Tag Archives: friends

Wanted: Friend to Color My Hair

22 Jan

Or just to come over, sit at the table with me, share a bottle of wine or some coffee and talk about things, face-to-face.

Growing up, I remember my mom always had her girl friends over our house. They would sit and talk for hours, play games or bake something. Just relaxing and conversatin’ about mom, wife or girl stuff, without worrying about sharing too much information or it being exposed for other eyes to see. There was no facebook. There were card parties, women’s clubs and just come over and hang out friends.

As my kids grow up, I know I’m going to need an in-person friend like that. Someone who will listen and give advice, in confidence. I’ve already ran into a few personal girl things with Nia that I’m holding in and it’s a weird feeling. After all, I share everything. I share things that make others uncomfortable. But they are things about me, not my little girl.

I know I can always call my family and close friends but sometimes chatting over hair color or chips and salsa just makes it all better. Plus, I really need my grays covered.

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I don’t Facebook like you anymore

19 Sep

I lost a Facebook friend this week and I can’t fathom why it bothers me like it does. The only reason I even realized my friend number shrunk is because I had an even number – 390. When 389 caught my eye I immediately started to wonder what I did wrong. Did I update too much? Did I offend update? Did I TMI update? Maybe I haven’t been liking any of his/her updates? I say his/her because I have no idea who decided to unfriend me. Some friend I am.

That’s one reason why I can’t understand why I’m so concerned. Why do I need to know what lead to the dumping? Why am I putting myself through this? I thought I was through the phase of wanting validation, acceptance and friendliness from others. Why am I voluntarily involved in something that makes me feel like I did in high school?

On top of that, what is up with us putting the extra level of etiquette and work on ourselves? Did I wish that person a happy birthday? Did I thank someone for wishing me one? Did I respond to that comment in a timely manner? Am I neglecting a friend? Oh my, I missed that terrible news because I have that person hidden! Now, I’m a total jerk. Ah!

Too. Much. Pressure. Also, too much judging. How many people have unfriended/hidden someone because that so-called “friend” posted something annoying/insulting/political/stupid? Even news organizations and others claiming to be experts in the social media field have an opinion on improving your Facebook reputation. CNN wrote about “The 12 most annoying types of Facebookers” (there’s even a quiz for you to test yourself) and a Google search offers plenty of tips on how to be the better updater.

I guess, it’s really not that much different from buying a book or searching for tips on how to be a better in-person communicator or how to make people like you. That’s why I’m wondering if the whole Facebook world is really worth all the extra effort? Keeping friendships in the face-to-face world is hard enough. At least there I know which friends I’ve lost and what happened to cause the sad split. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve never had 389 face-to-face friends at one time. I wonder how much that number will change after I post this?

Facebook vs. Face-to-Face

8 Sep

I don’t think my friends “fake it” on Facebook and even if they do, how is that any different than what they do face-to-face?

My question comes after reading the mommy blog article, The New “Keeping Up with the Joneses”. If you don’t feel like reading it, here’s a snippet of my takeaway of the article:

Many people only post happy things on Facebook even when they have bad things to share as well. They don’t mention the fight they had with the hubs, the nightmare of a weekend trip they had, the terrible way they talked to their kids that day or the horrifying thing their child did at school. They only tell you about the smiles, love, hugs, kisses, presents and blessings. All of the life-is-swell updates often make others feel inferior.

I think the writer makes good points (and I agree with the sentiment) but I think the situation is not really a new thing and it’s not just like this because of social media.

How many of our friends tell us all the dirt that happens in their lives to our faces? There are plenty who will never share the negative experiences with another soul outside of their family. Whether they’re on their nightly walk with you, grabbing a coffee with you or Facebooking around the clock, they only shine a happy light on their lives. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

On the flip side, there are some friends who never have a positive thing to tell you or Facebook about. They seem to always be negative or surrounded by drama. If the ones who are always sunshine and happiness make us feel bad about ourselves, should the ones who are followed by a storm cloud make us feel better about ourselves?

What about the friends who over-share and T.M.I. us until we can never un-hear what we’ve heard? (Some wouldn’t want it any other way!) Those friends, like all of them, exist in our Facebook world and our face-to-face world. They just make me feel less entertaining. Man. I hate trying to keep up with the brave and funny ones.

Surf, Sting, Sleepover and Some Other Super Stuff

6 Sep


Our recent trip to the beach showed us our children view the whole surf and sand experience very differently. We couldn’t get Nia out of the water and it took forever for Nate to finally get into the water. (Or even close to it.) Nate didn’t even want the “mud” on him.  (That’s what he called wet sand.)

Instead, for a large chunk of three days, he worked up the nerve to run lightning quick in the shallowest of water, cried some, chased and fed birds, built a few castles, played his video game and then, eventually – toward the end of our time – tackled and conquered his fear of the water.

