15 WOW’s-Words of Wisdom from Disney and Mom

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Dear Jewels
Here is a collection of 15 inspirational words from me (and Disney) to you….just in case I die before I get to pass on these words of wisdom to you. Kidding! But seriously…

 

mulan
#1 Because it’s true and I know you love the original Mulan!

lion king

#2 Because it is important and I know you love the original Lion King

braver.crobin
#3 Because it is a great mantra and I know you love Winne the Pooh and Tiger too!

just keep swimming
#4 Because it is excellent advice in life and I know you love Finding Nemo and can’t wait for Finding Dory

let it go

#5 Because I love that you love this movie and song and it is so powerful.

snoopy

#6 Because it is really that simple!

 

End of Disney/Cartoon WOW’s but continue reading for more WOW’s–thanks Pinterest!
image
#7 I love this because I wish you could see the beautiful, witty, intelligent, kind, compassionate young woman you are to the world.

call me
#8 Because it is TRUE!
dont quit
#9 Because it is one of my favorite poems about persisting–no matter the struggle.

cherokee

#10 Because we all have to make the decision about which part of us we will “feed”
dear jesus
#11 Because I pray for you to turn to prayer when you are ready

butterfly

#12 Because sometimes, the “struggle” is the very thing we need to grow
daughter.love
#13 Because I love you!

wacky words

#14 Because wacky can be wise!

become

#15 Because it’s up to you!

The Legacy of the Khaki Pants (story #2)

The first day of summer school approached and my daughter started getting nervous and thinking about reasons not to go to school. Her last desperate argument was the “boring uniform.” What could I say about the uniform? How could I convince her that it was not about the uniform, but what the uniform represents? As I ironed her khaki pants I began to think about my strategy. It had to be convincing and heartfelt. After ironing for what felt like hours, the strategy finally came to me. I would tell her what khaki pants have represented to my family. I would teach her to look back so she could look forward. I would teach her about legacy.

To my mom, growing up in Houston’s Second Ward, khaki pants represented the things she didn’t have, money and choices. She had to wear my uncles pants—no skirts or dresses. There was not enough money to go around and if she wanted an education she had to go to school—she had no choice but to put on her brother’s khaki pants, torn and over-sized and go to Rusk elementary. She didn’t “make it out” with an education, she eventually dropped out and to her, khaki pants continued to represent no money, no choices and no education.

For my dad, growing up in Houston’s 6th ward, khaki pants also represented the things he didn’t have, money and choices. My dad graduated from Jeff Davis High School in 1961. With his high school diploma in hand, but no money or college acceptance, he took the only ticket he knew to a better life and on the last day of school, he walked into the army recruiters office and signed up for the Vietnam War. He got his green khaki uniform and went off to Vietnam with hopes he would make it home one day to get a college education.

After he returned home, my mom and dad got married. My mom eventually got her GED and my dad took some college classes with the GI bill he earned. He became a civil servant, a postal worker for 30 years. Although he did not graduate from college, he was proud of his college credits. Their struggle was not unique. Their circumstances were not an excuse to give up. They continued to fight for what they knew was the way to a better life. They sacrificed and fought for their education and eventually would sacrifice and fight for mine.

I look back now and realize that growing up, I never saw my mom or dad wear khaki pants. I think it reminded them of their struggle. I didn’t own a pair of khaki pants until I went to college. I proudly wore them as part of my sorority “uniform.” To me, khaki pants represented choice and opportunity. Though money was very limited, I was still in a better position than both my parents. I was living on campus at the University of Texas and living the dream they had for themselves and for me. I was getting a college education. I had choices and opportunities.

So, I tell my daughter the khaki pants she puts on every day represents our family’s struggles and successes, our hopes and dreams. This seem like a heavy burden for a freshman but just like the khaki pants she wears, each story, good or bad, serves as a thread that makes up the strong, brown, durable fabric of our family. My daughter’s story will continue add to the fabric. The khaki pants she puts on every day, represents her legacy, one of choice, opportunity and an expectation for college graduation.

