gratitude…in whatever form

hand

Today is just one of those days. I set out to be super proud that I made it through last week, but to celebrate, I’ve burned the crap out of my hand, somehow put a scrape on my leg and bruise on my arm and stubbed the hell out of my toe. I have very little makeup on which means I look like leftover hell. The “brown football helmet” I’m sporting doesn’t help things.

Maybe it’s just better if I check myself in to a plastic bubble and also, please don’t look at me, I’m hideous.

I mean…well, it’s kinda funny when you think about it.

I think.

At least, it will be.

When I looked at the calendar, gearing up for last week, I actually got a little concerned about how I would fare. So, quite honestly, a burn, scrape, bruise and stubbed toe is probably my body’s way of telling me that last week kicked my ass. But last week? Well, it also kicked all kinds of ass.

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There was Stanford. There were work deadlines. There was my nephew’s birthday. There were practices and lessons. There was a midnight showing. There was two hours of sleep before getting up for a (wonderful) food drive. There was being so proud of my cute little sixth grader and her school play. And then her school band was in a parade. And then I took the girls to the movies. Again. And then we celebrated Thanksgiving with my inlaws. Which was LOVELY.

And we survived. And my house is only in a tiny bit of a shambles. And I’m thankful and grateful and apparently so excited about it I’m a hazard to my own well-being.

But we crossed off things on the College Bucket List. We did good, you guys. We helped people. I watched my kid blossom…and I could see how much she’s enjoying herself. Which was amazing and wonderful and I’m so stinkin proud of her.

It was a good week. A week to be proud of.

And I’m just so glad that I have this place to write it all down and remember how wonderful and insane it was.

My life is (overly) full. And you know what? I just wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Touring The Farm

So, okay…I’ve stepped outside almost every comfort zone I have this past week. A week ago today, we (softly) launched Cap City Moms. And, well, I’m ridiculously excited and proud of this community of mamas we’re working towards. We’ve made some pretty big plans. And I can’t wait to tell you more.

But this morning, I find myself reeling a little bit from yesterday.

Stanford University - Hoover Tower
Stanford University – Hoover Tower

You would be proud of me. I was very well behaved, believe it or not. I didn’t cry once during the admissions tour and meetings. I didn’t cry when we toured the campus. And I mean, there we were…at STANFORD. Doing the college tour things like we’re supposed to. At MY first choice for her. (And her dad’s first choice for her. And HER first choice…for her.) My big brained child would do well there. It’s hard to get in. But I think she has a pretty good chance.

And she would do so well there. It would be so good for her.

It would also be good for me.

Stanford University - Memorial Church
Stanford University – Memorial Church

I feel like it’s far enough away that she could “go off to school” and have the college experience I am so hoping for her. But it’s close enough that The Dude and I can take off after work one day and take her and her roommates to dinner. (I don’t know…I just figured this would totally be something we would do.) (I promise to not do this super often. I mean, I think I promise.)

It IS Rival Week.
It IS Rival Week.

And honest to goodness I was excited. My goodness, it’s beautiful there. The campus is ginormous, but I could picture her having a blast there. I was so glad we toured with one of her best friends. The two of them were so excited. Not to mention, adorable.

These two. Adorable, yes. Also, ginormous brains
These two. Adorable, yes. Also, ginormous brains

I didn’t cry. Not once.

Well, not until we were almost home at least.

I knew she was overwhelmed by the day. As excited as she was, she couldn’t believe that college wasn’t so far away. Even though we keep talking about it, being on campus and touring made it a lot more real.

For all of us, really.

You guys, I’m just so proud of her. I couldn’t stop thinking about how proud of her we are. And then how proud I am of our family.

And then I told her. And then I cried.

And then she cried.

But it was more from being overwhelmed, I think, than sad or worried or scared. I think it was just a lot for us to take in. A lot to process.

I’m still reeling. And probably more overwhelmed by it than I care to admit.