Beach Beauty

Beached Boy

Cool Wave Rider

Brave, Unbeached Boy


As the pictures above show, our beach beauty couldn’t get enough of the waves. Even a nasty jellyfish sting didn’t keep her sidelined for long. A lifeguard saw Andrew carrying her as though something was wrong and gave us some “Jellyfish Squish” spray. The sting beached her for a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels and that’s about it. She went right back in the water and acted like we were making too big of a fuss out of it.

Sweets Gets Stung

Chocolate Makes It All Better


This adventure marked the first time Nia and Nate shared a room. It featured two twin beds and a television that was almost as big of a deal as the beach. (They don’t have tv’s in their rooms.) The first night was a bit of a challenge for all of us. We let them watch some tv but then after that we heard quite a bit of commotion and then Nate came crying out of the room. When all the drama was calm, he informed us he had been building a “bridge” from his bed to Nia’s bed when he slipped and hurt himself on the bed. It’s all fun and games until …

Nate's Bed Bridge

Some Other Super Stuff

This beach trip also offered some great quality time with friends and a first for Nate.

We had such a wonderful time visiting with the Heidel family, who sacrificed their college’s opening weekend football game to spend Saturday at the beach with us. (Did I mention they are great friends?)

Snacks are better with buds at the beach.

After a day at the beach, we enjoyed dinner, drinks and caught a few innings of the Savannah Sand Gnats’ game. This is where Nate’s first comes in. He’s never seen a professional fireworks show before. This weekend though, he experienced two of them. One after the Gnats’ game and the other while sitting on the beach in celebration of the Labor Day weekend.

Enjoying the Fireworks

Nia also got a very special treat. One of her bestest buds ever, Miss Avery, visited us. Nia and Avery were basically born to be friends. Exactly a month apart, they were side by side crib mates at daycare and became inseparable until we moved away. The time and miles apart have not hurt their friendship at all. They picked up right where they left off and immediately began playing pretend “iCarly” while hitting the waves.

Reunited Friends

Our mini-vacation to the beach was so nice and memorable, Andrew was already, seriously, asking when we could go back. Nate, on the other hand, was ready to head home. Nia was just fine whatever we decided (as long as she’s getting a souvenir or two). Me? Well, I’m happy just making memories with them – even if one of them involves a jellyfish.

Happy Beach Fam

Miss Popularity

13 May

You know you don’t have a social life when your 5-year-old gets more phone calls and has more “play dates” than you do.

Just today two little girls called Nia on the phone and asked her to meet them to play.  How cute is that?  It’s so funny because sometimes I have to look at the calendar and schedule the play dates!  Today, I had to tell the one mom, “Oh sorry, Nia can’t play because she’s meeting another little girl to play.  How about tomorrow?”

I think it’s the coolest thing that other kids have a blast with Nia.  She is so fun and sweet and I can only hope she will form friendships as easily during kindergarten.

Now, if only I could make a few more friends…

Girls’ Night

25 Feb

Dinner for one at a trendy restaurant in Buckhead-Atlanta – $47 (two glasses of Sangria and tip included)

A glass of wine, a Coke for the designated driver and the tip at the Ritz Carlton (also in Buckhead-Atlanta) – $20

Times I feared for my life while being driven in an SUV by a girl I hardly knew – 3 (but it made for some laughs!)

Number of movies we all knew the lines to – 9

Hours I spent away from my family – 7 and a half

Fun I had while sharing a night out with the girls – Tons

How much I appreciate and love Andrew for being so cool about my night out with the girls – Immeasurable
(He even did all the dishes and put them away!)

*Thanks to my neighbor, Allison, for thinking of me and liking me enough to invite me along with her buddies!

Mr. Rogers would be proud

21 Feb

I’ve been so fortunate to have lived next door to some really wonderful people.  I really can’t take credit for any of it – my mom and dad picked the first house and with our two houses, we had no idea who lived next to us.  Call it fate or luck or God or whatever you want to call it, but so far, we’ve had some of the best neighbors.

The neighbors I had while I was growing up are like family to me.  I’m so happy they are there for my mom and that my mom is there for them.  We’ve always had the key to their house and they’ve always had ours.  We’ve shared in ALL the happy family moments together, as well as the sad ones.  I couldn’t imagine my life without them.  I even got introduced to their culture and religion, attending Greek Bible School with them and even learning some of their language and traditions.  Words really can’t touch the appreciation and love I have for them.

When we lived in Savannah, the couple across the street helped take care of me while Andrew was deployed in Iraq and I was pregnant.  They landscaped our front yard and decorated our house for Andrew’s homecoming.  When they moved away, we tried to stay in touch.  One time, we ran into each other at the Atlanta Zoo and it was only because they recognized my laugh echoing through the trees!  I heard, “Nicole Valles, is that you?!?!”  It was a great feeling and we still continue to try to keep in touch.

