Tag Archives: family

Wedding Bells

Over the weekend I went to Chesterbrook, PA for my cousin Todd’s wedding. I can honestly say it was the sweetest, most romantic wedding I’ve ever been to.

It started a couple weeks before when he had a Facebook status that read “‎18 days till I marry my best friend!”. Right away I couldn’t help but think how powerful and fulfilling it must be to decide that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone you call, with confidence, your best friend.

When Todd told us his entire wedding would be outdoors, complete with fat pigs, whiffle ball and kegs, I was skeptical but thought nothing could be more fitting for my untraditional cousin. But when we got to the house in the country that day of the wedding, I was undeniably shocked by how gorgeous, yet simple, the landscape was. I think I said at least 10 times that day that it belonged in a movie.

They held the wedding at a family friend’s house. There was a fountain, a barn and a field with wild horses. The dinner menu was written in chalk with wild flowers in mason jars sitting beside it. There was a basket of bug spray when you walked in, since it was, after all, the country.

What really got me though was their ceremony. I’m not a very religious person and have found most church ceremonies to be stuffy, so to see this raw, self-written ceremony performed outdoors was a breath of fresh air. Their friend performed the ceremony, which added a personal element that most weddings lack. They walked down the aisle, marked by fresh flower petals, to the song “All I want is you” by Barry Louis Polisar (most of us know it from Juno). See their video on Facebook below..


 Their vows included lines such as “I promise to always tell you your hair looks good” (I may have gotten that a little wrong, but you get the idea).

Her dress was a beautiful antique-looking, floor length off-white dress that fit perfectly with the scenery.

They each walked down the aisle with both their mom and their dad standing proudly at their side.

It was perfect.

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Porch Side on Grove St.

A wonderful way to spend summer days < 3

Unconventional Upbringing

In the spirit of [belated] Mother’s Day…

My mom is a firm believer in “tough love”.  

 Growing up I was grounded at least once a week. My own mother turned me into the police and sent me to Youth Court when she found out I had three friends over to drink when I was 15. I don’t know why she was so mad. We were really classy about it with our 30 rack of Keystone Light. But, she was. And when I was suspended from cross country as a result, she said she hoped it would teach me a lesson.

 Then there was the time she washed my mouth out with soap. I think I called my sister stupid. Or when she completely unhinged and removed my sister’s bedroom door claiming “until you learn to respect me, you don’t deserve privacy”. My sister showed her though and filled up the space with a sweet beaded curtain.

 At 16 she threatened to leave me on the side of a highway when I was throwing a fit and giving attitude about something. I’m sure many parents have issues similar threats but here’s the thing with my mom: THEY ARE NEVER EMPTY THREATS. She actually did leave me on the side of the road for a good three minutes before she turned around to get me.

 One time my mom told me I couldn’t go to church on Christmas Eve with my best friend’s family. She told me I. Couldn’t. Go. To. Church.

 Why? Well because it’s something that meant a lot to me of course, and as a single mom raising two daughters while going to school full time, she had learned that the best way to punish was to take away something that matters.

 Call it twisted (I sure spent a lot of years doing so) but whatever mad-man method my mom used raising us, we came out just fine. And the weird part? Now we respect her for it. I appreciate that she never gave us the easy way out.. always made us pay half when we just had to have that new pair of jeans.

 As tough, and psychotic, as she was/is, she never let us forget how much she really cared. Sure, she did make me sleep in my own throw up once after I threw such a bad tantrum I puked everywhere, but she also wrote, and still writes, us letters telling us how proud she is. She remembers that my favorite candy is Whoppers and that as much as I bitch about how much I hate all the self-help books she gave me as a child, I really do enjoy reading them.

I’m pretty sure we all had some sort of unconventional upbringing. The key though is recognizing how it turned you into who you are today, and disregarding that your mom woke you up at 3:00 a.m. in February to take the garbage to the curb like you said you’d do the night before.

And yes, she really made me stand under this sign.

Seeing Red…

No way am I my mother’s daughter. Her latest Valentine-bashing post completely contradicts the homemade heart-shaped lollipops I made for my team at work…




Road Trip Rants

What is it about roadtrips that bring out the best worst in people? When I was younger, all family road trips were marked by my sister’s inevitable stomach ache and the eight hours of whining and threats of throwing up that followed.

As we got older the stomach aches were replaced with incessant complaining about having to spend valuable weekend time with family instead of friends (it also didn’t help that for a short period of time the family vehicle was a 1980 turquoise station wagon complete with interior turquoise felt lining).

In college, roadtrips were a temporary mark of freedom. A brief escape from the campus bubble and class sillaby. These road trips are so good they’re almost enough to overthrow the bad rep all those family trips created.

