The Bluebird Special – In My Mother’s Honor/My Brother’s Memory

It’s going to take forever to write this, but this time I’m going to do it……………

I love my parents. They put up with a LOT from me when I was a kid. I mean A LOT, people!!! I was crazy!!! If I had a daughter like me, I would have put her in a nunnery and not just throw away the key, but melt it into a doorstop to make the door more secure!!! They hung in there, though…especially my Mom. Frustrated and befuddled as she may have been, she hung in there. Throughout my life she has weathered my boyfriends, husbands, breakups, career changes, household moves, hairstyles, and even my “I just want to experience life” crap. My Mom has been good to me and good for me. For all three of us – Berishia (who I call Barf), Jay (my little brother who I called Hemorrhoid because he was such a pain in the @$$!), and me (who Jay called “Erica” as in Erica Kane because of the aforementioned “husbandS” thing!). She has been a role model and a cheerleader in more ways than I could write without a serious case of carpel tunnel setting in. She has been a Mother and a friend all in one…and that’s not always easy with a kid like me. 🙂

So….my Mom’s birthday is coming up this Friday. I don’t think she’ll mind my telling her age because it’s in her Senate bio and has been splashed across every newspaper and mentioned in every television or print media interview she has ever given. She’ll be 84 years young. And when I say “years young”, believe it!!! She can still out-shop (“rag pullin'” as she calls it), out-party, and out-dance me by a mile. (I suffer from extreme “Elaineism” when it comes to dancing…y’all know that “Seinfeld” episode!) This woman stirs Eveready® batteries in with her oatmeal for breakfast!
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it.)

Inspiration collage

INSPIRATION: (1) I almost broke this little pot I found about a month after my little brother, whose trucking handle was “Bluebird” – lost his life in a motorcycle accident. (2) While driving today, I saw 3 of these Pavlich trucks (the company he loved and worked for) when I haven’t seen any in months. It was a sign. I knew it was time.

IFI started this Spring birthday tablescape with a full-length white linen from Linen Tablecloth.



IFI display the bluebird pot in a guest bedroom. I’ve had it since 1999. When in 2010 when I saw these beautiful “Early Bird” plates & bowls at Pier 1 with the bluebird in the bowl, it hit me right away that I had to have them. I wanted to create a table to honor my brother. For 3 years I tried…and for 3 years, I couldn’t do it. It was just too hard. Still is. So this year, I’m using them to honor my Mother’s birthday – which is joyous and because last year I teased her about eating dinner at “The IHop Hour” which is like 3 in the afternoon when the senior discount starts at IHop restaurants! – and my brother whose memory from this day forward I choose to rejoice in rather than mourn.

IFI ran my sister all over the state of Minnesota looking for these square rattan chargers from Tuesday Morning last year. She shipped them here just in time for my stepdaughter’s birthday dinner party. The faux bamboo flatware was a great buy at JC Penney Outlet.

Stemware, Napkin collageThe stemware are those wonderful green Dollar Tree goblets we all know and love! These are the best buy!!! Attractive, usable in all four seasons and, at just $1 each, unbeatable in value! I bought the napkins, aptly named Spring Tulips, and the green woven napkin rings at Bed, Bath & Beyond several years ago. I like this “bow tie” because it can be both masculine (in black, gray, or some manly pattern) or feminine like it is here in this buttery yellow.


Centerpiece collageThe centerpiece is a tangle of delicate yellow tulips in white ceramic vases (Michaels), a variety of bird nests filled with eggs, birdhouses, and boxwood balls atop white ceramic pots.

TIP: When using multiple elements in your centerpiece, try not to line everything up straight like soldiers. Try lining up a single element and then “scattering” the rest to break up the uniformity and add visual interest.


Birdcage & clock collage


IFThe buffet is simply topped with a wire birdcage and vase full of willowy branches at one end, a vintage-looking clock in the center, and an urn filled with Spanish moss and bird eggs on the opposite end.


Tea cart collage

Finally, the tea cart is made ready for coffee or tea with “Early Bird” mugs and a white teapot from Home Goods.

