I’m Not Even Sure That *I* Can Keep Up With All This

Our weekends may not be as busy as they once were, but it is incredible how much we cram into such a short amount of time. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. I’m also exhausted because of it. Even with the expectation that this would be a busy weekend, I’m still amazed by this level of tired. It wasn’t until I scrolled through the pictures from the past few days that I fully realized just how nuts we are sometimes. Okay, often. We are nuts on a super regular basis. But scrolling through these pictures was a reminder that I wouldn’t change any of it. There’s nothing I would want to miss. *F*R*I*D*A*Y*

Love these two, Life of Jill
Love these two: Beezus and the Birthday Girl

Friday we celebrated a certain someone turning 18 with a huge family dinner. Words cannot express how weird this is especially since Beezus is right behind her. It was just yesterday they looked like this:


I’m not sure what got into all of us, but we were a rambunctious group. A musical, messy and completely insane kind of rambunctious. I’m sure we must be the only ones to find us funny, but does YOUR sister convince your dad to turn his plate sideways so that she can slop more ‘green slime’ onto his plate from across the table?

green slime on a plate
green slime on a plate

My guess is no. Unless you’re related to me and we have the same siblings. (Most of it actually made it onto the plate if you can believe it. Most of it.)

green slime on a glass
green slime on a glass

*S*A*T*U*R*D*A*Y* We are new to the band life and all that entails. We’ve had band concerts and parades and carnivals, but this was our first experience with a band festival. I guess I would liken it to a softball showcase except there are festival judges that score and critique each band. My kid was a little disappointed with their score, but this was supposed to be a learning experience only. They’ll be even more ready for the next one. (We also ran into my brother who was out there representing the company he works for. It was kind funny and hilarious that we got to hang out there for a bit.)

Band Festival for Ramona
Band Festival for Ramona

After a late breakfast and taking care of a few things around the house (and maybe a nap) it was time to get ready for the high school crab feed. I was so excited to have some of our favorite folks join us and we had just the right amount of us to splurge on a VIP table. It wasn’t even that much more (really, not at all) and it was sooooo worth it. We. Had. A. Blast. We had our own waiter (Joey!) and some little extras here and there that were super enjoyable. Courtney has taught us all how to come prepared for a crab feed (complete with a candelabra, of course) and our brand of fancy won us the best table! (It may have been called something else but I’m going to believe it was BEST TABLE EVER. Especially since Joey said so.) The Dude (aka The Mayor for this particular crab feed – only to us) picked out our gift basket. Some of it immediately went *SPLAT* on the floor, but the vodka and martini glasses were spared.

All the best people crab feed
All the best people crab feed
this was a thing, too
this was a thing, too

I fully expected this to be my last crab feed with the high school, but we had SO MUCH FUN (and they really do a bang up job) we’ve preemptively committed to next year along with plans for t-shirts and complete with nicknames.

Patriotic as %^@*
Patriotic as %^@*

This picture doesn’t really have much to do with anything except for it’s AWESOME. Sarah wanted to take a picture of Amy and I standing in front of the flag mural before the crab feed and a two-gal salute was the only answer. (I have no idea why that sentence sounds a little dirty so just pretend that it’s not if it is.) *S*U*N*D*A*Y* IMG_4022.JPG Waking up early for a half marathon seems like a bad idea after such a fun crab feed, but this is how life works sometimes. Sarah, Dina and I had trained so hard for Shamrock’n but NONE of us were super excited to do the actual race. Our training had gone so well, but I think we all realized how tough this race would be. First of all, IT WAS SO DAMN HOT. Most of our training was done in the wee hours of the morning so you can imagine how the heat might affect us. I’m not sure if I have ever been so grateful to cross a finish line. (You know, besides every single race I’ve ever done. Besides THOSE times.) I was proud of us for finishing…but I was most proud of our training.

you can almost see the relief on our faces that we’re done


REALLY proud of all of us. (Met through the local chapter of Moms Run This Town)
REALLY proud of all of us. (Met through the local chapter of Moms Run This Town)

I’m trying to keep the negativity to a minimum, but I’ve also realized it’s okay that this wasn’t my favorite race. Not by a long shot. Mentally and physically it was just rough. ROUGH. Let’s just say that there were a few miles that were fueled ONLY by the thought of this view after it was all over: (That and icing my knees.)