But I left yesterday knowing that she’s going to be so awesome wherever she ends up going. She’s going to thrive. She’s going to have a blast.

I know (I KNOW) I’m going to be a mess when the time finally arrives.

But you guys? I think we’re all going to be just fine. Really.

stanford

my marriage is now old enough to drive

A few weeks ago, I was headed to pick Beezus up from school. There was a difference in schedules that day, so I was headed out to the high school a little earlier than normal. And as I stopped at a light not far from the school, a truck pulled up next to me.

I thought,

“Huh. That’s funny. That looks like The Dude’s truck.”

Being that I drive a car much lower than the truck, I couldn’t really see in the window. And, like always, my mind was filled on the next thing. Like my to-do list once I picked up my kids.

“Huh…funny. That guy’s arm looks like it could be The Dude.”

And then the truck’s window rolled down and I happened to look over into my husband’s smiling face.

I laughed. I hadn’t expected to see him. And so my mind ignored the possibility that it COULD be him.

Not that I shouldn’t be happy to see him, but this unexpected “running into each other at a stoplight” seeing him made me stupid happy. Like, my heart did that pitter-patter/flip-flop thing.

I rolled down my window, still laughing. And after some funny hello’s, I found myself blurting out,

“It’s my person!”

I don’t know why that stuck with me. And why it still sticks with my now. It makes my heart swell and it still makes me giggle. But there was something about that chance meeting at a stoplight that reminded me how much I love that he’s my person.

So much of this past year has been a near-constant reminder why he’s my partner in crime. We can both be such pains in the ass, but we are better because we have each other. We are a team. We are the balancing act that beats all.

We are beating the all the odds.

anniversary

Someone told me yesterday that The Dude and I did everything right.

And I laughed right out loud.

Because for 16 years as of today, I’ve joked that we did everything backwards and wrong. Because our baby was at our wedding. Because we lived with my in-laws. Because we’ve barely made it through all the obstacles. Because life was so, so hard.

Because we’ve done nothing by the book and nothing by the rules. Okay, almost nothing.

But something that this year has shown me (again) is what a crock of shit those rulebooks often are. Because maybe you have to make your own rules and blaze your own trails because the path on the map doesn’t make any sense. Instead of being worried about our rough beginning, we can be so damn proud of our present and our future. And if someone pays us the compliment of doing everything right, say THANK YOU…and recognize how blessed we really are!

My life is insane and crazy and chaotic and, well, hard. But my life is also full and wonderful and fun and amazing. And sometimes it’s nice to be able to sit back and remember all that.

So who cares that maybe sitting at a stoplight was the best date we’ve had in a while.

Don’t tell my husband, but apparently it doesn’t take much to make me ridiculously happy.

take me out at the ballgame

I knew going into this weekend that I would probably make an ass of myself somehow. Just getting through a normal day without inflicting harm upon myself is a huge accomplishment. Signing on to play a charity softball game? Well, that’s just asking for trouble.

AND YET.

Yesterday, my daughter’s competitive softball team participated in a Play for Pink charity softball tournament that benefited a local chapter of breast cancer awareness and research. However, instead of the girls playing, it was the parents. And the girls were our coaches. It was a wonderful idea! Clever and fun!

I was just as surprised as anyone when I agreed to this. My lack of athletic ability isn’t what any of us would call a secret. It’s amazing that I’ve made it through training and participating for several running events without falling or breaking anything. ::knocks on wood:: But I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t terrified of getting injured. In fact, in the days leading up to the tournament, I had pretty well freaked myself out about the possibility of getting pegged in the head with a softball. No helmets + amateur, out of shape parents = ME GETTING PEGGED IN THE HEAD WITH A SOFTBALL.

I mean…it’s basic math. Right there.

Despite all the warning signs and math problems, we packed the ice chest and BBQ, laced up our tennies and headed out to the softball field yesterday morning. We played catch, warming up…for whatever it was worth. Yes, it’s good to warm up those muscles…and yes, it helped to get us going and moving and out there. But yeah…I wasn’t sure how much it would actually help me play an actual game of softball.

