Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Pal Al.

Sweet little Alice the dog left our world on September 6.

My heart has not been quite the same since. I loved her madly. The little miss came to us as a stray from the pound  nearly five years ago suffering from breast cancer. Four breast surgeries and a heart murmur later her time for peace had simply come.

I miss her each and every day.

Her giant brown eyes (compared to her squat little body) were always on me. She greeted me outside the shower each morning, laid in my closet as I dressed, sat either on my lap or at my feet on my purse as I worked and all the while she would look up to me starry eyed.

I called her my best friend as I could do no wrong in her eyes despite my many flaws.  She was always by my side --or on my lap.

A girlfriend of mine told me after she passed that while it seems so unfair for our pets to be taken from us that it just means that it was their time to go to make room for the many others out there that must need our hearts and homes, too.

Thank you, Al Bell Boo, for all the happiness you gave me and for making it feel as if I hung the moon.

You will live on in my heart. always.

Bliss & Blessings.

I contacted Olivia's science teacher recently to ask about how Liv was faring in her class. The teacher suggested a chat and she brought in her fellow middle school teachers to join us. It turned out to be a blessed meeting with all five of her teachers taking time out for me.

kind. efficient. focused. social. bright. attentive. compassionate. mature.

My heart swelled as they spoke about my daughter as a strong student with a fun spirit and a heart for others.

They elaborated on how she possesses a tender soul, a beautiful disposition, and how she lights up a room.

And once again I was reminded of how grateful I am that God chose me to be her mama.

at the pumpkin patch (one of our favorite spots in our favorite season)  fall 2012.


Audrey E woke yesterday with a sleepy smile as she was heading to a matinee of Disney Princesses on Ice and she was elated. She had her fancy dress and mittens and hair bow all picked out the night before and was bursting at the seams to get the day started.

She was invited by the new girl in class that I mentioned in a prior post. Because they had a tenuous start to their friendship, I was so pleased Audrey said yes to the invitation--she jumped at the chance, in fact.

So yesterday as I kissed her sweet cheeks (I could still eat my kids up as they wake and stretch in the morning) and she threw her arms around my neck (which will always be one of the greatest feelings of all time) she told me she had a special request.

"May I give Mia my Kit American Girl doll? She is such a sweet girl and I want her to know I appreciate her."

"Kit is her favorite and it is a dream of hers to have an American Girl doll." she went on.

We talked about how Audrey's Meme gives her grandchildren their choice of American Girl dolls when they turn 7 and how we hope Audrey's daughter and granddaughters will one day play with them so that perhaps it was not the right thing to give away. Audrey was the one that pointed all of that out as I knew she was torn by wanting to keep and treasure her doll but wanting to show her new friend how grateful she was to her for being so kind.

So we compromised- we headed to Barnes & Noble and got a mini American Girl doll and an American Girl craft book as Mia and her aunt love to do crafts together. 

Both little sweets were thrilled. 

Surely goodness & mercy will follow them all of their days...

Audrey & Mia on Halloween

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Lot of Livin' To Do~ Bye Bye Birdie

Beautiful Bliss was cast as part of the teen ensemble in Bye Bye Birdie this summer. It was a wonderful performance with a talented cast, a terrific orchestra, super choreography, and an experience that will last her a lifetime. 

She practiced 10 weeks (some times 10-11 hour days), learned loads about acting/dancing/singing, made warm friendships, and got deeper bit by the acting bug.

The play ran several nights during a two week period. She loved every moment and I thought she shined. 

Family, friends, class mates, and teachers went to see the sweet sight of Liv. What a blessed girl.

Kid sis, Audrey, was in the audience for every single show (even when her parents were not). Her biggest fan indeed. 

Until the curtain rises again, Bliss, we're waiting in the wings ready to watch your star rise some more. I am one proud mama.


Summer 2012 was all about the stage. The girls were in theatre camps and stage performances for nearly 10 weeks and when they were not being trained in acting/dancing/singing they were creating their own drama at home. Or at least one of them was--Audrey girl.

Tweendom and hormones hit hard this summer and while Audrey learned so much at these camps and had fun (at some of them), the end of the summer show took a turn for the worse.

Cast as Mowgli in a performance of Jungle Book which Audrey had to audition to get in to the performance camp itself, was a bust. She auditioned in May and waited on pins and needles until the camp kicked off the middle of August.

Day one she was devastated feeling she was sold a bill of goods. Her fellow actors were not what she'd expected as one struggled with reading, another with focus, and some were stage shy. While all of these things are perfectly acceptable and not appropriate to judge, she (and I) had believed this to be a group of kids with some acting training and therefore, she was going to close the curtain on summer with a smashing show. 

