House of Insanity – Part the 2nd

Part 1 here.

The day before my husband got home from his two-week business trip, I called in the troops. I am often terrible at asking for help, but I knew that I needed it. Those two weeks had tested me in ways that I wasn’t exactly prepared for. It was even busier than I had planned on (the dummy that I am) and I just couldn’t do it on my own. Luckily, my volunteers kicked serious ass. But my mental health? Well…it really took a beating. It felt like I had been in a constant state of stress since February. Work was stressful. Moving is effing stressful. Solo-parenting is stressful. I honestly felt like it would never end.

Picking up The Dude from the airport made a world of difference. Because, damn, he’s my person. Sure he may aggravate me at times, but we really are a great team. And he just…does stuff while I’m trying to do stuff, too. And things get done! Of course, there wasn’t any time for “Hello! Welcome Home!” because we immediately had to keep going on the move. We really had packed a ton before he left and me and my volunteers had rocked it, but the last minute crap totally adds up. Nevermind the fact that we still had to get the new house move-in ready. Oh. Also a softball tournament. Because of course.

The next morning, we had a bit of a juggling act to deal with in our “regular” life and with the new house. Somehow, we had to get Beezus to her softball tournament (and catch as much of it as we could) and also deal with a scheduling issue with the new house craziness. The carpet guys had finished right on time the day before, but the painters still needed more time. The housecleaners were already scheduled, and we couldn’t push them back. It was a very odd balancing act of staying out of everyone’s way…but could you please hurry up because wet paint is a nightmare when you want things to be cleaned. And I don’t know if you remember, but the house was a ridiculous, filthy mess. Grime and dirt and yuck in pretty much every room in the house. (Degreaser used on the showers. I can’t shut up about that.)

But the paint colors. Holy crap, the paint colors were AMAZING. I was absolutely in love with the colors we had chosen. (Sorry for all the iPhone picture. Wait. Not I’m not.)

2 bath
downstairs bathroom. may or may not be Tiffany’s blue inspired. maybe.

Like, wanted to marry every paint color we had picked because it was just too amazing for words.

2 stairs

They were soothing and calm and soothing and calm. The complete antithesis of the colors they replaced.

2 kitchen
white walls instead of gross, puke yellow. and someday those cabinets will be white. someday.

I hate to admit it, but it wasn’t until the after the painters and the cleaners had left that I finally felt like this could be our home. I spend a lot of random minutes worrying that I was never going to love this house. I mean, there was excitement because I was able to find the silver lining most of the times, but there were plenty of times that I agonized over our decision.

Except for the paint colors. Hot damn, did I mention I loved the paint colors?

I will forever be grateful for the painters that made ugly walls go far, far away.
I will forever be grateful for the painters that made ugly walls go far, far away.

Somehow we survived the final weekend of getting ready, and all of a sudden the movers arrived to pack up all our crap bright and early Monday morning. As luck would have it, I had to be at work for part of the day. Luckily, The Dude and our amazing people who put up with us were there to make it all happen. And I don’t care how organized we thought we were, moving day NEVER EVER SEEMS TO END. It just doesn’t. And it sucks. It’s like that last trimester of pregnancy where you just resigned yourself to looking like a beached whale for the rest of your life because that baby was probably not ever coming out. It’s the feeling of despair.

But no, the move actually does happen. And you’re furniture and your things (that are in boxes piled everywhere) is sitting there. It finally feels real and like you kinda sorta belong there because LOOK! That is your couch. And more importantly, THERE IS YOUR BED. (And speaking of which, one of the best pieces of advice from my mom: make sure your bed is ready before you do anything else. A soft place to land after a reeeeaaaaallly long day of moving is the most magical feeling in the world. I had even washed all the bedding, just before packing it, so that it could be taken care of ASAP.) (Magical. It was magical.)

Since moving in a little more than a month ago, we’ve gotten most things unpacked…even the garage is pretty gosh-darn organized. I still don’t have pictures on the walls, but that is mostly because I can’t commit to what I want. I may need to switch out some frames and make different choices. Mainly because we have more walls to fill, but also because I’m still getting to know the flow of the house. That might sound hokey, but the house and I are still getting to know one another. I love it. I really, really love it, but I feel like I need to know the house a little better before we put holes in the walls.