Which brings me to my second fear: STRIKING OUT.

I was somewhat expecting to strike out whenever I was up to bat. I can hit the ball ok during family softball practices…but I was pretty worried about softball stage fright when it came time for me to be up to bat in an actual game with people who don’t love me like my family does. I guess I just didn’t want to embarrass my kid. Or…myself.

*womp* *womp*

I switched off playing outfield in the first game. (Yes, the first game. Because I soon learned that there would be THREE.) And a little ways through the game, it was my turn to be up at bat.

Now what I’m going to tell you, is that I’m a very impatient batter. I just want to GET IT DONE. So I swung at the first pitch like I had been doing this all my life. And, not only did I make contact, but I hit it somewhere near the shortstop. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT…because I was RUNNIN. And I made it to first. Not only had I actually hit the ball, but I was safe! And yes! It probably had everything to do with an error in fielding, but shut up. I made it to first…and dammit let me celebrate because all my excitement is about to come crashing down.

Literally.

I can’t even tell you who was up to bat after me, but they hit the ball right near the second baseman. Force and all that, I was out. But I didn’t even have time to be bummed, because that sonofabitch playing second was trying for a double-play at first base. And HOLY SHIT I WAS IN HIS WAY OMG MY WORST FEAR IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN I’M ABOUT TO GET BEANED IN THE HEAD.

So I ducked.

And then I ate dirt.

Because Momentum, being the bitch that she is, well…she took me right down to the ground. Ducking so that I wouldn’t get hit in the head meant I would hit dirt. Knees scraped, hands raw…sunglasses down HITTING DIRT. For a split second, I do believe I contemplated staying there. BECAUSE WHY NOT.

But I didn’t.

I had some dusting off to do, and some filthy sunglasses to retrieve, as I made the walk of shame from between first and second bases to our dugout. Small blessings as they are, I was the third out, so many of our parents were headed out to take the field. I had a minute to pretend that I wasn’t embarrassed as that transition created a distraction for all of us. I searched for my mitt so that I could head to the outfield.

Except for that’s not what happened. Because I got benched by my own kid.

Being one of the captains of her team, Beezus helped lead the team that called the shots of batting lineups and positions played. And apparently my epic display of athleticism wowed her to the point of benching me.

Insult? Yeah, let’s add you to my injury.

But hey, since I’ve got all this free time on the bench, I might as well laugh with one of the other moms and then Instagram a picture of my battle wound. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOUR FIRST RULE OF THE DAY TO NOT GET HURT GOES RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW AND YOUR KID TOTALLY BENCHES YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE A KLUTZ.

 

Let's Instagram that shit.
Let’s Instagram that shit.

Laughing about it all the way home, as The Dude and I also lamented at how sore we both are, I stop and read the comments on a picture I posted on Facebook.

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I tear up as my aunt tells me how special it is that she’s one of the people we played for. And I’m reminded why I wanted to play in the first place. Because if these amazing women in my life (and people all over the world) can fight to kick cancer’s ass, I can totally make an ASS of myself out on a softball field for them…and for a really wonderful cause.

Do I hurt like hell today? Yes. All the things hurt, especially my knee.

But a great day, with great and wonderful people for an amazing cause makes it all worth it.

Although, amazing people and excellent cause aside for a minute, I have to tell you…I didn’t strike out. Not even once. Like, hit that ball better than I ever thought I would. Even impressed my family!

Yeah, sure…I also embarrassed them with my graceful face-plant in the dirt. But let’s let me have my moment.

However brief it may be.

 

remember that time we laughed so hard during wedding pictures?

Nothing snaps you back to reality after a fun wedding weekend filled with family like a puking kid early (EARLY) Monday morning. We’ll all just sit here and be incredibly relieved that Pukeapalloosa 2013 didn’t ruin any wedding festivities. I mean, what else CAN you do?

