Tag Archives: daughter


Today is Thanksgiving.  A day to remember what and, more importantly, who we’re thankful for.  A day to watch Santa welcome in Christmas alongside giant balloons and Broadway dancers in New York city. A day to gorge ourselves into a turkey-induced sleep coma.  All of which I will take part in.

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is how my kids have started to make their own memories. Audrey loves to wake up early and watch the parade with me.  She never eats breakfast because she wants to have that much more room in her belly for turkey and mashed potatoes.  Austen will sleep in, but will be 100% focused on family and potatoes once he is awake.  Autumn has already placed her hot chocolate order so she can sip along with me on the couch before everyone else is up.

My kids have great relationships and friendships with each other.  Of course they have their moments where they fight, disagree, argue.  In fact, sometimes it feels like that’s the norm.  It’s not, but when they’re all at each other, because they out number us parents 2 to 1, it’s a lot.  But at the end of the day they love each other and know how to show it.  In fact, they have started telling each other “I love you.”

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I NEVER said that to my siblings.  Of course I loved them.  I still do.  But the fighting between me and my younger sister was more present than it wasn’t.  I remember my mom sometimes crying over us because we fought so much.  I never would’ve imagined how my relationship with my sister would turn out as it has.

Michelle, my two-year younger sister, is now one of my best friends.  She loves my kids the way I love my kids.  She supports me, loves me, and is always available if I need her.  Michelle has a lot going on in her own life.  She is a single mom of two kids and works in the legal department for one of the countries largest companies.  She is strong, courageous, brave, and someone I would put on a pedestal.  Yes, my sister IS better than your sister.

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

But what I love most about my sister is that she is my sister.  We will always have each other and for that I am thankful.  We’ve gone through a lot together in the last few years, but we have a stronger relationship, friendship, than I could have ever dreamed.  Michelle, I want you to know just how much I love you and how much I cherish our friendship.  This year at Thanksgiving I am thankful for you!


How to not be a Stage Mom. (This is for me, too)

A little background about my younger self.  When I was about 18, I told my mom that I wanted to act.  Yes, I was scared about what to expect, but that’s normal, right?  After several conversations, my mom, bless her heart, decided that I probably shouldn’t pursue acting.  Nerves, cost, failure were all reasons for her decisions.  And being the obedient daughter that I was, I concurred.  After all, my mom knew what was best for me.  So, I put my dreams on hold.

Fast forward 6 years.

At 24, I married my husband.  Not only did he encourage me to pursue my dreams, but pushed me onstage.  Although only performing in church productions for 3 years (OK, they were huge church productions involving audiences of nearly a thousand per show), I decided to take the plunge into community theatre.  GASP!  Yes, I was nervous.  “But if I didn’t do it now, when would I?  I mean, I’m already 28 years old!  I’m getting up there!”  (Now, at almost 40, this makes me chuckle.)  After several workshops, auditions, and call backs, I decided that acting wasn’t really my thing.  Yes, I loved it, but it was more work and less glamour than I thought.  My dreams of acting turned into merely day dreams.  But I was OK with it!  I tried.  I liked it for a minute.  Moving on.

Fast forward 8 years.

My oldest daughter, Audrey, was cast in her school’s production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as Charlie Bucket.  We were so excited for her!  Audrey had tried out for a few things at her new Jr. High and had not yet been successful.  But Audrey has a never-give up attitude.  Don’t ask me where she gets it.  People say it’s because of good parenting, but I’m not so sure.  I typically want to hide under my down comforter in my dark room if someone looks at me the wrong way at the gym.  But Audrey doesn’t stop.  She auditioned for this play hoping to get just a few minutes of stage time.  Her director saw something in her that, as of yet, no one had.

Of course, Audrey was a natural on stage.  She has a petite figure and a voice that hits the back of the theatre.  She was born BIG!  The stage is where Audrey wanted to be.  Forever. So, my husband and I decided that if this is what she wanted, we would support her.  A short 9 months later, she was on her way!

We did everything right.  We got head shots for her, an agent, and drove her to countless auditions, call backs, and performances.  Yes, we were the perfect stage parents!