There is still so much to do. It’s almost overwhelming if I think about it too much. Thank goodness the structure of the house is sound, but the cosmetics of it were and are a mess. My dad and my brother (and the gardeners) helped us (okay, helped The Dude) start cleaning the yard. Clearing out SO MUCH OVERGROWTH.

2 yuck
this is only one load that went to the dump. soooo many more just like this.

They were also able to tame all of the fruit trees and grape vines that were seriously out of control. And, most important to Jill, cut back any tree branches that were touching the house. Because NO MICE PLEASE IN MY HOUSE. (OMG, I almost can’t even talk about it.) We also had to get the pest company out to our house immediately because…well, there were so many bugs with all the fruit trees and overgrowth. Plus, strange water bugs that weren’t actually in the water? Just hanging around the yard? I don’t even know. But wow with the bugs.

2 pool

The pool has also been a HUGE challenge. We immediately hired a pool service, but it has taken a lot of hard work to get that pool looking awesome. The pool took a beating, really. And I’m super excited that we’re finally getting to a point where it’s not so crazy. (And can we talk about how we put up some lights in the yard and around the pool for Beezus’ birthday and holy crap, it makes me happy?)

2 grapes
grape vines and twinkle lights

My house isn’t decorated by any stretch of the imagination. I have a couple things done here and there, but since we’ve focused so much time on the “fires” that need to be put out, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time to work on the pretty. And honestly? I’m just excited that we’ve gotten as far as we have in such a short amount of time. We couldn’t have done it without amazing family and friends. And I seriously couldn’t have done any of this without The Dude. That guy makes shit happen.

There are moments when I chuckle to myself at everything that we seemed to “ignore” when we made our offer on this house. It is honestly how I know that it was meant to be. We were blessed with the gift of temporary-house-view-blindness. Or rose-colored glasses. Whatever it was, I’m amazed that we looked past the yuck. But I’m more amazed at how perfect this house is for us. And I didn’t even know it at first. This house is nothing like what we thought we needed to buy. We never set out for any of this. But those unanswered prayers you hear about? Yeah. That’s this house. It it this amazing space that has room for all my loved ones. (I haven’t tried to fit all my loved ones in the house at one time, but CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.) I can share these blessings with all of them. My family fits. (MY FAMILY FITS, YOU GUYS.) And it just makes me so happy to have them all there. And going through all the stress and gross and craziness and gross…well, I think it just makes it that much more worth it.

new house

harmony -vs- balance…and why harmony is the winner

be who you are

Can we just get rid of the word balance? I know I’ve spent too many years trying to find balance. The internet is excellent at making us believe that we can, so we do. The internet is also good at making us feel like shit when we can’t actually find that balance we worked so hard to find. It’s so easy! Put down your phone…get off the internet…say no more…make your own cheese! So much information constantly being thrown at us, proving that we’re doing it all wrong.

I’m pretty sick of it.

The idea of balance is so enticing. The notion that we can have it all and that we can look fit and fashionable while doing it. But it’s a pile of crap that is disguised as kale and elaborate playdates and bikini-ready bodies. It’s the instruction that if we JUST! TRY! HARDER! it will all fall into place. Our life, I mean. We’ll be the shining examples of doing it right and having it all! So we can then, of course, post it on Facebook or Pinterest the hell out of it.

No really, I’m pretty sick of it.

Would it be so bad if we all just admitted how hard life is?

The reality of balance is this: if you are putting your focus on one specific thing, you are not putting your focus on every other thing. It is impossible to focus on all the things at all the time. And I don’t believe you if you say that you spend equal amounts of time on all the things. I call bullshit. And I call it OUT LOUD.

In my efforts to find the ever elusive balance, I have somehow created a war. Mostly with myself, but a war has broken out. I’m angry when I can’t be fair with my time. I’m frustrated when I can’t get it all done. I’m furious when my plans are fall apart. I feel shamed when I fail at everything. Because didn’t the internet tell me I could have it all? Am I terrible? What is wrong with me? Where is all the balance?

Have I mentioned I’m sick of it?

I’ve become so frustrated with all that I have to do and all that I have to focus on, I’ve become bitter and resentful. I’m just so mad at myself that I can’t keep it together.

