I’ll Take ANY Beach, BUT…

Disneyland had just opened when my grandparents got married, and that’s where they honeymooned. Now, they absolutely love Disneyland and sharing all things Disney with their family. I believe it could be because it’s still just the way it was when they visited in the 50s. Every time they go back, regardless of their age, it’s still romantic, magic, and youthful.

I feel that same way about a few beaches.

Beaches are all relaxing and revitalizing, right?

There are a couple of beaches that are more than that to me. They still have a little sizzle. Each time I visit these particular beaches, I’m suddenly about seventeen. Even hauling toys and kids, something about that ocean air and familiar landscape makes me feel…what is it? Carefree? Fun? No, it’s more alive than that. There is something that’s still smoldering…just barely, but it’s there. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s all the positive feelings of seventeen: carefree, unaware of major responsibility, living life on a whim, fun, easy. It’s that little buzz of excitement, like seeing a text from a cute new acquaintance.

Maybe it’s just de ja vu, or maybe that energy really does still linger at these beaches, fossilized in every tide pool I’d explored at seventeen.

Either way, these beaches make me FEEL. They breathe life into a tired mom.

My sister and I can’t avoid wading into the high tide, even if it just a “walk on the beach at sunset like mature people” outing. She is in high school now, so maybe these will become her beaches, too.

I think everyone has a special place like this.

I hope everyone has a special place like this.

Continue Reading

Every Beach Trip is Shark Week When You’ve Watched Too Much Shark Week

They say home is where your heart is, and mine is always, always at the edge of the water.

Not far in it, though, because that’s scary and seaweed-y. Too many years of Shark Week.

(I wouldn’t mind a small nibble though, just something that would promise a small scar to elevate my street cred, especially to my boys. I’m envisioning being my kids’ elementary school show and tell object, walking into a spot light in an awed room, commanding attention as I solemnly part my leg hair to show them the 2” scar from what I’m positive was a teacup Great White…)

Oh, sorry. I digress.

Don’t let me watch Air Jaws again this year.

I think I got more smile lines this week from watching my boys beam. We waded in the chilly water, but mostly just played in the sand and exchanged, “This is the BEST, right!?” looks.

My heart feels right at home smelling any salty ocean air, but there is one beach in particular that I love. It’s where I’ve watched the sun set for years and years.

Are you a sunrise or sunset person?

Me? I’m a sunset girl. I think it sounds more romantic, less morning-breath-y. I love the dramatic ending to the day, a fiery exclamation point to punctuate the last moments of daylight. I like the way the sky dissolves into blackness, slowly but unrelenting, the way black ink bleeds on paper.

But.
A sunset is hardly an ending.

A past-life me would reassure you that dusk is just when the night is beginning.

There is a tangible energy that sunsets produce. Instead of blackness, the world suddenly sparkles with a thousand lights. There is a buzz of mystery. At nightfall, the world is suddenly exciting, delicately filtered by moonlight, and forgiving of seen-in-broad-daylight blemishes. Wait, is that why I like sunset?

There is a magnificence in feeling so insignificant watching one of nature’s shows.

Continue Reading

Has Anyone Started Dreaming in Boomerangs Yet?

It’s been said that once you truly comprehend a new language, you start dreaming in it.

It makes me wonder if every person active on social media has suddenly experienced endless dreams (nightmares?) of Boomerang videos over and over and over and over and over and over and over and three new views and over and over.

Just curious.

(I haven’t yet, but I have yet to master that Boomerang wiggle, and I am positive that’s a prerequisite.)

Although I mainly use this blog as a reference website for writing samples, can I incorporate other stuff? Like, I don’t know…crappy iPhone photos? My favorite blogs have always been those that show me a glimpse of a person’s (slash total stranger I’m convinced I’m friends with) real life, and you can really get to know someone through their low-quality, quickly snapped pictures. A screenshot of the 72 open browser tabs on their phones, too, perhaps? I’ll save that for next time.