Our neighbors now, Allison and James, are just as wonderful.  They’ve done the usual ‘neighborly’ thing of caring for our turtle, Clark, while we’re away and collecting our mail, but they’ve also alerted us to two outdoor spectacles that we would have missed if it wasn’t for them – the snow that fell here last month and tonight’s lunar eclipse.  Allison has even invited me to go with her and her friends for a birthday celebration this weekend in Atlanta!  I was like, “She likes me!  She really likes me!”  And so far, I haven’t done anything embarrassing to change her mind!


Turning 30 with Family, Friends and Feces

12 Jan

Yum right?  I feel bad for even putting that word next to the other words.  Not just because it’s so yucky, but because I literally feel bad because of it.  Don’t worry, I won’t get all detailed or anything.  It’s just – I can’t talk about my 30th birthday without mentioning the disgusting distress Andrew and I are suffering through even now.

We’ve had this rumbly in our tumbly for the past week.  Remember when I wrote I was sick and then all better?  Well, I apparently was deceived by this blah that has taken over our bodies.  We are still able to function with it.  We even are still hungry.  But when we eat, we pay for it later.  Severely.

It all would have been a lot more tolerable if it had rudely entered our lives at a better time.  It happened to hit us right as we were getting ready to visit our family (Anna Marie, Marcus, Baby Ella and new Baby Maggie) – plus our buddies (Ginger, Lee and Baby Cami).  We called and warned them.  “We have a butt disease – still want to see us?”  They must really love us because they all said yes.  We’ll see if they still feel the same if they get it too! (Which I am praying they do not!)

It also came as I was turning 30 and Andrew had a very special surprise for me.  He had secretly invited Anna Marie and her girls plus Ginger, Lee and Cami to go to one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook in front of you.  He led me to believe we were going to an all you can eat buffet and never said anything about our friends being there!  It was so super sweet and wonderful – that is – except for our tummy troubles. Andrew and I didn’t even eat our main food. It also wasn’t such a good idea to take 4 small children to one of those restaurants. For the most part, the were entertained by the chef but Nia was not having any of the food and Nate was hysterical before the chef came (“Chicken!  French Fries!”), Ella was petrified of the fire and it was getting way late for Miss Cami. Poor Andrew.  He did such a sweet thing for me – I’m sorry it didn’t turn out as he hoped – I want him to know how much it all meant to me and that I love him bunches.

Well, despite it all – I’m 30 and I had a lot of happy memories to go along with the big day.  I got to spend my actual birthday with great friends.  Ginger and Lee sacrificed their master bedroom so the Valles Fam could crash ever so comfortably.  I got to enjoy 2 cakes – one that Andrew surprised me with and another that Ginger and I nibbled on secretly. She even made us super delicious daiquiris and a breakfast of champions the next day.

I may not be all that thrilled about turning 30 but then again – the older I get, the more time I get to spend with the people I love.  I just hope the next birthday comes without the party on the potty.


The Good, The Bad and The Kid Locked in the Car

1 Jan

Before I leave you wondering…

Yes, I locked Nia in the car. I really did that.  I was one of those people.  I will tell you all about the hour of fun we had while waiting for Triple A to show up a few sentences later in this post because there was just so much that happened. I think it’s best to break out the bullet points!