And then I read a book (a completely un-related, a little bit dumb book) that talked about harmony. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering. It was just talking about the Native American views on harmony and it was almost like I was smacked upside the head with this book. (I do realize that the link mentions harmony AND balance. But I’m pretty sure the Native American version of balance isn’t creating a Pinterest worthy DIY project while doing a million hours of planking at the same time. Maybe.) It’s not balance that I’m missing. It’s developing a harmonious place where all the areas of my life can coexist. Although, I kinda want to punch myself in the face after writing a sentence like that. (I’m so sorry.)


My point of all this rambling is that I’ve created this completely un-balanced environment while I search for the thing that will make or help me live a balanced life. What I’ve done is cause all the areas of my life to be at war with one another because I can’t seem to remember that I’m only one person. And that maybe if I sought out harmony instead of balance, I might actually get somewhere. Because, can’t we all get just along? If I can figure out a way to not be angry or frustrated at all the parts of my life that are demanding my attention, I might be able to see that all parts can work together and more can actually get done. Okay, probably not…but I’ll be able to remember that each part of my life needs my attention at different times. And I hope that I can stop feeling bad about everything I’m NOT doing when I’m in a car for long periods of time…or at work far more than I want to be…or folding laundry for hours on end. Finding harmony and giving a space for everyone and everything to play a little nicer sounds a lot better than feeling constantly guilty for never obtaining a balanced life. You know, the one that doesn’t actually exist.

I’ll probably never be able to fully give up my quest for balance. Pinterest ruins you like that. But at least I can try put my focus on a lot more harmony, and the fact that I’m only one person, and a lot less on the ab workouts and the latest quinoa recipe.

I wasn’t going to do that ab workout anyway.

photo credits here and here

I’m just hoping you’ll put up with me

I keep forgetting to tell you about all this free time I (apparently) should be getting. Or at least that’s the opinion of someone I know. So I wrote about it.

We all make choices in life. And, well…I guess I choose to be busy. I could say no more. I don’t have to spend quite so much time with my family. Sure, I might be able to cut down the amount of time I spend driving in the car if my kids didn’t play so many sports. I guess I don’t have to go to EVERY game.

But I choose to do all these things.

My “me time” is usually spent with the people that mean the most to me.

I also need to write an update on our Summer Challenge. And while we haven’t been perfect at it, we’ve also had some successes at just being better about eating at home. Sometimes it means thinking outside the box. And sometimes it’s all about NOT TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT. One of the best parts of the challenge is coming up with things to make that I wouldn’t have ever thought of before. And realizing that I’m a better cook than I give myself credit.

Ramona is getting better and better at sixth grade. And so are her parents. We went to Back to School Night yesterday and feel even better about all the awesome at her new school. She has amazing teachers, the school offers so much to her education…and it’s just feeling so much better than before. She even has someone to sit with at lunch sometimes. Which makes my mommy heart feel a little better.

Beezus starts her junior year tomorrow. I’ve taken to Facebook to apologize for being THAT mom. The mom that is a complete b00b about her kids growing up and OMG could I please knock that off? But, yeah…a junior in high school. Happening tomorrow. This is weird, you guys.


And if starting her junior year wasn’t enough to ruin me, she also turns 16 this weekend. So, you know, I’ll be getting ready for the big event…and sobbing quietly in a corner.

But because I can’t leave you with the sound of me crying (thank goodness this blog doesn’t have sound) there has to be something fun. Back a million years ago…before blogs were really even a thing, Sarah used to post her current song on repeat. And this isn’t a hip, new song that everyone should know about…it’s the amazing George Harrison. And the song and I just got reacquainted. And it’s on repeat. My only explanation is that it makes me happy and I love singing along at the top of my voice. (Again, we’re grateful that there’s no sound here.)

Thanks for the happy, George.

our summer

I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. The busy season at work. The all things moving and unpacking and settling in to the new house. We have a little break in most sports-related things.

But unfortunately, this also brings the ending of summer and lazy evenings and no homework. It’s time for us to go back to school shopping and figuring out new schedules and routines, especially in the new area. We have a new school to figure out…nerves are out in full force. We need to reevaluate our routes to work and to the school that didn’t change. There is drop-off and pick-up to worry about and fret about.

I mean…and then there’s just the regular life that keeps going on and on.