I Iron for Love (story #1)

ironing

My Sunday routine started out like any other. My feet were aching and my back was sore, I had been up since 5:00 a.m., like I do every other morning. This day was different. Today, the routine turned into an intentional act of love. It was something I didn’t see coming.
I slid Julia’s crisp blue uniform shirt onto the ironing board, my heart beat a little faster, my lips stretched into a smile and I began my Sunday afternoon routine. Ironing Julia’s clothes had always been a chore, a task, something to check off of my list of my weekend-to-do. Since I don’t have time to iron during the week, I iron on Sunday’s. I didn’t hate ironing, but I also didn’t “feel” anything special while I did it either, except feeling achy and sore.
Growing up, I remember seeing my mom ironing our school clothes. She would stand for hours with the starch in one hand and the hot iron in another. She never complained. I remember watching her smiling to herself. I remember thinking, how can she be smiling. She would tell me that she loved ironing. I just didn’t get it. I made up my mind that I wouldn’t be doing that for the rest of my life. She would laugh and say “we will see about that!”
So, here I am years later and a mother of four. I turned into my mom. I stand over the ironing board, starch in one hand, and a hot iron in the other and I iron. I iron for Julia. I iron for Olivia. I iron for David. I iron for Daniel. I iron for the love of my children. I iron for the hope they feel good and clean and fresh. I iron to show them how much I love them. I iron for all that I can’t “fix” for them while I’m not there. I iron for who they are becoming. I iron for love.

Have you had this experience before? A mundane task turns into an act of love? I’d love to hear about it.

15 Stories Inspired by Jewels

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Julia was my first muse and I started writing here and there about the things she made me realize or the things I wanted to share or pass on to her over the years. So, to add to my Project Quince list, I’m going to share/write 15 stories inspired by Julia. Stay tuned for more!

15 Books I Gift to YOU

bookworm
Julia
I’ve thought about sharing my love of books with you since before you were born. Did you know that for my baby shower for you, I asked people to bring books instead of gifts? I know. I know. You probably wanted the gifts instead, but I was determined to share my passion for reading with you. You enjoyed reading until you had to start logging in those darn reading logs. Reading went from something fun to something you had to prove you did on a daily basis. For a while (mostly through middle school) I didn’t see you pick up a book. I resigned myself to the fact that maybe reading wasn’t going to be a passion we shared. Little by little, I would see you reading. I didn’t know what changed and I wouldn’t dare ask you, so I could only guess it was a movie or cartoon or something a teacher or friend recommended, it didn’t matter, as long as you were reading.

One day, IF you are a mom and you have the awesome and intimidating responsibility of nurturing and instilling good habits in your own child, you may find yourself in my shoes. As you mature and find your own interests, it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment to know you read for pleasure. We may or may not like the same types of books but I know we will share the joy of reading.
What makes me so sure? Well, I know you and I share the mourning of the end of a book; the end of our relationship with our fictional family. I know you too love the smell and feel of a new book. I’ve caught you on our rides home from the bookstore. You too will become a collector of book marks and a skeptic of movies based on books. I can see the signs. Whether you are ready to admit it or not, you are hooked on books!

ecard.booksmovie.booksbookstore.

 

So, to the list of 15 books. I contemplated all sorts of lists and what I finally decided on was to share with you 15 books that I love. My list extends well beyond the 15, but to continue with the significance of 15 during your 15th year here with us, here is my list of 15 books. I love them each for different reasons and each one has influenced me and shaped my perception of the world

I am gifting you the books I have collected and will purchase any of the books I do not already have in my collection. Either someone borrowed the book and didn’t return it or I gifted it to someone else. So, over the next couple of months, I will clear a shelf in your room and gift this collection to you or you can check out the bookshelf “Project Quince” that I created for you on goodreads.com

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1. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
2. The Secret Garden Frances by Hodgson Burnett
3. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
6. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
7. House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
8. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
9. Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
10. Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor
11. Paula by Isabel Allende
12. Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
13. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
14. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
15. The Measure of Our Success by Marian Wright Edelman

