Wordless Wednesday: Baby Chrissy

Baby Chrissy Swimming


Life as we know it by Paula

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Glamour Shots

Confession Friday: Yes, this happened.

As promised, more ridiculously embarrassing photos are provided in this post.

When my cousin, Rachel, and I were 7 and 11 respectively, our aunt in Kansas invited us out to visit her. Our first vacation without parents! This sounded promising. After weeks of preparation, shopping, and excitement, we were loaded onto a Southwest plane at Midway Airport (back in the days when you could accompany people all the way to the gate without a ticket.)

Aunt B picked us up and drove us to her home. We were greeted by her dog and our uncle, and told that our older cousin may stop by to say hi. It was all so much fun. Aunt B had planned all sorts of great things to do during our stay. We would go to her makeup store, and visit her salon (she owned her own cosmetics line, a store, and a hair salon), and she wanted to take glamour shots of us. Barbizon here we come!

So we went to the shops and got our hair done at the salon. For the first time in both Rachel’s and my lives, we had our hair dyed. Rachel told the ladies that they could do whatever they wanted with her hair, but I was more wary of the ladies with the scissors.

I informed them, not too quietly, that I was NOT very adventurous, and that they better not hack all of my hair off. Even more so, they could not do crazy layers. I was a nervous Nelly who hated change. I allowed them to do a little face shaping, but that was it. Rach ended up with a feathered haircut resemble something Farrah Fawcett would be proud of.

Then we went home with our new ‘dos and raided Aunt B’s closet. She wanted to dress us up like Barbie dolls, and that seemed okay to us. So we had a variety of outfits for our photo shoot prepared. I’ve included some of the high quality photography below.

And remember, we were 7 and 11
So maybe my future career as a model got a little off track…

For the record, when I was 11, I swore that I never wanted any of these pictures shown to anyone. Ever.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

My First Taste of Disney Magic

Brian and I had planned on a trip to Ireland this coming fall, but with my six month stint of general unemployment, it really doesn’t seem feasible to spend thousands of dollars on an international vacation. So we’ll stay close(r) to home. And do Disney!

While Brian has never experienced the magic that is the wonderful world of Walt Disney, I have visited four times in my lifetime. Planning our upcoming trip has brought back a swarm of memories of the Happiest Place on Earth.

My first trip to Disney was when I was just barely a toddler–old enough to remember bits and pieces, but too young to remember it all vividly. At 3, I knew that we were going on our first big vacation, but I don’t remember the excitement of visiting the Magic Kingdom. That first trip, Mom, Dad, Deven, Brian, and I woke up bright and early before the sun rose to hop in the old station wagon and make our way south. I remember falling asleep in the living room and waking up to Deven telling me that it was time to go.

Mom and Dad packed my little brother and I (still in our pajamas) into the way back of the station wagon with stuffed animals, blankets, and pillows, where we promptly fell back asleep. We woke up somewhere between Illinois and Florida and tried to keep ourselves entertained. With our big sister lounging across the center seat of the wagon, we stayed in the back and she tried to keep us from boredom as best as a 14 year old girl can do.

We stayed at several different hotels throughout the course of our vacation, including one situated on the beach for our first ocean excursion. During one of our hotel visits, I was swimming in the large public pool when I suddenly became violently ill (after accidentally consuming a little too much chlorinated water), releasing a swarm of death from the inner pits of my stomach through my mouth and right into the pool. I believe that the pool was quarantined for the rest of the day and possibly into the next. Oops!

Then we made our way to the Magic Kingdom, where they were celebrating their 15th anniversary. As the lucky 500th person through the gates, I won my very first major prize. Little three-year-old Chrissy won a free pass to Disney World, which was valid for life. Of course, we used it when I was 10 and the fam had returned for our second Disneycation.

I remember some of the rides, but not all of them. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was my absolute favorite, and I was heartbroken when I discovered that it was no longer there. I was riding in the car with Deven and she let me “drive.” She kept telling me that I was going the wrong way, but I was laughing so hard I couldn’t stop.

I was terrified by the Peter Pan ride because it really felt like I was flying, and I thought that there couldn’t be anything more fun than the Haunted Mansion.

The last memory I have of that trip was just a day that I had with my mom. We drove to Treasure Island together while Brian, Dad, and Deven stayed at the hotel. We visited my great grandma Myrt and great-grandpa Warren. That was the only memory that I have of my great grandma, who passed away some time after our visit. She was so nice to me, and she gave me stuff to color, while I was sitting on the floor of her bedroom. My mom seems surprised every time I tell her that I remember being there, but I do.

As I gear up for my upcoming Disney trip, I’ll be sharing the more vivid stories and entertaining tales of Disney over the next few weeks. I’m stoked.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Security Blankie

Everyone has that one object from their childhood that was with them through it all. Whether it was a blankie, a stuffed animal, a toy, or something else entirely, you are probably thinking of yours right now.

When I was a baby, I received a simple baby blanket that became my bankie. Throughout my infancy and childhood, this blanket was more than just my favorite thing in the whole world, it was a part of me.

I was a thumb sucker, and required my bankie to suck my thumb. There were several very important things that I needed from bankie in order to suck my thumb, though:

Most importantly, it needed to be cold. So after a while of sucking my thumb and my blankie warming up, I would put it in the freezer to cool it off. In the winter, I would even voluntarily let the dog out into and back in from the yard so that I could hang blankie in the wind for that icy chill.

Of course, it also had a certain blanket smell that could only be kept intact so long as bankie stayed not clean. When my mother would wash it, I would freak out. A lot. To find the blankie in the dryer after a good washing was the most horrific thing in the world to me. But in all honesty, it was probably pretty gross, so it makes sense now.

So I would hold bankie in my left hand with my left thumb in my mouth, while I pushed the blankie up to my nose in order to smell the blankie smell and feel the cool blankie feel. It was like Heaven to me.

I remember having a puffy spot on my thumb that I thought would never go away. One day while I was on the bus heading home from school, my next door neighbor Greg, who was a year older than me, was teasing me about the puff. I was in third grade and far too embarrassed to admit it’s origin. Thankfully, the puffy spot disappeared within months of my final thumb suck.

Often, the blanket would lose pieces of the edge, slowly shrinking a once large baby blanket. At one point in the life of bankie, it ripped into two pieces. One of which I tied into a knot. Both pieces traveled everywhere with me. One in the freezer; one in my hand. Switch. Repeat.

Regardless of my disdain for a clean bankie, there were definitely times that my blankie needed to be washed…or partially disposed of. One hot summer night when I was in second or third grade, I was spending the night at my aunt’s house. I had snuggled up on the living room floor in a pile of blankets, with my head laying off onto the carpet. In the middle of the night, I became violently ill, and the un-knotted piece of bankie was the unfortunate recipient of my stomach’s wrath (as was the carpet and one of the blankets.) I spent an hour trying to clean up my mess, embarrassed and unnecessarily afraid to tell anyone.

But the blankie was a mess. After mom tried to wash it, the stains would not come out and I was forced to part with another piece of my beloved blanket.

So, yes…I sucked my thumb. Until the 4th grade. When my mother took bankie away. She told me that she had no idea where it went. She promised to look for it. My gram bought me a replacement, but it was worthless to me. The bright seafoam green blanket was scratchy and unfamiliar. It was hardly worthy of my doll’s comfort. I found that no matter how hard I tried, I could not suck my thumb without my blankie. This proved to be the perfect solution to my mother’s fear that I would never stop sucking my thumb. But it was a sad time for me.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!