Here we are, well into the first month of this new year and changes are on the horizon in my land.
I am officially the mama of a five-year-old (you already know how I feel about that
), which means...Bum bum buuuum! Kindergarten this fall. For me, kindergarten means more than not dissolving into one ginormous, soggy pile at that first kindergarten drop-off...Or, you know, the first week of drop-offs. No, it also marks the time in which I have to make some decisions about my future as a grown up person and not just a mom.
No way would I trade these last five years at home with my girl, but now I'm not terribly inclined to return to the work-life I was sure I couldn't give up when I was pregnant with her. Pssh. (Again, can I just say, why
does kindergarten have to be a full day?!) But I digress. At the moment it would seem that the perfect solution is almost too perfectly about to be dropped into my lap. A part-time job that would make some of the other hats that I wear flow a little more smoothly, plus still allow me to follow this writing dream. I'm oddly inclined to throw a "Boom Baby!" out there at that. I know, don't say it, I'm special
So it's not writing full-time, but it's a step - hopefully - in the right-ish direction.
With that new adventure in the works, I've also got certain writing projects going and processing that I'm excited about further developing. Including with Simply Family Magazine,
who last year further developed their website to make it more of a destination place for parents to go to get info on things, as such, Simply Baby, Simply Teen,
and Simply Thrifty
were born on the site. And I'm a part of that, though I haven't written as much - yet. It's coming, I promise. It's just all part of figuring out the balance/juggling game. So, if you're interested, wander my way, in the land of SFM,
where I am known as, Simply Becca
. Kinda fun, right?
Speaking of Simply Becca
if you've got some parenting things that you would love to see covered, please shoot me an email
Keep an eye out for a tab to develop here for easy access to those works once I really get the ball rolling there.
Thanks for taking this ride with me!
Ah, Christmas...So many things about the holidays to love, treasure, stress over...But there is one thing, no matter how stressed I get or overwhelmed by things
I become, that can always bring me back to center.
It's the sounds of the season. While I'm not one of those who has the Christmas station tuned in 24/7, there are songs that I will seek out because of their overwhelming awesomeness and ability to make me just be
for a bit.
I've always said that music is so incredible because it has a way of taking you back to a specific moment in the space of a chord. It's just amazing, isn't it? With the flip of a radio station, I can be driving down the road in my high school car on a hot summer day, just living life and being free.
...Well, after that slight left turn, I give you the song on my heart tonight. Love Came Down at Christmas
, performed by Jars of Clay, but is Christina Rossetti's poem. Every time I hear this song...It's perfection.
What songs are your musical perfection at Christmas? Take a trip to the comments and let us know! It wouldn't hurt my feelings if you wanted to Tweet the videos to @LovingAbigail
9 years into our marriage, the fake tree is still the winner.
Have you ever noticed how, for many families it seems either you are a solid 'real Christmas tree' family or you're 'artificial tree' all the way? In my little family, we've waffled back and forth over the years (real shocker if you knew us at all...Insert dripping sarcasm here) before settling on our official stance. Following is a comical look at how we got there.
The year is 2002 and we're preparing for our first Christmas as a married couple. Let me just say, married life in general...BIG transition to say the least, but that's another story for another day. I, of course, am adamant that we get ourselves a real tree, so off we go to the various tree lots in search of the most perfect tree ever. The details on this part are a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure we ended up going to a few different lots before we found the tree. P.S. Two novices should not be allowed to go tree shopping together. I had gone with my dad every year while I was growing up to pick out the family tree, but he's the one who paid attention to the details - not me.
Now before I dive any further into this story, let me clue you in to a conversation we had while at the tree lot. Me: "We're gonna need to get a tree stand." Husband: "Eh, gramma has like 20 at home, we don't need to spend money on that." Me: "Okaaay...If you're sure..." (Thinking to self: If she has 'like 20 at home,' what's wrong with them???)