There are books that helped me escape the hard reality of my childhood like: A Wrinkle in Time, Secret Garden, A Little Princess and Little Women
They each took me to an imaginary world and I was grateful for the adventure. Ironically, I couldn’t recall any books that stood out to me during my middle school years (hmmmm…). As I moved into required reading in high school, the two books that were influential to me were Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Wuthering Heights. I remember being so excited to read British literature. I didn’t know what to expect, but I fell in love with everything about it. Tess was special to me because it was my first required reading for my AP class. I felt smarter and more mature each time I read a chapter. I could just visualize myself in college reading the book. I know it sounds silly now, but that’s what it was like for me. If you remember the story I told you about one of my terrible first days of school having done the reading and journal assignment all summer only have my book and assignment stolen in our school restroom. I was devastated! It all worked out, but I never got my book back and had to do an alternate assignment once I could prove I did the reading. Wuthering Heights is near and dear to my heart too. I was fascinated with the Bronte sisters and read as much as I could about them. At the time, as a teenager, I remember thinking the love story of Heathcliff and Catherine was so beautiful. Having recently re-read the book, I’m not exactly sure I would use the same description of Heathcliff and Catherine’s love. It is funny what age and experience do to your perspective. I still love the story, but for different reasons now.
While I was in college, I was determined to read books that were a reflection of me. Authors that shared a common history and brought the Latino experience to life through fiction and non-fiction. College was a time for cultural exploration for me. I took classes on Latino related topics from political science to literature and joined Latino student organizations. I wanted to be immersed in all things Latino. It was empowering. I also learned about the diversity of Latinos and what a mixture we are! I learned to appreciate and respect that diversity outside of my Mexican American lens. This was the hardest part of the list to narrow down, there so many influential books and authors in Latino literature, but I did my best to share with you a glimpse of Latino literature.
7. House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
If you start anywhere, you have to start with Sandra Cisneros. Her book, House on Mango Street filled me with joy and pride to see a reflection of myself in her stories. Once you read one book, you won’t be able to stop.
8. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I first read Gabriel Garcia Marquez while on my summer internship in D.C. because I wanted to read something different. This book was magical. I loved reading about the generational history of a family. It was like being transported to his world each time I read it.
9. Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Again, Gabriel Garcia Marquez transported me to a different universe with this book. I loved how he wrote not only about love, but about the complexity of love, something I only thought I knew.
10. Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor
So it might be a bit obvious now, but as I continue to work my way through Latino literature, I’m drawn to stories about love and history and family. Rain of Gold is all that and more. Victor Villasenor is a wonderful story-teller who writes about Mexican and Mexican American history. History is intriguing all by itself, but with a story-teller like Victor Villasenor, you are treated to an intriguing journey through time.
11. Paula by Isabel Allende
Over time, I discovered the majesty of Isabel Allende. I love ALL of her books. I love her style and feel connected to every book she writes. I saw her in person at a speaking event and was even more convinced of my admiration for her. What I love about this book is that it is a true story. It is a gut wrenching story of her relationship with her daughter (fitting, right?) Though the story is tragic it is told with such love and emotion you are comforted throughout the book. READ IT!
Over the years, I have blended work and parenting in my reading world. There are a ton of books that have been of great value and/or influence, but the next four books really stand out to me to be added to this list of 15 books I’m gifting to you. There are lessons in each of these books, most are pretty direct and others have a subtle way of leading you to the lesson. I hope you find time in your life to hear the wisdom whispering from these pages.
12. Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I first started reading The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, when Papa first got diagnosed with cancer. I needed a book to keep me occupied as we waited in lines or in waiting rooms at the VA. I had been hearing about this book for years and decided to read it. I had no clue what is was about, so I took a leap. What a surprise to me that it was all about seeing what is in front of you and following your dreams. I hope you find time to read it.
13. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
When I left my long time job last year, I decided to indulge myself and do things I didn’t give myself the chance to do as often as I wanted, READ. I wanted to immerse myself in things that inspired me and grounded me and helped me focus and give me direction. I chose Sonia Sotomayor’s biography. Her story and life lessons are profound. What a blessing it was to read about such an inspirational Latina!
14. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
What can I saw about this phenomenal social worker?! I’ve learned so much from Brene’s books and have used them in my everyday life, not just with clients. She has inspired me to honor my creativity and make time to play. Most importantly, through her books, she has taught me to be vulnerable despite all the reasons NOT to be. These were lessons it took me years to learn and had lots of hurt and heart ache along the way. As a parent, I want to try to spare you from pain and hurt, but I know some times you just have to live it. Along the way, I hope you take this book along with you, I promise, it will change how you see the world and yourself.
lion
15. Measure of Our Success by Marian Wright Edelman
Marianne Wright Edelman is one of my very favorite people in the world. I hope to one day meet her. Her love for children and their plight in this world make me want to be a better social worker and advocate for all those I serve. I don’t want to spoil all the fun in reading, but just take a look at the 25 lessons!
1. There is no free lunch. Don’t feel entitled to anything you don’t sweat and struggle for.
2. Set goals and work quietly and systematically toward them.
3. Assign yourself.
4. Never work for just money or for power. They won’t save your soul or build a decent family or help you sleep at night.
5. Don’t be afraid of taking risks or of being criticized.
6. Take parenting and family life seriously and insist that those you work for and who represent you do.
7. Remember that your wife/husband is not your mother/father or servant, but your partner and friend.
8. Forming families is serious business.
9. Be honest.
10. Remember and help America remember that the fellowship of human beings is more important that the fellowship of race and class and gender in a democratic society.
11. Sell the shadow for the substance.
12. Never give up!
13. Be confident that you can make a difference.
14. Don’t ever stop learning and improving your mind.
15. Don’t be afraid of hard work or teaching your children to work.
16. “Slow down and live.”
17. Choose your friends carefully.
18. Be a can-do, will-try person.
19. Try to live in the present.
20. Use your political and economic power for the community.
21. Listen for “the sound of the genuine” within yourself and others.
22. You are in charge of your own attitude.
23. Remember your roots, your history, and the forebears’ shoulder on which you stand.
24. Be reliable. Be faithful. Finish what you start.
25. Always remember that you are never alone.