Maybe I’ll do that weekly and make a “My Life Monday,” or “More Than You Want to Know Monday!”
“TMI Tuesday?”
How about, “What the Hell’s Happening Wednesday”?

Yes. I like that one, but my mom would probably thin smile and that’s scary.

Also, it’s not Wednesday.

Also, my kids aren’t allowed to say “butt,” sooo I won’t say PG-13 words like hell. I definitely won’t say heck. I sure as hell won’t say heck. (JK, Mom!)

Anyway, here’s the past week:

I went to a friend’s baby sprinkle. You know that group of friends that you just kind of elbow your way into because they’re fun? Or do you not do that? Here are mine. I really like them and I’m way happy they were forced into the shackles of my love.

After Destiny’s shower, I made the most of my thirty minutes in the mall before the stores closed. I bought my son shoes, had an item to return, and I bought several pairs of sunglasses, because I will break and/or lose them all before July. I had to text a best friend to ask for her opinion while simultaneously doing the same with the Nordstrom girl helping me. (Like I said, forced friends. “Do these look okay? Do I look like I think I’m 17? Do you want to go to spin?”)

I ran into a girl at the airport wearing these shoes, and I had five minutes left to casually run to the other side of the mall to decide if I was pulling the trigger on copying her. The run! The color decision! It was all very thrilling. I’m saying I bought these shoes for Mother’s Day, but I am still holding out hope for a will. Shoes just sound appropriately less morbid for Mother’s Day.

We went swimming with a few friends at our friend Dylan’s house, went through the carwash at least six times, celebrated our friend Trey at his birthday party, celebrated the opening of a friend’s soda store, celebrated my friend Jackie’s birthday at a Backstreet Boys concert.

Wow. I guess I know why my boys napped so well.

Every week, I’m more and more in love with these little guys. Even with a bunch of fun events, my favorite moments are at home. Seen here: playing In n Out Drive Thru in Halloween jammies. They even ask, “You want animal style?” #proudmom

Continue Reading

My Most Sunny Days Always Leave Me Teary

There is a wonder I experience as a new mom, crossing new bridges as my oldest child does the same.

My kids are approaching the real pearl of childhood. At almost two and three, the sleepless nights are behind us. My boys are both talking and expressing their own, hilarious thoughts, and I feel that new-mom isolation no more.

I’ve been caught off guard by this new stage of life and its unexpected sprinkling of pixie dust, because my kids think EVERYTHING is magical.

From seeing a street sweeper, to a stranger’s raspy voice, to blossoming trees…it’s all entrancing. Holding a ladybug for the first time, and watching with sheer astonishment when it flies away! Listening for helicopters! Watching a puppy lap water from a bowl! Garbage day! Witnessing sprinklers turn on! Putting detergent in the washing machine! It’s new. It’s fresh. My mundane routine is suddenly dazzling and vivid. The days have more zest. I’m still tired, but my kids give me a shot of laughter hourly, and their thrill of pioneering a new world is contagious.

My children are young enough to not understand real sorrow. Heartbreak is unknown. They don’t know about the world…they only know the world I put in front of them. At ages one and three, naivety is normal. Innocence is beautiful. Heaven still feels close.

They’re also young enough to not have any real school schedule or pressing commitments. I savor the peacefulness of midmorning strolls on quiet roads, and appreciate being rich enough in time to admire every dandelion along the way. I love the slow pace, and have to remind myself often not to complicate it. The world hasn’t sped up yet. I know, I know, it will, and the sand will slip through the glass quickly and cruelly; let me just enjoy holding onto those little hands a bit longer.

And those little hands. Those teeny, sticky fingers always find me, because I am wanted. A heart soars to feel wanted! The elation of feeling truly wanted as a parent is unparalleled. I know they’ll need a mother for years, but to WANT a mother–that’s different. Even on the days I go crazy almost tripping over two extra shadows, I know my heart will break just a little the day my kids insist they can spread their wings alone.

