Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Natalie, Lately

Things that are making me happy right now

The cooler weather-- it's dropped below 80 for many days here in the South and I am one happy girl.  It's almost time to break out the hoodies and boots.

PSL-- I know it's cliche, but I love the Pumpkin Spice from Starbucks.  It was one of the first drinks I ever enjoyed from there and I'm still smitten.

Basically anything fall or pumpkin related--  every candle in my house falls into one of these categories.

Spiked Warm Apple Cider-- heat a mug full of cider and add a shot or three of cinnamon whiskey.  Yum!

Birthday planning--  my youngest turns 9 next month and we are in full blown planning mode.

College tours; round 2-- the kids had Friday out of school so I took A for his second campus tour.  He loved it!

And like the rest of the country, this song and especially this version.  I adore Jimmy Fallon.   And wearing a fitted polo?  Swoon.

Even Jolie has it on constant repeat.  In epic mom fail, I didn't make sure she downloaded the edited version but so far she hasn't picked up on the unsavory words.   She sings about the "Skinny Britches" which works for me.   I'm not about to tell her she's wrong.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mis Spent Youth

When I was a little girl, I used to love sitting in my Dad's room and thumb through his albums listening to his stories of the hows and whys he loved a certain song.  I'm positive it's the reason for my own love of music and why I've tried to create the same nostalgia with my own children.

I would sit and listen to these stories and imagine my father on these adventures of his mis spent youth.  And wonder when or if I would get to go on my exploring one day.  

The first of my favorite stories happened before I was born.  My then 17 year old father had been in a horrific car accident. He was in the hospital for several weeks, had skin graft surgeries to replace his eye lid and even after his release still had bandages and a cane to walk with.  Needless to say, he looked pretty banged up but my dad being who he is was still quite the charmer.   He walked up to the concert venue to buy tickets for an upcoming show, the salesman struck up a conversation about the extent of my Dad's injuries and what had happened to him.   He talked for awhile and eventually the sales guy gave him two backstage passes.  The night of the show my Dad and his friend went to the concert, went back stage and then hung out with the band for the weekend in their hotel room.  
The musicians? Were Lynard Skynard.  

My other favorite music story occurred when I was around 4 years old.  My dad worked for  a then up and coming company called CableVision.  He was in a small town of rural Indiana, got off work early and went to a small hole in the wall for a beer or three.   The owner of said bar just happened to be there with his guitar.  His first album had just been released and was starting to get play time on radios.  He ended up playing for hours that afternoon. 

You may know him as John Mellencamp, but back then he was John Cougar.  

Suffice it to say, I had some high expectations for when I started going to concerts.  Unfortunately, nothing that has awesome has happened yet.  But I"m not giving up hope yet. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Are you Real?

Several weeks ago,  a friend brought something up about my siblings.  He was commenting on how my brother was my kids' only uncle.  The following is the conversation from my kitchen::

Friend:  So, T is the kids' only uncle, right? 
me:  No.  I have 3 brothers. 
Friend:  yeah, but he's your only REAL brother. 
me:  No.  I have 3 brothers. 
Friend:  Yeah, but the others are only half.  
me:  No I have 3 brothers. 
Friend:  But how many kids did your parents have? 
me:  My mom has me and two boys.   And I have a brother and sister with my dad. 
Friend:  So, you have no real brothers or sisters. 
me:  No.  I have 3 brothers and 1 sister. 

This kept on for awhile until he finally gave up arguing with me because I refused to admit that I didn't have anything less than REAL siblings.   It eventually got to the point that I told him if he brought it up again, he would leave.   Simply because he can't understand that I love my siblings just as much as he loves his, regardless of our parentage, I shouldn't have to listen to it. 

And he is not the only person I've encountered who described our relationship as half-brother/sister.   Maybe I never saw it that way because they were never talked about that way in my house.  Our parents never said anything other than that's your sister.    I knew growing up that my family wasn't the norm.  I was raised by my grandparents.   And my siblings lived with our parents.  That's just the way it was.  I didn't sit and wonder about why mine was the way it was.  

the day after I graduated high school 

Christmas 2002 or 2003

One day, Jolie is going to realize that the boys don't have the same biological father as she does.  And I don't want her thinking they are anything other than who they are-- her brothers.   And Andrew loves her just as much as he loves Nathan.  Probably more because he doesn't have to share a room with her therefore she's less annoying.

Families are not meant to come in a cookie cutter package all wrapped in a pretty little bow.   How boring would that be if everything was the same?    Why can't we embrace the differences and appreciate them?