Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dear Dara,

Dear Dara at 15,
You are about to enter high school. I know you think you already know it all...but you don't. Stop worrying about having a boyfriend. The 2 that you have these 4 years will cause you more than your share of drama. The other 3 years should be more like your junior year (the only year you'll be single...well, most of the year, anyway). Hang out with your friends, have more girl time, and enjoy all that time with your family. One of those girls will be such a special part of your life forever--you will go to college together, pledge together, be in each other's weddings, and have babies that are only 5 weeks apart. If you don't listen to me about the boys, at least enjoy that trip to Hawaii you'll get out of it!

Dear Dara at 18,
I know this is a scary time. You will be leaving the safety and security of your huge family and moving 2 1/2 hours away. That distance will seem so far away but will be close enough to run home for a weekend when you need it. I know you have your heart set on going to State, but fate and God have other plans for you. You will be resentful when a friend's mom tells you that you look at home on a tiny campus you're touring. Don't be. Going to the W will be one of the best things that has ever happened to you. You will fall in love with the beautiful campus, be really involved on campus, meet lifelong friends, and get to wear PJ's to class! At first you will visit State often, wishing your college experience was happening 20 minutes away. Give in and embrace the incredible place around you. Pledging Mam'selles will seem like a silly and scary things, and you'll want to quit. Be so, so glad you didn't! You will make great memories, and it will lead you to another amazing club, which will lead you to 12 of the best friends you will ever have. BlackList pledging will make you stronger and more determined (and super sleep deprived!). Cherish every moment you have there. You will never again be able to knock on a bathroom door (or any other door on the hall) and find a shoulder to cry on, a closet to raid, or food to steal.
PS--If you look across the fire at that campout, you'll see your future husband! :-)

Dear Dara at 22,
And you thought you were done with school! Pack up and move an hour east. This will be a very intimidating time. You will feel like you don't know anything when you start grad school. It's ok; you'll feel the same when you graduate! Study harder, even though you are so burnt out on school. Raising your hand and saying you need a roommate when your supervisor comes in that day will pay off. This girl will be the best roommate a girl could have! And you'll add a 3rd musketeer that will help you make it out alive.
That guy at your friend's wedding--yup, the one you think is such a dork...well, get ready because you're about to fall head over heels for him. He's the one you've been waiting for. During that summer, don't go through that mean phase with him. You'll almost lose him; be glad you didn't. He will take you on an adventure.

Dear Dara at 24,
Time to grow up. You are about to move to a part of the country that you weren't sure you'd ever visit, much less live in...BOSTON! That's what you get for falling for an Air Force guy. It will be hard living so far away from anyone that you know. You'll be ok. The boy and you will really get to know one another and become one another's best friends. You will finally get to put all that schooling to work. You will cry your first 3 days at work because you will be so overwhelmed. But things will get better on your 4th day. You will meet your co-worker who will become your mentor and friend. She will be your lifeline as you try to figure out this speech therapist thing.

Dear Dara at 30,
You've done a lot of living these past few years. You and the boy have separated from the AF, moved to Florida, survived his law school, and both have jobs. Now you know what it's time for...a baby. You will stress and worry that it won't happen. But it does. And she will be the most amazing thing you have ever seen. You will be a wonderful mom, even though there are some days you feel like quitting. It is all worth it when you look into those big blue eyes and see that heart-melting smile. But don't forget about the boy while you're focused on that perfect baby. Don't go through another mean spell--you want to make sure he sticks around! :-)

Love, Dara (at 31)

PS--I read my friends' letters about 3 weeks go and was inspired to write my letter. I thought of a million and one little things I would tell my former selves, but when I started writing,1 main theme popped up--cherish your friends. I am so blessed and lucky to have people I can call anytime for anything. I didn't delve into all the little things and just focused on the big picture stuff. Maybe I'll have to go back and add a few things, like buy a hair straightener way earlier than you do, study more that 2nd semester of your freshman year (that GPA will kill you, but we had so much fun!), don't feel inferior in grad school--you will grow up to be a good therapist, and quit eating so much your junior year so you're not a fatty!

Friday, July 9, 2010

7 months

I cannot believe we have a 7 month old! I just got used to saying she was 6 months! This last month flew by faster than any of the others--maybe because I'm back at work or maybe because we were so busy. She is playing with her toys, beginning to really explore our house, and her personality comes out more and more everyday. Here are her monthly facts:

*She can sit up from a laying down position.

*She is trying to pull up on things and even pulled herself up in the bathtub last night! We had to lower her crib since I have no doubt she would be peering over the side before long.

*She's crawling!!! She crawled a little bit on Monday, her 7 month day, and was moving all over the place by Tuesday.

*She's doing much better with solids--she likes carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apples, pears, prunes, and bananas (but only the kind in a jar!). She's not crazy about peas or green beans.

*At Gymboree, her main goal is to pull the nametag stickers off all of the other babies' backs or my shirt.

She didn't like the watermelon! We've got to work on this!

Puffs, yougurt melts, and teething biscuits to keep her occupied while I cook.

My mom has a picture like this of all of my other nieces and nephews...except theirs were all made at Wal-Mart (I think) many years ago.

Working on pulling out all of the toys in her basket

Super busy couple of weeks!

Well, this post is a little late, but that seems to be my MO these days! Last week was a fun and busy week for us. John's friend, Samit was in town last Monday, so he got to meet Miss Caroline and have dinner with us. On Tuesday, I had a fantastic lunch with my Jax ladies at The French Pantry, the BEST lunch place around here! Lunch was supposed to be followed by swimming, but the daily rain nixed those plans. On Wednesday, my friends and I went to get our vampire/warewolf fix and saw Eclipse. Loved it!! On Thursday, we threw my friend, Amy, a bachelorette party. We went to a place called Yes You Canvas to paint a fleur-de-lis picture. It was awesome because we had the place to ourseleves for our snacks and silliness. Then we hit a couple of bars and played some games. Fun times! And then on Friday, my mom, sister (Roro), and niece (Erin) came to visit. Here was our daily rundown of fun-ness:

Saturday--shopping!! We went to the mall for lunch and a little shopping.
Sunday--4th of July--we went to see Eclipse, a tad more shopping, and then grilled out for the 4th and went to see the fireworks. (In case you're wondering--yes, we did take Caroline. She did great, but it was so hard keeping her awake til it started!!)
Monday--St. Augustine--we went on a "train" tour of the city, walked around the touristy area, and stopped by the outlet mall.
Tuesday--rested!! Well, we did go to Target, Belk, and Publix...
Wednesday--I had to work, so my family got to baby-sit. And I'm sure they didn't spoil Caroline at all...wink, wink. :-)

They headed home on Thursday, and we headed to the doctor for the 2nd time in a week. Last Thursday, Caroline was so lethargic and just laying in my lap. This is totally unlike her and really freaked me out. She had a low grade fever, and the nurse practioner said her throat looked a little gunky. She said to keep her hydrated and give meds as needed for the fever. She was back to her old self on Friday, thank goodness. Then, yesterday she woke up with a 103 fever but only acting a little fussy and clingy. Called the doctor and headed in again. This time, her throat was fine, but she had an ear infection in her left ear. So, we've been fighting to get her fever down and antibiotics in for the past 2 days. I'm really hoping her fever will be gone tomorrow! I should add what a great experience the doctor's office was last week--the nurse and I had to hold her down while the NP examined her. Not fun!

Our beautiful paintings :-)

4th of July outfit

Watching the fireworks

Cutie on the train