This isn’t new. This happens every year. I get very overwhelmed and anxious as we head into fall and a new school year. I feel regret for all the time I’m not able to spend with my kids because of the busy time at work. I worry about the upcoming school year…getting used to new teachers, expectations and schedules. Plus, there’s just so much to DO. It’s pretty much impossible to get everything done. But before I get lost in a sea of “what-ifs” and wishing some things could’ve been different, I want to remind myself of all the things that meant so much to me. I want to document the summer memories and traditions we started and loved, even when everything else was catawampus.


The Move

Moving is hard. It’s hard to move away from a neighborhood and people you love and adore. It’s only 20 miles away, but it seems so far sometimes. And packing, and unpacking. And I haven’t even wrote about all that needed to be done to the house before we could move in. All the work we still have to do to clean up all the different messes the previous owner had made. But you guys? I love our new home. It is everything that I never thought I would ever have. My kids love it. The Dude and I love it. Paisley even loves it. (I can tell. I think.) I have this great space for the people that I love. We’ve already hosted several family events and get-togethers. I can’t help it…I absolutely love it. Which is good. Because that first mortgage payment is probably coming out of my account as I type this.



One of the best parts of this summer is how much time we’ve spent with family. My sister was in town during the week we moved in to the new house. We had family visit from Mexico. It feels like we haven’t stopped with events and what-not, but it’s been amazing. Exhausting, but amazing.


New Blogging Adventures

After all these years of quietly blogging and writing, I had never ventured to any sort of blogging conference. But this year, I actually went to two. I need to sit down and actually write about them, but for now I’ll just tell you that I’m so glad that I went to each of these conferences. Both events fell at the worst times to be heading to the Bay Area, but it all worked out.

I also had the chance to work with and meet up with the lovely people from SodaPop PR and Tillamook and also attend the Sunset Magazine Celebration weekend. I had a blast meeting and getting to know so many wonderful people. These people are so wonderful.



Both of my kids had great softball seasons this year. Ramona had a wonderful regular season and then had a great run on the All-Star team. She did so great!! Beezus has done great with her high school team, and had a dang good season with her travel team. It was a lot of fun to watch both girls push themselves and to improve and grow. We honestly had a blast. And having wonderful parents on both teams was a HUGE bonus.

Trip to UCLA

Back in June, we made a whirlwind of a trip to cheer on our dear, close family friend as she graduated (with honors, I might add) from UCLA. We had such a great time celebrating her accomplishments. So proud of her! I’ve been celebrating her accomplishments since she graduated preschool, and I have loved being there for all these big milestones! And, I’ll be honest, I was surprised at how beautiful the UCLA campus is. It’s STUNNING. So glad we were able to tour the campus and see the sights.


Giants Game

Yes I realize they’re dead last right now and they kinda suck. But damn, we had good seats and had an absolute blast.

Campfire Wednesdays

Here’s the thing: Campfire Wednesday saved my summer. From my parents’ backyard, I felt like we experienced summer even when the deadlines were looming, the move was happening, and the stress was ridiculous.

I love my family. I love hanging out with my family. And creating this summer tradition was everything I needed to feel like we actually did have some fun this summer. I hope to enjoy a few more before we have to put away the marshmallow roaster sticks. Because I love everything about it and I’m not ready for it to end.

I’m having a hard time knowing that this time next week, Ramona will officially be back in school and that our summer will be on notice. Beezus heads back to school the week after that, so I feel like we have so much to accomplish in the next few days. And by accomplish, I mean have all the fun possible. Be lazy. Swim more. Eat more s’mores and ice cream. We really have so much to do!

And I kinda can’t wait.

The Post Where I’m Not Letting Myself Complain About My Week


I never expected to love my kids like I do. I grew up always wanting to be a mom, but I don’t think I ever imagined what loving my kids could be like.


I always figured that I would love my husband…but I never figured that I would be miles away and just miss him so much because he’s my person and my safe place. I just…I just didn’t know it could be like this.


camacho_0811 A&J


There’s no such thing as a perfect family, perfect children, or perfect marriage. I’m not going to sit here and prattle on about how perfect my life is. That type of perfection doesn’t exist. We have hard times. My husband and I are ridiculously stubborn and can be asshole jerks. My children can be spoiled rotten turd buckets who don’t listen. But even with all our imperfections, we have this family that is pretty damn rad.


camacho_064 wall

This week wasn’t my favorite. There were some wonderful and awesome moments, but the week as a whole was a bit stressful. It’s been stressful for quite some time. But when I sat down to write something, the words kept coming back to my family. They make everything worth it and okay. Even when they’re being…difficult.