numbing all the things
numbing all the things

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little discouraged by the outcome of this race. Our training had gone so well, I really thought the race was going to be different. I walked into the office to hang my medal with the others. I was deliriously tired by this point so I know my emotions may have been more on the surface because of that, but I grabbed all the medals off the little shelf where I haphazardly hang them and laid them out on the kitchen table. (Someday I’ll actually buy a race medal rack. Someday.) I’ve done six half marathons (one medal is not pictured because I was too lazy to go upstairs and get my Nike necklace), one full marathon , three Ragnar relays and two CIM relays. (Plus a handful of 5k’s, etc.)

all the bling

Yesterday I became a little more proud of this collection. Maybe even a lot more proud. Not one of those races was easy for me by any stretch of the imagination. Running will never be easy for me. But the fact of the matter is that I did it anyway. I know that I always say that running teaches me to do hard things but I don’t know that I let myself be really proud of that very often. I don’t think I’ve ever displayed all my medals all at once just let myself be proud that I EARNED each one of those. I earned them. It doesn’t make me feel tons better about a shitty race, but it does make me feel really proud of all those races as a whole. Although, this level of tired is off the charts and there are FIVE whole days until the weekend. Which, thankfully, isn’t quite as busy as this one. I might get to actually sleep a wee bit more. Plus, I get to look forward to going on a run because I WANT to and at a time that is as early in the morning as I want it to be for whatever distance sounds like a good idea. I have enough medals. For now.

I was reminiscing just the other day

My kids got Taylor Swift concert tickets for Christmas. It was all they asked for what they really, really, really wanted and swore they didn’t need anything much else. And for reasons I can’t completely explain, there are also two tickets for The Dude and I.

Don’t hate me, but I’m kinda excited.

The past couple of times ‘ol Swifty has been in town, we weren’t able to get tickets. Heaven knows we tried. But there’s a fine balance of wanting to do something for your kids and being able to afford your mortgage payment because the only tickets left by the time you actually get through cost nine million dollars. Being a grown-up is so lame, you guys.


With this particular album, we made sure we were on some sort of notification email list-thing that would give us behind the scenes info and the code for presale. (Super technical terms meaning that teenager of mine told us when all the things were happening.) Even knowing all this, getting enough tickets was quite the ordeal. Let’s just say that the two separate ticket buying experiences (there are friends going with us and you could only buy a certain amount of tickets per household) left us all with heart palpitations and PTSD. It also leaves The Dude and I sitting by ourselves (with thousands of other people) so the girls can all sit together and I find this perfectly hilarious.

Timing is a funny thing, though. We’ve been TSwizzle fans for years and years. Yes, I said we. Some of my favorite memories with my girls have been singing TS songs over and over on repeat because they’re the quintessential growing up songs and super fun to sing at the top of your lungs. Even for an alleged grown-up. And this huge concert event in August comes right at a time these girls, and their parents, might need it the most. Because just a couple short weeks later, a few of these girls will be heading off to college where the soundtrack to this next chapter in their life might sound a bit different.




So maybe the title using Taylor Swift song lyrics on yesterday’s post makes the lump in my throat grow into a huge bolder every time I read it. Because obstacles and mountains and expectations and goals and dreams and surviving and hoping that everything will be okay and then getting to a point where we’re more than okay. But also because these girls are the epitome of all the Taylor Swift albums, as silly and cliche as it sounds. They’re young and hopeful and scared and excited. These girls, man. They’re crashing through walls, moving mountains, making magic, fighting dragons and having the time of their lives. And all of this just…fits somehow and the timing is perfect.

We Three Wine Gnomes

After my husband and I were married (you know, when we were 12) I began to learn more about his family’s traditions and celebrations. I soon became more acquainted with the holiday I had previously thought of as “Second Christmas” that was celebrated in the first week of January. Growing up in a non-Catholic household, epiphany was just an idea that someone could have.

(Say it with me now: “An epihpy-what?”)
(Say it with me now: “An epihpy-what?”)

I, admittedly, had a LOT to learn.

