Becoming a grandparent

I have had the most incredible ride this past year.  My youngest went back to UPenn after a medical leave (no biggie but we became “empty nesters”) whereupon his return to school meant that we found ourselves alone again.  Although we were sad to no longer have him bounce around the house,  however, selfish as it may seem, my house was always clean, nothing shoved in drawers and counters uncluttered.  For my anal-retentive self, it was wonderful. Laundry time was cut in half and food prep was simple, because there was none of that “making two meals”, one for us and one for Mr. Picky Eater.

Years ago, my father gave me the one-eye curse when I was 25 or so and came home unexpectedly with one of those “didn’t mom tell you?”.  Dad said, and I quote ” may this happen one day to you “.  It wasn’t that my father was upset I moved back home, but it really was more that, since I was the last to leave, they had everything they wanted in their house in order and for a father with a strong desire to have order, having me move back was the unexpected.  Naturally, the chaos that comes with a 20-something with an apartment full of stuff moving into their garage and spilling out everywhere else was hard for him to adjust to. Lucky for both my parents though, I was organized beyond a fault and that made the temporary return to the nest fairly enjoyable for all three of us.

For a long time, my father’s curse never materialized. Then it happened.  My son called me in early January, only 6 weeks from delivering their first born, said he felt really bad about my husband’s illness (Type 1) and severe back problems.  He had said that if we wanted him to help with my husband then his family was prepared to move the 1200 miles back home.  He would love to learn the business, take much of his dad’s responsibilities away from him and also help out with taking his dad to any one of his 11 doctors.  I was thrilled. My oldest son coming back with his wife and a new baby to live with us???!!!  Heaven for me.  Since Bill had pursued a business school degree and wasn’t interested in getting his, (entrepreneurship runs in his veins), I was happy to work some of his ideas for the business, especially now that the US Economy was on a roll, meaning, expanding.  (We still REALLY want to open a store at Disney Springs so this will be the start of moving those plans forward.)

Oh and did I say I am now officially a grandparent?  And now I have my father’s curse because there is chaos here at home.  There is baby stuff everywhere.  Drinking wine helps.

And a girl?  FINALLY??? After wishing for one we finally get our dream of dressing a little one in frills and bows.

And naturally, where does one go for her first excursion out – to Disney of course!  Our design studio is only a mile from the park so, we bundled her up, Jim in his wheel chair (he just had major surgery on his back two weeks earlier and was feeling better).  However, it was freezing and we had nothing to coordinate this munchkin in!  SO I am starting with designing a line of little dresses, perfect for those cute photo shoot for newborn.  Haven’t posted the pix yet for our latest collection of “Pegeen Babies“, but we are popping out new dresses all week long.

And, I am pleased to say that even though the hospital billed the insurance company for $187,000+, Jim is doing pretty good out of the hospital just two weeks.  Thank you Dr. Villalobus, an awesome Neurosurgeon.

Well I just can not win

That’s the bad news.  My oldest siblings get everything first.  Including nicknames. The good news is better however.  About a year ago, my oldest son got married. Then a few months later, went on his honeymoon to Hawaii. True to some family honeymoon tradition (hahaha)  they got pregnant with their first child. Unexpectedly, Jim and I found ourselves not only becoming new in-laws but grandparents-to-be.

Now lots of my friends have children much older than mine.  I didn’t start my family until my late 30’s so while my youngest used to beg me to dye my gray hair “Mom, people think you are my grandmom” he cried in first grade, it left the two of us young in spirit.  Then my oldest got married so young (for today that is) and well, soon in just a few weeks, I will be able to join that special club where you get to have all the lovin’ in the world and send them home.  (Who would want to?)

But, not feeling like a grandma yet, especially since I do color my locks every four weeks, I had to choose a name that didn’t say “old lady with now dyed hair”.  My sister chose “GiGi” and my other, “MiMi” which leaves me with only one name as far as I am concerned.

lollipop

How many of you all growing up in the 60’s remember this box?  It’s official, I’m Lolli and Jim is Pop – and this comes from a Mom who named her kids Bill and Ted for fun.  They took the good names, they won!