xoxoxo
your Mom

What books would make your list to your children? I’d love to hear from you.

15 Mother-Daughter dates

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15 Mother-Daughter Dates
I’m excited to reveal another item to our Project Quince list.  Over the next year we will make time to go on 15  mother/daughter dates. Just me and Jewels. No tag-alongs. Sorry kiddos. We will negotiate the date/time but the agenda and location are up to her. We can go to the movies or a coffee shop to chat. We can go and get our nails done or just go for a walk. The duration of our dates is not the point, just the frequency and meaning. We have a rough plan. I asked her to start thinking about what she wants to do in the next 2 weeks.
Stay tuned for our first PQ (Project Quince) date. I’m exploring other social media platforms to document these adventures. I’m excited!! If you have ideas for us, send them my way or share with dates you have had with your kiddos or moms. I’m looking for ideas!

Project Quince Playlist

Here is my long distance dedication to my daughter, Jewels, from my heart to yours.
“When I think about all the songs I know and love and want to share with you, I realize the list could be endless. There are songs that inspire me, there are songs that make me feel stronger, and songs that just make me feel good. I want to gift you with these songs to share the inspiration and good feelings. There are also songs that just remind me of you and some of our special times together. All I ask is that you really listen to the lyrics of each of these songs with an open mind and an open heart. Know that I love you and cherish you. Know that I am proud of the girl you were and the young woman you are becoming.”

