the happiest of happy

famfriends

It is quite impossible for me to talk about things that make me happy and not bring up my friends and family. Which, I am lucky to say, is one and the same in my book. I’m so blessed to have the family that I do. And I’m so blessed to be friends with my parents and my siblings. And my friends? My friends are a part of my family whether they want to be or not. (Why should they get the choice if my actual family does not?) I don’t know why I’m so lucky to have these people in my life. But I thank God every day that I do.

continuing the happy

I know it’s cheesy. I do. But I’m just going to have to own up to the fact that I love Disneyland. Ridiculously so.

I was 19 years old (and pregnant, I kid you not) the very first time I went to Disneyland. The only ride I could ride was Pirates of the Caribbean. (Which may or may not be one of my very favorite rides to this day.) One day I’ll tell you the story of taking a picture with Winnie the Pooh and the biggest belly competition, but I’ll have to save that for another day because I’m too busy making an ass of myself and my love for all things Disneyland.

Here’s the thing: my cute little family of four has THE BEST time in Disneyland. We do. We never fight about where to go. We walk through those gates and we don’t have to worry about jobs or school or all the other things we always have to focus on. When we get there? It’s all things family. All day. And we’re awesome at it, if I do say so myself. We just have so. Much. Fun.

Over the years, we’ve been so lucky to travel to the Happiest Place on Earth with some of our nearest and dearest. Our kids have gotten so good at FastPass and single-rider that we are pretty efficient, even when coordinating two families. Plus, we’re all pretty cute.

photo (3)

But I have to tell you something: Running through Disneyland is an absolute HOOT. I mean, as Sarah and I trained for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, I knew it would super awesome, but I really couldn’t have imagined how fun it was to run through the park. I’M SORRY BUT IT’S TRUE. Plus, we’re pretty damn cute. Still. Or again.

tinkerhalf peter&wendy tinkerhalf

I really don’t mean to sound so lame. I’m thirty-something years old and one my of my Happy Places is The Happiest Place on Earth. I should be more dignified. I should. But I just don’t think I have it in me. At all.

I’m just a big ‘ol kid. I just can’t seem to help myself.

things that make me happy…cont’d

I can’t explain it. I’m not even sure that I want to. I just woke up with a heart that was a lot lighter than it has been.

My words are a little stuck right now. So I thought I would share some things that I saw today that made me happy. Or inspired me.  

I love this mama.

I mean…it’s not called “Oh Happy Day” for nothing…

Magnolia trees. And cute humans.

I also can’t wait for summer.

You are my wild. It still makes me happy.

 *    *    *

Yesterday, I started celebrating my birthday week. I couldn’t help myself. Apparently delicious pizza with delicious company was an order. Happy!

fire   

And then I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of the roses in my back yard. Happy!

 roses

 But you know what else?

This guy. This guy makes me happy.

laughingcouple
taken by the lovely and talented Sarah Maren

I sorta, kinda feel the need to celebrate my birthday every day this week. And not with any big fanfare or party…just with little things that make me happy. Whatever that may be. And starting all the things that I included today. I don’t mean to be annoying or self-centered…I just wanted to share my happy places in case you needed a change of pace after last week.

The world needs a lot more happy. And I hope that you’ll share yours, too.

It’s Time To Get All Pollyanna Up In Here

It’s hard to not feel like the world is completely upside down and bat-shit crazy. Because it kind of is.

Like most of us, I’ve spend a lot of time worrying about the world that we live in. Especially when tragedy and terror hit so close to home. Obviously, Boston and Texas have been on our minds a lot. But there are so many things that have happened this week that aren’t “breaking” news stories on every news source or channel.

It’s been a rough week.

I want to fill up my little space here with some goodness, light and happy. I want to make you laugh or smile. At the very least, I want to give everyone a giant, squishy hug. (And you know that I could. I’m a professional hugger, I GOTCHU.)

So, because you love to humor me, here are some of the things that have made this week a little lighter and more beautiful:

Paisley:

paisleypup
This dog. THIS DOG will warm the cockles of your heart. Yes, I totally just said cockles. I might even do it again if you’re good.

Beautiful Scenery:

sunset

One of my favorite pastimes is finding beauty in the world around us. I was walking the (cockle warming) puppy dog earlier this week when I was wowed by this sunset. I keep going to back to look at this picture because it makes me happy, ok?

This picture of my kid:

hairsdid

She got to get her hair done for the very first time last weekend for her birthday. As you can see by the look on her face, she is not exactly pleased by the moment I chose to take a picture. I’m trying not to laugh just looking at this. She’s hilarious. Often.

Mike Wazowski

mike!

I don’t care what anybody says, a coffee mug can brighten your mood. I highly (HIGHLY) recommend a coffee date with Mike.

Cockle warmer!

pup!
You know you were needing another picture of the puppy. Outside, napping(?) during spring break a few weeks ago.

You Drive!!!

So this kid is hilarious. I will be forever grateful to SueBob for posting this yesterday when we all needed it the most. WORRY ABOUT YOSELF!!

 Love

love

Go love on some people today. And this weekend. Basically, love all the people all the days. Just do it.

Cockels!