Always exciting to bring your kid back from college

As I wait to pick him up from his plane, thoughts run through my head….I wonder how fast I can get him to the barber!  I wonder, will I recognize the strength he now has that he finished another semester?  More importantly, can I get him out of bed the first two days he is home?

I baked his favorite cookies, his dad made him his favorite meal (spaghetti) and put clean sheets on his bed so there was no dust in the bed.  What a mom.  Let Christmas vacation begin.

Its Beginning to look alot like Christmas

So, Halloween decorations away, and yep, the trees are up. This is the first year we are once again totally artificial with three trees! I thought I would NEVER do that however, in Florida the trees dry out very quickly.  We are a sucker for Christmas, (not to out-do Jessica Milliken) but we love the season as do most (just see my Facebook cover pix).  Of course, at Christmas this year, we are crazy for it, even here in Florida because, after all, we can get our “snow” bubbles at Disney just a mile away.  This time of the year too we get to meet many, many of our customers who come down to get their daughter’s Christmas Portraits for their trips.

Our customer chose this Tiffany Blue and Peony Pink silk flower girl dress for her photo shoot at Disney World.

Our customer chose this Tiffany Blue and Peony Pink silk flower girl dress for her photo shoot at Disney World

So, back to my trees!! My husband and I stole a tradition from my sister-in-law in that we try to pick up and ornament wherever we go for the kids, hoping they pick out their own.  This way, the kids have their own collection and when they get married, like Bill did this year, they get their treasure trove of ornaments.

I was really lucky too in purchasing my artificial trees during the Day After Christmas Sale.  We eyed them for weeks over at Hobby Lobby, drooled over them in Frontgate. (Seriously? A $2300 artificial tree? Seriously?), and ran around at local “Christmas Set Up Shops” – you know the ones that move into those Halloween stores. The funny thing is, I am not a Black Friday shopper (who needs the crowds?) nor had I ever gone to a store the day after Christmas for bargains, but this time, my husband and I were on the curb at their opening!!

We got 70% off the already-discounted tree AND to make it better, the clerk told me that we could haul off the floor sample for 15% more. WOW – I think the tree (which was tall) was around $750 and let me tell you, after spending a ridiculous $150 on a fresh tree that was dead before Christmas, we were thrilled to get 85% off.  In fact, we picked up another tree we both coveted last season that reminded us of our home, and had lovely snow and berries on it. I think we did great!  Finally, we were so happy with them we got a third “outside” tree in white so we can “think” snow.

Still working on the Thomas the Tank Engine Trains but this will all be up this year before my son comes home for Christmas break. Yes, and our tradition of playing Amy Grant the day after Halloween has once again been fulfilled.

Let the baking begin!!

I haven’t taken pictures yet but here, sadly, is our dog that passed away, under her favorite spot…. under the warmth of the Christmas Tree lights.  Maybe we can find a new one into our hearts this year.DSC_1959

Family Wedding Update

We were fortunate enough to finally celebrate with our son and his new wife in Lake Tahoe for a delayed reception. It was really nice because it took off the pressure for them to have a huge wedding especially since they were only 24 when the married in March of this year. Even nicer for us was that it was held in a small town called Kings Beach, right at the north end of Lake Tahoe.. and it had been on our bucket list for years. Since it had been the first vacation we were able to take in many years (except for family reunions) we were really looking forward to some well-deserved time off.  I will brag a bit too – Bill’s wedding was months earlier and their niece wore really one of my favorite dresses from my Pegeen Fairytale Collection of flower girl dresses, The Opal Fairy, our version of Elsa’s dress from Frozen.  I was so proud to see the dress in “action”.

