Meet Virginia Mama

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Hi y'all, I'm Laura, and I'm sharing our life from our little corner of Virginia in a suburb just southwest of Richmond.  I have a pretty great husband - an IT pro - and the sweetest baby girl, an -almost- 2 year old toddler named Reagan.  After the President.  I'm finding my niche in the whole family thing.  I like to think what our family lives by is a little philosophy I'm calling "modern southern living".  I believe in the traditional southern way of life - that your neighbors should be your friends, the outside is the best place to be, that etiquette never dies, that family comes first, and that suppertime is the most important part of the day.  But it's an ever changing world, and we live near a big, diverse metro area that I grow to love more each day.  I want to intertwine my traditional views and way of life with a new, modern, evolving way of living.

Some things I believe should never change -

  • Good manners and traditional etiquette.  I won't be leaving calling cards at the neighbor's door any time soon, but we try to follow some basic manners around here.  Reagan has been "writing" her thank yous since the day she was born - back then, they were signed with little inked handprints.  Table manners!  Okay, I still struggle with this one sometimes, and I can almost here my mama telling me to put my hand in my lap.  Ha!  I know I'll be writing lots more on how we try to keep etiquette alive.  (And PS - always RSVP!)
  • Holidays don't go out of style!  I love to celebrate a good holiday.  Any excuse to bring friends and family together is a good one by me!  We hosted a brunch on the 4th of July this year.  Untraditional, but it was such fun!  And it left the rest of the day for everyone to do their own thing and attend any celebrations they had planned.  I'm already itching to break out the pumpkins for Halloween, and I'm eyeing my boxed Christmas china as I write this.

    How hilarious is Reagan here, grabbing for dinner?!  This was us ready to eat traditional pancakes for Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras.  We break out all the fancies for this one, because it's the last day before the sobriety of Lent.  My china was my grandmother's, and the tablecloth was my great aunt's.  King cake for dessert!  Mmmm!

  • Quality mealtime family time.  Whether it's at McDonald's or around a decorated table, I believe in making time for each other around the table.  Technology is taking over y'all, and that I'm having trouble coming to grasps with.
  • Kids should be kids.  Kids play outside, learn through books and experiences, and see the magic in everything.  I am not a cool mom.  I'm a mom that is trying to raise a responsible, well-adjusted, educated future member of society.  And y'all, she looks darn cute too.  No hipster trendy, modern looking little one here.  My favorite clothes are super traditional, actually - heirloom, smocks, vintage, with a little Lilly thrown in.
  • Traditions bind your family together!  We have family traditions, religious traditions, and cultural traditions.  And they are all important.

    Easter Sunday 2018 - Reagan in a bonnet that I wore as a toddler
  • Heritage is a big deal.  Where do you come from?  Who are your ancestors?  We know all of this on all sides.  My mom's mom's family was a first Virginia family.  Literally, one of the first few families to settle here.  She comes from a long, long line of farmers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  My father's family has been here since the beginning as well, from North Carolina and Appalachia.  On both sides, I have traced and proven our heritage back to officers in the Revolutionary War, and while I'm not active at this time, I have been initiated as a member into Daughters of the American Revolution.  It's not archaic to know where you're from and be proud of the people that make up your very DNA.

    Celebrating a family wedding last summer on the Eastern Shore - so exciting to see our family heritage all over the place!
  • The importance in food.  I know we as an increasingly health-conscious society are moving away from the fat and carbs of the old South - and shoot, I know I need to focus more on my own health and eating well.  But food is still and will always be important for way more than the taste.  Do you bake cookies at Christmas?  Do you have a special birthday cake recipe?  My 26 year old sister still always asks for "Grandma's Chocolate Cake" (a proper noun if there ever was one) for her birthday.  Have you ever been to a chili cookoff, a BBQ competition, or canned apple butter?  Entire communities are brought together by food and culinary traditions.  The "church ladies" cook spreads for after funeral luncheons.  Potlucks rein supreme.  And there's always room for a pound cake.

    I can't wait to share more about our life, and I want to learn about yours, too.  Where are you from?  What are your traditions?  How do they shape how you are a spouse, parent, and community member?

    "Natives will tell you this.  They are proud to be Americans, but they are also proud to be Virginians, North Carolinians, South Carolinians, Tennesseeans, Mississippians, and Texans.  But they are are conscious of another loyalty too [...] to a place where the habits are strong and memories are long.  If those memories could speak, they would tell stories of a region powerfully shaped by its history and determined to pass it on to future generations."
    -Tim Jacobson, "Heritage of the South"