These are the days.

Continue Reading

I Either Smell like Aunt Linda or a Stripper

Ever since my family’s Park City girl’s trip a few months ago, I’ve been really into perfumes. That’s because my Aunt Linda, who is beautiful and always smells the way the glitter emoji looks, shared her latest dreamy scent with me. Here she is.

Now, I, too, smell like sparkles, even when trying to get everyone EQUAL cups and EQUAL drinks at lunch.

Have you read fragrance vocabulary? Whoa. Poetic people must always smell like my Aunt Linda.

“Its warm incense undertone lends it a dusky, somber quality, while the top notes reminiscent of freshly cut wood offer an interesting bright counterpoint. Although a beautiful and complex material, it is heavy and opaque, with a tendency to easily overwhelm other facets of the fragrance.”

That’s cool. My house has overwhelming top notes resembling a Costco box of diapers, with subtle notes of soiled ones, magnified by accords of bloated Honey Nut Cheerios that evaded the garbage disposal. The sweetness may give a robust floral fragrance.

I should bottle that up and call it, “Wednesday Mornings.”

In addition to Aunt Linda’s amazing perfume, I’ve been eyeing Prada Candy for a while. I’ve been second guessing it ever since I’ve had more than one stripper client rave about it, which seemed appropriate after reading it’s advertised description:

Prada CANDY is instantly seductive—pure pleasure wrapped in impulsive charm.

Definitely getting a different vibe than my “Wednesday Morning.”

Prada Candy, you’re a welcome addition to my mom-perfume curation.

Continue Reading

Pecan Pie, Okra, Biscuits, Collard Greens

I am a total dreamer. I don’t know that all my dreams would be qualify as “bucket list” items, because things like installing a Stair Genie for recreational use probably shouldn’t be eligible for bucket listing (unless I’m about to kick that bucket).

Anyway.

For about ten years, I’ve hoped to live in Georgia. The height of my Georgia obsession was in 2006, when my friend Natalie and I made “in our dreams” plans to move there for a summer. (Did a favored TI album release around that same time fan the flame? Hard to say. Was I a regional ebonics expert? Yes.)

That summer move didn’t happen, or else at this moment, I would be living in a plantation style home with a peach orchard heir, writing this from a patio rocking chair that my 500 pound, Southern-food loving self finds most comfortable.

I may have simultaneously been applying for a feature on My 600 LB Life, but think of all the fried okra!

My friend Jessy moved to Atlanta from Miami recently, so you already know Natalie and I were there. Natalie came in from D.C., and I had theeee best time. These two are truly my best friends. You know, the type of friends that even make gas station pit stops fun? And you can be completely, fully, pre-mom-life YOU around? Throw in some homemade biscuits, and I mean…

img_1158
Pregnant Jessy kept working us out. We showed up in matching pants for a Britney/2 Chainz themed spin class, and both those things made me so happy.
img_1108
Her cutest little guy. I love him.
img_1165img_1143img_1110
MY WHOLE 2006 LIFE LED UP TO THIS MOMENT.
img_1308
georgia

img_1164
If you can overlook the pink camo workout pants, I’m such a natural here, right? I (independently) sent Brian’s resume to several Atlanta based companies right after college. We didn’t hear back, which was rude, especially considering the amount of time I’d spent watching Paula Dean shows in preparation, but okaaay. Jessy introduced me to pimento cheese, and now I’m back on track. I’ve got to get to Georgia. Even if it’s just a couple of years, I’ll take it, especially if Natalie and Jessy stay put for a while!

No one question my fraudulent accent after I’ve only been there a few weeks.

Hashtag I wish these two girls lived closer.

Continue Reading

I’ll Take The Mouse Over The Rats.

Some people believe bad luck will ensue after breaking a mirror.

Some people believe black cats are a bad omen.

