For Your Children

When I got online this morning at work, my google alerts popped up with news of a shooting in Ohio; specifically, a school shooting. I also heard about it through Twitter via Katy (for some reason WordPress won’t let me hyperlink…, who lives not far from the school where the shooting happened.

These are the things that make my heart, quite literally, sink and my stomach turn and I’m faced with stark fear and dread. I’m overwhelmed by the choices we make for our children everyday: what we feed them, what we allow them to see on television, what we purchase. We teach them about health and exercise and being a good person, about treating others as you want to be treated. We teach them how to hold our hands when we crossing the street, about looking both ways, about not talking to strangers. We help them memorize phone numbers and addresses; we teach them to be responsible and kind.

Where on that list is the line item that tells us how to teach our kids what do to when a fellow student walks in to the cafeteria and starts firing a gun at people? Where is that? Because I can’t explain it, even to myself, and I sure as hell don’t know how to explain something like that to my five year-old.

And we shouldn’t have to be afraid to send our children to school. But I am.


Thank You, Internet

This is my beautiful grandmother. Her name was Isabel, but her grandchildren called her Danny.

danny and adele

She was an amazing, loving, smart funny woman who loved and was loved by all who knew her. She was truly selfless, which is an incredible and rare trait, and I loved her so much.

She passed away on November 5, at home, surrounded by her children. Everyone should get to exit their life in such a graceful, calm way… she was a graceful and calm woman, so it surprised no one.

For the past five years, she had been fighting an increasingly difficult battle with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and it was so hard for her; though, even when she didn’t recognize the people around her, she was constantly thanking them for helping her. She was, in short, always a lady.

The morning of her funeral, after I had flown to Louisiana quickly with my sister and was staying with my parents, I thought for a moment and updated twitter with a quick note:

“Saying goodbye to my beloved grandmother this morning. Hard, hard day.”

I had debated whether to say anything online at all, because it seemed so personal. But if there’s anything I’ve learned about the internet lately, it’s that these people I communicate with daily, some of whom I have never met and some I never will meet… these people are friends. I can’t tell you the number of @ replies, DM’s, texts and emails I received immediately following my tweet, and it made me feel loved and supported and helped. I had such support from my friends and family, and it was invaluable;  the unexpected response from you lovely internet people meant the world to me.

I like to think my Danny would have approved; she loved good friends.

Thank you, internet. Thank you so much.

girls grinning

I COULD Actually Update. I realize this.

Allow me to dust off Ye Olde Blogge in honor of this past weekend, which was The Blathering. Ya’ll, THE BLATHERING. And it was here in my backyard! (Well, not my actual backyard. But in Austin!) This was both really awesome and really hard. I didn’t have to fly anywhere to get to meet a bunch of amazing women I’ve been reading forever, but on the other hand, I didn’t GET to fly anywhere to meet a bunch of amazing women. And what I mean by that is that since I live here, I didn’t feel like I could just wave goodbye to Casey and the kids and be all “See ya! Off to Blather!” for the whole weekend. It would have felt odd to do that, and so I went to just a handful of the activities. BUT.

They were AWESOME activities. I got to meet so many amazing, funny, smart, witty women and I just… well, I can’t wait until next year. I didn’t even get to meet everyone! I am bereft! But those of you I did meet, you are fabulous and incredible and I sure wish you’d come back to Austin again soon. So, in your honor, I have a round-up of sorts. Please know that I loved everyone I met and could have talked to you all for hours and days and weeks; when I think of this weekend, here are a few things that stick out in my mind.

1. Best Decorating Blatheringer: Elizabeth. Man, that lady is CRAFTY. Her decorations were so fun and colorful and clever and I kind of want to wear my Blathering name tag everywhere. (That’s not weird at all.) Plus she’s thoughtful and smart and I so enjoyed meeting her.