1. Just the Way You Are-Bruno Mars
I think about you when I hear this song. I remember when you were like 10 or 11 and I made this valentine slide show with pictures of you and your sister. It was so corny, but it was a heartfelt Valentine. I honestly do think you are amazing, just the way you are. I love you!
2. I Hope You Dance-Lee Ann Womack
I think about you when I hear this song because the lyrics are so profound for me as a parent. You know how I always say I’m trying to teach you little things, just in case I’m not around when you are older. I know you hate it. I hate to think about it too and maybe that is just another one of my child hood hang ups. But, honestly, I want you to listen to this song and I hope you can hear the message and I hope you dance.
3. Beautiful-Christina Aguilera
I think about you when I hear this song because I want you to know you are beautiful in every single way. Every teenager has their insecurities about themselves and that is a normal, but I don’t want you to get hung up on society’s message of what beauty is supposed to look like. I know by our conversations about media and society that you get biased imaging. Being aware and not letting it really affect you are two different things. These lyrics really speak to that too.
4. Hit Me With Your Best Shot-Pat Benatar
This is one of my favorite songs when I’m feeling down about something and I want to motivate myself to get over it quick. I know you are probably rolling your eyes about now because of my 80’s girl rock band reference, but you have to admit, it is a good song. So listen to it, learn the lyrics and when you are feeling down, Put up your dukes, let’s get down to it.
5. Eye of The Tiger-Survivor
I think about you when I hear this song because it reminds me of when I made a motivational CD for your TAKS test when you were in like 3rd grade. How corny am I? I know! But just the beginning part of the song gets me in a mindset to persevere. So, I dedicate this song to you in your 15th year as you rise up to the challenge of your rival or your AP test.
6. Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen
I think about you when I hear this song and remember us sitting in the parking lot at your school, radio blasting and we sing along before you head into the building. Oh mama mia mama mia! It is a perfect blend of all that is unique about music and brings together different genres for a complex beautiful creation…like you!
7. Video-India Arie
I love this song because it affirms that God doesn’t make mistakes and the important part about accepting that is accepting you and loving what God gave you so listen to Inida when she says
I know my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my Lips, my eyes, I’m loving what I see
8. Unwritten-Natasha Bedingfield
I think about you when I hear this song because it says your life isn’t yet determined, you story is yet to be told. I know you don’t know what you want to do with your life yet. Who would at 15?! But knowing what you want to be and knowing what kind of life you want and how you want to live your life are different things. While you are figuring it out just listen to this song while you are
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
9. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough-Diana Ross
Wink…wink…you know why! But if you also listen to the lyrics, they say what I want you to know and remember, no matter where you are
If you need me, call me
No matter where you are
No matter how far
Just call my name
I’ll be there in a hurry
10. You Got a Friend-James Taylor
I love this song because when I used to listen to it as a teenager, I always thought about my sisters and in the darkest days when I felt all alone, I would listen to this song and know that even if I couldn’t talk to my sisters, I knew they were there for me. I want you to find the same kind of comfort in this song and know that in the darkest moments, whether you are in your room across the house or in your dorm room across the country some day,
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
11. Lean on Me-Bill Withers
I would listen to this song as a kid and when I thought life was so hard and no one would understand, this song helped me have the courage to trust other people with my worries. So close your eyes and listen to the lyrics and know…
Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
12. Let It Go-Idina Menzel
I think about you when I hear this song because I know you love it. Even though you won’t let me hear your sing it with all your emotion, I imagine you singing it with full force and emotion…
I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!
13. Jesus take the Wheel-Carrie Underwood
I think about you when I hear this song because of the time we were in the car and it was flooded and we were talking about this song as I was terrified of the rising water and praying to Jesus. I also want you really listen to the lyrics and listen to what they say about Jesus always being there. I know you will find your way to know Jesus in your own time so until then, when you get scared or alone, just know you can sing
Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I’m on
Jesus take the wheel
.. and he will be there for you!
14. Hold On-Wilson Phillips
I think about you now when I hear this song because it’s on Bridesmaid and I know you know it. But I love this song for so many reasons. Of course it is a late 80’s early 90’s oldie but goodie. Even now, when I hear this song and I’m in the middle of some mess, it helps me slow down and put things in perspective. I hope you can appreciate the lyrics and know that…
I know this pain
Why do lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you
Don’t ever let anyone step all over you
Just open your heart and your mind
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?
15. Just Fine-Mary J Blige
I sang this song for a year straight on my drive to work. It was like my morning anthem to get me through day. Mary J might not be your cup of tea but if you haven’t found your anthem yet, you can borrow mine because it
Feels so good, when you’re doing all the things that you want to do
Get the best out of life, treat yourself to something new!

I hope you enjoy the songs. There are additional bonus tracks for you to enjoy.

A long distance dedication

As I prepare for Jewels’ 15th birthday celebration at the end of August and kick off a year-long of honoring and gifting my Jewels, I’m so excited to share my first official Project Quince gift is through music. Essentially, I’m creating a Project Quince playlist. I thought about the idea of 15 songs about girls, 15 inspirational songs or just sharing my favorite 15 songs. I made a playlist for my mom of her favorite songs a couple of years ago and sometimes I just listen to those songs and I feel closer to her.  As I was working my through the creation of the playlist and how I would write about it, I felt like I was in the 80’s calling in to American Top 40 making a long distance dedication. Hopefully you get that reference if you are old enough.

