October 12, 2013
I emailed the director of Everly and Arlo’s preschool last week about a random tuition question and in her follow up email, she mentioned that she had just left a fire safety program with the local fire department that all the children participated in. She said my two were sitting on the front row together, listening and holding hands.
Everly and I have our best talks at bedtime and we talk often about the special role of being a big sister. We talk about how big sisters are protectors . I encourage her to check in with Arlo on the playground. To invite him to play. To hold his hand in new situations. It’s something I feel like I didn’t do enough of to my baby bro growing up.
To know that Everly was there, holding Arlo’s hand in a big group of kids sets my heart on fire. She’s listening to those whispered conversations we share and she’s acting on it. I couldn’t be more proud.
October 8, 2013
Halloween is Freaking Awesome.
We started discussing halloween costumes back in July this year. We went around and around and finally decided on a Wizard of Oz theme for our family costumes. I’ll share more on that later, but for now, if you’re needing a little inspiration before the end of the month, check out some of my favorite kid costumes from around the internet:
The cast of Duck Dynasty
Dumb and Dumber
Treasure Troll (I couldn’t find a source for this one)
And while this isn’t a kid costume, it wouldn’t be a favorite halloween costume line up without Elton John Cat.
What are your little ones planning to be for halloween this year?
October 3, 2013
An Open Letter to CBS
To the producers and writers of the show, 2 Broke Girls
Recently, on an episode of your show, the following exchange took place:
"No I will not just say yes!! The last time you made me say that you set me up with an albino.
I don’t know how they’re so confident.”
"You set me up with an Albino"
The appropriate term is “A person with albinism”
Most people in the albinism community regard the word albino as a derogatory word. And I have to ask, what is so laughable about being set up with a person with albinism? Some of the most intelligent, gifted people in the world also happen to have albinism. People with albinism are artists, musicians, models, and change makers. It’s incredibly insensitive to insinuate that because someone has albinism, they are not worth dating. But the real sting, for me, came from the character’s second line: "I don’t know how they’re so confident."
I have a little boy with albinism. He is two and a half years old. His name is Arlo and he is beautiful. He is gentle and loving and silly.
When Arlo was just an infant, we learned that he had albinism. We knew nothing about the condition and faced many emotions upon his diagnosis. I immediately worried about his future, about how it would impact his abilities and also, to a lesser extent, his interactions with others.
I’ve learned through my involvement with the albinism community
that many people with albinism face bullying at school. Beyond the fact that their skin and hair color often make them a target because they look different than most of their peers, many people with albinism also have vision impairments that require additional considerations and tools to allow them to learn in the classroom.
In some countries, being born with albinism means abandonment, being shunned from your community, or even the threat of death
due to the misguided belief that body parts of people with albinism can cure disease.
Throughout the years, people with albinism have been portrayed in movies or on television most often as a villian, the bad guy, or someone shunned from society. (See a full list here
) Rarely is a person with albinism cast in a positive light in the television and movie industries. Despite all of this, there are people with albinism all over the world who know their value, celebrate their unique beauty and live with confidence each day. That confidence should be applauded and admired, not used as the butt of an insensitive joke.
My greatest desire as a mother is to raise my son to believe in his own worth - To find value in his abilities, in his deeds, in his goodness, in the way he treats people- not in the way he looks.
I do not consider myself an easily offended or overly sensitive person. I try to be reasonable about what should and should not fall into the realm of political correctness, but it honestly shocked me to hear the characters on your show mock people with albinism in this way.
I can not protect my son from the entire world. I can’t shield him from every ignorant opinion or ugly word, but I can encourage him and give him opportunities to recognize the immense value of his own self worth. It’s also my duty as a mother and as a citizen, to speak up when I see something unfair or prejudice in our society. Your show’s mockery of albinism is unacceptable.
Albinism is a genetic condition, but it is not a definition. I challenge you, CBS, to be more thoughtful about the ideas you are portraying through your characters. Despite the challenges that exist for people with albinism, I can only hope that I am able to raise my son to have the kind of confidence that the characters on your show scoff at.
Note: I sent this to CBS today and after some consideration, felt I should post it on my blog too. I’ve been wanting to do a post on albinism and this letter has some albinism awareness messaging in it that I felt my blog readers may find valuable.
October 2, 2013
My mom and her partner, Peg, have created the most beautiful escape in the mountains of North Carolina. A year ago, they moved from the bustling downtown of Asheville to the quiet retreat of a little town near Chimney Rock. I’ve shared their gorgeous cabin before, but while we were there last weekend, I sat in the hammock in the backyard and looked around at the idealic setting they have created and decided to pull my camera out and document their work.
When they moved in, there was some old growth laurel bushes and a few mammoth hardwoods behind the house, but the two of them have worked weekends and evenings to build stone paths and plant new greenery and turn a nice backyard into a place of escape.
Mom is the gardener and Peg is tinkerer. Mom knows just what to plant and where to make it all come together and Peg has put little stacked piles of river rocks, twisted limbs she drug in from the forest and some of her paintings in various places around the yard to make it feel whimsical.
