I even love the tagline of this blog. Amber Colored Glasses – Fumbling through parenthood with my rosiest outlook. Isn’t that great? The author shares life stories in a relatable way. The post highlighted below is a perfect example of capturing parenthood on paper/screen.
Traveling alone with children is a feat in and of itself. When it’s over, you’re ready for a real “vacation”. On our latest adventure, so many unexpected things took place…
For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.
It can be argued that his birth seemed like yesterday. And at the risk of sounding boring, that statement cannot be dismissed. But interestingly, it feels as if we’ve been together forever. I cannot fathom life without our kiddos — Hudson and Zebulon and CJ. What joy and inspiration they bring!
One of my absolute fav pics of my boys
My boys — finally completed by Hudi’s birth
Three Gens of Pollock Men
Many parents worry about the teen years, but Hudi took them in stride. When he was in tenth grade he insisted on being in charge of his own virtual homeschool education, pacing himself in his coursework. At 16 he decided to go to college, and now, at 19, has his degree, his own apartment and a great job and a wonderful young woman in his life. It’s enough to make any parent proud.
It does take me a bit aback to realize this will be the last year I will have with a child in their teens. Remember the excitement of hitting double digits? Then teen years? Good times. Good times, indeed.
Still, it’s fun to look back to the past. Here’s a video I found of his 9th birthday party. And another of his college graduation. He’s changed a bit over the years 😉
I’m not saddened by the path of continual growth. And no parent could be more proud of their progeny.
Hudi, you are rockin’ life. Being real with it and taking on its edges with determination and class. Your dad and I are so proud of you!
Father and son doing car stuff
Prom a few years ago
It’s kind of fun having you live so close to where you were born now. Who would have thought that 19 years ago?
I asked Mollie for some current pics of the birthday boy, and I love this celebration of life I received in return:
I see he is still somewhat of a goofball. This is good.
We love you, Hudi, and wish all the blessings of the world on you and your future. God did an amazing thing creating you! You are a true gift to the world.
It was so wonderful having Hudi home these past 2.5 weeks. Lots of great conversations, catching up on paperwork, walks and relaxing together. Definitely a treat.
I’m loving the fact that he is so excited about going back. That makes it much easier to say goodbye. Finger Lakes Community College has been a great place for our family. I’m so thankful for the teachers and staff there. They provide a fun, safe place where our young adults can get a high-quality, affordable education.
Remember going to camp when you were younger? Warm days spent learning fun things, getting dirty, singing silly ditties and playing pranks. Good times, indeed. Zeb, Hudi, Bri and Mollie still get to experience this annually as they work at Camp Sandy Cove in West Virginia (Mollie grew up attending the camp, which is super-fun). In my opinion, their camp is even cooler than most. Not only do you get to do the normal cabin/hiking/swimming sort of activity, but you also get to learn to shoot rifles, cook outdoors, do some high-flying on a trapeze, mountainboard and skateboard (among other activities).
The kids have been asking us to visit for a few years, and we really wanted to go, but it just didn’t fit in our schedules. We had planned to finally get there on the way back from Utah, but that all fell apart. Then we discovered an unexpected window of opportunity.
On July 3, the kids asked if we were coming the next day. Since we were moving a load of beds from our old house to our new house, and we had plans with friends on July 4 (plans we made last February) I told them we wouldn’t make it. Then the load moved super well, and our friends had to cancel. We realized we could make it. At midnight the kids confirmed it would still work for them, and by 5 am, we were on the road in our reliable new-to-us car.
Wahoo! Since we left at 5 am, and I worked on the road, I was able to put in a full work day by the time we reached the camp so I could immerse myself in enjoying time with the kiddos. We got there right in time for lunch. Sons and dad caught up (it was Hudi’s day off, and he was tired. I didn’t notice he was yawning in the image below until much later, and I didn’t get any other shots with just the three, so this will have to do. It’s real, anyway). We also got to officially meet Oliver, Bri’s hedgehog.
Bri and Oliver
Hudi and Oliver
Chrissie and Oliver
After lunch, Zeb had some time before his next session so he did some skateboarding with Chris.
I somehow didn’t get images of Zeb’s rifle-ry session that he taught, although it was fun to watch. After that, we attended Bri’s outdoor living session and made waffle smores and learned to tie different knots.
Bri teaching us how to do knots
Outdoor living lesson
Waffle cone smores. True camp vittles
Finished product 🙂
Mollie, Hudi, Chris and I went into town and perused through a few shops that were open on the holiday while Zeb and Bri finished their sessions for the day. We met up for dinner, and the campers put Zeb on the spot to serenade us all. This was a highlight of my day. They started off with a verse of “Sing us a song, Chief Zeb,” which I did not get on film because it was unexpected. Apparently when this happens, if the person called on does not sing the song, they pay a forfeit. Later Zeb said that he was thinking of not singing until they started in with “for your Mother, Chief Zeb, for your mother.” He said at that point he knew he had to do it. What a guy 🙂
Bri still had activities to cover after dinner so we hung out a bit as we waited for her. Zeb had designed this mountain board course, creating elements out of beds that were getting thrown away. He is so creative with scrap. Just like his dad. Some little children helped with the painting to make it look good. This was Chris’ first time on a mountain board, and he is now addicted.
