In Keeping With Current Trends:

Dearest Holden: 
I will spoil you rotten and I will love you more than you can fathom until my dying breath. I can promise you ice cream, dump trucks, swirly slides, cotton candy, cartoons, and a place to hang out when Mom just won't get off your case already.  Though, I can also promise you that if mom is on your case, I probably will be, too. 

I will watch you play football or baseball or soccer or ballet (yes, Jeff, ballet, if he's so inclined). I will cheer for you and yell "Go TEAM!" at the top of my lungs. I will embarrass you, but not nearly as much as your parents will. I promise to be the cool "aunt" and to always have little secrets -- just for us (like that sip of root beer before bed, or the extra sugary marshmallow cereal, or how you are just a little afraid of the dark even though you're a boy and can totally fight monsters, man!).

I will give you horrible advice and be totally out of touch. I'll tell you stories about when I was a kid and you'll roll your eyes and say, "yeah right, Athena, like you were ever that cool!" And I'll assure you that yes, believe it or not, your mom and I were, like, totally rad. 

I can promise that you'll fall for the wrong girl, at least once, but that falling in love is worth every bump and scrape along the way.  You will break a heart once or twice, and have yours broken, too, and I'll always pick up the phone if you need to talk (or need a sober ride home, you got that!?!) I will cry at your wedding, partly because you're getting married, but mostly because I'll be old enough for you to be getting married, which means so will my daughters. Maybe you'll marry each other. But not all three of you, mmmkay? I want my girls to share, but let's not get crazy, here.  

I will demand that you honor love and respect your mother from this day forward because, goshdarnitdiddilyhoo she's your momma and she birthed you and that whole birthing thing is no joke -it's hard. I will expect that you respect your father, and learn from him. He's a great man and an amazing person for you to aspire to be just like. 

I'll write annoying letters like this to you from time to time, and I'll take your picture more than you can stand. Especially when you find yourself in humorous and/or potentially future reputation ruining positions (e.g. the bathtub, smashing your first birthday cake, wearing mom's heels). 

And I'll hug and kiss and cuddle you.

Forever and ever.

Aunt Athena.

(PS: Go check out Holden's birth story here)


First Lord, No Tattoos.

May neither chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.  May she be beautiful but not damaged, for it's the damage that draws the creepy soccer coaches eye, not the beauty. When the crystal meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer. 
 Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. 
Lead her away from acting but not all the way to finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking you, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.
May she play the drums to the fiery rhythm of her own heart with the sinewy strength of her own arms, so she need not lie with drummers. Grant her a rough patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a tiger flower blooming magenta for one day – and adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait. 
 O Lord, break the internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed. And when she one day turns on me and calls me a bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.”
And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with your God eyes. 

~Tina Fey


PS: I mean it, girls. All of it. Minus the part about tattoos. I can't say no to you there. But that part about dry humping and laying with drummers? Totally mean it.


A Photography Prize Package

Remember that grammar quiz I had a few weeks back?
A classmate of mine from high school
wowed me with her grammar prowess
and won a photo shoot with yours truly.
(A dear blog-reader, Faith, won a prize, too,
which I am currently making.
Did you read that, Faith?!? It's coming! Promise!)
We met last Friday,
when the wind was whipping
and the sun was hiding.

Here are a few favorites from our session:

Thank you Kristi,
for being amazing at grammar,
and sharing your family with me for the briefest of moments.



Owl. Party.

Saturday was Elena's birthday party.
Her owl party. 
I spent hours making feathered masks,
wooden bead necklaces, 
gift jars,
pretzel sticks,
cake pops,
owl donuts (that turned out like chickens)
and owl lanterns.

I finally threw a DIY birthday.
A blast.

The kids in attendance thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
I am still thoroughly enjoying the cake pops.
Elena is asking how long before she has another birthday 
so she can be five.

I told her not to be in such a hurry to grow up.  

Here are some photos from the day:
(Owl babies and Owl Cake are courtesy of the amazingly talented Rebecca Weber)




This girl right here is four years old today.
You hear me, Laneybug?
As I try to say it, the words get caught on my tongue,
unable to come out audibly without significant effort.
The time, as they say, goes extremely fast.

I remember the day you were born so clearly.
The pain. The exhaustion. The triumph.

Most of all, I remember the love.
The swell of it that rushed over DRL and I the second you arrived and were placed on my chest.
The way the air was different
somehow, in that split fraction of an instant my world was reshaped

Life was different.

I want to remember you, forever, exactly as you are today.
Candy loving.
Rio soundtrack singing.
Obsessed with frogs and lizards and princesses.

Being your parent isn't always easy,
I am far from perfect,
but being your parent is the best thing I've ever been in the whole of my existence.
I am so amazed by you,
every single day.
I wish there were more days where we could be silly and play from the time the sun wakes up
until it's time for sleep.
But on the days when I am not there,
know that there is no one on this earth (except for your daddy)
that loves you more than me.

I'm so excited for this next year of your life.
To continue to watch you grow,

To see you eat at dinnertime.

So here's to you, my darling sweet daughter.
A story from your third year of life that
when told
made you squeal with laughter.
I'm certain that there is no better sound on this earth
sweeter than your giggle.

Elena Bedaina, the tooter of Tut,
Farted and a smell wafted from her butt.
It drifted through the city and down to the town,
the nasty butt smell made the cityfolk frown.
But Elena Bedaina didn't stop that root-tootin'
she kept on eating beans so the farts would keep shootin'
And then one day Elena caught a whiff of that stuff
and Elena Bedaina shouted "Enough!"
"I won't eat more beans, you can't make me I say!
I don't want to fart all night and all day.
I'm a lady! I don't want to be gross!
Tomorrow for dinner, all I'm eating is toast!"

All my love
forever and ever
(and then one day more)



Someday Her Prince Will Come

A long long long
time from now.

You hear me, Prince?
A looooooong time.

Happy Monday, loves.



Wednesday Wisdom

Should I mention how much
I completely suck
at consistently blogging?
Because you already know how awful I am at it?
Oh, right,
you probably do.
Since you come here 
to read and all.

Only to find lack of new material.


Life has been insanity lately.
Welcome insanity,
but insanity nonetheless. 
The actual one with the paycheck and health insurance and 401(k).
The one I actually want to be doing full-time
but lacks the (steady) paycheck, 
the (company supported) health insurance,
and (employer matched) 401(k).

I'm planning an Owl party for a little girl who is about to turn four.
If you know me, 
(which, I mean seriously, by this point, dear readers, you know me better than I know myself)
you know that I'm DIYing the crap out of the party. 
Yay Time Suck!
But it is going to be well worth it.

I hope.

If you want to keep up with the photography happenings,
check me out here.
If you want to keep up with my snark, 
friend me on facebook or follow me on twitter

I think I need another Rant Zone post.
I can feel it brewing.
Also, I'd like to hear from you.
You know,
in the comments section
as to what you're missing on TFP.
Does my blog need a healthy course of Activia?
Pointless pontificating rants?

keep silent,
dear readers,
if you must.

I will consult the Magic 8 Ball for answers and hope the reply isn't hazy.

Happy Wednesday!

PostScript: Happy First Day Overdue to my super pregnant best ever friend Nadia, and Happy First Day of Life to my dear friends John and Terri's little girl, Lily. Babies are awesomesauce. 


Family Fun Day.

Last weekend DRL and I took the girls to Cascade Falls.
It was amazing.
A full day, with my family.
No noise.
No obligations.
Just us.
I'd like to do it again.