Not so much. Several things threw her off that week (she fell hard on the pavement the first night that camp kicked off and still has a scar to prove it (nearly 2 months later) &  she was very bruised and scratched up as a result), her grandparents (whom she had not seen in a year) flew in the night before rehearsals kicked off and she was sent to practice for 6 hour days in a town away while we all got reacquainted, the role was quite physical as a snake and a bear and more pulled and poked and prodded her and she did not know these kids at all until that week. Needless to say, she spent the time before and after rehearsals crying. And apparently during. She did not eat. She was always in the bathroom with an upset tummy. 

Eric, me, my parents, and Olivia cheered her on. We came up with mantras, we spoke about not letting people down as she was the "lead", we drilled in to her, "Wilkinson's are not quitters." All our efforts were in vain. The morning of Day 4 the theatre called and said it was time to remove her from the play.  

She was so relieved. My emotions remain mixed. It was one hell of a week.

But the summer was not a total bust by any means. She did play a sweet Sandy in Grease,
 Broadway Bound~ July 2012
A darling teapot in Beauty & the Beast

Beauty & the Beast.
Broadway Bound~ July 2012.

and she glowed as Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical.
Village Theatre, Everett. July 2012.

For now, we're simply staying out of the jungle.

new girl & the american girl.

4th grade has been challenging socially for Audrey and we're only a month in to the school year. Classes are small, girls are few, and there is a brand new girl who struggles with how she interacts with others. 

Because Audrey is missing her friends in the other 4th grade class (terribly so), the teacher put her in charge of tending to "the new girl" thinking it may help them both. At first this situation was a bit of a bust. No filter, a bit of sass, and personal space issues made things uncomfortable for Audrey.

So we spent a lot of time talking about how this child might feel in a new setting (alone, worried, awkward) and about how she was being raised by a great aunt (no parents in the picture) and how her sister was unable to attend our school (she has special needs and our school is too small to offer these types of services). 

Audrey's mind began to understand. 

Days later she came home with a card that read, "Dear Audrey, You are so kind I would give you a thousand pieces of paper and you would say, 'Thank You. So Nice'."

That same day Audrey told me how the little miss was "staring and staring" at her for quite some time  (apparently she does this a lot to her) and then she broke in to a big smile and remarked, "That's It! You look just like Emily, the American Girl doll. She's beautiful. And sweet. Just like you."

Audrey's heart began to swell.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


My Olivia.

Olivia completed her first year of middle school. It was no easy feat. She worked long, hard hours on homework. She dealt with demanding parents who hold the bar at unreasonable heights. She learned to navigate friends personalities (& their hormones and their insecurities). And her own. She grappled to understand lectures, lessons, and teacher expectations. 

She came through it all victoriously. 

Images and captions below offer a glimpse of life as 6th grader Liv. 

buds bound for sailish expedition. 4 days out at sea.
Go Brighton Basketball.
snow day kisses. Charlotte.

American Girl. Marie Grace.

sweet supporters.

dear friends. end of year concert.

soggy sixth graders. field day.

sweet treat. smiles. 

beach day beauties.

school project with papa.

middle school dance.
dancing queens.

videos and vegging. afternoon ritual.
sister act. SCT audition.

destination imagination.

my joy. welcome home from sailish.

belly laughing bliss. 

my beautiful firstborn.

I am so proud of you, Olivia.  As you move through life as the loving, bright, talented, silly, sweet beauty that you are please know I will be right here on the sidelines (and sometimes helicoptering above ;) always supporting you.  

And forever in awe of you. 
My heart, always. 

Audrey E.

Life is very up & down for her lately as she heads into Tweendom and her hormones rage and  as a result her daily disposition is not nearly as bright as she (and we) have grown accustomed to in her nearly 9 years of life.

So it is critical now that she knows how perfectly wonderful she is even on the days when she feels anything but.

I will let images & captions prove it.

papa's girl.
mama's joy.

sweet forever friends.
trusty pooch. nail painter.
smart little star. KING TV shoot.
cute. caring. American Girl Fashion Show.

creative miss.
fun. fearless. frilly.
focused. fashionable.
beauty. (inside.outside)
brave. (fell on head. dr. visit. back to school)
friend to animals. touche the turtle.
dedicated. determined. darling.
baker girl.

tea sipping sweet pea.


My Audrey E., may you always remember the importance of taking time out for you.

breathe. pray. know you are loved. always.