Finally we were all together, and we decided it was too late for a movie. Instead we went out for ice cream, stopping for gas. As I wrote in a previous post, the kids had persuaded us that the Honda Fit was a great car. This is the first official pic of the Blueberry (as we call Bri’s car) next to our Blackberry.
Sadly, due to the holiday, our ice cream place was closed, but that did not deter us. We each grabbed some treats from the gas station and had an impromptu night-time picnic that lasted until past midnight. So much fun being with those kiddos. It really cracked me up when they mimicked the person in the ad behind them as I took their pic. And guess what? I found Ring Dings! (which are sadly no longer available in our local store).
Late night picnic
We spent the night at the camp instead of the hotel we planned on staying in because it was offered to us, and that allowed us to spend more time with the kids. Before we left, we got to see Hudi in action, doing his job.
That impromptu visit was a treat that is already a highlight of my summer. Love those young men and women!
Here’s a summary of the day thanks to Google Photos:
It’s impossible to be perfect. And this fortune cookie note I got reminded me that it’s okay. How reassuring is that message? My immediate reaction was “Hey, this is how I want to be for others” in my role as a Happiness Engineer. Then I remembered that since it was my fortune cookie, this was about me. And I realized that the statement is plain old true. It has been true in the past, is true in my present, and odds are high that it will be true in my future. This makes me feel really fortunate. And it makes me think about the importance of helping people in general.
My job, my marriage and my family are all arenas in which I feel particularly blessed. And this fortune philosophy is a main contributor to why my life is so awesome.
Work? WordPress is a seriously powerful program. Every day I help people with networking issues, SEO, site building, writing-sharing, advertising, account changes, etc. I know a lot and do not feel as if I’m not qualified for my job. That said, I sometimes find myself facing situations in which I don’t have an answer. Every day I’m learning more. But I never feel isolated or backed into a corner where I can’t be helpful thanks to my co-workers.
We all have experience in different arenas. If I have a question about analytics or MX records, then a ping to a co-worker will bring someone with experience in those fields to help me (and I help them where I am strong). No judgement from anyone. Just helpful attitudes (and I’m over two years into this job, so I’m not being idealistic. That’s just the beautiful reality of my work environment). Together, we provide answers to those who come to us for help.
I can help because I am helped.
Family? Again, every family member has a strength, and we work together to create good as a unit. I think back especially to the years I was bed-ridden (rough pregnancies and a few surgeries that laid me flat for long periods of time). My in-laws moved in to help us with parenting and household maintenance (as did my friends and members of our church, who provided meals and childcare until my in-laws arrived). We ran a daycare back then, and my husband became licensed so he could cover for me when I was down. My children were young, but they pitched in to help where they could. This made my healing happen faster, and when I was back on my feet, life was manageable, and I didn’t have to deal with the chaos of backlogged tasks.
Again, I could help others (eventually, after I healed) because others helped me.
Marriage? If anyone knows every single weakness I have, it’s my man. But I am very fortunate in the fact that instead of using those weaknesses to knock me down, Chris takes his own strengths to help me grow in those areas if I’m capable. Or to cover for me if I’m not capable. I try to do the same for him.
So there it is. My fortune reminding me of how fortunate I am. I hope I always remember that and reciprocate.
It’s been a pretty busy week, and it was magical. We now officially have a daughter (in law), and she is amazing! If you like watching weddings, you can see the Facebook Live recording from the event by clicking this wedding video link. Please ignore the less-than-professional filming. Things were a bit confusing. I have pics from the weekend at the end of this post. For those of you who want to be/are part of this exciting time with us, as promised, here is a summary. Enjoy 🙂
Ten Things I Learned From our Wedding Weekend Experience:
When doing Facebook Live from the groom’s Facebook account, make sure the device you plan to set up early so you can start the recording is not in his pocket when he is off doing pre-wedding pictures 🙂
Keep undershirts on hand for the guys. Even the non-sweaters might sweat in this sort of situation.
Have more than one person write out name tags for table placement so you don’t get stuck having one person writing everything out for consistency’s sake.
Keep as many vehicles on hand as possible for the bridal party/family/friends. Great for last-minute errands and carpooling to events.
Make sure you have extra cash on hand for things like extra waters. That way others can help you run errands, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting who has your credit card.
Find out about allergies in advance and plan food accordingly (that’s obvious for actual eating, but I had never thought of allergies that actually kept people out of rooms we were hanging out in).
