergarten sweet. Where did those years go?!

I’ve picked out some of my favorites from past Easters to share this week. I never realized just how informal we are about Easter, until I had all of these pictures in the same place. Some years we have the pretty dresses and beautiful pictures, but some years we didn’t bother with the fancy dress clothes at all. We always have candy and baskets and hide Easter eggs though… you know, the important stuff!

Easter Flashback - Lakin 2002
Lakin – 8 months – 2002

Continue reading “Easter Flashback Pictures”

The Best of Friends

I love it when my daughters are the best of friends. There is very little that can brighten my mood like  the sight of them playing and grinning, the sound of their giggles. It doesn’t happen as often as I would like — in fact, it seems that much of their time together is spent devising new ways to torment one another, but when they’re getting along, it’s like magic. Their smiles and laughter make every difficult thing so much easier to deal with.

The Best of Friends - Giggling Girls

 I walked up to the apartment complex office one afternoon this week, to check the mail. As I came back down our breezeway toward the front door, I could hear their laughter. I paused outside and listened, hoping that it would last and not turn into tears or grumpiness. They’re hormonal prepubescent girls, after all, and apt to get emotional and full of attitude over the slightest thing.

This time though, the laughter continued, and actually got louder. I opened the door and immediately picked up the camera, wanting to capture this beautiful and rare moment for posterity. I snapped this picture, and then their giggles became contagious. I’m not even sure what they were laughing at, exactly — an animated drawing of a Pokemon battle that they both worked on. I couldn’t tell you what was so hilarious about it. I’m old, you see, so I don’t get it. They get it though, and in their opinions, it was the funniest thing ever.

No, I didn’t laugh at their silly video. I laughed at my beautiful daughters, still children but not for long, grinning wide, giggling until they had to run to the bathroom, which made them laugh even harder. It was pure happiness, unadulterated fun, side-splitting hilarity. I could watch them laugh and smile like that forever.

I’m linking up several places for Wordful/Wordless Wednesday…

live out loud button better in bulk button seven clown circus button babybabylemon jenni from the blog button pictimilitude button
Fresh Mommy Blog parenting BY dummies
Wordless Wednesday by David 5 Minutes for Mom
organic-mama.ca Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

Random Struggles

This week is filled with random struggles. The beginning of the month is always hard, as I am consumed with thoughts of how old Clara would be (8 months now), what she would be doing (crawling? standing? saying “dada”?) and images of what she might have looked like by now. Then I have to go look at my photo albums so I can remember what Lakin and Addah looked like at 8 months old. It’s a special kind of torment.

By mid-month, I’ve usually pulled it together some and I can get things done as they come up, cross things off the to-do list, but as the end of the month approaches, I start thinking about how it’s almost the beginning of the month, almost the 1st, almost another entire month that she would be older now. And it starts all over again, the ugly cycle.

I can’t imagine that there might be a day when I won’t know precisely how old my third daughter would have been, if she had lived. Will I still be tormenting myself when she would have been 3 years old, 10 years old, 17 years old, 30 years old? Yes, I probably will.

Random Struggles - My older girls at 8 months
Lakin and Addah at 8 months old

My oldest little brother and his wife are due with their second baby this coming Saturday. They found out they were pregnant on the day that Clara died. I am very happy for them, but I am a nervous wreck as their due date inches closer. I refuse to entertain any thoughts of bad things happening, though they bump around in my mind against my will. I am eager for the phone call that tells me that my new nephew is here, safe in his mama’s arms, nursing happily while his proud daddy and big sister look on.

I feel like I have more to say, but the words aren’t coming this morning. I feel like this litany of my random struggles is too disorganized to even be published, but it’s the best I’ve got for you today.

I’m linking up several places today for Wordful/Wordless Wednesday…

live out loud button better in bulk button seven clown circus button babybabylemon jenni from the blog button pictimilitude button
Fresh Mommy Blog parenting BY dummies
Wordless Wednesday by David Good Girl Gone Wife
organic-mama.ca 5 Minutes for Mom