Posts tagged family

Becoming Mimi.

(And I’m not talking about Mariah Carey.)

When I was a kid, it seemed like everyone called their grandparents some slight variation of Grandma and Grandpa.  Maybe it was Grammy and Grampy or sometimes Nana and Papa or even Ma and Pa but nothing too different from that.  Until I was pregnant with my first child I never gave much thought to what my children would call my parents and my husband’s parents.  I guess I just assumed it would be some variation of the above.  But then, at some point I came across a whole phenomenon where people would ask their parents what they wanted to be called.  I’m not sure if this was always the way things were and I never realized it, or if it was something new.  So, when I was pregnant with Brinley, I had the talk with my parents.

With my father (technically my step-father, but he raised me) it was a no-brainer.  He would be Grampy in homage to my late grandfather.  I knew the decision wouldn’t be as simple for my mother.  To most, my mom is considered a young grandmother.  She’s young at heart, on top of fashion and pop culture and looks amazing.  So it was no surprise to me that she decided to pick something different as her grandmother name.  After a little back and forth she settled on Mimi.

Before my mom chose this name, I had never heard it used as a grandmother name.  When we were discussing it, my mom told me that she had a friend or something that went by Mimi and that she liked it.  So it’s not that I thought it was completely original or anything.  However, since becoming a mom I can’t even tell you how often I hear grandmothers referred to as Mimi.  Yesterday alone I heard it twice within two hours.

The first one was at the doctors office yesterday morning.  We were in the waiting room with a few other people and there was an older woman with a toddler.  The toddler kept mumbling something that I couldn’t quite make out but started with ‘m’ and each time she said it the older woman would go to her.  Within a few minutes Nora started yelling, “Mimi, Mimi!”  I looked around thinking that maybe my mom was in the office for some reason (there are other doctors offices in the building) but didn’t spot her.  I just brushed it off until I realized that she had understood the other toddler girl’s toddler-speak and that she had been calling the older woman Mimi.  After we left the doctor’s office we did a little shopping.  We were in the Carter’s outlet and I was inundated with adorable little girl’s fall clothing.  Nora was in the stroller and Brinley was holding my hand as I got lost amidst a sea of coordinating tunic tops and leggings.  Then it started again.  “Mimi, Mimi!”  Again, I looked around to see if my mom happened to be in the store as well, but she was not.  I realized that Nora was referring to a woman who was shopping near us.  She could only see the back of her and she had blonde hair like my mom.  I laughed and said to Nora, “That’s not Mimi silly!”  To my surprise, the woman turned around and said, “Actually, I am Mimi, just not her Mimi.”

At that point the woman and I got into a mini conversation about the evolution of Mimi and how she hears it all the time now even though she became Mimi seventeen years ago.  And here I thought my mom was being original…. :-)

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The vacation high.

Remember all that stuff I talked about yesterday?  Planning a trip, packing the car and hitting the road?  Well, all of that combined with actually being on vacation gives me what I’d like to call “The Vacation High”.  It’s many things all rolled into one (or into a few days actually).  The feeling of excitement and anticipation before going on the trip, the stress and anxiety of packing for the trip, and the happiness and exhilaration of being on the trip all combine to give that high.  It’s a great feeling.

Being on vacation puts me in a different state of mind.  There’s no laundry to be done, no beds to be made, no appointments to attend.  You’re in a different environment doing different things but there’s that sense of comfort because you’re with the ones you love most.  On vacation, you eat whatever you want and don’t think about how long it will take to burn off the calories.  Ice cream, fried dough, pizza, candy.  You name it, when I’m on vacation, I eat it.  Then there’s the beer.  I’d never let myself eat the way I do when I’m on vacation on a regular basis.  Not only would it seriously hurt my waistline but it would take away from the feeling that indulging on vacation brings.

Going new places, seeing new things and creating memories for my family and with amazing friends just gives me such a sense of of pure bliss.   I love seeing the look on my girls’ faces when they experience something for the first time.  It really is amazing.  And sharing those experiences with such incredible friends makes it that much better.  It’s a good thing we don’t vacation too much or I just might become a vacation addict and require some sort of rehab. :-)

You call THAT a vacation?