So, in honor of both Jewels and the late Casey Kasem, I will post my long distance dedication and playlist after the celebration. I want it to be a surprise. So stay tuned for the reveal. I’m on to my next Project Quince gift creation and will share soon.

 

Jewels is on board

So I was contemplating whether to tell my Jewels that I’ve created a blog where she is the star. I envisioned seeing the whites of her eyes and she rolled her eye balls to to the back of her head. Was she going to be embarrassed? Was she going to protest? Should I have asked her permission first?  I was more worried she wouldn’t like the idea of the 15/Quince year long theme than the actual blog. If she threw a fit, well, I would just delete it. I waited until she was in a good mood and as soon as she returned home from her week long summer program, I sent her the link and waited outside her room. I waited and waited. Then I heard the shrieking “MOM!!!” As I opened the door she was holding her pillow to her face. “Ok..I’ll delete it!” But, as she pulled the pillow down from her face she was beaming with excitement. She thought it was “kinda cool” and liked the idea of both the 15/Quince year and the blog! Later she even asked if she could come up with her own 15 list. Music to my ears. Jewels is on board and who knows….maybe she will write her own post or create her own blog.

What is Project Quince?

My daughter Jewels is turning 15 in a couple of months. We spent the last year talking about how she wanted to celebrate her 15th birthday. Because she is a “mixed chic” (a new word we are trying out to see if she wants to use it to identify herself), I assumed she would want to have a hybrid type of celebration. A little bit of a princessy Quinceanera type party with a little bit of sweet 16 in honor of her two cultures (I’m Mexican American/her dad is Black).
I did not have a Quinceanera myself, none of my 7 sisters did nor did my mother or grandmother. It was not a cultural tradition we celebrated. I can count the number of Quinceaneras I’ve been to on one hand, so my first hand knowledge is limited.

I was telling my mom about my idea for this blog and she said “I was so lucky that y’all never asked for a Quinceanera” My sister and I looked at each other puzzled and told her, it never occurred to us. We both figured the reason we never had one was not only because we weren’t practicing Catholics, we were also very poor. A Quinceanera was never a part of my vocabulary or a desire for me growing up, but as I got older and started really learning more about Latino culture and hearing from my  friends about their fond memories of their Quinceaneras, I began to appreciate the tradition. The cost however was something even now is the road block for me.
I think my Jewels was looking for a way to connect to my cultural side when she entertained the idea of a traditional Quinceanera. She’s been invited to a couple, but hasn’t been yet. I haven’t allowed her to go alone, but I’m considering it now that she is about to be 15.

We started researching, I mean “googling” Quinceaneras to really get an idea of all that goes into planning and preparation and quickly decided that the idea and tradition was beautiful, but the cost was not where either of our priorities are at this point. I don’t take credit for her financial conservativeness, that is all her dad’s side. She loved the idea of the dress and the tiara of course, but not the church ceremony so much. She liked the idea of inviting her friends, but not having all her family at the party. She liked the idea of entire celebration, but the cost, she was not ok with. “That one celebration could pay for a semester at college.” SMART GIRL!  We decided to hold off on formal party planning for another year and consider a Sweet 16 (yes, blog to follow when the time comes and pinterest board already started). Instead, Jewels decided she just wanted a party with 6-10 of her closest girl friends to celebrate her 15th year on this earth. I loved it! How sweet and simple.

I decided if we weren’t going to have a traditional ceremony marking her 15th birthday, then I would create my own traditions and symbols that would not just last a day, but all year. I got really excited and started making a list of 15 things that I could do to honor her 15th year.  I decided I would make the number 15-quince, a theme throughout the entire year to honor the journey of the 15th year toward young womanhood. I’m also secretly hoping this Project Quince will bring us closer as I create intentional opportunities and rites of passages for her through the year.

I’m building my Project Quince list of things to do with and/or for my Jewels this year. Some initial ideas I have are:

1. 15 mother/daughter dates throughout the year

2. 15 must read book collection (with reasons why written inside each book with the idea of a complete set by end of year)

3. 15 songs that remind me of you or inspire me (itunes playlist!)

Stay tuned as I add to the list and document our journey. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.