We loved how Bill and Juanita were going to be able to get formal portraits done the night before the Celebration Reception by a photographer friend, happy that they were able to get professional shots done that I could put my newly acquired scrapbook skills to use. I think they came out beautiful so for anyone who is waiting for a trip, I recommend going to Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe. Before I forget however, a few funny stories, but I will be brief. First, when you capture the last flight into Reno and are lucky to get to the car rentals in time before they (yawn) close at 1230 pm, get a hotel in Reno. DON’T think that you can just wing it, finding a place between Reno and Kings Beach. You can’t. Boy these people go to sleep early.

dancing bears

So – we drove to Tahoe, and it was about 4am our time and when we arrived we drove around briefly looking for a place to grab a bite. Wasn’t happening (the town was fast asleep) but we found a sort-of 7-Eleven (maybe it was, I was exhausted) where I remarked to my youngest and to my husband, “look at that beautiful carving of that HUGE bear.” Only it wasn’t a carving, it MOVED and this big bear was hungry but the attendant there simply and calmly closed the door until the bear moved on. Later that morning, now 5am our time, we found the grocery store (it was filled with a wonderful selection of California wines) and the clerk said – “Oh, that’s Bob the Bear. He’s just looking for some watermelon and treats”. Anyhow, after several drive-bys to see what Bob the Bear was up to in this quaint little town, we decided that napping on the beach (we couldn’t open the lock box for some reason) was out due to the presence of Bob the Bear.  Instead, we decided to go to sleep in the driveway of the rental in, as my son called it, “the van by the river”. Spreading our our luggage and sweaters on the van’s floor (because we couldn’t believe it would ACTUALLY get down to 40 degrees, we didn’t bring coats) we nearly froze our Floridian skins in our overnight stay.   Honestly, I can’t remember what fresh pine air was anymore so it was lovely. End of stories. Anyhow – we had a great weekend and thank you, Billy and Juanita, and to their mom for your hospitality and to the lovely town of King’s Beach, Lake Tahoe.

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I call it “SOMEDAY” – when your kid leaves for college again

Many years ago, when my oldest son was a toddler, I was watching a show on Oprah about Empty Nester’s.  About half way into the show, I became somewhat hysterical.  At the time, I had a UPS driver who was kind of excitable but loved Billy to death.  SO, that particular day, my driver came in to see me falling apart and all I could say was “Billy” and sobbed uncontrollably.  Well, Ricky, our driver, a good ole boy from SC was scared to death and ran to his nursery to see Billy cooing.  Puzzled, but relieved, he came downstairs to me to see what was my problem.  I continued my crying fest, wailing “SOME DAY”, still overwhelmed with what it was going to be like when my sweet little son went off to college.   I was hormonal (pregnant again) but still, that show hit me like a brick.  Luckily he was pretty close when he went off to school but it was pretty hard none the less.  My kids loved the story and would always tease me “Mommy, Someday” and fake tears.  Trust me, it always got me started and them a laugh.

Flash forward to now.  After a really nice summer we get to say goodbye again to our son.  It really is hard to let go of the deep love for them when they leave.  You find yourself looking around the corner, expecting them to trample down the stairs and miss the socks on the floor, although not that you have to smell them to see if they never got into the drawer (God forbid) or onto the foot.

We have had to take extra care with my son because of issues with both ADHD and the crippling difficulties he some times had in his high school starting, finishing, not restarting homework or papers. He has medical issues too so he has had to take off time on Medical Leave to get everything in control.  Yet I am really amazed at how well his University works with him.  They have excellent services and even though the student has to go and make the appointments it sure is different that when I was in college.

On many other levels, we have also had an excellent summer because this year we decided, due to medical issues, that it would be better if he didn’t work. That was of course after he did not make a deadline to get back to the company that was going to hire him.  (Another difficulty with ADHD students, remembering to check their phone, appointment calendars and messages).  “Take the semester off, you deserve it” my husband said.  So in many ways, after years and years of numerous AP classes and year round studies, we all felt that the pressure of an Ivy League school wasn’t pretty and he needed to face the start of the new fall semester fresh.  (Boy are his classes hard – I know, my husband and I sat in on one and thought the math professor was definitely speaking in foreign tongues, but alas – Calc5).

