Monday, July 27, 2015

After 10 years of Talking About It {Girls’ Beach Trip}

I still can’t believe we pulled this off.  We’ve talked around it for years and sort of like Kindergarten sneaks up on you-- or puberty, this trip did.  We were like “It’s time!  We can do this!”  All of our boys were old enough to leave behind and not be a huge burden on the dads.  And the girls were old enough not to be a huge burden on the vacationing moms! : )  Seriously.  You have to take those things into major consideration.  Since we couldn’t find a free place to stay on 30A, TJ found us a great place in Seagrove that met our 3 criteria- clean, affordable and on the beach.  Other than that, we didn’t really care.  

And we were on our way.  We crammed 2 cars full of all things beach and road trip snacks that represented well all of fun grocery stores in Fort Worth.  Who needs lunch with the best of Trader Joes, Sprouts and Central Market riding beside our feet? Or dinner?

And you’ll see in every picture-- this pretty much sums up their week together.

Well, sure we did.


Don’t let these headphones fool you.  They hear EVERYTHING you say.  TJ was trying to remember some detail of a story she was telling me and Basden piped up from the back seat and filled in for her WHILE WATCHING A MOVIE.  Needless to say, it cut our conversation topics by at least 75%..... but we made it fine on the 25 left.

{At seems to be the only one enjoying the movie.}

 We couldn’t find the condo.  It was dark and I made the mistake of rolling down my window to say something to Sarah and Nikki as I was making a u-turn on a narrow road and a layer of condensation so thick you could ski on it covered the front wind shield and no defroster would be powerful enough to remove it-- only napkins from the glove compartment gave us a few seconds of relief.  Humidity is powerful, people.  I was driving at that point and truly, just hoped for the best.  Between the humidity fogging up the windows and tears in my eyes from laughing, it’s a wonder I didn’t drive us into the ocean.

After driving FOREVER it seemed, surprise!!! The next morning, we were all sort of stunned by this-- like a swimming pool.  The water was clear forever it seemed.  The girls snorkeled all day this first day.

This is something I have NEVER wanted to do.  EVER.

We stayed late every night we could.  As the day went on the more glorious it felt.

Ready for movie night

This was SO fun and delicious to go get doughnuts but you cannot imagine how HOT it was in here as their A/C had quit working.

Sarah treated everyone to whatever they wanted and more.

These night skies were jaw dropping.

The stark line was fascinating-- to watch it roll in like that.  We watched this one from balcony.  Lightening potential here. ; )

But we let our girls down there..... ?!?!?!?

More late nights....  we never wanted to go up.

Guessing this was lunch one day but I’m not seeing the “main dish”. Queso beside a raw veggie plate--- hmm... maybe never seen that before.  That's raw evidence of TJ and Krista traveling with Nik.

24 hours into the trip, I remember texting Jeff saying that I could not "out serve" these friends.  Every time I turned around, something was being done for me, for us, for Julia.  I couldn't think of something fast enough before it was already done.  {I picked the right people to vacay with, right?}

Humming House concert in Seaside

It was fun to watch these girls dance the night away.

All week long-- the hair train.  Fancy braids every day.

Wits and Wagers and Nutty Bars.  TJ read all the cards before we played so none of us had much of a chance of winning.  She just wanted to do the victory dance.

Creative photo credit to the fabulous Sarah Wolfe --

Creative party decor by TJ Wilson-- the birthday girl's mom- We loved spending your birthday with you, Essie!!

The girls worked on a skit all week and performed it for us Friday night.  It was very creative and we LOVED that they worked on something TOGETHER-- bigs and littles.

Maybe our favorite night-- only missing Sarah, this night-- Pizza by the Sea-- really, that was the name of the pizza shop and it was DE-LISH.  And so very convenient since TJ went and picked it up for us.  {How did we decide that was your job, anyway?}

The sunset did NOT disappoint.

These are my grown- up friends, not from my childhood, high school or college-- I met one right before Julia was born and a couple just after.  And I am really not sure how I would have survived parenting without them.  We all think we have the best group of friends {and all my amazing ones are NOT pictured here} but I do feel SO DOUBLY BLESSED by these women in my life-- and their sweet daughters.  You girls-- bigs and littles-- are truly phenomenal.  I think I'd have fun with you in a mud hole.  But I'd rather do Seagrove.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Messing with my Mind