Okay, so fast forward to getting the tree home. The tree proceeds to go in and out of our house at least three times. Yep, you read that right THREE times. With each passage in and out the door as we (by we, I of course mean he) work on the most crooked tree trunk in the universe, the frustration levels are mounting. Finally, we get enough trunk cut off so that it can stand in our free tree stand. Guess what...There's a reason it was in the garage and not being used for a repeat performance. Oh yeah, it fell down. *sigh*
A new tree stand is purchased.
I can vividly recall as we're wrestling with this tree saying, "I wish my dad was here," and promptly going to the bathroom to cry it out. Now, the total irony of that statement is that things didn't necessarily go all that smoothly with my dad over the years. I remember many a time he was cursing over the stupid, er, beautiful tree. Apparently, though, I had blocked all of that out. So there I am, crying my eyes out in the bathroom, poor Husband is probably thinking this isnot what he signed up for - and seriously..."Why is she crying??" Enter my sister. My beautiful, thoughtful sister comes over with a box of ornaments for our first Christmas. I make my exit from the bathroom trying not to look like this entire experience has been complete misery. Good times.
The evening ended well, with feelings mended, and a ginormous pizza delivered from Pizza Hut, but it's an experience I will never forget, and that we uproariously laugh over now.
We did give the real tree a try again a couple of years later, but that darn thing fell over too, and we decided, enough is enough and have embraced our artificial tree in all it's easy-peasy glory ever since. Our greatest source of debate now is an annual argument over getting the lights on the tree. I am so challenged. However, nine years into this marriage, gone are the tears - they've been replaced by laughter up front instead of later.
I'd love to hear your stories! Leave a comment below!
With only five minutes left on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, my mind continues racing around the thoughts that have been on a steady stream in the days leading up to today.
Like those from generations past, the events of 9/11 are forever etched into our memories like those who lived through the Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations, Pearl Harbor...It's a day we will forever remember.
As Alan Jackson sang, "Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?"
At the time when the first plane struck tower one, I was in my bathroom getting ready to head to class at MSU-Billings, listening to the radio. When the deejay first announced that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, my heart seized, but I still had no real idea what was happening, so I ran into my mom's room and she had the Today Show on in her room as she was getting ready. As I went running into her room, yelling for her and asking what this meant, we fell to our knees in front of the television as the second plane hit. We watched in horror as the towers imploded, another plane found its mark at the Pentagon, and the terror of the people fighting for their lives. And then there was one more, but this one slammed into a field in Pennsylvania. Why was this happening? How will these people and their families ever recover from this?
What could you do, but sob over the hopelessness and helplessness that was overwhelming us as a country?
Deciding to go to class, though I was incredibly late, I walked into my classroom, numb, and realized...They didn't know. After that class I realized I would not be able to focus, left campus, and went to my sister's house where we spent the rest of the day glued to the television. If I was away from a television, the radio was on - never before had I felt so desperate for a connection, for information.
My husband, who was my fiancee at the time, had just pulled back into port on September 10, 2001 after having been overseas for months. I had no way to get in immediate touch with him, but I remember sending frantic emails to him. I was so sure they were going send them right back out. At my sister's house I waited and watched and waited.
My sister had a one and a half year old and was eight months pregnant at the time of the attacks. I remember the heartbreak in her voice as she wondered how you bring a child into this kind of world.
It was a day that, as a country, we will never forget. Even children who were not born or were too young to remember are learning of the horror and indeed the hope that came from that day. Things changed forever that September day that started out so blue, so clear, so beautiful.
Where were you on 9/11?
One of her one-of-a-kind outfits.
This is most definitely one of those posts that falls under the Loving Abigail heading, I hope you'll indulge me in a moment of mommy mistiness.
