Admittedly the past few weeks have been a bit of a rough patch for lolladad and me for various reasons. Today, we managed to record a podcast in the morning, make important decisions for our business, and shortly after get into a fight that ended in one of us storming off upset. The root cause of that fight...family and not seeing eye-to-eye.
I don't know about all of you, but my husband and I are incredibly close to our families, but we may need a break of some sort - for the sake of us. Don't get me wrong, I love our families deeply and I feel incredibly grateful for them, but these days, I feel like our families and the different value systems are actually causing problems in my marriage that otherwise would not have even been an issue. I guess the optimistic side of me could spin all the BS as challenging us to have difficult conversations and getting at the core of who we are, but the pessimistic, selfish side of me thinks if we were simply more distant, we wouldn't be dealing with any of this.
We come from seemingly similar yet fundamentally different families. For ten years, we've been able to skate by and cordially manage all the intensely complicated relationships and ways in which our families influence our everyday, but I am starting to wonder how much our families are affecting our happiness. Help~ how do I carefully extract all the amazing characteristics from each of our families and family members and pass that onto our daughters without imploding first?
The Pastor who married my husband and me required us to take a premarital class before saying, "I do." The class served to enlighten us doe-eyed lovebirds about the realities of marriage. He wasn't kidding - marriage is great, but it really is a lot of work. The class covered common "issues" like money and family, but one topic that was emphasized during this crash-course in marriage was appreciation. Life gets so busy at times that it's easy to forget to appreciate [and express that appreciation for] one another.
Yesterday was Father's Day, and I had nothing but a deep appreciation for my husband and father of our three amazing girls. I know that Father's Day was yesterday, but this week [and always], I want my husband to know:
For those of you in a relationship, remember to appreciate and also feel appreciated! Mark, I appreciate you - more than I show and say
I have never been very into birthdays, but my husband's family celebrate's everyone's birthday like it's his/her 21st. Marriage is funny like that: two families, worlds, and traditions collide and you're left to adopt one family's ways or forge your own. My husband and I have, for the most part, taken bits and pieces of our past and forged our own way and traditions for our immediate family.
Today is lollaDAD's birthday. We got an early start and met his folks for breakfast, and they generously offered to have the kids sleep over tonight, so we will be going out for a quiet, s-l-o-w dinner to celebrate. Tonight dear, let's not talk about work, life stresses, etc, but celebrate you and what this year has in store. I love you more and more each year, and I'm looking forward to 2013.
Although we don't make a huge deal about our own birthdays, as parents, we feel it is our duty to make birthdays fun and important for our children. When their birthdays come around, we do our best to really celebrate, whether it's with a party, special outing, or do-whatever-you-want kind of day.
Three years ago, I adopted a friend's birthday tradition. Every birthday party this friend hosted, she had this colorful clown flag hanging somewhere around the festivities. When I asked her about it, she said a family member had made the flag for her family, so it's been a tradition to hang it up during every family member's birthday. I immediately fell in love with the idea. I wasn't going to attempt to make a birthday-themed clown banner, so I went online and found a fabric "Happy Birthday" banner I liked and purchased it. I now hang it up around the house for everyone's birthday. I've also started writing what we did in celebration of each child's birthday on the back, so they'll always know exactly how we celebrated their special day every year. Do you have any fabulous birthday traditions you'd like to share?
I'm now almost 4 months pregnant. It's hard to believe how quickly it's all happening. The last time I was pregnant was 4 years ago, so I've surprisingly forgotten a lot. I forgot how paralyzed I was with exhaustion during the first trimester. I forgot how difficult it was to find something appetizing to eat. I forgot how quickly I outgrow my regular clothes, and I forgot how disrespectful people can be, particularly, family members. I've learned not to take these unsolicited comments personally, but they always make me pause.
