Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

Entries Tagged as 'life'

the best piece of wedding advice i received

September 30th, 2015 · 1 Comment


Yes, yes, I know, there’s a lot of wedding advice on the internet.  From favors to registries to dress and decor, the internet is chock full of ideas for making your wedding day incredible.

But the best piece of advice I received had nothing to do with my dress or the ceremony.  It wasn’t about the prettiest invitations or the perfect Pinterest-worthy shots for our photographer to capture.

It was this.

The day of our wedding, one of my best girlfriends told me to focus on remembering the day.  To take in the experience, the way that it feels as you live it. 

It sounds really silly, but six years after our wedding, sometimes it’s hard to separate my actual memories from the photographs.  The photographs are mementos that I look through every few months: I could tell you every shot, from the one above (my favorite) to me walking down the aisle with my dad, to the wide-angle scene of our brightly lit tent against the night sky.  The photographs are easy to recall anytime I want; they are permanent.

My memories, though.  Those I worked to capture. 

Everyone always says that your wedding day goes by in a blur, but I worked hard to slow down that blur.  To focus on the moment I was in, instead of getting wrapped up in the excitement of trying to experience everything at once.

Do you know what my favorite memory of our wedding is?

For our first dance, Chad and I picked a slow, romantic song.  We planned to dance by ourselves to that song, and then invite everyone up for the next (faster) song, to get the party going. 

But somehow there was a miscommunication between us and the band, and midway through our slow song, the band invited all our guests to join us on the dance floor in the middle of our first song.  That special moment that was supposed to be just ours?  Suddenly we were packed onto a dance floor with well-wishing guests, following the band’s instructions.

And then, in between the first dance and the next song, while the band took a short break, apparently, someone told them that they’d made a mistake. 

So they decided to fix it. 

By starting the second song (a fast, rock song) and telling our guests not to come onto the dance floor, because Chad and I wanted to dance by ourselves.

Yes, seriously.  In front of a hundred and fifty of our closest friends and family, our band told everyone to stay off the dance floor so Chad and I could dance to a rock song.  By ourselves.

I can’t even type this story without feeling a little mortified.  Chad and I are not dancers — sure, we have fun in big groups and we goof around in the privacy of our own home, but having a hundred and fifty people watch us bop around is the stuff that nightmares are made of. 

But what choice did we have?  We were already standing in the middle of the dance floor.  As the music started, we frantically gestured for everyone to come join us.  The guests were (rightly) confused and stayed firmly in their seats. 

After what felt like an eternity (while I, in my wedding dress, tried to bust out some dance moves), a table of my college friends joined us on the dance floor.  Once they did, the rest of the party followed, and the moment was over.  It turned into a memory, right then and there.

And you want to hear something crazy?  That was the biggest snafu of our wedding: it was both mortifying and completely, unpredictably random.  And it is one of my favorite memories from the whole day.  I can’t tell the story now without cracking up — when one of us is in a bad mood, Chad or I can bring up our first dance and we both fall apart laughing. 

It was mortifying. 

It was amazing. 

It was one of the moments in this life that I’ll never, ever forget.

So, good or bad, my wedding day advice is to remember the experience itself.  To focus on the experience, instead of whether everything is perfect. 

Because, who knows? The imperfections just may become your favorite memories of all.

Tags: life

the more things change…

September 25th, 2015 · 1 Comment


A few weeks ago, Chad and I were getting rid of a bunch of our old iPhones, and in the process, I stumbled on some photos from a few years ago that I hadn’t seen in a while.  (This one became a #fbf on Instagram, and both Chad and I get a little teary seeing snaps of our sweet dog Calvin, who passed away last year, back when he was healthy.)

And that photo above?  That’s me, in 2013.  It was taken a few weeks before I got pregnant, and in a lot of ways (although I didn’t realize it then), that photo is the “before” to everything that came after. 

In the month after this photo was taken, my whole life changed.  Right around this time, I quit my law firm job to start my own practice.  Two weeks later, I found out that I was pregnant.  I was thrilled and excited about both, but together?  At the same time?  I was blindsided by confusion and uncertainty.  I questioned my decision to quit a job with paid maternity leave (a benefit that far too few women in this country receive) almost every day.  We had a mortgage and a baby on the way, and I’d just taken a stable, well-paid job and tossed it out the window. 

If I had known that I was about to get pregnant, I probably would have talked myself out of taking that leap.  The fear of losing a stable income with a newborn would have been too much.  I would have stayed put, on the track that I was on. 