2. Best Accessorizer: (Shut it. It’s totally a word) Christina. I want every single piece of jewelry she wore during the weekend. Also her headbands. And her smile. (Though I didn’t get to hear her say “hot ham!” which is my favorite expression of hers and which I’m attempting to appropriate.)

3. Best Sport: SarahLena. OH MY LORD ya’ll she flew standby and kept getting bumped and SLEPT AT THE AIRPORT ON SUNDAY NIGHT and SarahLena please come back some day I swear Austin isn’t so bad. I’ll host you and make you cookies and anything you want. (Also, I so, so, so enjoyed talking with you on Friday night.)

4. Best Organizer: A’Dell. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know the organzing a dinner for 50 people flying from all over the country was probably a task that drove you to drink, and you are awesome. (For many other reasons as well, but thank you for all of your skills that made the weekend happen.)

5. Best Stories: Emily. Two phrases that, when paired, will have me laughing long after this weekend: car wreck and azaleas.

6. Best Hair: Lauren. (Seriously. She is going to think I’m a hair stalker.) Also, Lauren, I loved getting to talk with you and wish we had had more time to chat! Also, Walker Percy is one of my favorite authors in the world and I love that you have one of my favorite quotes of his on your blog header.

7. Best Fellow Austinite and Champagne Gifter: Regan. I love that I get to hang out with you more than just once a year, and thanks for not minding that my kid keeps trying to feed your baby a pacifier.

8. Best Houseguests: Elisabeth, Natalie and Jonna. You girls are AMAZING. I love you all and I want you to come back any time you feel like it. I mean that. (Jonna: coughBRINGSAMcough)

9. Best “Felt Like I Already Knew You” Ladies: Kristie and Manda. I truly think that we would become friends regardless of the situation in which we met. You are lovely, funny, wonderful people and I can’t wait to get to hang out again sometime.

10. Best Everyone I Didn’t Get to Meet: I am so sad about that, and I hope that we all get together next year because I DO want to meet all of you!

And finally, I have to give a Best Introducing Me to the Internet People Award to Jennie, without whom I would not be writing for Style Lush, would not have met ANY of you lovely ladies, and whom I am grateful to for friendship.

Blathering ladies, thanks a million. I’ll be back next year.



The Other Shoe

First off, THANK YOU for the comments on my last post… I so appreciate knowing that ya’ll didn’t think I was crazy for my reaction to the Popped Pool Toy situation. In fact, I felt so good after reading all of those that I was able to quit thinking about the whole situation altogether! So thank you, thank you.

Now on to something much less controversial, and, in my opinion, a much bigger thing to think about. I’m pretty much an optimist, first and foremost. I think about the worst thing that could happen, as many people probably do, but I don’t sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop. When things are good, I try to feel lucky and not dwell on the negatives, though I’m certainly guilty of that more than I’d like.

I’m not sure how many of you follow Jennifer Perillo on Twitter or via her blog, but she unexpectedly lost her husband last week. With no warning, she not only lost the love of her life but also the father of her two daughters. One Sunday morning, she woke up with her family intact, and when she went to bed that night, her family was changed forever.

I’m married to the love of my life, and I have two daughters. I haven’t stopped thinking about Jennifer, and though I don’t know her personally, I suspect she’ll be on my mind and in my prayers often and for a long time to come.

And then today, my mom called. Her cousin, the father of two middle-school aged daughters whom my daughters ADORE, had a completely unexpected heart attack and died yesterday. His wife is now a widow. His daughters have lost their daddy. He won’t see them graduate high school, go to college, get married, have children. He and his wife won’t grow old together. They lost him. LOST him. I can’t wrap my mind around it.

So, for Jennifer and for my cousins, I’m going to remember that the little things, the bothersome things, the daily annoyances pale in comparison to the fact that I HAVE my loves. I’m going to try to remember this often, and regularly, and be thankful.

Jennifer, my condolences for your terrible loss. I’ll be thinking of you and of Mikey and your beautiful girls, with much love.

The Beach (was not like Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie The Beach)

Well. That was… interesting.