Luckily, the internet had been invented (even back then) and I found myself debunking another huge misconception: The Twelve Days of Christmas were actually The Twelve Days AFTER Christmas. HOW DID I NOT KNOW?!?

The song had originally been written to help Catholic children learn their catechisms. (And if you think I spelled catechisms right on the first try, you have much more faith in my spelling skills than I.) Learning that helped me to understand why on that 12th day, the epiphany was commemorated as the day the Three Wisemen (or Reyes Magos) visited the Baby Jesus.

In many cultures, this day is celebrated in a similar fashion to how Santa is celebrated here.

Each year, my children write a letter to the Reyes Magos on the evening of January 5th and put that letter in a shoe. That shoe is placed under the Christmas tree. (I’ve heard of several variations of this tradition, but this is how I have always known to celebrate the holiday.) Much like Santa and the stockings, the Reyes Magos leave presents for the children, found the next morning January 6th.

That evening, family gathers for a Reyes Magos celebration. This traditionally includes hot chocolate and the cutting of the Rosca. (Very similar to a King Cake for Mardi Gras.) There are little baby Jesus’ baked into the bread. Whoever finds a baby wins! And then is supposed to throw a party next month.

These are the rules. Well, the rules that I know of and that are celebrated in Mexico and (I think) South America.

(And OMG enough with the history/traditions lesson. I’m sorry that was so long.)

Last night, I invited my non-Catholic, non-Hispanic, family over to celebrate with us. (Is someone going to get mad that I said it like that? I’m sorry in advance.) Most of them, while they knew of the tradition, had never taken part in the actual celebration. I hadn’t been excluding them, this just happened to be the first time I hosted the event. Which, looking back, was probably our first mistake. Can I be trusted with such things??

The answer to that is a resounding NO.

Although, for the record, I had plenty of help in my debauchery and sacrilege. I will not go down alone!

As we prepared for the cutting of the Rosca at the kitchen table, one of my adorable nativity scenes happened to be close by for photo ops and, well, adding to the festivities of the evening. I mean COME ON. Look at them!


As adorable as that scene was, we all felt the lack of wisemen in our scene at our Three Wisemen party celebration.

My sister had the excellent notion to dive into the Polly Pocket toys the littles were playing with. It was a valiant effort! And look…they even brought marshmallows. (Which, to be honest, might be just as awesome as frankincense. Or more so. Says me.)


As much as we enjoyed the almost Shakespearean-opposite feel to our set-up, my husband happened to look over on the counter and spotted a better casting of our Reyes Magos.

Wine Gnomes!!!!

I don’t think you can tell me these three guys weren’t perfect for the roles. Because OMG they were BORN to play these parts.

However, at the risk of sounding like an insensitive, and sacrilegious, asshole, I PROMISE THAT WE FOLLOWED ALL THE OTHER RULES AND TRADITIONS AND NO WINE GNOME WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS HOLIDAY.

I mean, I’m probably not going to be allowed to host the Three Wisemen party celebration anymore but I can’t worry about that until next year.


Trips and Updates and…Yeah

Remember that time when we drove down to SoCal almost every weekend this past fall? We got so damn good at making that trip in one weekend. And there was even a trip where it felt like a vacation? I mean, you probably don’t remember because I haven’t really written about it yet. I don’t really know why except…well, remember all those times we drove down to SoCal and nothing else got done? Yeah. That.


It’s not very often that I get huge amounts of one-on-one time with each of my kids. Oddly enough, all these trips forced that to happen. There was even a weekend where only ¾ of us went. We missed Ramona something fierce. But there was also this special time with Beezus. For that I will always be grateful. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

mom and kid beach

I felt really guilty that Ramona wasn’t with us. The entire weekend I worried about having a good time when she wasn’t there. But…then I remembered that she is going to have A LOT of quality time with her parents fairly soon. I’m sure she will wistfully remember the days when she had a regular partner in crime and will long for the days when she didn’t have all eyes on her for all the hours of all the days. This quality time was absolutely for a reason.


It was the funniest weekend get-away. I found myself having time enough for a run-and running into Chelle. Who is one of the reasons that I even run in the first place.




I was able to hug Tonya and say hello to the kiddos…even for a short time.


Sancho’s Tacos. Yum.



I even got to hang out with this guy. I like him.