  • The visit to my sister’s house was GREAT!  It was so wonderful getting to see her home and spend time with them there (and eat tons of delicious homemade cookies).  Even the drive to Cleveland was awesome!  Nate was like a completely different boy!  He didn’t cry at all!
  • As soon as we got to good ole’ Weirton, my mom and I hit the road to Pennsylvania to shop.  There weren’t even open handicap spots!  It was nutso!  I almost ran a stop sign too!  That should have been the first sign that my brain was struggling.
  • That same night Andrew and I headed back up to Pittsburgh to catch up with our friends Chris and Julie. Lola watched the kids for us so we were able to have some couple time.  Chris and Julie made it possible for me to do something I never did before – enjoy a Primanti Brothers sandwich! If you don’t know about them – they are YUM.  They put cole slaw and french fries on the sandwich.  Again, YUM.
  • The next day with Chris and Julie was also a great time. We took Nia ice skating and she had a blast.  She kept wanting to go around and around but it was getting harder and harder for daddy and mommy to go that slow and bear her weight.  I took some really cute pictures of her skating but sadly, I cannot share them. That is a “bad” that I have to tell you about but first, now it’s time to talk “kid locked in car.”   Yep, this is when I did it.  We were leaving the ice skating rink and I had the task of getting Nia buckled in as Andrew paid for parking.  It’s a long explanation of how I did it – but in the end all that matters is – I did it. I put the keys on the car seat, buckled her in and then closed the door.  All of that would have been ok if I didn’t have the doors locked and if Nia could get out of her child safety seat.  And she certainly was not learning how to do it through a window as her parents tried to mime to hert.  She kept saying, “Just come in and get me!”  We finally got through to her that we couldn’t come and get her – that a man was coming to help.  She tried to help.  She tried to pull her stay-puffed coat arm through the buckle’s strap.  Nope.  She tried using her Barbie to reach the lock.  Nope.  She picked up a book to read.  (She could reach that but not the keys!)  It’s so funny too because there I was so upset and she was totally fine.  Like, “Whatever – I’m waiting for the man to come.  Is he here yet?”  I love you Bean.  I’m so sorry I did that – trust me – it will NEVER, EVER happen again.  I’m sure I’ll do other bad things along the way – but you can take this one off the list.
  • Christmas was a wonderful day.  The kids loved opening presents (they had 3 rounds of opening that day) and Nate is at that age where everything he opens gets a “OH” and the really great things get a “WOW!”
  • The next day my sister and I braved the shopping crowds and scored big on some sales!  I loved being able to hang out with just her.  We haven’t been able to do that in a really long time and it was needed!
  • I also loved being able to celebrate Nate’s 2nd birthday with family. Even though he was pretty sicky that day, he still did great and blew out his candles like a champ!  (Getting us all sick in the process…)  After the party, we got to hang out with my good friends from high school Julie (another one) and Mary Lou and their families.  It’s so crazy to think that we all have children!  We’re like all grown up now and hardly get to talk but we can meet up like we just talked yesterday.  I love that!
  • Andrew and I got to have date night!  At the movies!  My mom watched the kids for us so we hit the theater to see “I Am Legend.”  We really liked it – but not the theater experience.  I’m sure I was annoying when I was a teen but come on!  Taking flash pictures, ringing cell phones and laughing loudly during the sad parts – a police officer came in to settle them down but it was during the last minutes of the movie!  I’m not sure when we’ll be back to a theater – why spend $20 there when we can just buy the DVD and enjoy it in the comfort of our own home and annoyances?
  • Coming home was also an adventure.  We had a luggage carrier strapped to the roof of the Malibu Maxx and it started pouring rain the last hour of the trip – that rain came in through our doors because of the way we had to tie the carrier to the car.  We were using a coffee cup to catch the drips!  It was also on the way home that I so stupidly lost one of our camera’s memory cards.  The one that had the visit to my sister’s on it.  The one that had Nia ice skating.  The one that had all the Christmas pictures on it.  I think it was on my lap and fell out of the car when I got out for a potty break at a gas station.  Andrew called.  Of course, it wasn’t turned in to the gas station. I’m still so sad over the whole thing and really mad at myself.  I will always have the memories in my mind, but still.

So there it is.  Christmas 2007 is history and a new year of laughs, horrors, love and adventures has started.  I can’t wait to share another year with you!  Hopefully, it will feature more of the good stuff – even though some of the bad is more fun to read!

Never Too Old for Slumber Parties

16 Nov

It’s funny because if we still lived in Savannah, I would be able to enjoy the company of good friends whenever I wanted.  I would be able to call them up on any random day and say “let’s meet up for dinner.”  I would be able to spend any weekend afternoon at the park with them or brave the mall with babies in tow.  As much as I would love to be able to do those things, one thing living several hours away has done is require SLEEP OVERS!

I have always loved having friends stay over my house.  My mom spoiled me by letting me have anywhere from 5 to 12 pre-teen/teen girls keep her awake with our giggles and screams and New Kids on the Block song renditions (choreographed dances included).  Now that I’m older, the sleep overs have changed – we sure don’t stay up very late (1 am was insane!), we are now legally allowed to drink as much alcohol as we dare to, our conversations are about kids and money instead of which boy is cute and clothes/hair/weight – oh wait I’m wrong about that last one – weight is still a topic – but anyway – some things never change – like the comfort and security and sanity that good friends provide.

I loved getting to spend so much time with Ginger, Lee and Cami last weekend.  We didn’t even have to do anything and it was fun.  Watching the kids play – fun.  Sitting on the couch and chillin’ (often with laptops) – fun.  Heading out to Winder’s Fall Festival without knowing if it would be lame or not – fun (actually lots of fun).  It was just so awesome getting my “friend fix” for 4 days straight and being able to celebrate Ginger’s birthday with her.  I can only hope that we always try to do our best to share as many special events as we can together.  After all, Ginger was part of one of the most special events in my life (Nia’s birth) and it just feels so natural to have our families grow up together.  (And maybe even be able to watch our girls share more sleep overs!)

So Comfy


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