The Ring

Hello, friends. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m dropping in to say hi, and because – after so long – I have a story to tell.

Here we go.

When my mom turned 16, my grandparents had a ring made for her. It was a unique design, and it contained the diamond from my grandma’s engagement ring. When I turned 16, a number of years after my mom had died, the ring was passed down to me.

Later that year, I sat in sophomore English class as the teacher read from a book. The passage ended:

Inherit their strength, their resilience, and become who you choose to become.

I’ve never seen it again and I don’t know to whom I should attribute it, but that phrase struck a chord with me and I immediately jotted it down. It reminded me of my mom and grandma – both exemplary models of strength and resilience – and this simple sentence told me that I could draw upon those traits while still forging my own path. The ring, then, served as a tangible reminder of the “tough stock,” as my grandma would says, from which I came.

Years later, in 2003, my purse, containing my car keys, wallet, cell phone, and a brand new tin of Altoids, was stolen. I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and rather hormonal. While in retrospect, the theft was not a huge deal, the whole experience felt quite traumatic at the time.

A year or so after that, I realized I hadn’t worn my ring in a while, as my fingers had swollen during my pregnancy. It was then that I had a distinct memory of putting the ring in the inner pocket of that purse, the one that had been stolen.

The ring was gone. I was devastated.

I’ve told this story many times over the years, and I always say that I consider it a blessing that it took me months to realize the ring had been stolen, too; it would have taken an already-emotional situation into the next stratosphere.

Regardless of putting that spin on it, though, the sadness I felt about losing my ring hadn’t waned. I didn’t even have photographic evidence of it, despite magnifying every picture I could find of my mom’s or my own hands. It was gone, but it was often in the back of my mind. Just a few months ago, I read an article about inviting what we need into our lives – the law of attraction, so to speak. As I read the article, for whatever reason the ring came to mind. It was impossible, though, for it to come back into my life, since it was at the bottom of a landfill.

Or so I thought.

Last month I had been scheduled to fly to Chicago for a professional conference, but my flight was cancelled the night before due to an impending snow storm. That morning, Andy and I awoke to an alarming sound coming from our bedroom wall. An alarming chewing sound. An alarming chewing sound that suddenly stopped when I pounded on the wall.

Yeah. This was not good.

An investigation of our basement led us to the indisputable conclusion that mice had invaded the storage area right below our bedroom. I can hardly even type that sentence without shuddering. I am deathly afraid of mice (something I definitely inherited from my grandma and presumably my mom, as well) and I was NOT AMUSED with this development. However, since I had planned to be out of town, we had the entire day free (which never happens) to deal with the situation. Cleaning out this part of our basement had been on our to-do list for ages, but we never had the time and/or motivation to do it. Suddenly we had both, and we decided to do it right. I went to the store and spent $100 on plastic tubs, rubber gloves, and garbage bags (which spawned a number of questions and theories from the people in line behind me, including one person who said “If Andy doesn’t show up to work on Monday, we know where to look!”) and we went through every item in every box; we uncovered stuff we forgot we had – posters that had hung on Andy’s wall in college, pictures that we had actually had to send away to develop, all sorts of junk.

We kept some and pitched four times more.

It was Marie keep-only-what-brings-joy Kondo on steriods. Because mice.

As I sifted through a box filled with my high school mementos, I stumbled across a scrap of notebook paper.

Inherit their strength, their resilience, and become who you choose to become.

That little scrap of paper without a doubt brings me joy, and it went in the “keep” pile.

We continued through the storage room and moved on to an adjacent closet, where I keep my out of season clothes. (Or where I kept them, until I had to throw them all away. Because mice. My sweaters, though. Lord have mercy, it pained me.) In any case, this closet also contained a small cardboard box that I had never unpacked when we moved into our current house (it’s only been 10 years…), which evidently contained whatever happened to have been on my nightstand at the time. Reader’s Digest, a half-finished cross stitch project – important things like that. It also contained a small wooden box, which was full of safety pins. As I dumped the pins in the trash bag, something caught my eye.

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The ring.

It was there, in my house, for the past 13 years. Even though I remember looking there for it before. Even though I remember seeing it in a zippered pocket of that old purse. Even though I thought it was impossible that I would ever find it again. It’s here.