So instead, he helped me tremendously with our new website, with his own hours until he found his own routine, let his hair grow and stopped biting his nails.  I am fairly certain too that he played enough video games to NEVER touch them again (though he is good about not doing so at UPenn),  He also learned (because there are consequences after all) that working like he did for a small amount of money wasn’t as good as what he will be able to do in terms of a salary when he graduates.  Good lesson for a Millennial who would have LOVED to gone clothes shopping for new clothes for back-to-school, when the clothes you like are totally different than the ones you can afford. Although he never had any doubts about wanting to finish college, I believe he was learning that budgeting is different that all the things you truly want. (He’s actually quite good at it).

So, for the first time, my son really took off from studying – likely when school became super serious for him>  For example, in 2nd grade he took 6th grade math and read on an 8th grade level.  He was always pushing himself, competing with his other academic friends which was good.  He did a lot of work for me this past vacation, even helping with packing orders, and learning to prepare meals then cook them rather than me having to think about that during the week, was a great relief for me. Next summer he is doing an internship and like his past full time job at Disney, will be doing the 9 to 5 but honestly, he is so excited to be doing it in a field that he loves – building robots and mechanical engineering stuff for a mapping image company.  I am sure with each paycheck he will be going to the stores and checking out the clothes and then running over to the outlet malls and putting the math together of how much time it took him to earn that shirt.

A talk this week with a customer raising 4 girls (omg, the wedding costs) made me realize that our generation never really got the lessons in finance but in my house, if we wanted something, we worked for it.  I loved skiing – and from the time I was 13 when I made $.88 cents an hour plus tips, every ski ticket I bought cost me x amount of labor.  I am glad he took off time to learn this valuable lesson – true he didn’t work a full forty hours a week but he did learn that video games get boring and clothes are expensive.  This year, he also will live in a dorm suite with less cafeteria time and more in room kitchen cooking.  I know he is going to do great.  But, “someday” is back again and we will miss his smile every morning.  Well, his idea of morning that is.

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I loved seeing this beautiful plum tulle flower girl dress on this 3 year old!

Melts your heart, doesn’t it?? This sweet little, barely 3 year old flower girl is determined to get her petals down.  And we we so pleased to receive it from our customer Patti who said:

“Hey! I just wanted to send a picture of my great niece Marina’s dress that you made. She’s 10 now, but her dress is still my favorite flower girl’s dress that I have ever seen. It was beautiful!! Nothing I have seen at the weddings I’ve been to since can rival it”. 

SUCH a nice compliment.  She ordered Pegeen flower girl dress couture style 402 in plum silk and tulle.  Some times being so close to Disney World we are lucky to be able to meet our customers but then, there are customers like this who live way across the country that we never get to meet – do a few family weddings for them some times – but get to know them as valued “friends” through Facebook or Instagram.  Life is grand!!  Plum silk and tulle flower girl dress by Pegeen.com

Lucky to live so close to Disney World

Chillin’ at Disney World: A Husband and Wife Working Team Survival Guide

Years ago, like a TON of years ago, in the world before and just after having kids, my husband and I, who have worked together all these years, didn’t really have an outlet to let off steam. My company, Pegeen Flower Girl Dress company was busy all the time and with many deadlines.  At the time, he had his own company (and advertising and printing company) and he had his deadlines too.  We were always at odds with our schedules.  It wasn’t easy, and we missed each other a lot.  So, after 9/11, when the “air” in New Jersey was always a sad reminder for us we made a choice to located Pegeen down by Disney, as we called it “The Happy Place”.  We miss our friends terribly, and much to my son’s surprise (hahahaha) my family even more.  But the life style not to mention zero state income tax is just more conducive to a more relaxed atmosphere although it took me 10 years to get my husband to stop wearing a tie to like, oh, I don’t know, a restaurant.