(Nothing. You can do nothing about pukes.)

But you know what will make you feel better? Wedding dancing!

 

 

I loved having my family in town. Like, super loved it. Especially having all of my siblings together.

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It’s not that I forget how much fun we have when we’re all together; I guess I just don’t really think about it when we can’t be in the same location. And then when we spent so much time together for the past week? Going back to normal life is a little bit of a bummer. Adding a sick kid on top of that is just adding insult to injury. (Although, look how cute they all are?)

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But you know what? I love that we have so much fun together. I love that we added one more to our family. I love these people so much. I just do.

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And I’m pretty excited to add another wonderful sister in-law that puts up with our really, really crazy family.

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So yeah…I’m coming down off my family high. And I’m missing everyone already.

It’s just…well, it would be A LOT more fun cleaning and doing laundry (even yucky laundry) if they were here too.

Love you guys.

Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togever today.

Last night, as a last hurrah before my youngest brother gets married, the five of us siblings went out to dinner. Or dessert. It was late in the evening. Both were acceptable.

I’m sure we are completely annoying to everyone around us, but we think we’re hilarious. Side aches and tears streaming down our face from the laughing. Terrible jokes, FRIENDS references…lines from movies. Insults laced with sarcasm that are only funny, somehow.

I don’t think we talked about anything serious the entire night.

My brother told me that he farted just before our waiter took this picture. Because we’re 12, apparently.

 

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It’s blurry and a little grainy, but this is one of my favorite pictures ever.

I know my parents didn’t have an easy time raising five kids. Ginormous pain in the ass children that we are.

But holy crap, they did a great job.

And damn, are we funny.

Bucket List Dilemma

updated 10/1/13
updated 10/1/13

 

When I told my family I was making a College Bucket List, some of them were more helpful than others in coming up with ideas. The Dude offered “Trip to New York”.

 “I already have that one,” I said.

“Oh. Well, then I don’t know. I’m going to have to think about it.”

As far as I know, he’s still thinking.

Beezus had a couple of ideas. But they were mostly things that I had already put on the list, too.

Except for one thing.

My daughter wants to go on a shopping spree with me. For me. Because I don’t shop for myself. And I’m terrible at shopping. Not because I don’t like new things…but because I hate rifling through clearance racks and sale items. I would much rather have my shopping done for me. And since I can’t afford that style of shopping, I go without. Or avoid shopping all together. The idea of Bargain Shopping stresses me out, and so I don’t do it.

And my daughter wishes that I did. She wishes that I would go shopping with her.

It’s kinda adorable, really. Adorable and sweet and generous and cute. She’s all of those things…and it made me all verklempt that she wanted to add this shopping trip to our Bucket List. And not because she wanted it all for HER…she wanted to do this for ME. And then of course, “get a couple of things while we’re out and about.”

I mean, of course.

But as adorable as she is and this is, I felt guilty. I avoid this shopping stuff because it’s not a comfortable experience for me. It stresses ME out. So I avoid it. I don’t love my body shape. So I avoid it. I can’t afford to shop in the way that’s most comfortable for me. So I avoid it. (And, for the record, I hated shopping when I was practically a stick figure kind of skinny. I was a gangly teenager. Who wants to show THAT off?) (OMG I WOULD SO TOTALLY SHOW THAT OFF RIGHT NOW.)

My point in all this is that I need to find a way to be comfortable with myself if I’m going to teach my daughters how it’s done. If I can’t be an example of being comfortable in my own skin, why would expect them to be?

I don’t have an answers and I’m not really asking for them, either. I’m just trying to figure my shit out. Because you have no idea how important it is to me to cross these things off the Bucket List.

I mean, after I actually add that one onto the list, of course.

we can’t help ourselves

For the past week or so, I’ve secretly announced to Beezus (or The Dude) how many sleeps we have until Disneyland.

Four more sleeps!

Two more sleeps!