In a lot of ways, the last few years would have been easier if I’d done that.  But I would have missed out on so much.  All of the excitement and challenge of building my career in the last few years.  All the skills and experience that I’ve gained, but would have been too afraid to reach for.  I would have taken the safer choice, a choice that I thought would have been for the benefit of our son.  But, you know what?  Taking that risk turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. 

Every once in a while, in life, you’re lucky enough to see life changes coming from a mile away.  Most of the time, though, they sneak up on you and hit you out of nowhere.  Only afterwards can you look back and realize that everything suddenly changed. 

And that’s what I see when I look at that photo. 

A girl who was just on the edge of something, with no idea what. 

Tags: life · work

to baby bear, at sixteen months

August 31st, 2015 · No Comments


Sixteen months.

That’s how old you are today. 

When our friends mention your name, they call you “Baby Bear,” and then smile sheepishly, because you’re not really a baby anymore.  Or you are, but only to me.  (And you’ll never get big enough to outgrow that!)

Because suddenly, in the last few months, our little baby became a kid!  It’s the craziest thing — it feels like a moment ago that you couldn’t even hold your head up by yourself, and now you’re running, dancing, throwing a basketball (I kid you not.  A full size basketball!) and asking for bubbles and Rambo by name. 

What!  How did that happen so fast?

Parenting a toddler is totally different than parenting a baby, and I have to say — I think it’s a lot more fun.  Sure, newborn snuggles were wonderful (I miss them sometimes when you won’t sit still in my lap anymore!) but it’s so much more exciting to watch your personality grow and take form.  To actually communicate with you, even if your vocabulary is still limited.  (‘Yes’ and ‘No’ were life-changing developments!) To make faces and watch you laugh, or see you bop your head to the songs that we sing. 

There are a million little things I’d like to remember about the last month, but my favorites, by far, were these…

… how you call both me and Chad “Mama.”  Sure, this breaks my heart a little bit (I’m your one and only Mama, kid!) but it’s also so darling.  We’ve started explaining to you that I’m the Mama-Mama and Chad is the Dad-Mama.  And we also regularly explain to our families and babysitters that Bear thinks he has two mamas.  Funny kiddo!

… dancing with you to Let It Go!  Ok, ok, sometimes you get cranky at the end of the day.  But one day, after dinner, when we were playing in the kitchen, Let It Go came on my phone and I decided to teach you some goofy ballerina moves.  For the next three minutes, we twirled and leaped around the kitchen together, and you thought it was hilarious to mimic every move I showed you.  If only I’d caught it on video — this would be excellent blackmail material for your teenage years!

… Hi Mama!  Every morning these days, you greet me standing up in your crib with an excited “Hi!”  I love it!  I’m not a morning person and your 7 a.m. wake-ups are pretty tough for me, but opening the door and hearing a big “Hi!” and a smile makes it all worth it.  (Sort of.  It would also be worth it at 8 a.m., just in case you were wondering…)

… Banana.  Ok, so, this one was my bad.  Again, at the end of the day last week, we were done with dinner and playing in the kitchen.  And I took out a banana and told you what it was, and you repeated back to me “ba-nweh” or whatever toddler approximation sounded a tiny bit like the word I’d just said. 

And I freaked out.  I was so excited (a three-syllable word! you’re heading straight to Harvard!) that I kept repeating it to you, over and over: “Banana!  Banana!  Banana!”

And then I realized that you had a banana graphic on your shirt.  Yes — on your little tee shirt was a picture of a banana.  So I picked you up and we ran over to a mirror, and I pointed at your shirt and tried to show you the banana picture, which was basically me just pointing at your chest and saying “Banana!” again and again. 

And then we went back to the original banana and I decided it would be funny to pretend the banana was a phone, so I picked it up and held it to my ear and said, “hello?”

And then you took the banana and did the same thing, held it up to your ear like it was a telephone… and then looked at me with a very perplexed expression. 

And suddenly I realized that I had just confused you beyond any possible understanding of what the word “banana” actually meant.

First, it was pretty clear.  This is a banana. 

And then I grabbed you and pointed at your chest in the mirror and basically said “You’re a banana.”

And then we got back down on the ground and I told you that we use them as telephones

This is a banana.  You’re a banana.  And we have conversations, using bananas. 

Yes, our son calls his dad ‘Mama.’

And he will probably call just about everything else he lays eyes on: ‘Banana.’ 

Happy Sixteen Months, Baby Bear.  I love you so.


Tags: baby · life