Tonight as I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready, my 4-year-old daughter came racing into the kitchen, and as I bent down to her she wrapped her little arms around my neck and we both turned into a smooch. And then she did what she does so often these days, she turned my head so she could smother my cheek in kisses. As she dangled from my neck and loudly exclaimed, "I love you SO much mommy," in my ear, I got a little misty and a little pre-nostalgic.
It was one of those moments that I knew I wanted to tuck away into my memory bank to treasure for the rest of my life because before I know it, she will be a teenager and the hugs, kisses, and loves will be few and far between. The ease in which we relate to each other now will seem like a fairy tale.
There are so many of these little moments that I wish I could lock in my memory forever, like earlier when we were playing outside and she was "flying" (belly swinging). Watching her dressed in her nightgown, a sweatsuit, pink stretchy gloves (no, it's not that cold), a hat, and sparkly purple shoes as she ran her little feet to send herself soaring...And the giggles that were quick to follow, magical.
The little moments...The last kiss before I go to bed, the giggles that are so infectious we get lost in minute after minute of laughter before I realize it's bedtime and we should be winding down, not giggling up. It's walking hand and hand up the stairs or holding her snug in my arms. The moments that seem unforgettable, but I will struggle to remember the bitty details, like just how she looks when she crinkles her nose just so...
Treasure the little things. Write them down so one day your little one will know just how very treasured her very being is.
I came across this little gem in my StumbleUpon
wanderings and thought it was too fantastic not to share.
I love the list, but figured I/we could add a few of our own. So I'll give you mine and I'd love it if you'd share yours in the comments and we'll have ourselves a little happy-day party. Life's Natural Highs continued...
~ A rainy, snuggly, stay-in-bed-reading kind of day
~ Being taken back in time by a song
~ Making your spouse laugh
~ Laughing so hard you cry
~ Playing at the park
~ Hearing a child's belly laugh
~ A random compliment
~ Being known~
Laughing so hard it turns into a giggle-snort
~ The perfect set that results in a hardwood-pounding kill (yes, I'd be talking about volleyball here)
~ The tug of a fish at the end of your fishing pole
~ A spine-tingling kiss
Okay, now it's your turn: keep our list growing in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
Check out the 'Simply Family' online: click on the photo.
I'm excited to share that I got my first cover story with Simply Family
magazine! Mine would be the New Beginnings: Surviving the Kindergarten Drop Off
You can check out the magazine online at www.simplyfamilymagazine.com
My article begins on page 34 if you're interested in checking it out.
Even with the excitement over this being my first article featured on a cover, this is one of my favorite pieces that I've submitted thus far. It's probably a toss up over the article on onlies and this one I'd say.
Random ponderment: Is claiming a favorite piece of written work like telling your kids you prefer one over the other?
At any rate, an exciting new step in my journey as a freelance writer.
Thanks for reading...Stay tuned!
Confession: An outdoorsy kind of girl I’m not. Hiking, hunting, camping…I'd really rather pass. Fishing, is good, I can work with fishing. And, so, you ask? Well as I sit here scratching far too many mosquito bites, I'm reflecting on this past weekend when the family went on our annual camping trip. As we were getting things set up – sweltering, with the mosquitoes already beginning their feasting - I think my words were, “This is my idea of hell.” Clearly not a fan.
It’s not that I don’t have fond memories of camping from childhood, I do, but still…I don’t get it. Dirt, bugs, heat, rain, uncomfortable sleeping, daringly eating your meals on a floppy paper plate…Even still, I can recognize that it’s not all bad. So I give you…
5 Reasons Camping Is Not the Worst Thing on Earth:
1. The stars - It’s not like I don’t have a stellar view of the stars in the sky from home, but I’m telling you, there was something awe-inspiring about the clearness and total beauty of those stars this weekend. There is something utterly spectacular about a Montana sky. I guess they don’t call it Big Sky Country for nothing.
2. Watching my kiddo have oodles of fun - I might not be a fan, but my kid did not get the memo. Running amuck with her cousins, finding whole new levels of brave, fishing...She had a blast and all while reminding me that she's so good at letting me know when it's time to let her go to grow.