Have a backup suit for the groomsmen and dress for the bridesmaids in case of disasters.
Practice curling hair on a day that is NOT the day of the wedding.
If you are going to rent a conference room in the hotel for your guests, find out when quiet hours are (and get ready to placate managers with coffee the next morning).
Request rehearsal luncheon deliveries for an hour ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about late deliveries.
As those of you who have been following my blog know, Lauren went to college in the town in which we lived, which gave us the really unique gift of getting to know her as she turned from young college student to a business-woman who is taking on the world. We witnessed our son becoming more and more attached to this friend he brought to the house to hang out with, and saw him put his own life on delay a bit so they could spend more time together.
She knew of his passion for snowboarding and the west so she learned to ski and got a job near him in Utah. From Utah, the two worked to plan this wedding where we all got to celebrate their love for each other.
Last Monday we drove to our old house to get our haircuts and to vote the next day. On Tuesday, Chris and I drove the 90 minutes to Rochester to pick up the suits from the rental place and to drop a car off with the kids. We made a date of it, hitting my favorite Indian cuisine restaurant and watching Finding Dory at a $3 theater. As a bonus we discovered it was half price night so our tickets were only $1.50 each. Score! Funny thing was that CJ was up in the air watching the same flick 🙂 Gotta love those family bonding moments. Lol
Chris and I sat in the cell lot waiting for the plane to come in. Chris wondered which direction they would approach from as a plane came in on what seemed to be about 100 feet over our heads. I saw the Delta tail and commented that it might be their flight right there. Two minutes later we got the text that they were on the tarmac 🙂 And so began an amazing week with the young adults.
We talked, laughed, baked and decorated as we planned for CJ and Lauren’s wedding. I have pics from the weekend below. And my aunt did some nice writeups on:
On Friday night we gathered in Rochester to watch Here, There and Everywhere — kicking off the ski/snowboard season in style. 19 family members and friends from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, western NY, northern NY, Texas and Utah all gathered into two rows to enjoy the night together. Such fun! The next day we had a great rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower and family gathering before we congregated on Sunday for the main event.
As the guests poured in, we were humbled by the dedication they showed. Many traveled 2-4 hrs each way — just for the day! All went well, and the reception went great. Hudi had a fun toast for his brother and his bride. 🙂
Then we were off to a final after party. On Monday everyone scattered then on Tuesday they were back on a plane for Utah. A true, amazing whirlwind. Better pics will be coming once the professional images are in. If you click on the pics, the descriptions will show. Here’s what I have for now:
Harmony cutting Zeb’s hair before the wedding.
Picking up the suits in Rochester.
How funny is this? Calvin and Lauren highlighted on the garment bags from the tux rental place (CJ’s real name is Calvin).
Chris buffing his shoes in preparation for the big day.
Jan ironing my dress. She is my hero.
CJ designing the cards for the guests while Lauren and I shortened table runners.
Food prep a few days before the wedding.
Lauren had this demo set so we would know how to set the tables at the church.
Kicking off the ski season and the wedding weekend with 19 friends/family members watching the Warren Miller film in Rochester.
Hudi’s girlfriend, Mollie, drove from Pennsylvania to join us for the weekend 🙂
View out our hotel window.
Setting up for the rehearsal luncheon
Rehearsal in the chapel
Rehearsal in the chapel
Rehearsal in the chapel
Relaxing at the rehearsal luncheon.
My mom meets my cousin’s baby. Isn’t she adorable?
Amazing food supply at the bridal shower.
The bridal shower
Family gathering after travel, the night before the wedding.
Extended family enjoying breakfast before church on the wedding day.
54 and sunny in November in western NY? Amazing! What a gift for a wedding day.
The bride (and dress) arrive. Woot!
Lauren’s mom setting up food stuff
Decorating the chapel
Group effort – getting the dining area set.
Setting the tables
My sister-in-law, Susan, and Lauren’s mom, Yvonne, helping Lauren get ready.
Our girls, Lauren and Bri. 🙂
CJ waiting for the ceremony to begin.
My handsome husband, Chris, and the best man, Joe
My aunt, Linda (CJ’s godmother), and her daughters Hannah, Cassie and Emily. Amazing people!
Siblings in law
Siblings in law being goofy
Zeb and Bri with my cousin (Zeb’s godfather), Lars.
Cleaning up the kitchen
Cleaning up the dining area
Nothing like a Grandma hug while cleaning up after the wedding.
After wedding hang-out in the hotel with family and friends.
After wedding hang-out in the hotel with family and friends.
The morning after the night before. Last moments with my aunt before she hits the road.
Breakfast at Dennys before we all go our separate ways. Zeb and Bri are already gone 🙁
Sam and Amy enjoying breakfast with us the day after the wedding.
Finally getting a chance to enjoy the wedding cake – for breakfast