I love the vibe they have created here and plan to use it as inspiration for our backyard re-do. The kids spent most of their time last weekend just enjoying this space and we tried eat as many meals as possible outside. We cooked hotdogs over the open fire and gathered around it for warmth once it grew dark and the temperature dropped.
I’m proud of the work they have done and thankful that we get to experience it.
October 1, 2013
I get a lot of questions about where I like to shop for my kids. Over and over again, I say the same thing…. Zulily*. Several people have shared with me that they have a hard time finding anything they really like on the site. I thought it might be fun to do a Zulily* round up every so often to share with others some of the things, available right now, that I really love.
Cold weather is on its way and the site is packed full of cute long sleeve gear right now! I look forward to sharing my favorite Zulily finds more often!
Jordan Family Holiday: Year Six
At ages two and three, our kids are still just a little young to “get it” when we talk about our family holiday, but I know these memories are already sticking with them.
I can’t wait for the day when the kids are old enough to look forward to our anniversary the way Brent and I do. Our gift every year is a day spent commemorating what happened after we said “I do”. We celebrate our relationship, our children, and another year together. We don’t exchange presents or make a big romantic to-do of it, but we make sure that no matter what day of the week our anniversary falls on, we are all together, off work, tuned in and present to enjoy a day as a family.
Extravagant trips have never been in our budget, so we always seek out places we can get to in a short drive. This year, we made our way to Asheville to visit my mama and take the kids to Hickory Nut Gap Farm.
Hickory Nut Gap Farm has become a favorite stop for us. It’s inexpensive, loads of fun and so incredibly kid friendly - lots of farm animals for petting, a hay mountain to climb, Tricycle races, a corn maze, barrel car rides, horseback riding, hill slides and local produce to load up on before heading home.
I can’t think of a better way to honor the day we were married than by spending it laughing a lot and having some wide open fun.
You can read about our previous Jordan Family Holidays here:
September 30, 2013
(Photo: Taken yesterday, on our sixth wedding anniversary)
Six years into this and I’ve realized just how easy it is to get sucked into the day-in, day-out of life. The schedules, routine. Wake up, full speed, fall asleep, repeat.
We have let it happen sometimes. There have been months on end when we were in survival mode. Throwing everything we had at life, just to keep the plates spinning.
Sometimes we look at each other, and see not a lover, but a cog in this machine. You do your part, I’ll do mine.
It’s dangerous, really.
It’s the sort of thing that ever so quietly could rust out our hearts until they echo, empty.
Because even with our pockets full of good years, and laughter, and passion and adventures, the every day is mostly an engine. A train on a track.
Sometimes we are too busy to sit still next to one another, we are too needed to talk about our own needs, we are too tired to do anything but fall asleep at night.
This isn’t the romantic letter you expect on your sixth wedding anniversary, but it’s the one I want to write.
Because the message is important.
Despite all of this. The realities of life. The responsibilities of work and children and family and every other commitment we’ve signed up for… my heart will never rust for you.
Six years ago, when everything was fresh and new and easy, I made a promise that I would work every day to keep my love bright and beating.
And I have never meant anything so much.
Every day and all the time, I think about the boy I fell in love with.
I see him, alive in you, even when you are changing diapers or pushing the lawn mower or vacuuming the living room rug.
I remember that rush you gave me. The seizing of my ribs when you were near and I couldn’t catch my breath.
and I become that girl again too.
I become her while carrying in bags full of groceries at 10pm or stuffing loads of laundry in for washing.
Even when, to everyone else, we are boring and every day and ordinary.
I am counting all of the ways and reasons why I fell in love with you.
Adding new reasons all the time.
I will carry this crush for the rest of my days.
The way we love one another has changed.
There is trust and easiness and depth where there once was newness and spontaneity.
Your beard is slowly turning gray, like the creep of autumn. I have never loved you more.
I stand in the mirror and look at how time and two children have reshaped me. I have never felt more loved.
We are not who we were.
We are less idealistic but more determined.
We are in the thick of things.
We ache for a slowness we no longer have.
But I could not imagine a better life.
There is no fairytale here,
but our reality is everything I ever hoped for.
To be loved so completely,
to be so in love.
My heart, bright and beating for you,
Every single day of our beautiful, ordinary life.
September 26, 2013
The Rundown: 3 years, 9 months & 2 years, 4 months
I used to write these sort of updates all the time. I’d make a list of your weights and heights and milestones. I wanted a record all of the ways you were growing and changing month over month.
But for the past six months or more, I haven’t written a post like this. Your changes have come so fast I’ve barely had time to register them. Every day I wake up to two children who are taller, smarter, more animated than the day before. I come home from work and I swear you’ve grown while I was away. I curl up next to you at bedtime and try to imagine how it used to feel to hold you as a baby. Those little round bellies and chubby arm rolls have turned into long, skinny legs and feet that outgrow shoes at an alarming rate.
Every season, as I go through your closets and pack away the things you’ll never wear again, I do it with a lump in my throat. Sometimes, I cave to my own hang-ups, and squeeze you into a favorite t-shirt that should have been abandoned months ago…even though your belly hangs out and it’s tight in the arms. I just want one more day of seeing you run around in that silly piece of clothing you once wore daily.