Our go to relax thing was to go to either Disney or Universal for family or couple fun.  Kept Jim and I from pulling each other’s hair out. Then, 3 years ago, frustrated because our then 30 minute trip to Disney took us an hour from just downtown Winter Park because of work on Interstate 4, we moved the kids (now college) and dog to live within a mile of Disney and 5 from Universal.  I was in heaven.

My husband and I are really lucky. We are pretty crazy about the positive effects of Disney World on our psyche. We are lucky to be just a mile from the park via the back entrance and no, there is not a secret entrance, just an employee entrance.  Frequently I find that we are at odds with the hard work so my son will drop us off at the entrance gate at Disney on his way to work there. After 20 minutes, we are smiling again and content to people watch (really kid watch) and find ourselves talking about business,  Soon, whatever seemed difficult to solve is easier if you just whistle while you work. HAHAH. If you live here, we tend to forget the culture of living in the city of “The Happiest Place in the World”. So, moving so close to the park for us was a salvation. As business owners, we may work all the time, but its hard to not feel like you are on vacation everyday when you get to hear the Disney Train whistle every 15 minutes or so and see the fireworks every night in your driveway.
From the Pegeen Fairytale Collection, the Emerald Fairy. Pegeen Style 901
So chillin’ with some customers (above and below) is always fun.  When you come to Florida, we hope you visit us too!  Pegeen Style 901 Above and Pegeen Style 803 Below

Tinkerbelle Fairy

 

Pippa is Getting Married – What will Prince George and Princess Charlotte wear

Still on the style watch for this “Near-Royal” wedding.

On May 20th, Pippa Middleton and James Matthews are getting married. In attendance will be the future King of England, William and future Queen, Kate, sister of the bride.
So naturally, royal-watchers will be doing what watchers of the Royals do: Paying attention to every “royal” detail imaginable.

Like the last wedding, we at Pegeen will be up early Saturday morning checking out the selections for Prince George’s pageboy suit and Princess Charlotte’s flower girl dress. Not being a British apparel we would never get chosen although we are the children’s designs for many celebrities.  We can however wonder if we were chosen, what styles would the bride choose?  Check out The Regal Collection here.

Ring Bearer Style 509 “Prince George” below

Prince George Ringbearer Suit

Pegeen Ring Bearer Style 595  “King Louis” below

Page Boys Royal Suit from The Regal Collection

Pegeen Ring Bearer Style 590  “Prince Harry” below

Royal Page Boy Style 590 by Pegeen.com "Prince Harry"

Flower Girl Dress 698 “Princess Charlotte” below

Princess Charlotte

 

 

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Pegeen Announces Their Wedding of the Year ~ AGAIN

Yeah.  Murphy’s Law struck our household again.  After spending oh, I don’t know a hundred hours preparing our for our wedding of the year contest – THEN my hubby who has Type1 Diabetes and shakes ALL THE TIME was so tired he put a screwdriver into that electric plug thingy to take out the battery.  OOPS.  Then I decided NOT to listen to my dentist of a few years ago and cracked my tooth in half.  NO MORE CHEWING ICE. THEN, as my web designer and I were preparing to launch our new mobile ready website – disaster struck.  (Thank God for full, overwrite protected backups)  29 breath-holding hours, we restored the website BUT, alas, I forgot to protect WordPress.  Dumb.  SO, here is my best attempt to re-write a story about my son and his new bride.  Here it goes at my attempt to re-write my previous post (Yes Rob, I saved it in Word.)