Mom & Alycia Collage II

Clockwise: Mom & me when I was 3 months old; Mom & chillin’ on a Sunday afternoon; Mom, Jimmo &  me at last year’s Mother’s Day dinner at our house; Mom, Barf (hands on skinny little hips) & me; Mom & me at Mario Tricoci Salon; Mom & me at her 80th birthday dinner at our house. Center photo: Mom, Daddy & me before they headed out to a gala

Mom & Alycia Collage III

Clockwise: Ramon, Mom & me celebrating my 50th birthday in the nerd…uh, computer store; Mom & me doing that Grape Nuts commercial thing where the mother is mistaken for the daughter (we do weird stuff like that!); Mom & me at her campaign party; Barf, Mom & me at Thanksgiving 2010; Kelly, Mom & me celebrating Mother’s Day at our house, 2010; in the parking lot upon my return from living & working on Capitol Hill in D.C. Center photo: Mom, me & famed hairstylist/entrepreneur Mario Tricoci (he cut her hair!!!)

Mom & Alycia Collage IV

Clockwise from top: Mom & me at Bruce R. Watkins Center; at my cousin’s wedding; at Watkins Center again (we spend a lot of time there!); at my parents’ home before heading out to the Rod Stewart concert; posing like the Doublemint Twins! Center: Mom & me at her 81st birthday luncheon at our house.

Mom & Alycia Collage I

Me being the very annoying kid I am giving Mom the bunny ears; kissing her little head at her 80th birthday party at our house; my sister, niece (kneeling), Mom & me at one of her Senatorial pep rally/photo shoots; Mom, Daddy & me on the Missouri Senate floor; we laugh alike!!!; Mom & me at Elton John concert. Center photo: Mom, Daddy, Ramon & me out to dinner at the M&S to celebrate Daddy’s 83rd birthday.


Jay collage

In memory of Bluebird
July 3, 1960 – Forever in Our Memories

Joining Susan for “Tablescape Thursday”.

For more Spring-inspired tables on this site:
“Rolling Fields of Green”
“Easter Floral”
“Peonies & Pearls”
“Moss & Manzanitas”
“Easter Brunch”
“Spring Has Sprung”
“Taste of Wine Buffet”
“Apple Green Luncheon”
“Barton’s Easter Brunch”
“The Party She Deserves”
“Pinky Peter Cottontail”
“Springtime in Paris”
“Welcome Back, Joel”
“Peony Power”
“Carousel Colors”
“Spring” page – featuring 2 Spring tables

74 thoughts on “The Bluebird Special – In My Mother’s Honor/My Brother’s Memory

  1. Oh, Alycia, what a lovely tribute honoring and remembering two very obviously loved people in your life! I so enjoyed your family pictures and learning more about your life and history. I’m glad you are now able to celebrate the memory of your brother without being too steeped in mourning. Your table is beautiful!! I hope your beautiful mother has a wonderful 84th birthday! I see now where you get your sweet smile 🙂


  2. Girlfriend, you know I always love your tables, but what I really love here is YOU, you for loving your mom and letting us all know it, you for honoring your brother though it may cause you some pain, you for being open and honest, you for sharing your heart. No matter how rotten a kid you were, you’ve given your mama much for which to be proud. Love you!


  3. What a beautiful post, Alycia! The photos are so much fun to see; and appear to be filled with such good memories for you. I can tell that you have had a lot of fun and love in your life! This setting is a beautiful tribute to two beautiful people. You did a lovely job!


  4. Alycia, that was beautiful and heartfelt tribute. Thank you for sharing the family memories honoring your loved ones. It appears your lovely tablescape is the only Spring we’re going to see for a few days! Happy Birthday Senator Wilson!!


  5. I had to go back and look at the tablescape a couple of times since I was WEEPING from the beautiful tribute you wrote! It’s so true, your mom is a saint for putting up with you/us! It sure was fun back then though! I love your pictures. I have a hard copy(5×7) of the one where you are in the red dress and Yvonne is in that gorgeous yellow and white dress! I have no idea how I got it but it is in one of my albums! Your tablescape is gorgeous, as usual. So springy and fresh. On my way to Dollar Tree tomorrow! Give Mom a big hug and a big Happy Birthday from me. As for Jay, I think of him often. I certainly have countless memories of him growing up. I laugh at almost all of them! Sending you love and hugs!


  6. I’ve been away from my computer for a while… Sick or sick boys have kept me busy… Beautiful dishes and beautifully written. My oldest brother died in a motorcycle accident when I was in 6th grade. Over 25 years ago and I still remember my dad answering the phone and getting the news. What a beautiful tribute to your mom and brother.