Oh yeah…Softball was played. That was a thing.

the game

And, you know, the beach was there too. Man, I love the beach you guys.




* * *

She didn’t get into Stanford, you know. It is very much okay and we truly know that she will go to school exactly where she’s supposed to go. But damn. I just wanted that for her, you know? And, of course, it doesn’t mean that she can’t go there ever. She could always do her graduate studies there. I don’t know, maybe she could camp out on their campus for fun. I’m sure that’s not frowned upon at all. Getting arrested at Stanford is totally the same thing as graduating from there!

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I have a really hard time accepting that I’m not in charge of all the things. The not knowing and the not being able to plan is REALLY hard. The UC’s and the CSU’s don’t give you an answer until spring. THAT’S A LONG TIME FOR ME TO WORRY ABOUT HOW FAR AWAY MY KID WILL END UP FOR SCHOOL. Or whatever. I don’t know. This is hard.

But damn, I just like them a lot.



And just because I’m ridiculous…I really like this one, too. Just in case you didn’t know that. She’s just super damn cute and my gosh she’s probably going to hate being the only kid at home pretty soon. ::sigh::

me and the kid


On Anger and Shame

I spent years trying to hide how young I was. Whenever I would attempt to make friends with other moms at the preschool, I would try like mad to avoid the conversations about high school and college days and the year everyone got married. I’m not dumb (and neither were they) they knew I was younger. I just didn’t want to get into how much younger.

There is so much shame in teenage pregnancy. I’m not saying that it’s something to aspire to, but it’s been close to 18 years and the shame I felt all those years ago burns almost as hot even today. I am not ashamed of the beautiful family that I am blessed with, but when I read this article that Kelly shared last week it brought up some very real anger and some pretty intense shame that I didn’t know still hung around. It’s been four days, and I’m still stewing about it.

I was 18 years old when I got pregnant. As teenage pregnancy statistics go, I guess I was on the older side of things. I have always been grateful that I was, at least, out of high school but I hate admitting that I am a college dropout.

A lot of you know my story. I even stood on a stage last year and read a letter that I wrote to 19 year old me. I thought I exorcised some of those demons. Yet an article about teenage pregnancy shame has sent me into some pretty deep feels.

I’m still really fucking angry and I really hate that I am.

I have spent so much of my life worrying that I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings if I told the truth and said how I really feel. I have stopped myself from telling so many stories, because it might make someone feel bad. But at the end of the day, who made sure that my feelings weren’t hurt? Who made sure that I didn’t feel bad?

Not many.

I am still angry that the religious institution that I put so much faith in abandoned me and made me feel like such a fuck-up. I am angry that I lost so many friends because I all of a sudden became the example of what not to do. I am angry that people tried to get me to put my baby up for adoption. I am angry that all the anger and judgment and shame gets placed on the teenage mom. I am angry that I have no happy memories of my wedding day because almost every single person in attendance was against us getting married. I am angry that I still feel the need to joke that “we did things backwards” even today as I meet new people because there is still so much shame in being a teenage mom – even though I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m mad that I can’t read an article on teenage pregnancy without feeling like I want to throw up.

I’ve buried my anger deep inside of me for many, many years. I have this beautiful family. I know how lucky I am. But I’ve spent so many years believing that I’m not allowed to be angry because my life has been so blessed.

That’s bullshit.

Instead of dealing with my anger, I’ve let it fester into a horrible wound that has never healed. As cathartic as it was to tell my story, I censored all the anger because I had built too many walls and it would’ve been too much work to break them down. And, of course, I put everyone else’s feelings before my own.

But you know what? I can be angry and grateful at the same time. I can sit here and let some of those demons fly knowing full well that I would do it all over again because my family is worth it. They are amazing and wonderful but it’s okay if I tell you how hard I’ve worked or how much I have sacrificed to make that happen. There has not been one bit of this that has been easy.

But I’ve given way too much power to the shame of it all. I wasn’t promiscuous. I’m not tarnished goods. And if you would like to talk about the “problem child” I’ve brought into this world be prepared for me to tell you about her straight A’s and Stanford dreams and her kickass little sister that rocks our world. I’m not sorry for any of that.

I shouldn’t be.

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