When my son Billy was pretty small, 5th grade in fact, he and I were sitting at rehearsals for his dance show, and he announced to me in a deep sigh, “I so want to be married”.  My son, you see, was a romantic and liked having his ducks in a row.  So, while at Disney working  after graduating from business school, he met his fiancée Juanita there although while they worked there they didn’t date.  Then Billy moved to California (sigh) to set out to conquer the world but they stayed in touch.  A few months after living there, and many calls later, they started dating. At first it was long distance as she had now finished her college internship program with “The Mouse” and moved back to Reno while Billy was living in Modesto. Luckily, they were just a quick drive from one another over the Rockies.  A few short months later, Billy announced he was engaged, and while we were happy for him, I knew that the picket fence was what Billy had long searched for.  Plans were for a wedding 12 months later, but after months of planning a Nevada wedding, we got a call from Billy and Juanita because, quite honestly, my son couldn’t wait to get married.  Like I said, this is something he dreamt about since, oh, I don’t know, 5th grade.  So, with less than 6 weeks’ notice, we found ourselves flying to Denver for their wedding in their new home town.  We all will be celebrating as planned this summer on the original date, but even though it wasn’t as I would have planned, it was the most intimate, loving and special day for me, yep a mom in the wedding business for all of these years.

I DO know how Martha Stewart must have felt when her daughter Alexa decided to basically run off and get married.  My son Bill did not quite do that but we were surprised when my son and fiancé decided to move their wedding from August to March.  But you know what?  Even though there were just a dozen or so guests, they pulled it off and it was the most intimate, wonderful occasion where we, his brother, dad and I – along with Juanita’s mom and her closet friends – pulled off quite a number of surprises. Lucky for us, this beautiful woman, my new daughter-in-law has the same heart of gold as my son and relaxed style.

And, as Walt Disney himself would say, it all started with a mouse.It all started with a Mouse

Of course I would be a bad mother if I didn’t say “MY SONS WEDDING WAS THE BEST IN THE ENTIRE WORLD”, correct?  But actually, we named their wedding our favorite “Intimate Wedding of the Year.”  Gosh, we had so much fun though at first I wanted to kill him because I was worried about my youngest mid-terms 2 days later (Teddy only flew in for 12 years). After all, mom’s never stop worrying about grades, huh?  I can’t forget what a nice time we had in the hectic hours leading up to his wedding.

Originally I had planned creating new designs for the 500 flower girls I was hoping they would have, but those plans went out the window when they moved up the date. As a surprise to Juanita, her sister brought her niece and on Thursday they let us know they needed a flower girl dress. I threw the bride’s color scheme for a loop because I brought along, after some alterations, my favorite dress from our Fairytale Collection (and my favorite color) and hopped on a plane Friday morning.  Frozen Fairy Tale Flower Girl Dress by Pegeen.com

The morning of the wedding there were haircuts (thank you Teddy for cooperating after no sleep), a quick run to Men’s Warehouse for better coordinating shirts and Tiffany blue ties, dry cleaners and some package drop offs (yeah, even on vacation I am always working).  At 5pm, we gathered together at a beautiful venue in Denver.  His cousin, my niece and her now-fiance picked up 3-sizes of the most delicious cheesecake (thank you Cheesecake Factory in Boulder) topped with a newly purchased glass topper of Cinderella’s Castle that Jim and I picked up Thursday night at Disney for a surprise!  After the ceremony, the 20 or so guests gathered at a restaurant for the Wedding Reception.  Oh, I was even able to sing to Billy the song we practiced around his dancing and performing days, “My Best Beau” to the guests and yep, barely made it through, sobbing.  It was really touching for me that he joined in.

SO how could I not include one of my children’s wedding?

Intimate Wedding of the Year

I loved their first look photo as they both said a prayer with the pastor. intimate-wedding-021

These two are never serious, his brother Ted served as Bill’s best man.

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Nice socks, Teddy!intimate-wedding-026

Always a Disney Dream.

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Eh… I did choose two other wonderful and beautiful weddings to be included in our yearly contest but for me, there was no other Wedding of the Year. I will be writing about them in our regular, Pegeen Flower Girl Dress Blog but this blog is really about Life, Love, Home and Work. And my crazy, loving family.

 

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