The P Word

prayer

Have you ever had that moment where you realize you’re praying for the wrong thing? And it’s not that what you’re praying for is bad…it just isn’t the most important part of the equation? So then you change your focus. Because of course you do. But then you’re not sure. And then you’re doubting yourself because you maybe aren’t getting an answer.

But then some pretty big things happen that make you realize that maybe what you’ve been praying for isn’t on the top of God’s list right now. And you’re ok with that because it’s not at the top of your list either when you think of all the people who are hurting or sad in much more need right now. So then you start praying for them. Because of course you do. They need your prayers more than you do.

And then you hug your family a little tighter.

And show a lot more love to them and to those around you.

And then you think that maybe, just maybe, praying for the wrong thing helped your heart be a lot more open. Ready to love those who need it most.

And that it might just be the answer you were looking for?

Yeah…THAT.

she is my wild

♥I had a hard time writing this all out with all that is going on. But sharing with you how much I love my kid(s) seems like just the thing we need.♥
I think there is a part of me that is worried that if I actually write about her turning 11 on Sunday it will make it true. Which is probably the most ridiculous sentence you’ve read today, YOU’RE WELCOME.

If you have known me for even five seconds, you know that as proud as I try to be about raising two daughters in the craziest of lives, you know that the thought of them leaving for college and growing up is tremendously hard for me. I don’t want to be the mom that can’t let go…that can’t let them live their own lives, so I struggle and war with myself. But I also need to let myself have these moments where I’m sad for the amount of time I was away from them when they were littles. The amount of time I’m still away from them. I’m proud of the life we are able to provide for our girls, but that doesn’t take away the fact that I will never get that “little kid” time back.

So when your “baby” turns 11, you feel like you swallowed a brick. And you feel like time is an insensitive asshole who just won’t leave you alone.

Over the weekend, in a conversation with some of my favorites, we were discussing my dear, sweet and VERY different daughters. I’ve said for years that Beezus is my old soul. You could see it in her eyes as soon as she was born. But my Ramona is different. And when the words “she is a new soul” came out of my mouth, I’m not sure I could have believed them more.

Ramona has spent the majority of her childhood trying to be like Beezus while struggling with the fact that she just can’t. Not because she’s not good enough or not special enough…but because she is aiming for something that isn’t her. The square peg in a circle syndrome. But I worry about her. I don’t ever want her to feel like she isn’t enough. Because she is more than enough. She is the life of the party. She is the sweetness that makes me smile. The generous spirit that gives the best hugs. She is the kid with the big ideas.

She is amazing.

Several weeks ago, I learned about a website called “You Are My Wild” where a group of photographers document their kids being kids. Ever since then, the children’s book/poem that inspired the title of that website has been on my mind. Because if there were a way to describe my Ramona, I do believe this is a start.

“You are my I love you”

I am your parent you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggle
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your audience, you are my clown
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down
I am your Carrot Sticks, you are my licorice
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish
I am your water wings, you are my deep
I am your open arms, you are my running leap
I am your way home, you are my new path
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath
I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your finish line, you are my race
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favourite book, you are my new lines
I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you

Author: Maryann K Cusimano

 

She is my wild. My beautiful, beautiful wild.

11thbday

Happy birthday, baby girl.

I Find Other Parents Fascinating

Tonight is the big Sports-a-Rama (SAR) and Beezus’ school. Go ahead and Google the crazy awesome that is SAR. I’d much rather you do it because I’m kinda too lazy right now to do it. But basically, SAR is a school wide competition between the classes. It started a couple months ago with each class deciding on their themes. T-shirts are designed and made. Then practices start. Decorations are decided. And then the big day arrives and everyone is too tired to even remember what they’re supposed to do. (Ok, that last part is only partly true.)

Last year, the only reason I bought tickets was because I wanted to support my kid. That’s it. This year I bought tickets because I had an absolute freaking blast watching these high school kids compete in the most ridiculous activities. (Tug-o-war, crab-ball, “critter country”, I don’t even know what else. But it’s awesome.)

There is so much (overly-exhausted, delirious) school and class spirit in that room. I don’t know about your high school, but mine didn’t have anything like this. I can’t even begin to tell you how  much fun it is to just be a spectator. Plus, it’s pretty great to see my kid enjoy the hell out of her high school experience.

There’s this part of the program that’s called Statue. I have no idea why it is called that because there is nothing statue about it, but it is basically a type of choreographed routine that the kids come up with that goes along with their theme. (Last year, the Freshmen put a spin on Finding Nemo with the theme “Finding Frosh” and their statue was a choreographed…play? Skit? To go along with that. Imagine 50 freshmen “swimming” into formation of an arrow much like the tuna from Finding Nemo.) So as the kids get older, they wait until the last minute to teach their teammates the statue routine so that they don’t forget it. (This makes sense to high schoolers. Whatever.)

All of this is taking a really long time to tell you that last night, the Sophomore class pulled their “overnighter” to learn their statue routine. (Beezus was home by 11. Overnighter is a loose term.) Beezus, after getting permission from us, had 3 teammates come home with her so that they could finish a prop/decoration of some sort for tonight’s event. I totally didn’t even mind because I was already in bed! (The Dude was on duty because he had today off.) (I should’ve just gotten up with these kids, because I kept waking up to make sure The Dude was checking on them.) (I’m super helpful.) (I’m done with the parenthesis.)