When most people hear the word vacation images of tropical islands, warm beaches and fruity drinks probably fill their minds.  While all of those things sound amazing to me, they’re not what comes to my mind when I think about vacation.  To me vacation is time spent away from home with loved ones doing things that you all love.  So while sitting on a warm, tropical beach sipping fruity drinks would definitely fit into that category, it’s simply not feasible (at least for us) with two small children.

Instead, our vacations involve packing our car full of everything except the kitchen sink, driving for a few hours, and getting comfy in a hotel/friend’s home/mini resort for a few nights.  Here is how it usually unfolds – A few months prior, I’ll suggest to Scott that we should do X.  He’ll agree because I always have fabulous plans.  We’ll arrange for accommodations either in a hotel/resort or with friends (I do most of this planning).  The week of, we confirm all of the reservations, make lists and take multiple trips to Target for necessities.  Two days before, I begin getting things ready.  Laundry is done, bags and suitcases are laid out and items start getting crossed off of the lists.  The day of departure everything is finalized in bags and suitcases.  This includes clothes for Scott, myself and both kids (and plenty of spare outfits for spills/accidents/weather changes), toiletries for all four of us, toys, kids plates/utensils/cups, any special or hard to find food or snacks, extra pillows, air mattress (if necessary), pack and play, etc.. As I said, everything but the kitchen sink.  Scott packs the car.  I refuse to be a part of it other than to request which few items are to go in the back seat within an arms reach for emergencies.  He’s a master at doing it and I’d rather not interrupt.  Somehow he always makes it fit.  Then we all pile in the car, stop at Dunkin’ Donuts (it wouldn’t be a road trip without this important stop) and hit the road.

Our favorite destinations range from an hour and a half to a little over four hour away via car.  So, depending on where we’re going at the time, we decide if we’ll drive straight through or make a stop along the way.  Generally speaking, anything two hours or less is a straight through drive.  If it’s a trip with a stop we try to plan the drive as follows – get in the car just around nap time for Nora.  Stop for “lunch” when she wakes up.  Eat and then finish the drive.  This usually works out quite well but as of late, she hasn’t been a huge fan of sleeping in the car.  In which case, we try to get at least half of the drive under our belts before stopping.

At this point, we’ve already had so much excitement and anticipation about our vacation and we haven’t even gotten there yet!  Once we arrive at our destination it’s time to unload the car.  (I’d like to take a moment to apologize to whomever decided to host our family for one of our vacations.  We bring a shit ton of crap with us.  Thanks!)  After that task, which is usually left up to Scott so I can wrangle the kids, is done, the vacation begins.

I know what you’re probably thinking right about now… That sounds like the furthest thing from a vacation that I could possibly imagine!  But you know what, it really is fun.  Is it stressful?  Yes.  Do we want to rip each others’ heads off at some point?  Yes.  Do we forget things? Yes.  Do we often say we’ll never do it again?  Yes.  Would we change it for the world?  No.  This, my friends, is how memories are made.

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Note:  Though this picture loosely represents what our packed car looks like, we DO NOT drive a mini van. :-)

Life’s a beach…

Saturday was our five year wedding anniversary.  Since it falls on a holiday weekend we decided not to celebrate this big milestone on it’s actual day but wait and do it the following weekend (this weekend).  With that said, we traveled down to visit Scott’s side of the family for the day.  His brother lives right on the beach and always has a big gathering on July 3rd.  So we packed up the girls early that morning with beach gear galore and drove a little over an hour.  To our HUGE surprise there was no traffic!  We got there in record time, grabbed some food for the kids and headed to the beach.  It was PACKED beyond belief.  I can’t say I’m surprised but the tides were not cooperating with the 90 plus degree weather and everyone was jam packed in about 10 feet of space between the water and the sea wall.  And the tide kept rising meaning we had to push back our chairs and bags about every 5 minutes.  The girls had a blast though and even though I despise ocean beach sand, it was completely worth it.  The water was even warm enough un-numbing enough that you could go in and actually enjoy it.  Brinley made sand castles with her cousins and swam in the ocean with her daddy.  Nora ran around non stop the entire day, ate everything in site and tried out everyone’s beach chair.  She attempted to go in the water many times but every time a wave came toward her she’s run for the sand.  It was too cute.