  7. I’ve always believed that the best ones just take a little more effort and time to raise up right….you’re one of the best ones. I was told long ago that 100% relationships deserve 100% goodbyes. I think that your brother must deserve a 100% goodbye, and those are always hard. You’ve created such a beautiful tribute to both of them. I particularly love the birdhouses on the table…perfect for a bluebird to stop a rest for a bit. Thanks for allowing us in. Cherry Kay


  8. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the tribute to your mom and your brother “bluebird”..just by seeing the beautiful pictures, the love of your family shines through each and every photo…I am so sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your beloved “Bluebird”…I know that you feel that he is your “angel on earth”…keeping you in line…You speak of your mom sticking by you, through thick and thin…but she is a very wise woman…she knew what she was doing….she knew what a wonderful person she was “standing by”…So Happy Birthday to your beloved mom….you are giving her such a tribute by creating that gorgeous table that came from your labors of love…and it shows….Thanks for sharing this story and your family with us!!!


  9. Wow, what a post. I looked and looked at each picture. Loved them all. Your words made me laugh and cry and goodness, what a lot you and your family have had to go through. To lose a brother, I cannot imagine, how very very sad and am so sorry. Your mom! She sounds great! She is like my mom! She will be 84 this summer and takes on projects like you cannot believe! Your mom is awesome! And I forgive you for putting her though the shit, yep, kids do that sometimes. They and we get over it and then it’s all good again. Right? You are a doll. The table is a beauty too.


  10. Wow! What a lovely tribute! First of all, your mother is beautiful, and, boy, do you look like her! I love the names you give each other. Now why didn’t my brother and I ever think to give each other cool nicknames like yours? Now that we’re both middle-aged, do you think it’s too late? This is also a beautiful table. It has a calming palette enhanced by the lovely birds on the dishes. I love it all! Happy birthday to your mom, and thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. Now I’m going to go find a Kleenex.


  11. What a lovely tribute to your brother’s memory and celebration plans for your mother. Friday is my birthday too.

    Your bluebird table is delightful and so touching for all of you. I love bluebirds and the nests and birdhouses are just perfect with your bluebird
    dishes. I know your family will share beautiful memories around this table you have so lovingly created with many personal touches.

    I enjoyed your family pictures and learning about your family. Thank you for including your mother’s bio. I know you are proud of her as she is of you. Have a wonderful time. Happy Birthday to your mother.


  12. Wow- that was a moving tribute. I’m wiping the tears and all the while admiring your mom. She’s such a great example of strength, love and patience. Enduring the loss of a child at any age is an unbearable thing. I love how you describe her energetic personality- “Energizer batteries with her oatmeal”- how funny! Your “bluebird” tribute is sweet- It’s symbolic and spring like. The bird houses tie it together so nicely- and the rattan and bamboo accents are perfect with the dishes.
    Happy Birthday to your Mom- young at heart- that’s her secret!


  13. Oh Alycia, what a wonderful tribute to both your mother and your brother…I’m sure there were many tears and memories lived again as you wrote this post and created this table. The setting is sweet, elegant and understated…it feels calm and cleansing as I hope you felt when it was complete. I hope you will breathe a little easier and walk a little lighter now that you have faced these memories and created something beautiful to honor your mother. The hearts of many are with you today.


  14. Oh Alycia, what a sweet tribute and memory! Happy Birthday to tour mom and so sorry about your brother. Great family photos, I enjoyed them a lot. You were so slim!! and beautiful!! I love your table setting. I think I have those plates, you know one of those I buy and put away and never use, lol. The yellow tulips and bird houses are so pretty…Christine


  15. Alycia, I too was a little rebel. I know you!!! LOL. This is a gorgeous tribute to both your mom and your brother. I’m sure there was a box of Kleenex at hand when you penned this post. But just as sure that there were wonderful memories swirling around too. We have to hold on to those with all our hearts. Your brother is riding the skies with Jesus! How glorious that must be for him.
    Love your table.. It’s so pretty. Did you notice how the handles of the bamboo flatware matches the color of the tulips? The pops of green gives the table so much movement. Love the tip about NOT lining things up.
    Be blessed… be happy.. you are an amazing woman!! xo marlis


  16. Alycia, This is a beautiful way to honor two people you clearly love. I see that you get your beauty from your Mom and she doesn’t even have any wrinkles from all your shinanigans! I love those Bluebird dishes and all the birdhouses on the table. Happy Birthday to your Mom. Dianne


  17. Alycia, what a special tribute to your beautiful mom and your brother Jay. I felt as if I was looking through your family album. I read every caption. You did a super job putting this together. I know it took a lot of time.
    Your table is as beautiful as ever. Love the sweet bird dishes, and all the details are typically “Alycia style” perfect. Yellow tulips……..great choice!
    Thanks for sharing this heartfelt post and best wishes to your mom for a very happy birthday!