Today, after slinking out of the house to be embarrassing and get a spray tan, my path was crossed by MULTIPLE rats Free Willy-ing over a bush I accidentally bumped with the tanning salon door. I am convinced I was one of those fainting goats in a past life, because I froze and involuntarily held my breath for about 20 seconds before the front desk girl (casually) said, “Oh, yeah. Those rats. There are a lot.”

I (casually) speed walked to my car afterwards in case I was interrupting a conga line.

But, no cats, rats, or spray tan walk of shame can rain on my parade after the fun week I had in Park City with my family, and a girls night with fun friends.

img_0495

NAILED IT
NAILED IT
DOUBLE NAILED IT
DOUBLE NAILED IT

parkcity1

img_0462

img_0637

Let there be Nelly, and let there be giant ice creams.

brooke

Only the utmost admiration for the girl that can eat two desserts. “One is my drink.” I am feeling confident in my friend picking abilities.

brooke1

Next up on our Super Extreme September calendar: G’s first Disney trip. We’ve been studying the map and discussing Mickey Mouse, but he knows nothing about churros.

gusdisney1

Continue Reading

Cliff Notes: I’m Usually Very Boring

After an uneventful summer, I was a little overzealous in making plans for this month.

It’s startling to suddenly start doing fun things, you know? I should have been reintegrated the way animals are reintroduced into the wild: slowly, cautiously, and with some supervision, so the animals thrive/survive/don’t embarrass themselves trying to speak cool slang.

Being all over the place has helped me discover that, more often than not, I am partial to uneventful days.

I very much enjoy the unglamorous mornings at home, no matter what Fergie says.

Today, I spent a while cleaning out our pantry (or surviving avalanches of breast pump accessories, to highlight the aforementioned glamour level) and marveling at the amount of random familial paraphernalia that we had accrued over the last year or so. My two little helpers were eager to investigate (mostly the pump shields), and it took twice as long, but we had no schedule and nowhere to be. The investigating ensued.

And then, we danced to a song Gus made up (and sang through his pump shield megaphone).
And colored.
And ate string cheese.
And played in the hose.
And stuffed the rest of our string cheese inside the hose.
And it was just my kind of day.

During nap time, I came across an exciting editorial hair styling opportunity in New York City, and after daydreaming about it and looking into travel arrangements, I realized how in love I’ve become with the comforts of young motherhood. I don’t want to leave.

I like the sweats, and the little fingerprints, and bed head all day. I love it, actually. Because, who cares? I only get a few years to enjoy it.

…so I think we will just stay here, in bed.

img_0093
img_0092

Continue Reading

3-0 and Basically a Blonde Confucious

image

Well, here I am. THIRTY. Since I am saving speaking in parables for my 40th birthday, here are some bullet pointed little nuggets of wisdom for my “What I Learned in my 20’s” chapter of my pamphlet. (See end for pamphlet details.)

After changing diapers in airport lavatories, I’ve realized the likelihood of The Mile High Club existing on commercial airlines is doubtful at best. Unless we’re talking about underweight contortionists, there’s just not much room, and personally? I wouldn’t want to miss the peanut handout.

Flip phones are indestructible.

After being the ring leader of all boy bashing for several years, I was put in my place when I became a mother of boys. Boys, actually, are not stupid, or weird. Girls, actually, are emotionally charged, and can get a little crazy.

If you choose to wear a bikini to a waterpark, odds are good that everyone around you will get only a slightly more conservative view than the one you give your gynecologist.

I am not the only person that can care for my children.

Hold on to your best friends. They’re hard to find.

Although lack of sleep can really mess with your brain, and has been used as a form of torture during wars, you cannot die from no sleep. There were no recorded deaths at the time of my last baby, anyway, when I Googled it to check. (I was relieved to put my will on hold.)

Dinner tastes better when you don’t have to look at a dirty kitchen.