At about five this morning, The Dude went out to check on the kids only to basically find out that they have no ride home and that they’re pretty much just hoping to get a ride with us to school. My husband was weirded out by this. He was overly concerned that we would basically be sending these kids off to school without their parents seeing them at all.

As he comes back in our room to tell me all of this, I have a couple thoughts:

1: Eh…no big deal. We’re driving that way anyway.

2: THIS IS SO WEIRD, OMG WHAT KIND OF PARENTS DO YOU KIDS HAVE?!?!?!?!

To be clear, I don’t mind that these kids were at our house. They all seem to be nice, respectful kids. But, as a parent, I’m completely horrified that these parents don’t mind that their (15-16yo) children don’t come home because they are staying the night at some stranger’s house? I find this FASCINATING! Horrifying, yes…but fascinating! This is not something that I would feel comfortable with. At all. I’m also glad we’re nice people!

During homecoming, we allowed Beezus to go to the “overnighter” to work on the float because I met the parents first AND I picked up around 2am. (Because I’m pretty much the coolest/strictest mom ever.) But just not checking out the family at all? Am I the only one that would have a problem with this?

Beezus jokes with us that we’re the strictest parents of all her friends. And I’m totally ok with this. But now I’m getting a glimpse of what she sees in her other friends’ parents.

And I find it all a little…crazy. But I *am* the strictest mom ever. So there’s that.

Listening To My Mother…And Others

ltymnametag

Everything I write today, I erase.

Every time I try to explain how amazing Sunday was, I stumble over all the words.

When I try to explain how I feel about this all? Delete, delete, delete.

I know why. It’s because I can’t write about the amazingness of Sunday, and our first Listen to Your Mother table-read, without admitting that I feel completely out of my league. I can’t write about these STUNNING and wonderful women without telling you that I sat at that table wondering why in the hell I was even part of this group.

And I don’t want to type those words at all.

Because typing those words takes away from the fact that this group of women is inspired. Each story…each piece of their soul that they are so beautifully sharing? Perfect pieces of a puzzle that is meant to be shared. The fact that I feel like I’ve known them my entire life after just meeting them? MIND BLOWING.

You guys, this show is amazing. I can’t say it enough…it’s AMAZING. And there isn’t room for my insecurity. Because it just doesn’t belong there. Vulnerability, yes. Insecurity? NOPE. It needs to stay the hell away.

And I’ll get there. I will. But right now, I’m going to feel my fears and acknowledge them. And then find a place for them to go.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I still don’t feel completely out of my league. But I know that I’m supposed to be a part of this.

And that helps.

I Should Really Start Taking More Fridays Off

Here’s what I’m going to tell you. When one of your dearests asks if you can take a Friday off to go wine-tasting, you are going to want to say yes. Because DUDE. Are you kidding me with this view?

VINES
Stunning view of one of the vineyards near DK Winery. And one of my favorite pictures I’ve taken on the iPhone.

I have no business pretending I am any expert on South El Dorado County wineries and wine country, but I have to pretend I’m an expert on South El Dorado County wineries and wine country for a minute. Because it is so lovely up there, I just can’t keep it to myself. That’s rude.

Fair Play wine country is the best kept secret, let me tell you. I had no idea that this little wine country nestled in the Sierra Foothills existed.

WINEGLASS
Perry Creek Winery – the beginning. (Also, please don’t remind Sara that there’s a decorative snake on the back counter. Just, don’t.)

My dear Sara had a Living Social deal for a lunch experience at the Perry Creek winery in Fair Play, CA. What we didn’t know before heading up there, is how amazing our experience would be. You started off with a couple of tastings before being lead on a personal tour through their winery. Our new friend Hadrian took us through the wine-making process. (We all seemed to geek-out on all the steps and information we learned yesterday. IT. WAS. FASCINATING. NO JOKE.)

BARRELS

 

Once we made it through the various processes and visited the barrel room, we headed back down the hill to the tasting room for actual barrel tastings. Fascinating and amazing.

BARRELTASTING
YOU GUYS, this was so great. (Everyone got a turn serving wine out of the barrels. I declined because KLUTZ.)

 

Ok, so I know that timing is everything. The four of us were scheduled for this deal, it was a Friday at noon and they were not overly busy…but it was so much fun. We had an absolute blast. Well taken care of…the wine is fantastic. And, word on the street, is that this tour is free to wine club members, or so I have heard. Harvest time is in September/October and I would love to go back and see some of the wine process in action. But can I tell you again how much fun we had?

GALS
Me, Elena, Sara and Courtney: my partners in crime

No one asked me to write this post…no one cares. But when you have such a great time in such a beautiful and stunning location, you want to share. I still can’t get over how beautiful it was up there. There are so many wineries to visit and gorgeous views to see. Even on the ride home.

ROADVIEW

Seriously. Perry Creek and other Fair Play wineries? A must do. You’ll absolutely love it.