Love & Death

One of my closest friends, Liz, has always been incredibly close with her stepdad and when he died of cancer last week I decided to go to his funeral to support her. As I sat nervously in that familiar church with Bean girl wiggling on my lap I realized this was so much bigger than me.

You see, John died of a very aggressive and horrible cancer that came out of nowhere and killed him in a matter of months. His wife, Ada, is a gracious and beautiful woman with a soul you can see for miles. She's got a contagious smile and a look in her eye that tells you she truly knows happiness, she lives for love and family and togetherness... she exudes confidence, strength, and compassion. She and Liz's relationship is a direct reflection of the kind of amazing mother and person she is. I didn't know Ada when she was a single mom, or when she was married to Liz's dad, (who is also an absolutely amazing guy as well) but I've heard stories of her over the years... she's the type of woman who truly deserves the happiness and love she's showering on everyone else. Liz told me once that she was certain her mom had met her match with John, because he was very much the same type of person. I worry about Ada now, only because I know her heart is so broken. I can't imagine how overwhelming it would be to find that person, your match in this crazy world, and to lose them so quickly, so unexpectedly.

Liz stood up at the funeral and told stories of John, of their family, their bond... and she was speaking with so much joy it was obvious how strong their love was. The kind of relationship she had with John is the kind I hope that Marshall and Marti Pearl will have, which brings me to my one and only story about John... which makes me teary eyed and so happy all at the same time.

Liz is an incredible singer. Her voice is so beautiful and she often sings at church. One Sunday she was singing in front of the congregation, with her back to the choir. John sat behind her smiling so big throughout the song and at one point I could tell he was biting his lip a little... a sign of pride that warmed my heart completely. Towards the end of her song he was wiping his eyes with increasing frequency and when she finished, the man next to him patted him on the shoulder and he let out a little sob. He was so overcome by pride for his daughter that it moved him to tears... that's what its all about.

This man lived his life for his family, his amazing wife and intelligent, ambitious children. He said to Liz during his last week here that the most perfect day of his entire life was when he married her mom, and I believe him entirely. To live a life of reflection and service to others is so noble and rare... but to truly find the person you were meant to love forever, to marry that person and begin your lives together... that's the most perfect thing ever. That is heaven. I know for a fact that I'll love again, I know it will be beautiful and fulfilling, everything I've hoped for.

John was truly living his life, and his passing has definitely left a large void. I know Ada is strong enough to make it through, the love and strength she's drawn from her relationship with John will carry on his legacy. I hope he realized what an inspiration he was while he was here, I'm certain everyone else knows it.

Liz and Ada, I love you. Thank you for being in my life.

All I can do is reach for it, myself.

It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself. ~Joyce Maynard

What if we were able to love like we had never been hurt?
To see the good in people regardless of the cynicism we develop from years of loving and losing...
Be the people we always said we would, always wanted to be, simply because we're worth it?
To embark on something no one understands simply because you think it'd make you happy...

Why aren't we? Why can't we? Why am I not living my life like I want my daughter to live hers?

I for one refuse to do it any longer. This is the point where I start enjoying life and everything its bringing me. This is the point where I embrace myself and everything I'm worth.
I choose happiness, and I'm going to go get it.

Lusting after Cowmooflage

Dear Target,

Here's the deal, baby... this mama is pissed. This girl ordered a Britax Marathon Car Seat in Cowmooflage, otherwise known as mana from diaper heaven. I was super pumped because I found it for ridiculously cheap. I loved it, it fell into my lap (thanks, My dear Smarmy Mama) and I ordered it with an urgency only a parent could understand. When I ordered it, I realized the deal I was getting was RIDIC, but I was thrilled nonetheless. A huge company like Target gets to make some amazing deals... I'll even make a confession- I broke out the "secret" credit card for this baby.

(I have a feeling you moms out there understand how freaking serious I was about this stupid carseat. And I'm sure you can imagine my immediate disappointment when I received the email stating that I would not be receiving this precious item. In fact, LOADS of moms all over the interwebz felt the same way. Yes, Target let us down.)

I'm a very understanding mama. I'm alright with your shoe aisle looking a little post-Iwo Jima-esque, I don't complain when the quality of (some of) your clothes don't meet my normally lowish standards, hell, I even love you despite the fact that you close earlier than Wal-Mart and don't carry groceries. So much so that I make a special trip to see you once a week...

I'm afraid though, that despite the $25 gift card you sent me via email, I'm just gonna have to say "Nopers" this time around. Here's the deal... there was a mistake made, the carseat was mispriced, that's unfortunate for everyone (except for your customers, of course) but at the end of the day, you as a retailer have let us down. Us working moms (is there any other kind?) who are saving every penny we can, saw a great deal and jumped on it. You then canceled it, leaving us quite unsure of our relationship with you. Yes, we can and will continue to shop there, we'll still spend our money, but will our love be the same? No way, man. You messed up.

Its going to be a difficult road from here on out, you'll still benefit from it of course, but you'll feel our wrath... which I'm sure you can imagine is brutal. (Hell hath no fury like an overworked mom without a rightfully deserved AND PAID FOR carseat, right?) We'll be passive-aggressive with it, letting those grubby little fingers touch things we'd normally avoid at all costs... Our children will suddenly become capable of things you weren't aware of because so far we've been keeping those little mess machines in check... but just you wait- you're going to get it.

I don't threaten often, but when it comes to pb&j fingerprints and sad mamas wishing for cow-printed carseats, I am oh so serious. Prepare yourself.

I do hope that at some point you'll win back my trust, because our love affair has been oh so satisfying up to this point, but we'll see. This girl isn't as romantic as she used to be. I know a few THOUSAND mamas feeling the same way, wishing you'd just make it right. Hell, we're not even asking you to get a babysitter, take us out to dinner, or do the damn dishes, we just want you to follow through with a promise you made to us via your secure online ordering system. One per household, ok... I can deal, just give us that cowmooflage we're missing. Love us like we want you to!

Heather Kendrick-Gerlaugh
Mom of one, currently rocking the non-posh carseat, dreaming of more


Whoo! Are y'all still feeling exhausted from the holiday like I am?

Christmas 2008 was an odd one for sure. In light of all of the changes going on in our lives right now, my little family was all over the place. We visited family, celebrated with friends, and traveled to my family's big get-together for a long weekend of excitement.

It was bittersweet, as it was our first Christmas since Marshall and I have split. I was thrilled that we were still able to enjoy the holiday as a family regardless of our differences.

Also, my little sister is graduating this Spring and will be moving away for college, so there was lots of talk about her being gone. While I'm excited for her, I'm still sad when I think about her not being around. I guess the Bean and I will just have to start traveling more often!

Of course Marti Pearl made out like a bandit, we're still unpacking Christmas toys- 1 a day so she stays interested.

New Years came and went without much excitement, as we were packing and preparing for our upcoming cross-town move.

After a long day of packing I got fancied up and went out with my girls, we had a great time and looked pretty darn fabulous if I do say so myself!

January 1st began moving day! It was a long process but we had lots of help from great friends and we're all moved into the new apartment now. Our living situation is very different, but it works well for us. We're all thrilled with the apartment.

See? She seems quite happy!

<3 Happy 2009!