3. Campfire – I might not actually enjoy s’mores (and no, I don’t consider this a fatal flaw), but I do totally love watching everyone find that fine line of perfectly toasting their ‘mallows to hopelessly burning them beyond anything edible. Plus…What could possibly be better than a rousing game of name that tune around the campfire. Gone are the days of the sing-along, no, now it’s time to bust out the i-pod. Welcome to camping in the 21st century.
4. Mishaps – In our family, it just wouldn’t be any kind of vacation without some kind of something going wrong. One family member suggesting our next year’s camping trip be dubbed: “The Griswold’s family camping trip,” kind of says it all.
5. The bugs…No the dirt…No, no the weather – So none of these things really gets my happy on, but the bugs at least are good for a few funnies. You know…The awesomeness of watching people as they flail about attempting to rid themselves of these pesky, blood-sucking monsters. The bonding that occurs as you take turns fogging each other in an effort to create an impenetrable wall of bug-be-gone. Bugs, in a round about kind of way, can bring the funny, dirt and weather…Not so much.
So no, an outdoorsy girl I’m not (and don’t tell my family I said this), but it’s not the most horrifyingly awful experience to ever be had. That wasn’t much of a glowing recommendation, was it? Baby steps.
And in case my use of "amuck" got this moment in Hocus Pocus stuck in your melon...There ya have it.
Okay, so it's not the new adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but it is the new adventures of me...This picture is just cuter.
Now that August is nearly upon us, I'm thinking it's time to share my latest news in writing land.
You might have noticed that in the last month or so I've been focusing primarily on my TV Moms Examiner column
and less and less on my Billings Early Childhood/Parenting
things. There's a reason for that.
Earlier this month I met with the founder of the local magazine I regularly submit articles to and starting in August I'll be taking on a more active role on their website. I'll be doing some blogging about various parenting topics for them, and I'm excited to see where this will take me. This doesn't mean that I'm totally abandoning my Billings Examiner column, but odds are you'll only see the occasional article published there from here on out. I'll of course keep you posted on where and how you can keep up with me on the Simply Family
website once everything gets up and running.
Also in the land of random, but awesome: in July I had received an e-mail about a scavenger hunt that DoSomething.org
was putting on with the suggestion that it might be a good tie-in for my TV Moms column. I definitely agreed and this exchange turned out to be a beautiful God-incidence in the making. Working on an upcoming piece for a magazine, the person who e-mailed me turned out to be the perfect source. She was incredible in answering my questions and it was just all around amazing. When I can let you know a little more about that, I totally will.
Until then...Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.
I've always said that if you're going to choose to write about something that could be considered controversial, you've got to be prepared for the responses you get. I still think that, but I thought I'd toss out a response of sorts to some of the comments I've been getting on the Amy Winehouse post I put up on Saturday.
First, can I say: thanks for taking the time to comment - I'm a writer so knowing someone is reading what I've written never hurts my feelings - even if we disagree. Second, I know there are incredibly important, powerful, and devastating things happening in our world at large. I promise you I'm not totally oblivious. My lack of coverage on various world topics isn't a lack of caring, it's just not the direction I usually go in my writing.
There are certain things I absolutely don't feel qualified to comment on and there are others that I don't feel fall in my niche. I have my opinions - we all do, but I'd say it's safe to say that you will never catch me using my corner of the web for a place to discuss the latest political happenings or major world events (I'm talking honest-to-God news here). That's not who I am.
You'll have your opinions and I'll have mine, but mostly this blog is just me putting out whatever random thoughts that happen to be flitting through my brain that day or letting you know what kind of progress or epic fail I've experienced with my writing.
Ahhh, with all of that said, I do think debate is important so really and truly; thanks for stopping by, reading my work, and taking the time to comment. It keeps things interesting.
Until next time...