I don’t know exactly how much either of you weigh or how tall you are now. I do know that the top of Everly’s head comes up to my hip and my arms grow tired while carrying Arlo much quicker than they did even a few months ago . Arlo, your hair has grown long enough to fall in your eyes. I’m the only one left who thinks it shouldn’t be cut, but I’m standing my ground on that one. Everly, you’ve reached the age where you will patiently let me braid your hair or put it up in little buns. You love to admire my handiwork in the mirror when I’m done.
Everly, you are so full of reason and inquiry. You make up the best songs. You have a great sense of humor and above all, you continue to make me so proud with the way you have empathy for others. You share beautifully and like to make gifts for your loved ones. You are sometimes bossy, often stubborn and a born leader. I watch as every where you go, others are drawn to your energy and confidence. Your spirited nature will no doubt be a challenge to our parenting at times as you grow, but know that it is also one of the things I most admire in you.
Arlo, you bring pure joy to our world. You are rarely in a hurry but love to speed around the house on your balance bike. You are quiet and content except when you get your heart broken, which is fairly often. You go with the flow, are comfortable to just be, and most happy when you are surrounded by cars and trucks and toy motorcycles. You are not a rough and tumble kid. You are thoughtful and purposeful, affectionate and silly. When I lay down with you at night, you reach out and slowly rub the back of my arms. I can tell, already, that your goodness will make waves in this world.
I’ve stopped counting all the words the two of you say and tracking all of the milestones you’re reaching, because I know you are right where you are supposed to be. We are in no hurry to rush either of you into formal education right now. We are introducing letter, color, and shape identification through lots and lots of book reading. We are being protective of these early childhood years. You will learn all about writing and reading and counting soon enough, but for now, our greatest focus on learning is around the art of adventure and play.
You are both just great kids. We love being your parents. Keep up the good work, you’ve already got this whole childhood thing down pat.
September 19, 2013
A Letter from Camp Linnhaven
My dad sent me home from his house last weekend with a box filled with old momentos from my childhood and teenage years. I flipped through yearbooks and old report cards and school pictures I had saved of friends. Inside there were a few letters I had written my parents over the years. I thought I’d post the contents of one here exactly as it was written because it was a nice peek for me, into the mind of my eleven year old self. My attempt at humor and the number of “yalls” I used in a single letter gave me a good laugh.
As a parent, I think about how it must have felt for my mom and dad to receive this and read it. It also makes me excited to think about the summer camp years ahead for my own children. Hiking, canoeing, crafting, skits and performances - those summers spent at camp were some of my fondest memories growing up.
In this particular letter, I was on my second summer at a week long camp in the mountains of North Carolina. Our German Shepherd was expecting puppies, I had brought my favorite stuffed animals along, and my brother, Wayne, was still in love with a much older camp counselor he had met the year before.
July 22, 1992
Dear Mom & Dad,
How are you! I <3 U so much. It is very fun here. I am meeting new friends like=
And some others.
Today there was a baby bat hurt on the ground. I felt sorry for it. (don’t worry I didn’t touch it) Hows Xeno has she had babys yet I hope so. I want to keep one. How’s punkin? How’s Razor? What have yall been doing? I am supposed to be out playing battle ball but I thought of you guys & thought I’d write. I am bored right know. Mr. Bear & Doozer are keeping me company.
Our counselor is Caroline. She is nice. We have a cabin with a big bathroom. It is brand new. I have a top bunk. The food is gross. I am surviving of of bread. This is what I eat.
I will probably hate bread when I get back. Boy I feel like a nice big homemade chocolate chip cookie. They have the best peanut butter fudge up here. I have been piging out (but I brush my teeth).
I miss yall a lot. Some times I get lonely without yall. Wayne is fine. Carrie is here & he is in Love (like always).
I think I will be brain dead when I get back from bumping my head on the ceiling so much. (I am on the top bunk that’s why) I have probably already written that I was on the top bunk.
Well I haven’t seen Alyse (my old counselor) but that’s ok. We had a party Sunday night. We were dancing & stuff it was fun. Jim is my good friend he is a counselor he is nice we talk a lot & play cards.
Well got to go
September 17, 2013
Played 2,193 times
I get emails every so often from readers asking if I will share some of my favorite musicians and songs. The tumblr platform only lets me post one song a day, so today I chose to feature one of my favorites: Sparrow And The Wolf by James Vincent McMorrow. This song just gets in my bones and makes me feel good.
Some other tunes I can’t get enough of right now include:
When I Grow Up - First Aid Kit
Every single song by Sleeping At Last (Obsessed with everything by Ryan O’Neal but his song “Next to Me" is so fitting that it has sort of become me and Brent’s anthem)
Wake Up - All Sons and Daughters
Down in the Valley - The Head and The Heart
Let Her Go - Passenger
Anyone have a song or an artist that is just doing them so right? I’m always on the hunt for new tunes to add to my playlist!
P.S. To hear some of my past music recommendations, check out my birth playlist posts.