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  What you don’t know is that because I had a desire to once perform at a young age, I carry a lot of regret.  Yes, I did say that I was ready to move on from acting.  But what if I had started when I was only 12, like Audrey?  What if my mom let me get head shots and an agent.  Where would I be today?  Probably exactly where I am.  You see, Audrey has something that I didn’t have.

She carries a desire to perform.  She loves her craft.  The head shots and agent bookings are fun. But Audrey really doesn’t care about that.  She loves stepping into a role.  Becoming something that she isn’t.  Creating a whole world for a character.  Me?  I like the red carpet.  The cheers and flowers during final bows.  The glamour.

So, how do I not become a stage mom?  By being a mom.  By letting my daughter be what she was created to be.  If she decided to be a veterinarian, a gardener, or a lawyer, would I treat her any different?  My job is to support her, her dreams, and her goals.  Not mine.

I’m certainly not a perfect parent.  No one is.  But by being her mom, and not trying to live vicariously through her, Audrey can do whatever she wants.  It’s my job to love her, support her, keep believing in her, even when she doesn’t believe in herself.  That’s what moms do.


My beautiful daughter, Audrey Montague

I just like to remind her that she promised me that first guest spot when she makes it to the Academy Awards.  Yes, I still like the glamour.

A Popcorn Kernel, A Little Girl, and a Crazy Father.

This was a blog entry written by my husband a couple of years ago.  It’s one of my favorite stories so I thought I’d post it myself.  Autumn continues to keep us on our toes!

A Popcorn Kernel, A Little Girl, and a Crazy Father

Autumn didn't seem too worried while waiting in the pediatric emergency room for the doctor.

She still doesn't seem super nervous even with the doctor about to yank the little bugger from her nose.

By Duane Montague

I was watching a movie with the kids last night.  We do it most Monday nights while Robyn is at her meeting.

Last night I made popcorn for each of them and we all sat back to enjoy the exploits of Indiana Jones.  I had a fedora on–I’d worn it all day because of my lack of a hair cut and desire to look better than a trucker, which is what I look like when it gets too long, kind of sticking out like wings under a baseball cap–and Autumn kept coming by and saying, “Be Indiana Jones,” so I would talk in a funny voice.   She wandered around–after all, the exploits of Indiana Jones aren’t exactly three-year old material–and while I was feeding August, she came by with something in her hand.

“I’m going to put this in his nose,” she said.

“Uhm, no you are not,” I said.

“Okay, I’m gonna put it in my nose,” she said.

“Uhm, no you are NOT,” I repeated.  “Do not put that in your nose.”

Clearly disappointed, she said, “Okay,” and put the kernel in her bowl.  We continued the adventure, she continued to call me Indy and things went along quite well.  Until she walked over to me and said, rather cutely, with an absolutely adorable smile on her face, “I put it in my nose!”

“What?”  I couldn’t believe she said what she had just said.  “You didn’t.  Autumn.  You didn’t put that in your nose.  Did you?”  I looked at Audrey, Autumn looked at Audrey.  “Do you think she did?”

“I did!” said Autumn.  “I did put it in my nose.”

Audrey frowned at me.  “I think she did, Daddy.”

“You did not.  Autumn.  You did not do that.  You did not put that in your nose.  Did you?  You did?  No, you didn’t.”  Was I trying to convince her or myself?  But by the look on her face I could tell she was telling the truth.  And suddenly, the adventures of Indiana Jones were nothing compared to the adventures of Kernel in the Nose.  I handed the baby to Austen and picked up Autumn as quick as I could, carrying her to the couch and holding her head back.  “Do. Not. Move,” I said, holding her as tightly as possible.

There it was–stuffed way up beyond the nostril, all the way into her right sinus cavity.

My mind was racing.  I wondered if I could just pick it out–like I do when she gets those nasty boogers little kids seem to get–but there was no way my fat fingers were going to fit.  I left her on the couch, ran upstairs and grabbed some tweezers.  In the next twenty minutes I proceeded to try everything I could think of to get that popcorn kernel out of her little nose.  I blew into her mouth, blew into her nose, used tweezers and am sad to say a few other absolutely ridiculous things that I’m sure will wake her in a cold sweat when she hits college.  Nothing doing, that thing was not going to come out.