  18. What a beautiful table, inspired by such lovely thoughts. It is very hard to move on. I didn’t know you had lost your brother, and I am so sorry.

    You think you put your parents through it? Just another thing we have in common my girl. The fact that you went to Elton John and Rod Stewart concerts with your Mom — that is downright incredible. My parents would have been too busy waving the Bible around!


  19. Aycia, I love this post in more ways then one….I can relate to the whole mom thing, I drove my mom crazy as a kid and more as a young adult. She stood by me and loved me through it all unconditionally. As I grew and got married she was my best friend and I cherished her. Nothing like a MOM!!! I love what you did for her birthday what a wonderful thing to do and everything looks beautiful. Looks like a great time for all.



  20. This is a truly stunning post, Alycia. You make it very evident that you put as much heart and soul into your tablescapes as you have put into your life. This was a wonderful way to pay tribute to your mother and younger brother, it is beautiful, serene, and sincere. Thank you for sharing something so emotional and heartfelt.


  21. Ditto everything above! This is such a beautiful post, happy birthday to your amazing mom!! You are so blessed to have her in your life!! Thank goodness that our moms love us unconditionally and hang in there with us! This post was a sweet tribute to your brother as well, so sorry for your loss. I loved all the pictures, thanks for posting and allowing us to have a glimpse at your wonderful family!!! The bird plates, houses, nests–all so lovely and springy (is that a word?)! It is hard to write about those we have lost–know that from experience–but you did it so eloquently I’m sure they are all very proud!





  23. Girl, it just isn’t right to start a beautiful post and make me cry. What a wonderful tribute to your brother, the joy you shared was so touching. There has to be a mix up on your mother’s birth certificate, no way is she 84. Girlfriend you come from some might good genes, I see where you get your beauty. Be sure and give her a big hug and Happy Birthday from me.
    Your table is incredible. You know how I love anything to do with birds and decorating as long as the real ones keep them happy selves outside. What a joy to see more of your family and the love you share. fondly ~lynne~


  24. What a wonderful post honoring your mother’s birthday — and a lot of other marvelous memories along the way! Your table is gorgeous and deserves lots of compliments, but the family photos were what I really studied. Aren’t you glad you have all of them to hold and reminisce over? Your mom will be thrilled with this one!


  25. Alycia~ What a wonderful and loving tribute to your brother for your mother’s birthday. I’m sure this post was hard to write as well as cleansing. You and you mom are both so photogenic, so fun to see the photos. You do look like you were and still are the life of the party 🙂 Sending your mom Happy Birthday Wishes~


  26. As usual… have so much class, my friend. WONDERFUL TRIBUTE to BLUEBIRD and your mother…..yes, what a saint!!!!! Love your pictures and the walk down memory lane…..OH, AND THE TABLE WAS A FABULOUS BREATH OF SPRING ON THIS FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!!!!! This was BEAUTIFUL on all counts!!!!! Happy Birthday Mrs. Wilson!!!!!


  27. Alycia, You had me welling up. What a beautiful tribute. I can only imagine how difficult this must have been. And what a table in honor of both your Mom and your brother. You’re cruising with the botanicals!

    – The Tablescaper


  28. Alycia, you are such a precious daughter and sister. What a beautiful post honoring your Mom and brother. My own Mom passed away when I was in my 20’s so I never had the opportunity to share moments like these with her. It is obvious that your family ties are strong and I’m sure your faith has carried your family a long way. What a blessing to have a Mom who sticks by you through thick and thin, good times and bad. I always enjoy your beautiful tables, but this post carries me to a place much deeper……….into your heart. Thanks for sharing.


  29. Hello Alycia!
    What a wonderful tribute to your dear mom and to your brother. The table is so lovely and would be an honor to sit at. Glad your family persevered with your through the years girl! That’s what family is for, don’t you think? Give and receive. Love the bluebirds! I’m with your mom and I like to eat dinner early. God bless your mom with a very happy birthday!


  30. Your table is just beautiful, I love love those dishes, the size and the simple design is so beautiful and the way you have the entire table presented is just so lovely, thanks for sharing that and your wonderful family


  31. Wow, what a wonderful post. It is just oozing with love!! I so enjoyed your family stories and pictures. Your have done good girl. Beautiful table for some beautiful people. thanks so much for sharing a piece of your heart.