In case you’re interested in dabbling in online identity or banking theft, I’ve discovered most people have the same password to everything. There is a good chance that password is related to a dog they’ve loved. I’m not sure why I know this or why I’m sharing it…

I’m not the only person in the world that secretly likes Filet O Fish. (Stop making that face.)

The Kardashians are taking over the world, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Self consciousness should be a worry of the past. Do you think anyone is even looking up from their phone? No one will even notice that your eyeballs are imploding while they are checking their Fantasy rosters and taking selfies with the dog Snapchat filter.

You generally get what you pay for…but I still heart Marshall’s.

Marry your very best buddy to make life a million times easier.

No one ever feels older than about 24.

Seek out adventures.

Speeding in a construction zone is going to be expensive, and may be a misdemeanor. That’s how Missy came to be Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, I believe. Just flew right through the orange cones.

Vacations are worth the money for a dozen reasons.

Sometimes life’s biggest decisions are the easiest to make.

Hell will freeze over before Anderson Cooper ages.

Don’t check your bank account before bed.

Laughing at yourself is crucial to survival in general.

Lipstick is like caffeine for your face.

Peanut butter makes you fat. I also learned most people knew that before their twenties.

If you work really hard, and are nice, you’ll be okay.

College is the best.
Babies are the other best.

Pouring money into your car is a waste of money, unless you’re peacock-ing.

You’ll rarely be happier than when you make someone else happy.

I spent an entire semester discussing Aristotle, who claimed the greatest good man can achieve is happiness. For some reason, I think of that often. If that’s truly the root of goodness, do what makes you happy. Are you happy?

Seeing your first baby smile at you for the first time will change your whole life and all your priorities. That’s what I think the greatest good is, Aristotle.

Express gratitude.

This world is scary, but it’s still full of nice people.

Celebrate everything.

I can only stress about what I can control.

Contrary to everything I had been told, being a parent is so, so, so fun. I wish I’d had kids earlier.

(I’m considering making a list of things I’ve learned for every decade of my life, and publishing little pamphlets in sixty years for my funeral party favors. I plan to use my children’s inheritance to splurge for hardcovers. If you want to add your own bits of wisdom in the comments, I’ll make sure to quote you for my posterity.)

As always, if you feel inclined to share, please do!

Continue Reading

Summer Slipped My Mind

Toodles, summer. I only say, “Toodles,” because we watch so much Mickey around here. What I really want to say is:

NOOOO. DON’T LEAVE ME. MY LOVE.

But, Ashton, you say. It’s almost boot weather, and nothing tickles you like seasonal shoe rotations!

I know. Is this an identity crisis? I am usually itching for fall, but because I have no one in school to keep me on a schedule, September snuck up on me. I am panicking. (Just pencil me in as “yes” on that identity crisis.)

I LOVED this summer so much more than usual. That could be due to this being my first “normal-ish” summer experience in a long time. (Summer is so much more pleasant and carefree when I’m not nursing or pregnant.) However, after really thinking about it, I think the problem in years past was that I’d forgotten how to do it.

I forgot how to summer.

Thankfully, my little guys jogged my memory. This year:

I rememberered how water from the hose tasted.
I remembered how welcoming and warm cement feels after running in sprinklers.
I remembered the melody of creaky swing chains.
I remembered how Otterpop juice is July’s liquid gold.

It was magical. Thank you, my little guys. Having young children truly makes every season so much more vibrant. So exciting. So beautiful.

As the sun sets on this season, I want to savor every last bit of extended warmth we get in Las Vegas, as well as every minute of precious, unscheduled, “no one is in school yet so I’m not wearing pants” time. IMG_4087

IMG_4827
IMG_3685
IMG_3925

Sunday evening "Ca-sickles."
Sunday evening “Ca-sickles.”

IMG_3365
IMG_3390
IMG_4305
IMG_3909

IMG_2917

IMG_3677IMG_3456

IMG_4097

Summer, it hurts me to have let you you slip my mind for a few years while I was adulting. I’ll try my best to cut that out.

Continue Reading