I knew I was going to have to take her to the emergency room.  I really didn’t want to, not so much from the cost factor, but because she had two lovely bruises on her face, and having experienced the questions of hospitals when Austen had broken his leg–and I really didn’t want to go through that again.  (For the record, she is extremely fair-skinned so any slight bruise looks pretty nasty.  She had fallen out of her bed while reaching for a book one night and banged her face on the bookshelf–giving her a lovely green “Joker-esque” mark on her left cheek.  Then she fell out of our bed two nights later and got a huge goose egg from banging her head on my bedside table.  So she looked like she had been through the wars already.)   I had no choice–I could not get that kernel out, and there was no way, in spite of her reassuring me with “The popcorn doesn’t bother me at all now, Daddy!” that I was going to leave it in there.

Texted Robyn to tell her I was on my way to the ER, called my mom to come over and watch the other three, and hurried down the road to Valley General.  Luckily, Autumn was pretty calm by this point–all the torture she’d gone through as I desperately tried to pull a popcorn kernel from her sinus cavity had been forgotten because of the promise of ice cream after the doctor visit.  We did rehearse several times as to how she had acquired the bruises, in case anyone asked.

When it was finally our turn to see the doctor, she had charmed her way through the entire ER.  Her long blonde hair, cute smile, and the fact she was singing a made-up song to the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme, probably helped.  Doctor Rob came in with a crazy syringe contraption, and although I was going to film the whole thing for later posting on my Facebook page, by the time they got to almost pulling it out, she was crying too hard–mostly from the fact that they had restrained her arms–and the father side of me gave in and I just held her and told her she was going to be fine.

Through the syringe, eventual tweezers, and the amazing work of Dr. Rob, the kernel was eventually out.  I was going to bring it home for posterity, but I dropped it somewhere in the ER.  Every doctor and nurse made Autumn promise to never do it again.  Of course, I think she heard me tell the nurses that at least it wasn’t as bad as when her brother broke his femur.  Now I’m just a little nervous that her competitive nature might get the best of her.  Maybe I’ll make her spend the next month living downstairs…just to be safe.  And, of course, without any popcorn.

So many shoes, so little time

I love my kids more than anything! All 4 of them have such unique qualities, that at times, I prefer to be around one more than another. However, the other day, I had a huge proud mommy moment! Having 4 kids, I have a lot of proud mommy moments. But for some reason, this one threw me for a loop and made my heart swell at the same time. What was this mama proud? It wasn’t the fact that my 2 year old is already totally potty-trained. It wasn’t the fact that my 5 year old has started, not only calling me mommy, but the “greatest mommy in the world.” It wasn’t the fact that my 10 year old completed a HUGE reading goal that he set for himself for the last week of school. ALL of these things make me super duper proud to be these kids’ mommy. But this week, the thing that made me so happy and wanting to explode with joy was when my 12 year old daughter asked, “Mommy, can we go to DSW? I’d like to buy a pair of heels for my 6th grade graduation!”

Did you feel my excitement while I typed that out? YES!!! Of course we can go to my favorite store of all time and buy you, my jeans and t-shirt daughter, a pair of heels! I had a blast! She had a blast! The smile glued to her face the whole time let me know that she was dying from excitement inside.

Then came the dilemma. She found 2 pairs that she wanted. Both were the perfect color. Both had the same size heel. Both were on sale. Yes, I’m happy to say, that I have passed down my trait of being able to scope out a deal to my daughter. Which shoes to choose? There were too many. After about 10 minutes of watching her walk through the store with one on the left, the other on the right, she chose.

As she walked up to the counter and handed over her box and gift card, smile still plastered to her face, I knew that this would be a moment I would always remember. Not only because of the shoes. But because we were able to connect on a level that I never imagined would happen. My baby girl, my first born, has started her transition to becoming a young lady. And THAT is what made this mommy so proud!