Messing with my Sleep Mind

I am not accustomed to this— waking up EARLY and not being able to fall asleep again.  It’s only 4:57 and I get that a gazillion doughnuts have already been made and the people at Panera have been at work on those bagels for a while now too, but I am usually sleeping about now. And if I ever do wake up at this point and see the clock, I get a little happy in my drowsy state because THERE IS MORE TIME TO SLEEP— especially in the summer. BUT here I am thinking that, today, I need to call my mother. I want us to send notes to Doodle, Jeff’s dad, before his surgery.  I need to get a wedding gift in the mail AND get that last graduation gift out before the fall semester begins.  I’d like to stop by Home Goods today to see if I can find some ultra skinny lamps for an ultra skinny buffet table I purchased so people could actually get out of their chairs, if need be, in my dining room- because now my lamp shades are deeper than my buffet table.  I need to go pick up the calendars I ordered from Office Depot for the {I can’t type it} "organized learning that usually starts in August".  And guess what I also realized somewhere between 4:30 and now?  I left the Little People stuff in B’s window seat in our old house.  Never had remembered that.  The kids were, like, 2 and 4 when we moved in on Park Arbor so Little People got lots of playing time but when they graduated to other toys, I couldn’t part with them.  So I stored them in the window seat in B’s room.  And I left them.

Making a memory with these at the Coyote Drive-In
I really think I’m going to blame this on the movie I saw last night.  I saw the previews months ago and it messed with my mind then……and I really wasn’t sure I wanted to see it.  Inside Out.  It’s that Pixar production that has to do with your brain and your memories.  It’s sort of hard to explain, but when you see 5 core emotions with little human bodies running around {inside a brain that resembles the interior of Starship Enterprise} in charge of how you respond to everything in life and in charge of protecting your memories of the deepest kind that make your life up for what it is, I was and am completely wigged out.  I don’t think I breathed remotely regularly until Bing Bong gave Joy a knapsack of sorts in which to carry {run, fall off mountains, trip, ride magic wagons, wreck on the Train of Thought etc} the little girl’s core memories around.  STRESSFUL. Everything that made this very loved little girl who she was, was being bounced all over brain land and she, Riley,  was struggling to live her pretty normal life.

So yes, it sounds dramatic— and it was, but it was also Pixar.  And we laughed.  So hard.  If as a parent with children under 10, you see this movie, you need to see it again in about 3 more years and you too can laugh like hyenas as Jeff and I did.  There is such comfort in knowing that there is camaraderie among moms and dads in this parenting thing— even with Pixar writers.  When Riley’s “Joy” is gone- trying to carry/juggle all those “core memories” back to “headquarters” that finally went in the knapsack— her parents experience their sweet, happy little girl’s anger, disgust and fear and their reaction was Little Red Wagon CLASSIC.  Just spot on.  Funny.  Jeff’s high pitched cackle didn’t help but no one knows how hysterical that scene is except a mom and a dad trying to parent as best as they know how.  Pixar, you nailed us.  “The. foot. is. down.”  {And for those of you with teenagers, after the last line in the movie, “What could possibly go wrong now?” I thought surely the next scene would be someone pressing the “red button” that was on Riley's new dashboard. Sequel?}

So back to messing with my mind— disturbing, I tell you, to think my core memories might be lost.  I know this can actually happen— tragically, by accidents or even disease— and it’s devastating in every way, but this was a child and it was because of emotions inside her brain with human characteristics - IMPERFECT- that were messing things up.  Joy and Sadness were gone and she was left with only Fear, Anger and Disgust. Sounds like a party, right?  And, in this movie, unlike us, she seemed to have no control over her emotions.  And she suffered and had no idea why.  Her safe world began to crumble.

Memories are precious, comparable to nothing I own, and as a mom, I feel “making” memories has been one of my main “occupations” over the last 13 years— helping create them, being a part of them, attaching music to certain events, cooking certain foods, creating smells that ring in a season, looking days, weeks and months ahead to make time for them— so that they have some good memories and so some can be beautiful in every sense.  And to think that those could be “lost” — especially the ones that bring our kids comfort and a sense a security or identity, I can’t handle it.  It’s too sad.  It’s not right.  It makes me want to yell, “Quit messing with my mind!!”   And this is when I remind myself, it was a movie. And it had the ending we all wanted.  But……

It was only when Joy realized the value of Sadness was Riley’s world put back together again and I was able, once again, to breathe steadily.

I love Plugged In’s last lines in its review:

What a brave message that is—that our goal isn't to be happy all the time. We're supposed to be … us. We're supposed to experience life in its wholeness, even in its sadness. Happy smiles don't get us all the way there. Running clear of anything that might potentially upset us doesn't either. Sometimes we need to be sad. And that sadness—indeed, all of those prickly emotions we see in Inside Out—can be catalysts for a much deeper joy down the line. {Paul Asay}

Seriously.  Hurray!

As the movie ended I was reminded of a quote that was taped up several places as I was waiting on these babies I have with whom I was excited to make memories—-

“Sorrows come to stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.” {Streams in the Desert, January 18th entry}

How I experienced that.  My sorrow was big— and it did stretch my heart.  Even though it was painful, I know it made my joy fuller, richer, more abundant. One is more beautiful, more meaningful with the other.  More.

So Pixar, thank you for a great movie and a great reminder even though I believe it messed with my mind...... and my sleep.  Being tired stretches out a great place for an afternoon nap.