Amber: This weekend was my birthday party!! It was so much fun that I didn't even mind that the snow put a damper on things. Mommy made me this great cake and got me super cool Minnie ears with changeable bows. Then, my family surprised me with this awesome Hello, Kitty doll and after I blew out my candles, we played in the snow.
And tomorrow, I get cupcakes at school for my actual birthday-day!
Chloe: Oh my word, I LOVE THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, yeah, Santa doesn't come and bring me a bunch of presents for Thanksgiving, but other than that, it's totally my favorite holiday.
Diane and cranberry sauce. My two favorite things.
Amber: I love it, too. I can throw down on some turkey, yo. And that fig loaf thing that people serve with cheese and pepperoni? All I can say is that I hope no one else wanted any of that.
Kyra: I feel stupid in this bib. Also, I think that Uncle John's sister was trying to steal me and take me home with her. I'm going to keep an eye on that woman right up until I fall asleep on the couch with Daddy.
Chloe: You do that - we'll be burning off some calories at the park...
Chloe: So, out of nowhere, Mommy just says, "let's go see Grams and Grampa on Saturday" and then we just went.
Amber: I know. It was so cool - they are so close now we can be impetuous. I love being impetuous.
Chloe: We had a great time. We went to the church bazaar... where we got these masks...
Amber: ...And special presents for Mommy from the area set up where kids can buy presents for people for Christmas.
Chloe: Nothing was more than $1!!
Amber: Mommy does enjoy a good bargain, but she said to Grams, "Funny, I spent more than a dollar on their presents to you" and I'm not sure what that meant.
Chloe: Mommy can be cryptic... Anyway, we also went to Sonic for lunch (I LOVE SONIC).
Amber: We did more Christmas shopping at the mall where we pleaded with Mommy until she bought us a huge Rudolph and we rode the merry go round.
Chloe: I was surprised that Santa was already walking around, but I was not surprised when you hid from him. You're gonna have to get over that. Mommy's getting her picture "come hell or high water," she said. Not that I know what that means.
Amber: I need a couple of weeks.
Kyra: Well, get it together, Amber. Buck up, little camper! Suck it up, buttercup!
Amber: When did she get so mouthy?
Chloe: Seriously. Two teeth and she thinks she can rule the world.
(playing hide and seek - Grams will never find us!)
Mommy: Founders' Day is my favorite Phi Sigma Sigma event of the year. This year was especially poignant as it marks 100 years since our founding. I like reflecting on what led a small group of women to boldly decide that they would not be governed by the expectations of those around them. In 1913, a group of young friends moved on from high school together to Hunter College. When they began exploring Greek life, they discovered that they would not all be accepted to the same sorority because of their different faiths. They saw this notion for the unacceptable condition that it was and decided to start their sorority - one built on shared values and a common sense of purpose and not beholden to a shared religious belief.
These women had balls.
These women were women I would like my girls to emulate. So, each year, I pack up a little troop of ladies and foist them upon my sisterhood. Each year, Miss Beth hooks them up with some entertainment for the day. Each year, they listen a little bit more to the stories that are shared. Each year, they begin to understand why this matters to me a little bit more.
You like your Aunt Diane? I got her from sorority.
You like Miss Gretchen and Ethan (cue to Amber swooning)? Sorority.
Miss Beth, Miss Jess, Miss Melanie, Miss Leah, Miss Mary E? Sorority.
When I went to the University of Florida, I was almost swallowed up by that campus. You know what gave me a place of my own? Phi Sigma Sigma.
I share this story a lot, but it doesn't stop being true: When I came to Philadelphia and I didn't have any friends, I called Phi Sig Headquarters and I said, "I'm a sister in good standing. I don't owe you any money. I just moved to Philadelphia and I don't have any friends. Hook me up."
The person I spoke to said, "Philadelphia? You're in luck! They have the best alumnae chapter in the country! Let me put you in touch with Diane..."
And of course, that's the Diane who served as doula for 2/3 of my births.
I was never going to be a sorority girl; it was never on my horizon. But thank God, I opened my mind to something I hadn't considered (and let's be honest, made fun of with my high school friends). When I was initiated 20 years ago, I had no idea the impact that decision would have. But, I can tell you quite honestly that Phi Sigma Sigma literally changed my life.
Diokete Hupsala, my sisters, and Happy Founders' Day.
Mommy: I don't have a great title for this... just cute pictures of the big kids who were fairly patient during many errands, earning them an outing at the park of their choice... which turned out to be in Glenolden.
Chloe: Here we are, post-haircuts. We look adorable.
Amber: We sure do. Miss Dot did a great job with my twisties and it will only be a day or two until Mommy screws them up again. Speaking of Mommy, where she is? She got her haircut, too. She should be in the picture.
Chloe: I believe Mommy's exact words were, "OH MY GOD, I HATE IT. I LOOK LIKE JOAN JETT CIRCA 1977... OR YESTERDAY. THAT WOMAN NEVER CHANGES HER HAIR."
Amber: I don't know what that means.
Chloe: It means that if you know what's good for you, you will just say how beautiful she is in hopes that she doesn't cry.
Amber: I wasn't paying attention. I was gaily tossing my curls back and forth.