Sunday, January 30, 2011

{ Long Way Home }

Now that the Christmas Season has passed, I no longer have Christmas carols running around in my mind like busy little elves. Now, I have other songs in my head, like this one, Long Way Home , by Tina Dickow. In case I haven't mentioned it before, 1/2 of my family lives in Denmark; aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
My cousin, Nina, in Denmark, sent me Dickow's The Road to Gavle CD about a year ago. I absolutely love it.  Plus, sometimes when I am listening to the CD, I like to imagine that my dear cousins on the other side of the world are doing the same thing I am doing while humming and singing along to the music while folding clothes, picking up after their children,wondering what to make for dinner. I really like the words to Long Way Home . So here is whats playing on my Virtual Victrola . Click here for a listen. It is my song for you. Gosh, I LOVE this song and this CD!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Friday, January 28, 2011

{ Pink Rose Wristlet }

A little pink rose wristlet for a little girl. Her very FIRST rose wristlet for her very first Father-Daughter Dance.

Later than evening while getting into her pajamas, she sleepily said, "You know Mom, I thought I was gonna be soooo original with my rose wristlet. But, almost all the girls had one on." I realized that in all the fuss and excitement of helping her get ready for the dance, that I had forgotten to mention that a rose wristlet was common when going to dances. Her overall assessment just before drifting off into a world of dreams where she would continue dancing with her Daddy was "I liked mine the best."

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

{ Father-Daughter Dance }

A very special evening occurred this past weekend in our household; David and Saylor's first Father-Daughter Dance. This was an event for all the Girl Scout troops in the county area---about 100 girls plus fathers attended. They made it a point to emphasize NO MOMS ALLOWED. They did everything short of tattooing it on our rears. The theme of the dance was "Hollywood Glitz and Glam".

Before I can tell you about the evening, I must start with how super awesome my husband was about this idea. He didn't once give the impression that he dreaded it. In fact, he got into it and started teasing Saylor by practicing his dance moves to Hannah Montana songs. Each time the subject of the dance was brought up, he whooped and hollered with excitement to her delight. He put serious consideration into what he'd wear. He showed genuine excitement over the upcoming evening. Saylor on the other hand, was nervous although she was looking forward to it. She was nervous about dancing in front of others....she can be very very VERY shy about things. She teased her Daddy by asking, "Please don't dance in a way that embarrasses me."
On the day of the event she had stopped walking entirely and replaced walking with an excited skipping as her form of getting from one room of the house to the other. She was happy and looking forward to the night ahead. I asked her if she wanted me to paint her nails and instead of a yes or no answer she merely responded with a, "Yay!" which again must have meant yes. I asked, "Do you want me to put just a tiny bit of blush and gloss on you?"---"Yay!" was her response which included her bouncing up and down and taking great delight in the way her ringlets bounced in unison. So I got out my palest blush, clearest lip gloss, and a little sparkly pink eyeshadow. She begged me for some mascara and I gave in. She was feeling all dolled up and kept smiling at herself in the mirror. Seeing her excitement was so sweet. After a spritz of perfume, my earrings, and her "Pearls", she was ready. My husband looked very handsome, as well. They were a dashing duo.

After the dance, David was ready to wrap up the evening by taking his little girl to IHOP for some late night pancakes. However, she ended up ordering popcorn shrimp. They swung by the house to pick me up. Saylor told me, "Mom, some Dads didn't even dance with their daughters. They just sat there and talked with other dads even though their daughters kept asking them to dance. But, not Daddy. He and I danced EVERY dance except for when we took a break to eat some cake and sweet tea." It doesn't get any better than that in my opinion. My husband said the last song was, What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong. A perfect song to end a memorable occasion. I am so happy the two of them had such a special wonderful evening. I still have memories of my Father-Daughter dance when I was in Girl Scouts. I hope my daughter never forgets this special night.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Thursday, January 27, 2011

{ Vampires and Vampire Kiddie Palooza }

Look at the book I came across the other day. How messed up is this? Don't get me wrong, I love the Twilight series as much as the next person. I went through my Bella and Edward phase.  I read the books as if there was no tomorrow while at the same time secretly shamed and baffled that I was so super into a book categorized as Teen Fiction. NOTE: I am 100% Team Edward. But, this, THIS is ridiculous. Does the vampire pop culture phenomenon need to extend to young kids? I would never buy this for my daughter, however, I secretly want it for myself to mark and remember just how crazy this vampire phenomenon became and how I, in my 30s, was also wrapped up in it....along with lots of other women my age. (Kudos to the mom who was driving the minivan with the bumper sticker that said, "Mrs. Cullen" and the bumper sticker next to it that said, "Vampires Sparkle")  I didn't open this book, but, I imagine it says things like, See Jane Run. See Jane Scream. Maybe I will buy it and threaten my daughter that it will be her new bedtime story every time she sasses me. Jusssst Kidding.