Mark and I have decided not to find out the gender of the baby until he/she is born. The other day my dear mother-in-law said, "Bring me your next ultrasound photo. I can take a look and tell." First, unless you're an ultrasound technician or a doctor, it's quite difficult to look at a print-out of an ultrasound and determine the gender of the baby. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the baby have to be in the right position at the right time to actually see the "goods"? Second, both my husband and I have clearly stated that our wish is to keep the gender a surprise. Why would one go out of one's way to ruin that surprise for us?
The other alarming comment I got was from my aunt. I was at my cousin's bridal shower on Saturday evening, and my dear aunt says, "You must be having a boy. You look so unattractive. Your face just looks awful." I just had to grin and bear it, so as not to cause a scene, but WOW. Old wives tale or not, I'm pretty certain that the gender of the baby in one's womb has no bearing on how one's face looks. Also, even if you truly believe this, have you no filter? How about giving a pregnant lady a break?
I realize that this blog post has become a mini-vent session, but I just had to write these things down. Have any other mothers or pregnant women out there experienced jaw-dropping comments like these or are my family members just outright rude?
20 years ago I was a pimply-faced eighth-grader who spent the entire day practicing this exact line, “will you be my girlfriend?” At 2:45pm, I finally mustered up the courage to “ask her out” by the school gym, and thankfully, her answer was ‘yes!’ I know this sounds crazy, but after just a few months of dating her, I knew Hanna was the one. In fact, I have hundreds of old letters to prove how confident I was.
6 years ago today we made it official and got married in Pasadena, California. It was the happiest day of my life. Not only was I marrying someone I admire so much, but she happened to be my very best friend. But who in the world knew that one day we would become business partners?
People warned me about working with my wife and I have to admit, I was a little worried too. We are far from perfect and I didn’t want to strain our relationship by arguing over every little detail that goes into running a small business. Having launched a small business before, I knew that the work environment can often be explosive and stressful. After working on this project for a little over 2 years I’m surprised to find that we’ve somehow grown closer.
Hanna and I eat, breath, and sleep lollacup. We take every piece of feedback personally, and we do our best to create a product/service that we would want for our own family. To us, your kids and their experience with the lollacup means everything.
I’ll be honest, I’d much rather be celebrating our anniversary in Fiji... but working a tradeshow in New York was the next best choice. =)
Happy anniversary babe, love you always.
Now that my older daughter is nearing 5 and my younger daughter is 3, people keep asking me whether I want to have more children. I honestly don't know. As an only child, I always dreamed of having a large family, but as an entrepreneur, I feel as if I'm raising 2 girls and a newborn again. It's incredible how much of one's time, energy, money, resources, and just plain self running a business requires.
When I watch my daughters play with one another and laugh uncontrollably, it melts my heart. What a special bond siblings have and how amazing to experience childhood alongside a sibling. As I mentioned earlier, I am an only child, because my mother had an ectopic pregnancy after having me and could not conceive after that. Although I never had siblings, I don't remember feeling lonely as a child.
One thing an older, and much wiser, friend told Mark and me after we got married was, "there's never a right time to have children." You will never have enough money, enough time and energy, a large enough house, etc. Once you become a parent, you become a survivor and figure it all out.
Anyway, I've been genuinely torn about whether I'm "ready" or truly wanting to have another child, but 4 weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant. Without getting into the details, we were genuinely puzzled by this "miracle." It took a full week for me to get over the shock, but we feel very blessed in so many ways.
Mark and I are looking forward to experiencing life as a family of 5! As soon as we learned we were expecting, Mark turned to me and said, "now you will have so much to blog about!" I just have to leave it at that . . .
I attended a Sip-and-See this past weekend and was reminded why I like these types of showers so much. First, you get to meet, hold, and gush over the new baby. My second, more selfish reason, is that it's such a nice outing for me (sans children and husband): chatting with friends, enjoying good food and drinks, and engaging in lots of laughter. What could be better?