I truly don’t have words to describe what it means to me. More than two weeks have passed, and every time I glance at it on my finger, I am surprised to see it there. And the chain of events that led me to find it — the canceled flight, the disturbing sounds inside the wall, the day devoid of any plans or obligations, the determination to de-clutter our house in a way we’ve never done before — it’s incredible.

For years, this ring represented the strength and resilience of my mother and grandmother. Now it also serves as a reminder to trust that life will bring us what we need, and that nothing is impossible.

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It’s not you, it’s us.

Dear People Who Used to Read Mommin’ It Up,

So… remember when we had a blog? And people read it? That was fun, wasn’t it? Somewhere along the way, though, we lost our mojo. Or Jenny became gainfully employed and stopped reminding me to post. Something like that.

In any case, as it turns out, blogging is one of those things like exercise – the longer you don’t do it, the harder it is to get back on the wagon.

But as I’ve discovered in the past 45 seconds, it is also like exercise in that once you do do it again, it feels really, really good.

So, all this to say — sorry we have been MIA. It hasn’t been intentional. It’s not you, it’s us.

But we’re alive, we’re doing well, and, while we may not ever be in post-five-days-a-week mode again, every once in a while we will blow the dust off this thing and get back to business.

XOXO,
Emily

P.S. This has nothing to do with the fact that Kate was giving me a hard time the other day about not having a baby book, and me telling her that she absolutely does have one and she can find it on MomminItUp.com, and then me realizing that if I don’t get on the stick, neither of us will remember her tween years. Although that may or may not be a good thing.

P.P.S. This also has nothing to do with the fact that I need ADVICE on a very important subject but didn’t feel right about asking for something straight out of the gate without a vague and unsatisfying explanation of where we’ve been for the past six months. And by very important subject, I mean cupcakes.

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Playing around with Wonder Forge

One of the benefits (to me) of Jenny having a job is that she has no time. (Having a job is tough, yo.) Therefore when Wonder Forge reached out to see if she would do her annual game review, she passed the honors on to me, which is awesome since they have several new Star Wars games out and I have several Star Wars fans at my house!

The first one we checked out was Galaxy Hunt. Sam was pretty pumped.

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This game requires each player to remove a certain piece from the board without causing the spring-loaded bar to move. It’s very easy to play, and requires problem-solving as well as some basic math skills, as each piece is worth positive or negative points.

We also played Star Wars Star Destroyer Strike.

star wars destroyer strike

Here’s the description:
Strategy and suspense collide in the exciting Star Wars Star Destroyer Strike Game. The Star Destroyer Finalizer is out to eliminate the Resistance. Advance your heroes to safety before the starship of the First Order has you in its line of fire. Evade surprise blasts that can happen when you least expect it, and outwit your opponents by bouncing the “laser” blasts off the deflector shield towards them. It’s fast-moving galactic fun for the whole family.

This was also a lot of fun, and Sam loved the lights and sounds. It requires some strategy, which makes it fun for the adults as well as kids. One thing that is a little different is that it’s set up on a track rather than a board. Pretty cool!

Confession time – the thing I liked MOST about these two games is that while they were Star Wars themed, those of us who are a little less, un, well-versed in the Rebel Alliance could play along without any trouble. That’s great for me, because if Star Wars trivia is involved, I can’t hold a candle to Sam or Andy.

Which brings me to…

Star Wars Pictopia

star wars pictopia

Pictopia has been on my “to buy” list for a while now. I have heard nothing but good things about it. The Star Wars version didn’t disappoint! It contains more than 1,000 questions about the planets, ships, villains and heroes, and you can wager different amounts depending on your confidence in your knowledge. (Needless to say, I took the conservative route.) This game is unique in that it combines teamwork with individual play, which puts an interesting twist on it. We liked the game so much that we ordered the Disney version for Kate for Christmas!

Wonder Forge has everything you need to make Christmas break fun! In addition to the Star Wars games, they’ve got a Peanuts Snoopy Flying Ace game, The Good Dinosaur Roarin’ River game, and more. Stay up-to-date on all of their offerings by liking their Facebook page!

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