Sealed with a Kiss (On the Neck!), Kirsten

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Forgotten Item...or Why I Should Be The Next Design Star on HGTV

Do you see it? In the pic? No, not the starfish and not the cross above the door. Do you see what I am referring to? Yup, the mistletoe. I packed away all of the Christmas decor almost 2 weeks ago. I went total Feng Shue and ergonomic with the packing of the items. Each box contains a perfectly organized universe of wrapped ornaments, stockings, breakable elves and nativities---A place for everything and everything in it's place. Even the Container Store would have had Packing Envy. I was so relieved to be done. My husband carried all the boxes into the attic where they will hibernate until next year.....and today, I see this---The Mistletoe which has been hanging by the front door without our even realizing it. Of course, it was a novelty when I first hung it at the start of the Christmas season. But now, it has blended into the decor of the rest of our house and remained unnoticed over our heads as we came and left on a daily basis. When I saw it today, I was annoyed and thought, "Arggg! It never fails! I always forget something every *#*$@# year. Ugh! Double Ugh!" However, after a brief conversation via Facebook about this and considering the fact that it is mistletoe----Mistletoe!!!!-----maybe, this is a good thing! If people decorate with potpourri in bowls, then why not mistletoe? Hmmm, I am thinking it might be a better idea (and serve a more productive purpose) if I move it from the front door and hang it in my bedroom instead....right next to the dance pole we had installed. Okay, okay, I am just kidding about the dance pole. I'm NOT that kind of girl. Although, I like the idea of being the kind of gal who has mistletoe hanging in her room all year. I'm sure at first my husband will think this is a weird new decorating style of mine...... and then he will see the beauty in it.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bedtime Breakdown

So my daughter realized a movie which she has been wanting to see was coming on this evening on the Disney Channel at 8 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. Her bedtime is 8:30. She jumps off the sofa, does a happy dance, and assumes the rest of the evening is planned. THAT is when I step in. I, using my nice Mommy voice, explain to her, "Honey, that movie comes on 30 minutes before your bedtime and isn't over until 10 which is too late. You're gonna have to watch it some other time." Cue the atomic bombs and screeches that make nails on a chalkboard sound like a lullaby. Saylor immediately goes into high-pitched whinny begging mode, followed by pouting mode, followed by negotiating mode, followed by tears. I go from nice Mommy voice to Supreme Ruler Voice. She argues, "But, I've NEVER seen it and I reallllllllllly wanna see it." Me, with an edge to my voice probably due to the fact that I am now talking through clenched teeth, "I know. But not tonight. It's a school night." She then proceeds to offer me her weekly allowance of $4 in exchange for staying up late. I stand firm and once again get labeled as the "Mean Mom". Thanks Disney channel for advertising movies to air on a school night just before bedtime. Is this where the magic begins?

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pretty Paper Valentine Flowers

With Valentine's Day approaching, I've been in a flowery making mood lately. So while searching around for inspirational ideas, I came cross THIS by Martha Stewart. It looks easy which, let's face it, is why it appeals to me. I like anything where I get maximum prettiness w/ little effort.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Jack of All Trades

I thought for a while about how personal I wanted to get about a death in our family just last week. I am the type of person who will always answer, "I'm fine. How are you?" when asked how I am doing rather than go into a long monologue of all that is bugging me or ailing me. However, I figured this is my blog, my chronicle of sorts and I really enjoy the support of other blog friends. Luckily, it is filled with lots of highs. However, tonight I am sharing a low point which takes me a little out of my comfort zone. Yet, it feels like such a relief to put it all into written word......
My Grandfather, Jose Ramirez,  passed away last week. He was born in 1921 and as I recount an endless supply of memories of him, I keep thinking how blest I am to have known his unconditional love for me as his granddaughter and his never ceasing unconditional love for his family. He saw it all; silent films, the Great Depression, the wars, a new thing called Television, assassinations, the man on the moon, Elvis, the Beatles Invasion, Woodstock, 9-11, and the continued growth of his family who loved him so. I had been forewarned that his death would be soon, within a few days and to expect the call. As much as I braced myself each time the phone rang and mentally prepared, one never is really prepared when those types of calls come. He passed away peacefully in my mom's home which was filled with family at the time of his passing. We packed our bags for the long drive back to Texas for the funeral and I wrote down a few words to say at his funeral in the hopes I would be able to pull myself together enough emotionally to get up there and actually share what I had written without turning into a crying tearful sap. I decided to see how I felt about it at his funeral. If I felt I could do it, then I'd share a few words with other family members who were eulogizing my grandfather. I am amazed that I was actually able to do it....anybody who knows me, knows that my tear ducts seemed to be hardwired to pretty much every emotion I feel which makes me a perfect candidate as a Spanish Telenovela star. Nevertheless, I kept my composure and in retrospect, I am so glad that I shared what memories I had. I tried to focus on the little things about my grandfather...things I don't want to forget. It was so nice to hear all the lovely things everyone got up to share about him. This is what I shared......