For some reason, Beezus thinks that I sound British when I’m saying this. I find this hilarious and, without fail, launch into the best British accent I can muster for the remainder of the conversation.

Yeah…I completely deserve all the eye rolling.

One more sleep, though. One. More. Sleep.

photo credit: disney
photo credit: disney

Fall-ing

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such a pretty Fall cupcake

I made a Fall To Do list today. Which immediately inspired me to have Thanksgiving conversations with some of my family. I’m really sorry to have to admit that to you. I mean…I know that it’s only September…and I didn’t mean for it to happen, but I didn’t stop it either. I should be ashamed of myself.

But here’s the thing…there are a lot of us on my side of the family. Planning and scheduling holidays and events can get really difficult. Some of my siblings do one year at the in-laws, the next year with our side of the family. (One of my siblings lives too far away. Boo.) I don’t necessarily do that anymore. I used to try and cram SO. MUCH. THANKSGIVING. into one day, that it ended up being pretty gosh darn stressful. My family has taken to planning a separate Thanksgiving so that we can still all get together. Somehow, though, the on/off schedule has gotten a little out of sync. So somehow, my sister in law and I just declared Thanksgiving 2015 the year we all are together on the actual Day of Thanks. That gives everyone plenty of time to get squared away with their respective families.

What I realized after we had made such Thanksgiving declarations, is that I will have a college student coming home for the holidays that year. My head kinda exploded with that realization.

I will have you know that I only JOKED about sobbing hysterically. I didn’t actually do it. (PROGRESS.) (This won’t last.)

The fun thing about this year’s holiday celebrations is that we are (officially) welcoming in a new family member. My youngest brother (the youngest of all the siblings) gets married next month. I can’t even remember if I have mentioned that here, and I’m too lazy to go back and check, so yeah…my brother is getting married mid-October. I’m pretty much over-the-moon over my newest sister in-law. Both of my brothers have somehow convinced some pretty amazing ladies to marry them. I’m not sure how they did it, but I’m sure they have me and my sisters to thank for it. Just a hunch.

Once we get back from Disneyland, it will be less than three weeks until the wedding. Crazy. I should probably find something to wear that isn’t work clothes or yoga pants.

But now that the thought of shopping for a dress has sufficiently stressed me out, I’m going to go back to thinking about Disneyland. However, if I show up to the wedding in jeans and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, I may not have to worry about Thanksgiving plans since I will probably be uninvited.

I should re-think this plan. Probably.

Beezus and Ramona

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photo: sarah maren photographers

Years before my children were ever born, Beverly Cleary wrote a book (well, books) about my children. I mean, it isn’t EXACTLY about my children. But the similarities between Beezus and Ramona and my own children are pretty hilarious. And the very reason that I call them by those names on this here blog.

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In fact, it was after seeing the movie about the same characters that this realization hit me over the head. And by “hit me over the head” I mean, sitting in a dark theater completely gobsmacked and cousin Lucy leaning over to whisper, “OMG your kids. Those are your kids.”

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I don’t even know how that happens. I mean…is Beverly Cleary psychic? Did she change the actual events of our lives in her books so we wouldn’t sue her?

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photo: sarah maren photographers

I knew long ago that my girls would be ridiculously different for each other. Even the pregnancies were amazingly different. And yet, somehow I still find myself surprised when their differences lead to hefty battles. Or getting whiplash from the change of pace that the two of them set.

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photo: sarah maren photographers

Sometimes I think I am completely ill-equipped to parents such polar opposite children. What works for one will NEVER work for the other. And yet, somehow here we are…so many years later…kinda sorta hanging in there doing okay. Sometimes we’re just surviving to survive. But for the most part? I think we’ve done just fine.

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But at the end of the day, I am just so amazed that they are mine. These…PEOPLE…these amazing daughters with all these opinions and talents and personality.

kidlets

They really are the coolest kids ever. I should probably thank Beverly Cleary.

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