I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

family photo by sarah @ sarah maren photographers
family photos by sarah @ sarah maren photographers

LOST: Gratitude

I’m cranky.

That was more a warning than a statement, but I’m hoping we can still be friends. (You DO look lovely today.) I’m nervous to write anything because I’m worried about how cranky this is going to sound!

I mean, I was doing so well before this week! When I got discouraged, I found my gratitude. When I got mad, I found my gratitude. When I thought I couldn’t do ONE MORE THING, I still found my gratitude.

But today? Today I have lost my gratitude and I’m really hoping that someone has found it. And by “someone” I mean one of you. I figure that if one of you has it, you won’t hold it for ransom and ask for a millions dollars. Maybe. I should probably rethink my plan.

I think being bogged down with projects at work and moving and unpacking…MONTHS OF STRESS…I think it’s finally taken its toll on me. I think I’m just done. And I need a little pick-me-up. I need some pampering…maybe 17 or so naps…some me time…something to recharge the batteries, if you’ll allow me to use that tired (and probably cheesy) expression. I need some pretty things. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, maybe.

Or maybe a conference. Maybe.


I honestly didn’t start out writing about Alt Summit San Francisco. Honest to blog, I totally didn’t. I really just wanted to sit here and complain. But right when the complaining was starting to get good, and talking about pretty things, I remembered where I’ll be for about 36 hours this week. Surrounded by pretty things and ideas and more creativity than I’ll know what to do with while being in one of my favorite cities.

So maybe it’s NOT the best time for me to be picking up and heading to the city. And yes, MAYBE that’s stressing me out. And sure, there are outfits and dressing up to worry about and I’m not even packed yet, OMG. Nevermind the open apology I need to write to all other attendees because I didn’t have time to color my hair OR get a pedicure. (Sorry, friends.) But maybe it not being the perfect timing is…well, kinda perfect.

Maybe I need a break. Perhaps the timing couldn’t be better. I mean…I get to hang out with some of my favorite ladies. I get to learn and stare at pretty things and ideas. Sure, there’s the fact that I am TOTALLY out of my league! There are some fancy people headed to Alt! But I’m going to have a blast. Because I’m not going to waste this day off. I need it too much.

My gratitude isn’t back yet, but my goodness, I see hope popping up over there. And sometimes a little hope and believing there are good things up ahead is what makes all the gratitude find its way home. At least, I think it does. I’m no expert, but damn…my heart sure does feel slightly lighter.

Which is probably a good thing…I gotta fit into that cocktail dress tomorrow. (Sorry, I HAD to. You can punch me later.)

Somewhat Wordless Wednesday

I need this shirt:



I think my dog hates everything about us right now:


Sometimes looking for funny pictures on your phone will remind you about the time your friend Erin posted this on Instagram and it makes you giggle. Also? PERSPECTIVE.



Edited to add: Ginessa won the Raging Waters passes! (And Ramona totally picked your name out of a bowl because that’s how we roll.)


Life Can Be a Little Heavy


I have written and unwritten about seven different posts. None of my words seems to work. It’s weird to have your heart filled to the brim and completely shattered and broken all at the same time. Being completely excited about a new adventure and then equally sad for the things that you already miss from the old adventure. Trying to be there for those in need while recognizing that I need to get better about asking for help with what I need. One, big life event is enough to drive anyone crazy…but having so many things all at once is incredibly overwhelming. And that is the understatement of the year.

It’s just…a lot.

It usually helps to write it out. And I feel like if I could just write my way out of feeling like this, I could just focus on the (4,574,178,286) tasks at hand.

Now, if this was an after-school special, this would be the part where I’d have a spectacular meltdown and shave my head, or something. (Don’t worry, I’m too vain for that.)