  32. Ok, my eyes are wet and my nose is running!! Such a lovely post for two very special people, your Mom and brother. I am proud of you for getting all of that out in your post. I sometimes have thoughts I just can’t share in my blogging about my Mom who past away in 2004, but you have done a beautiful job of sharing your memories. Your table is beautiful, love the dishes and the yellow tulips and of course the green Dollar Tree glasses! You always pay such attention to detail and have it perfect.


  33. This is a lovely tribute, Alycia, and as I read every line/studied every detail, I kept thinking of your mother, and how happy she must be that her child paid such tribut to HER and to one of her other children. Just lovely. Hugs to you, ~Zuni


  34. Alycia, I know your mom must be very proud of the daughter she raised. This very special tribute to your beautiful mom and brother Jay will always be my favorite post. Thank you for sharing this. You did an amazing job putting this together, and your table is perfect for the celebration.

    Best wishes to your mom for a very happy birthday!


  35. What a wonderful tribute to your beautiful mother and handsome brother. It was fun looking at all the pictures of your family…makes me feel like I know you.
    Wishing your mother a very happy birthday and many more!


  36. Your 84 year old mother is still beautiful, and you look so much like her, especially in the smile. You definitely have her smile. I can’t imagine how proud you must be of her, too! I love the bluebird inspiration for the table, and I have a feeling your brother would give you two thumbs up for it. The colors are just wispy enough to make me feel peaceful looking at it, if that makes sense. My favorite part of all is the centerpiece. I love the line of tulips in vases towering over the bird nests and houses. That’s just plain lovely.



  37. Alycia, this post is such a wonderful tribute to your brother and mom, and so heartfelt. It is wonderful to re-live good memories through pictures; yours show how close your family is. Now, you can look back at this post and reminisce and smile, too. Your tablescape is gorgeous as always. Have a blessed Easter. Happy birthday to your mom.

    All the Best,

    Requi @ Tablescaping Escapades


  38. A belated “Happy Birthday” to your Mom! What a sweet DD you are to do this for her. It is a gorgeous tablescape, full of fresh Spring ideas. Lovely accessories & I really enjoyed seeing all the fun photos of you two together.

    Have a Blessed Easter with your family, Alycia,


  39. Alycia, you made me cry! Oh my goodness, now I can’t stop!

    Such a beautiful way to honor your mother and brother. Thank you for sharing your family photos. I really enjoyed seeing them.


  40. This is such a lovely tribute to your mom and brother! What a beautiful table and what beautiful pictures of your family!!! I love this post! You are such a lovely person with a lovely family! I just wish you lived close so I could come over and give you a BIG HUG! =) I hope your mom loves her special gift! I pray that it will continue to be a healing time for you as you grieve the loss of your brother and honor his memory. You seem to have such a loving family and I loved getting a glimpse of that in this wonderful post! Have a great week!


  41. Alycia, I can’t imagine how hard it was for you to write this tribute. First let me say I’m so sorry for your loss and your family. I read and reread this and couldn’t comment yet. Now I just want to say how happy I am for you that you were able to put your thoughts into words. I loved you sharing your family photographs, they are fabulous! This is a good thing you’ve done for yourself and family.
    Thinking of you sweet girl…………


  42. Oh Alycia…I have just seen this post.what great post.I can understand a mother daughter bond.Nothing can beat it.I am sorry for your loss.Your family photographs are wonderful and lot of sweet memories. Touching…Thank you to share this with all your friends…Take care…Sujatha..:):)


  43. Perfect way to celebrate Life, Love, Dedication, Family… did I mentioned Love?
    This tablescape is a Hymn to it.
    Bluebird is in Heaven saying “Blast that girl, always sassying her way to be Mum’s favorite” ;).

    Senator, Thank you for keeping Alycia “safe” and loved for us!

    (belated) Happy Birthday! :flowers:



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  45. Ohhh I love this post! so glad I saw it. Your brothers nickname? OMG I laughed out loud!

    OH and here: 1 (800) 901-0881 that is Tuesday Mornings Product Hot Line. If you need more of an item, call that number, enter in the SKU and your zip…and it will give you EVERY store that has it. and it will even tell you how many they have…Ta Da!!


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  51. Oh Alycia, what a wonderful “Labor of Love” to honor your Mom and brother. It’s something that you’ll have forever and can look at whenever you miss them. What a treasure to have and hold near your heart.


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