As the new mother opened gifts, her mother (the baby's grandmother), gifted something that blew my mind (and inspired me to blog about it). A close neighbor of the grandmother had hand-knitted a beautiful ensemble as a gift for her when she had her daughter back in the 70s. It included a beautiful white dress, romper, bonnet, and matching blanket. My friend actually sported this adorable outfit as a child! Well, the grandma had kept this whole set in mint condition (I didn't know it was possible for fabric to stay so white!) and packaged it beautifully to present to her daughter and new granddaughter at this sip-and-see. It literally brought me to tears. It was such a thoughtful gift, and it was just another reminder how much mothers (and fathers) love us and think so deeply about their children.
I came home and began thinking about what I would want to pass on to my own daughters at their sip-and-see's. The whole concept of family heirlooms and family traditions is so special. They stand for so many things - the immense love and caring within a family, family values and culture, a family's beliefs and ideals, their history, etc. I come from an immigrant family that's been uprooted several times, and I feel like a lot of "stuff" has gotten lost with each big move. Yes, I grew up hearing amazing stories and seeing photos, but I don't have much in the way of tangible heirlooms or even traditions. I am determined to start my own traditions with my family and maybe one day, my daughters' kids will be blogging about their own beautiful family traditions and heirlooms.
Well, I got the following idea from someone in a Parent Ed. class I attended when my daughter was a newborn, and the reason I love it and have been able to follow-through with this particular tradition is because I love everything about the Christmas holiday. So, I buy 1 ornament for each daughter every Christmas and label it with a tag noting the year and why I chose that particular ornament. The plan is to have a complete "collection" of ornaments (that tell great stories) to present to my daughters as a wedding/shower gift.
Do you have any favorite family traditions or any ideas for those wanting to start their own? I'd love to hear what other families are doing!
We were ecstatic when we got our first online order, we felt a glimmer of hope when we opened our first retail account, we literally hurt when we got our first customer complaint, and smiled for days when we received our first glowing review. I say all this, because running a business is such a roller-coaster. Being on Shark Tank was like that signature, breathtaking drop - we are laughing, screaming, and just holding on tight. I remember pulling all-nighters in college, feeling like I couldn't type one more letter, but looking back, that must've been training for this very moment. Sleep is an afterthought and that's okay. The one thing that pains me is not being there for my girls as much as I had hoped.
I came across an article in entreprenuer.com that said the following, "If you're going to be successful, you've got to love your business more than anything else--even your family." WOW. When I read this, I felt like someone punched me in the gut. I'm determined to be successful, but I refuse to believe this. I have a company and product, because of my family. I have the most amazing partner who is my family, and family is helping us survive this ride.
I don't even know where I'm going with this blog post, but I just had to take a minute away from work and think big picture. Thanks for listening. Anyone agree/disagree? How do you all juggle work and family?
I was thinking about blogging about an interesting article I read the other day, but I received an email late last night that read, "Today would have been G's 5th month birthday. On 3.16.2012 at 2 a.m. G had her last meal. I stayed up with her until 3 a.m. that morning, checked up on her and fell asleep."
The niece of the pastor who officiated my wedding passed away on March 16th at around 7 a.m. I had heard the little girl had been born with complications, but I was under the impression she was getting better and doing well.
When I read this email, I cried and my heart literally hurt. I don't know if other parents feel this way, but becoming a parent has made my level of emotion and empathy skyrocket. I find myself getting choked up watching a Google commercial or reading Love You Forever by Robert Munsch to my girls at bedtime.
I am going to need a while to process how a family can even begin to cope with a loss this great. The email went on to describe how one of her older children responded to the news of his baby sister's passing, "He wanted to see her. He wept by her bedside where she was laying down and just wanted to hold her. He's very quiet in his demeanor and not very emotional. He kept thinking that she was going to wake up. He grabbed our stethoscope to listen for a heartbeat. He was desperately searching for G's heartbeat."
I hope this blog post is today's reminder to hug your children and show & tell them you love them. I find myself simply going through the motions and trying to get through another day as a busy mom. This incredible loss has given me a renewed sense of thankfulness for my family and loved ones.