Sadly, college roadtrips only last for around four years.

Today my roadtrips are home to a sudden onset of bickering and control battles with my boyfriend who believes it’s necessary to check the oil, tire pressure, washer fluid and cleanliness of the car before going ANYWHERE.  While I know it’s all in my best interest, these pre-trip (even one to two-hour trip) rituals have a way of shifting my mood. And not for the better.

I don’t like to be told I should do something. A side effect of my stubborn will and older-sibling attitude, I don’t respond well to commands.

Therefore, after the back-and-forth battle of the pre-trip ritual (“I do just fine on trips without you checking my oil!!!” I show a big display of defiance when my boyfriend tells me to get the GPS set up.

Now this defiance comes for a couple of different reasons. One is that he just told me to do it and my stubborn-will says no way I’ll show you I can do it without you telling me what to do. And two because every time I try to set the GPS up it falls off my window. And every time it falls of my window my boyfriend comments on how I didn’t do it the way he told me to. Sure, I know the way he told me to  is right, but I don’t need to be told how to do something! (except clearly, in this case, I do).

So, after a few wrong turns and the discovery that I do in fact need to set up the GPS, I do.

We carry on the road trip in silence until a song that we both love comes on the radio and we start singing and cracking up as we realize our identical need for control is nothing short of ridiculous.

You have reached your destination.

Does your mom stalk you too?

My mom has a blog. and a Facebook page. And Twitter. And unlimited texting.

I’ve always suspected she uses the tools above to keep tabs on me.. but now it’s been confirmed. Via her blog. Enjoy.

Confirmation that my mom stalks me.

Older Sibling Syndrome

“Scientists have found that first-born children are smarter than their brothers and sisters. It appears they are more likely to succeed in business, too.”

This excerpt from a 2007 USA Today article confirms something I already knew (just kidding Lauren ; ) ) But really, I definitely believe in the “older sibling syndrome”. I should know, being the strong, independent and knowledgeable older sibling that I am.

The first two years of my life, it was the Allie show. We have several home videos labeled “Allie” and photo albums filled with pages of me running around naked or working on my potty training (awww).

Enter younger sister Lauren. Helllloo, who was she to cramp my style? Apparently my mom wanted her to wear the same outfit home from the hospital that I had worn when I was born. Not happening. My two-year-old self threw a fit and screamed. Those were my clothes, was she crazy?

Fast forward a couple of years. I had accepted she was probably going to stick around for a while. Perfect! It meant I could have a little person to make my slave (a bit dramatic but you older siblings know what I’m talking about). Home videos at this point in my life now featured both me and my slave sister, but the balance was still shifted toward me, the attention-seeking older sister. Case in point:

Scene: Christmas, 1992. Allie: 5 Lauren: 3

Allie: Okay Lauren it’s your turn to open a present, here you go (note: I chose which present she could open)

Lauren: Yayyy!!!

[Lauren begins to slowly open present]

Allie: Lauren, look, do it this way. I’ll help you with it!!

[Allie grabs present from Lauren’s hands and begins to rip off paper]

Lauren: [seeing present] ahh yayy!! A cuwewing book!! (translation: coloring book)

Allie: isn’t it nice Lauren? But you’re going to share, right? We’re sharing everything right Lauren???

End scene.

As the older sibling, I yearned for control and strived on being right. I did everything first and wanted to do everything well. I got straight As in high school, was on class council and president of the yearbook club, never went below a 3.7 in college and got a job in my field immediately after graduation. I told my sister she needed to try harder in school and had to stop quitting sports, that skipping gym class was ridiculous and if she wanted to get into a good college she needed to, essentially, get her shit together.

Then, at 19, my sister got engaged. As a sister who needed control and always had to be right, this did not fly well with me. I’m the older sister!! I do everything first! I’m supposed to get married and have kids first.. then you!! And marrying so young? Why would you do that???

Needless to say, this news shook the older-sibling syndrome within me. I had my own ideals about marrying young and why it’s important to wait until you’re financially stable. I’m the older sister, shouldn’t she agree with the righteous beliefs I have?

But Lauren’s not the three-year-old girl forced to share toys (and beliefs) with me anymore. She makes up her own mind and has her own ideals. The idea of marrying someone at such a young age scares the shit out of me. But good for her if she’s got the faith to do it.

I’ll always be a control freak. And I’ll always think that as the older sibling, I’m right. But I have grown up enough to learn when to loosen the reins on that control and step back a bit.

I’ll have my own kids to boss around some day. For now, I’ll let Lauren grow up.

Tell me about your older-sibling stories. Or if you’re the younger sibling… fill me in on the view from down there ; )