Grandad had many terms of endearment for his family. He called us Mija or Mijo, Preciosa or Precioso. We called him Dad, Grandad, and a whole new generation, the youngest generation, called him Pepa.
I had asked Grandad not too long ago how he would define his life's work. He thought for a moment and said he would have to say that he was a "Jack of All Trades."  Behind those kind soulfull eyes was a man of many talents and skills. But, what I think preceded him most was his love for all of us. It could be seen in his warm smile as he came to anyone of our homes ALWAYS carrying a white bag of sweet bread, a package of freshly made tamales, or a bottle of Crown Royal.....and if we were lucky, sometimes all three.
Many of us know that Grandad crossed the border when he was five at Christmas time holding his mother's hand. He always told me that he remembers it snowing on the night they crossed the Texas border. Imagine that! He had also told me that he remembers Brownsville when there were both horse and buggy and cars in the streets and how over time there were less and less horses and more cars to where there were no horses and buggies at all and only cars.
As I grew up in my Mom's home, my Grandad always had his very own place at my Mom's dinner table. It seems like the whole world was discussed with my Grandfather and whoever else was present at the time whether it be aunts, uncles, cousins.
We all know that Grandad had an unending curiosity for the world and the events occurring around him. This curiosity kept him young and vibrant. I was remembering on the drive to Texas the various flower shows I would attend with him before we moved to Florida; hibiscus flower shows, rose shows, and African Violet shows. He would pull me over to a flower and point out why it was his favorite. He would stand and admire the colors of a single bloom as if it were a Monet or a Botticelli.
***McDonalds----those golden arches were always the start to his day and before any of us started our day. Gosh, as far back as I can remember, grandad always had his breakfast and coffee at McDonalds where he hung out with other old crooners like himself who he considered his friends.
***Music----Grandad loved music and I think we'd agree that he was such a suave dancer. I have precious memories of dancing with him at Los Molcajetes and at my wedding. He slow-danced like he had learned in the 1940s--a very gentlemanly way, very suave, very sophisticated.
***Granddad's Cars----He always drove a standard & was often in 3rd gear before he was to the end of the street. Who remembers the bumper sticker he had that read, "Down Mexico Way"?
***The Ranch in Hualahuisis, Mexico high up in the Sierra Madres----For those of us who were able to experience this with him know to NEVER EVER accidentally drop a bar of soap down the water well.....or else! The summers we spent with Grandad at the ranch will always be dear to me and I am also so happy that my husband, David, spent time at the ranch with Grandad, as well. On the long exhausting drive to the Ranch, Grandad was the King of the Road...just like the old song. And, negotiating in Spanish and using a little cash on the sly, he was able to get all of us, our cars, our gadgets and goods, across the Mexican border hassle free. We would then be off and continue our extremely long drive up the mountain into the deep interior of Mexico to the ranch where Grandad was born and where he was in his element amongst the mango-scented kitchen, the parrots who flew over us each morning, the countless stars in the night sky, the corn field, the cold mountain river where we bathed daily, the bougainvillea, and the dirt roads where monarch butterflies hovered during their annual great migration.
It is the little things that are the most important which Grandad taught us. Little facts that I recall are that he saved little milk creamers from restaurants to give to stray cats. He loved the color blue not green. He said he preferred Gold-Toe brand socks and chocolate.....he said he liked a yellow box of Whitman's Samplers the most.
I once told him that he looked like Ricky Ricardo in photos of when he was younger.He said that my daughter reminded him of Shirley Temple.
On one of his birthdays, I asked him how old he was and he said, "83" and I teased him saying,"Wow, Grandad! You don't look a day over 80!" and he laughed and laughed at my comment--A hearty laugh that comes from way down in the belly where even your soul joins in. The type of laugh where you have to catch your breath in the middle of it and even when you are done you are still smiling. That is the laugh we shared over this comment and I will always remember how grandad's eyes sparkled with the kind of tears that only come from a good deep laugh. It had made me feel so content inside to know I had caused such a happy laugh and was able to share it with him.
No matter how old Grandad became, he always knew how many kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and even great-great grandkids he had. He never had to stop and do the math or count them out on his fingers. His family was something he was greatly proud of even when we didn't always make him proud. He knew the names of our spouses and never got anyone confused with someone else and he knew who's children were whose. It was a lot to remember. But for him, it was a piece of cake. This is a testament to how much he loved us. Every year, we each received a telephone call and a birthday card from him, without fail, from the Hallmark store. I wonder if he sometimes received a group rate on cards. I rememeber the first Birthday of mine, about 3 years ago, when I did not receive his card. I think that was when I first had to acknowledge and recognized the shift in his aging and how for the first time, Grandad, though his heart and mind were young, had become old.
Grandad taught us how to grow old while staying young on the inside. He also taught us how to get our food ordered in a jiffy at a restaurant by using a stern voice and a respectable level of impatience. It was often comical to witness his impatience with waiters and waitresses.
Grandad's hearing, we all know, had diminished overtime. However, there is no doubt he can hear us now in Heaven and hear how much we love him, how thankful we are to have experienced his love, and how blest we are to be counted as his descendants, his family.

Well, I shared a slightly shorter version of the above at my Grandad's funeral. While retyping it tonight, it gave me more time to reflect and add the detail that I absolutely do not want to forget about him and the details that made him who he was, my Grandad.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten