Happy Birthday, Mom!

It’s the birthday of our (mine and Julie’s!) mom today! Can I get a Holla! from all over the world, please?

I have some photos to share, of course, dating from 1968 to now. I also have childhood photos of mom, but didn’t have time to find them. That’s right, FIND them. I will now type one of mom’s favorite sayings: They’re here, SOMEWHERE. (I say it all the time, too!) I’ll get to the pictures in a minute.

First, because we always give Mom a hard time, I want to get some of the funny facts about her out of the way at the top.

Funny facts about our Mom:

1. She is the only person in the world today besides Donny Osmond who still regularly says “Cute Marie, real cute.” (Go to 1:30)

2. It is true that she spelled my name wrong when ordering an etched glass from Walt Disney World (Melissa), but she didn’t do it on purpose

3. She likes to say “Oseee-an” instead of Ocean, just for laughs.

4. She believes that her 9″ X 13″ pan is bigger than my 9″ X 13″ pan.

u bakingpan glass

5. She has threatened to kill me if I share a selection of “family recipes” with anyone outside of the family.

6. Julie and I still laugh about the time we were tape-recording ourselves pounding on the piano keys (neither of us could play) while singing “Little Bunny Foo Foo” (we were about 13 and 8…), and Mom yelled some fateful words to us: THAT IS NOT NECESSARY!!” The tape is around here, somewhere.

Okay, that’s enough of that.

Here is a photo of Mom while pregnant with Me. She was Super-Stylin’ even back then. I adore her hair. I am loving this picture altogether!!


Normally I wouldn’t post a family photo that doesn’t include my sister, however this one is just too funny. It was taken–before Julie was born–by some photographer at a bank (I was around four in this photo but vividly remember going to a bank to pose for this). Mom: still stylish for the times. Me: adorable. Dad: LOOK AT THOSE SIDEBURNS! OY VEY!


One of the activities Mom really enjoyed back then was making clothing. I’m not sure how much of it was for enjoyment and how much was because it was necessary, but whatever the reason, she was really good at it. She also really liked making us some snappy matching outfits like these. It was when we were wearing these creations that Julie and I were the closest we would ever be to being “alike”. Similar packaging, total opposites on the inside! I think it worked well in the end. (By the way, Julie is the smaller, cuter child on Mom’s lap, in case you didn’t know that.) I am standing to the left wearing my hair in one of my favorite styles.


Speaking of being creative with fabrics, our Mom is VERRRRRY crafty. I remember regular trips to Leewards Craft Store when I was little, so much so that I totally knew my way around that place when I got a job at one after Jim and I got married. It was like going home or something! Mom was into tole painting big time (and even taught it to others), but also enjoyed making lots of other things. One of her talents also became a family tradition, and that is making fancy cakes. She used the Wilton decorating method and each year would buy their book. I used to spend lots of time looking through the books at the gorgeous creations that were inside. This one is from 1976 and is one of the books I spent hours poring over.


Every year for our birthday Mom would bake a Rainbow Cake (I would give you the recipe, but she’d kill me) in a Wilton pan that reflected one of our interests. Julie got a Cookie Monster cake when she was three or four and a Mickey Mouse cake a couple years after that. My cakes included: Jeans, a telephone, a stand-up doll wearing a ballgown, and many more. I continue this tradition today, making my sons these great cakes…and I make them for Julie too!

When people compliment me on being creative, I always give my Mom the credit for it. Although I don’t do all of the same kinds of creating that she has done, I figure that she had to have passed on a huge crafty gene to me, and I always give props to her when it comes up!

Here are the three of us girls standing in front of the house my parents had built for us in Texas (I love how she wrote “Our Home” on the Polaroid instead of “Our House”):

(Again, Julie is the adorable cherub in front while I am the awkward adolescent in the middle…ugh!) There is a story that I will never forget: we spent lots of time in those model homes. For children, it’s agony to try to keep yourself from dying of boredom while your parents are talking, deciding, getting paperwork signed and all that jazz. This house was actually not the original house we were going to build. There was another one (I don’t remember any specifics), but I remember when my parents were going to sign the final paperwork, Mom had some kind of panic attack or strong feelings of intuition that they shouldn’t go forward with it. She couldn’t explain why, but she felt very sure about not signing. So they didn’t, and we ended up building the house that we lived in. That taught me a really good lesson about paying attention to the voice inside. I have had many minor occasions that were similar, but I’ve also had a couple of Super-Major ones in my life too, and I always think about that day.

Fast forward to the fifteen-year-old’s Bar Mitzvah in 2005! Here they are: how adorable!

Irv Sylvia

I am very lucky to have the Mom that I have, and she is a big part of who I am today. By being very involved in our lives (brownie leader, room mom, trip chaperone, etc.) I knew it was right for me to do the same. It was never a question for me if I should be the room mom for my kids; I just did it because I appreciated when my Mom did it for me. She has always supported my projects and crazy ideas; she’s always been (and continues to be) a big cheerleader for all of us. She is caring, generous, kind, good with numbers, a great cook, a fabulous grandma, and so much more.

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!



  • Mags

    Oh man! I can’t see the pictures from work. 🙁 I can’t wait to come back later. Great post! The pan thing cracks me up!!

  • Jules

    Happy B-day, mom! As usual, Missy & I have opposite things going on. I found the photos and scanned them in, but didn’t have time to upload them or write the post yet. Anyway, love you!

    Missy: Great job!

  • Melissa

    Happy Birthday, Melisa and Jules’ Mom! Oy, the sideburns, I think he should have grown the full beard. Great post!

  • Anonymous

    I have to read all the details later (especially since I just told Melisa I was getting off the computer right now) — in the meantime, I love the photos and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Melisa and Julie’s Mom!

  • Dad

    Melisa!! As usual, you did me proud. In fact, you brought a tear or two to my eyes! Thank you for being one of two daughters who are simply the best! Your Mom is the most wonderful person on the planet and like you, I love her more every day. You wrote some wonderful things about your Mom and I know she’ll be pleased and very touched, as I am!

    I love you!


  • SpAzzGiRL

    Your mommy is too cute!
    And I think that dressing alike thing was a norm in the 70s, they did it to me and the sis too and it was totally annoying.

  • suchsimplepleasures

    i love those pics. and…a huge OY VEY…my dad had those same sideburns!!! they must have been very stylish back in the old days!!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! She sounds like she is an awesome mom and an amazing role model!!
    Mazel Tov!!!

  • Kat

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Melisa’s and Jules’ Mom and all the very best. You have raised two awesome daughters.

    Those old family pictures were absoultely adorable. Your dad’s sideburns were veeeeeerrrryyy long…Short of a full on beard *lol*

  • Anonymous

    I love this post even more now that I’ve read what you wrote. You are lucky to have such a great mom, and she is lucky to have such a great daughter (and I will assume your sister is great,too, having never met her). How nice that you shared these wonderful memories….

  • k a t i e

    You mum may be beautiful now, but she was smokin’ hot in the earlier photos! Hope it’s a wonderful year for you Mrs Melissa’s Mum 🙂

    …excuse the ignorance…but what’s a ‘room mom’?!

  • Susie

    Happy Birthday Melisa and Julie’s Mom!
    I am new to your blog today, and what a fantastic way to get me hooked on your writing.
    I love that you give your mom credit for what you do; I love that you posted pictures and showed the world how awesome your mom is; I LOVE the circle braid pigtails and the matching dresses; I love the fact that your mom made a cake in the shape of jeans!
    Were they jordache? with the rainbows on the pocket?
    Cool blog Melisa–I’ll be back again for sure.

  • Melisa

    Thanks for all the comments, everybody! Mom had a great day and enjoyed reading all of this! Go to my sister’s blog for more birthday fun: http://bigpikchur.blogspot.com

    Katie: A “room mom” is a mom (or DAD!) who helps out in the classroom. They plan and execute parties, help the teacher with special projects, and that kind of thing.

    Susie: Welcome! Your comment made me laugh, because although my own jeans weren’t Jordache, the jeans cake DID INDEED have a rainbow on it! LOL

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday Sylvia! I hope your day was great! See you next month for Jason’s bar mitzvah!
    Love ya! Dawn C.

  • Mom

    Thanks very much Melisa for this great show of your love. It does feel unbelievable of how many great and fun things we have done together as mother and daughter. I love you and your sister very much. You make me very proud of the things you say and do. You are my first born but you and your sister are both number one to me. I cried through the blog while reading it and realizing you remember so many things. Again I love you very much.


  • Melisa

    Everyone: I took Jen’s and Em’s posts off because they had the fam’s last name in it (my maiden name), just in case you may have noticed they’re gone. But I know Mom read them, because she just left a comment tonight!

    Mom: Awww! You and Dad are killin’ me here! Love you too!