After we were all drained from the sun and ran out of cold drinks and food, we headed back to my brother-in-law’s house for a BBQ.  Burgers, sausages, steak tips, chicken, pasta salad, fruit salad, coleslaw, cookies, brownies, margaritas, beer… you name it, it was consumed!  The kids all played in the yard while the adults talked and ate.  Around 9pm we all paraded back down to the beach for the most amazing fireworks display ever.  You’d never have known that lighting off fireworks was illegal in Massachusetts after seeing the show that was put on by the locals.  Probably some of the best fireworks that I’ve ever seen.  We kept the kids up waaaaaaaaay late but they were amazing.  Nora stayed awake for the show and Brinley fell asleep in daddy’s arms under the fireworks.

At about 10:30pm we trudged back to the house and packed the girls up in the car.  Nora was still awake so I managed to get her into her PJs.  Brinley was already passed out so we just plopped her in the car.  They both slept for the entire ride home and then  we transferred them to their beds.  Scott and I followed suit and passed out just as our heads hit the pillows.  We never originally planned to stay for the fireworks but the girls were being so good and having so much fun that we just went with it.  I’m so glad that we did.

What did you just call me?

Ever hear a person call someone a name (nickname or term of endearment) and think to yourself, “Where the heck did they come up with that?”  Of course you have your standard shortened names like Chris for Christopher or Sue for Susan. Then there are the not so easy to figure out ones like Dick for Richard, Jack for John, or Peggy for Margaret (huh?).  And of course there’s the lovey nicknames couples give each other like muffin, honey, cupcake or pumpkin.  Weird how most of them are food related.  Sometimes you even hear something that just seems to have no meaning behind it at all, or so you think.

We are no strangers to these absurd nicknames in our family.  I’ll start with myself.  In high school I became known as Smack which came from Smackie, which came from my last name, Mackie.  I’m not sure how it started but lo and behold, I was called Smack by some of my close friends for years.  I even have a few friends who still refer to me that way.  I’m sure if I’m out and a stranger hears, “Hey Smack, what do you think of this shirt?”, they would probably think its a little bit odd but it’s not to me at all.

Scott has an odd nickname from high school as well, Stub or maybe it’s S Dub.  I’m not sure.  All I know is that when I first met some of his high school friends back when we started dating I was all, huh?  Whadiju just call him?  I was later informed that this nickname was derived from his initials, SW.  Makes sense now, right?

Then you have the term of endearment by which Scott and I refer to each other, Weeds.  Anyone care to take a guess as to where in the heck that came from?  Stumped, right?  Well back in the day we went with the old standard, Sweetie.  We’d refer to each other lovingly and address notes and cards to our Sweetie.  Somewhere along the lines, it got shortened to Sweets which eventually turned in to Weets and then Weeds.  There is no real rhyme or reason why it evolved but it did and there you have it.

Another strange one is the name Scott (and sometimes I) call Nora.  She’s Rooster.  A stranger who hears it might think it has something to do with the little ponytail that sticks straight up on her head, but they would be wrong.  It also has nothing to do with her waking us up in the morning.  (You know, cock-a-doodle-do at the crack of dawn?)  I don’t even think I can explain where this name came from.  It has something to do with a sound (kind of like “oosh”) that she used to make when she first started “talking”.  Scott mimicked her and along the way it turned in to Rooster and now that is what she is called, lovingly of course.

Brinley’s nicknames make much more sense.  She’s called Brin, or B and sometimes Beast (which came from B-ster).  When she was a baby she was sometimes called B-Dawg.  Wait, now that I think of it, we’ve also called her Brinjamin and Brinjamin Button.  Ok, we’re a little strange.

There are more that I could add to the list but that covers the core family.  Again, these names might seem insane and off the wall to strangers.  How could crazy names like these possibly have any meaning to them, but they do!  Do you have any strange nicknames in your family?  Where did they come from?

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