I think my mini-meltdown occurred yesterday when Nora just asked me how I was doing and I couldn’t even really respond with anything that made sense. And for the first time in a really long time, I just let my eyes leak and cry for my friends who are hurting. And I cried for my own heart that is broken. And for the stress and anxiety and stress and anxiety that comes from so much to do, so many deadlines, and so much change.

It really is a lot.

I’m terrible at asking for help. But luckily I have the best of friends and family that call me out on my shit and tell me that they’re on their way to help. Or put time on their calendars to help. Even if it’s completely last minute and I just remembered I need someone to watch my dog when we’ll be out of town for 24 hours. They’re there. They’re all there.

At the end of the day, I know that I can do hard things. And that everything will be ok even if things aren’t ok right now. I know I am blessed beyond reason. I have the greatest family and friends on the planet.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I just wrote myself out of a personal crisis, but getting it off my chest helped. Admitting that sometimes life is just a lot to take helped. But most of all, reminding myself that I have the greatest people around me and who are there for me helped the most. I’m still living in a constant state of stress, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I have the coolest people ever walking that tunnel with me. I got this.

I Know Where the Summer Goes

It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty stressed lately. Summers aren’t too much fun for me. There’s just so much to do, not enough time to do it. Deadlines and to-do lists plus miscellaneous events and tournaments and practices. I’m a little worn out. Actually, I’m a lot worn out. Stress will do that to ya.

I am so grateful to my mom who just…handled everything yesterday. She just did. Hung out with my kids…even picked Beezus up from her last day of school. My sister joined in the fun with her three kids in the afternoon. So Ramona and two of her cousins were thick as thieves and ran amuck. Well, they ran around doing all the things that kids should do in the summer: trampoline, sprinklers, playing all day…only stopping to nag about being hungry or thirsty. While they were off playing, Beezus and the little bit (who is 2) hung out. They’re good buddies.

It worked out that my dad needed to drop his car off at the dealership after he left his office, so I left mine and went to pick him up. We chatted all the way to their house. The other night, he had started telling stories of stupidity. Well, things he had done when he was younger that were pretty darn stupid and it’s amazing he’s still alive. We continued the conversation…he added more stories and examples. It really IS amazing that my dad is still alive.

My parents still live in the same house I grew up in. We moved there when I was about 7, but most of my growing up years were at this house. When we got there, my mom and my sister were finishing up dinner. I felt pretty darn spoiled and so incredibly grateful. It’s amazing how nice it is to have someone else cook dinner for you every once in a while. Of course, I wasn’t much help at all. I kinda just sat there. I felt bad, but I was just so gosh-darn tired.

Since the evening cooled off so nicely, we decided to eat outside at the picnic table my parents have in their backyard. I ended up being thoroughly entertained by niece most of dinner. That kid cracks me up.

In the back of my mind, I probably assumed it would happen, but I didn’t even notice that my dad had built a fire in the fire pit until I heard the fire crackle behind me. All of a sudden, on a Wednesday evening in my parents’ backyard, it smelled like camping. But even better. My dad brought out all the fixins for s’mores. Because that’s the kind of gramps he is.

My dad has s’more making down to a science. He waits for the coals to burn down so that it’s perfect for roasting marshmallows. I like to break all his rules and light my marshmallow on fire. But since I’m usually not planning on eating actual s’mores, it works out for me. You see, I like to toast the hell out of the mallow and then pull off the outside, toasted layer. It’s like white trash crème brulee, my friends. The crystalized and crispy sugar is the business. Then, of course, you stick the marshmallow back in the fire and toast the hell out of it all over again. Repeat until marshmallow is gone. Or falls off into the fire pit because you let it roast too long.

My sister, my dad and I sit around the fire for quite some time. I stayed much later than I planned, but I can’t seem to make myself leave. The kids are in and out of the house, wanting 17 s’mores and being disappointed when we don’t give them that many. We talk and talk and tell more funny stories. My mom joins us after a little while. Somehow, we are discussing medical maladies and surgery stories. I think my sister’s ultimate goal is to gross my mom out. My brother calls at one point, wondering if I’m still at Mom’s. Him and his family are on their way home and thought they’d stop by if we were all here. I laugh and tell him that I should’ve left hours ago. He said he would take his chances. Surprise surprise, I was still there when they strolled out to the backyard.

I’m not sure how long we stayed out there. Someone stirred the fire up to try and generate some heat. We were all a little surprised at how chilly it got when the sun went down. And then, all of a sudden, my youngest brother was there too. The discussion turned to his wedding plans. At this point, I became very aware of how far two states away really is. Because having the four of us just happen to show up at my mom and dad’s makes you very aware that the 5th (and oldest, ha) sibling should be there, too.

It became too cold to stay outside. And, truth be told, it was exactly the push I needed to get my butt in gear and get home. But even as I had my kids get ready to leave, new conversations began and plans were made and more time passed. Once again, I wasn’t quite ready to leave, but I knew I had to get to all the things I had been putting off the entire evening. Reluctantly, I herded my children out the door and we drove home. My kids were exhausted, but they chattered most of the way. And I was content. An evening with my family was just what I needed. Of course there was still so much to do. But for a moment I let it all go. It’s amazing how you can put off dealing with the stress and deadlines when you smell like campfire and roasted marshmallows…and summer.


Tillamook and Sunset and Some of the Greatest Folks on the Planet

I’m a terrible salesperson. I almost wish I could give you some sort of visual that would help explain just how bad of a salesperson I am. I thought about putting together a PowerPoint presentation, but I ran out of time. Also, that just seems like a lot of work to tell you that I’m really bad at something, so it might not be very good for my self-esteem. Let’s just pretend you all totally understand how inept I am at sales.

But here’s the thing…if I like/love something, I’m going to talk about it. In fact, I probably won’t shut up about it. I might even name my children after my most favorite products ever. (JUST KIDDING! I don’t have a kid named M*A*C iPhone Starbucks! Silly…)

(Wait…can I change MY name?)

(Nevermind. Don’t encourage me.)

Every once in a while, you find further proof that a product is just as awesome as you thought it was. And even better? The people that represent or work for said product or company are dreamy and wonderful and especially fantastic and I’m super glad that I got to meet them. Like these people. Right here.

Katie, Beezus, Ramona, Me, Dyan ang Gillian
Katie, Beezus, Ramona, Me, Dyan and Gillian

I wasn’t lying when I said I love Tillamook products. You can believe this because I’m pretty much one of the worst liars in the world, but also because I really meant what I said. I didn’t say nice (and slightly ridiculous) things about these fine folks because I felt like I had to. I said them because it just so happens that I would say nice things about them anyway. (Also: YOGURT ADDICTION.)

If you’ll let me, though…I’d really like to say some nice things about those lovely people in the picture. But let me back up first.

Beezus is an excellent Vana
Beezus is an excellent Vanna

This weekend in Menlo Park, Sunset Magazine held their Celebration Weekend. It is a wonderful event, I might add, that highlights some of the awesome products and places and ideas that they include in their magazine with many of the vendors there to answer any questions and yes, probably to sell you on their product a little bit. But first of all, since we know how much I love California, you can blame Sunset for making me want this in my house:

this *just* went on a certain “honey-do” list.

And possibly all of these things, too.

remind me to tell you about those chairs that are sitting in the sun and were not HOT.
remind me to tell you about those chairs that are sitting in the sun and were not HOT.

The amazing Tillamook and SodaPop folks invited us down for the day so that we could have a chance to meet up with them face to face and also take part in the festivities.

Ramona painting by number with Benjamin Moore
Ramona painting by number with Benjamin Moore

There really was so much to see and do, but I have to tell you…meeting up with Dyan, Gillian and Katie was one of the best parts of the day. The entire walk to the car, my family talked about how gosh-darn-nice the three of them were. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. And yes, the shade, yogurts and water made it that much more enjoyable, but mostly all kinds of nice and wonderful people! (And there may have been a moment where we shared cute dog pictures and tried to convince Gillian that she needed one. That probably happened.)

So a very big and giant THANK YOU to Dyan, Gillian and Katie…and also to Tillamook and SodaPop PR. We really had such a nice time and loved getting the chance to meet all of you. And, not gonna lie (because I really can’t) we are really hoping make the trip up to Tillamook and visit soon. Because YOGURT ADDICTION. But also to see where all the cheese/yogurt magic happens. We promise to be on our very, very best behavior. Probably.

And because you knew this was coming, and since Facebook is right down the street, may I leave you with the obligatory Facebook sign thumbs up picture. Because my kids are just that cute.