Maybe I’ll just do a little exercise in which I throw out keywords that applied to our camping “vacation” and you can draw your own conclusions, yes?

  • Sand
  • More Sand
  • Sand on bodies that precluded the reapplication of sunscreen
  • WIND
  • Tent {see also: ripping from the ground, flying over dunes}
  • Port-a-Potty
  • Wind
  • Wind
  • Sunburn

I think I’m pretty much finished.

Although, kids being kids, the girls had a fantastic time, and I couldn’t get Georgia out of the ocean. She had a complete blast. Adele magically did not get sunburned, so I’m giving myself mom points for that. Also, I’ve never been so dirty in my life. (Well, maybe that time I did Outward Bound after my freshman year of college. I was in an open boat for three weeks. There were no showers. I was stunning after those three weeks, let me tell you.)

In any case, we’re back. Today is G’s last day of school (what? how on earth did that happen?) and then we’re off for the summer. I only have to entertain both kiddos at home by myself for two weeks before we head of to the first of our three road trips this summer (THREE. I WEEP) so I’m steeling myself to be Fun Mom, and not Neurotic Mom, for those two weeks.

I’m really trying to be more go-with-the-flow, but I’ve also realized that my kids do better with scheduled activities, so we’re going to have to find some things to do. It should be an adventure.

Target is my New Nemesis

This morning, I realized that the weather was topping the 90’s and was well on its way to the hundreds (yay, Texas) and hauled Adele and myself to Target to get some of those windshield covers. Do you know what I’m talking about? I needed those things that you pop into your windshield when you’re parked so that the dashboard and the steering wheel are shaded, thereby avoiding third degree burns when you get back in the car. Side note: I strongly feel that the heat is why I’ll never own a car with leather seats in Texas; the idea of all the flesh sizzling off my legs just isn’t all that appealing.

In any case, I walked into Target and found my way to the auto section of the store, and while I saw car seat covers and steering wheel covers and Turtle Wax and evergreen-scented car air fresheners, there weren’t any car shades to be seen. I walked around for a while and finally asked a red shirted Target employee where I might be able to find them. He looked at me with a completely straight face and said ” Oh, we don’t have those right now. We probably won’t get them until summer.” Uh, excuse me?! It’s May 26. It is already 99 degrees at 9:30 in the morning. I AM PRETTY SURE THIS QUALIFIES AS SUMMER. He didn’t laugh or anything after he said it, so I’m pretty sure he was serious. I goggled at him for a minute and then thanked him and walked off; what I really wanted to say was “you and your employer are crazy if you think it’s not summer yet.”

And just to make the point about how hot is actually is, can I tell you what we, as a family, are doing this weekend? Yes. Well. We are going camping. Because we are gluttons for punishment.

No, actually we’re going because Casey really, really wants to, and while I attempted to point out that it might be a little difficult to camp with a mostly-but-not-all-the-complete-way potty trained two and a half year old, he seemed completely undeterred. We’re also driving the 5ish hours to Port Aransas to camp on the beach, so maybe it will be breezy? And the sun might not feel like it’s baking us every minute of the day? And maybe the water won’t feel too bathtub-esque since it’s not yet June? (See how I made myself sound sort of optimistic with all the question marks?) I do think it might be fun, so I’m going to try REALLY hard to remain optimistic, especially since I’m sure the girls can cover the whining if things don’t go as planned. I probably don’t need to join in, or all three of use may get left by the side of the road.

We’re headed out early tomorrow morning with a car full of shovels, pails, snacks, drinks, sunscreen (I’m bringing four tubes and one can of spray sunscreen… overkill for a two day beach trip?), floaties, inner tubes and a tent. I’ll report back with photos and stories. If we make it back in one piece, that is.

Extended Hiatus: The Excuses Edition

1. So much laundry. Kid number two is so much messier than kid number one (it’s true! it’s one of the secrets other moms don’t tell you!) that I spend multiple hours a day with my washer and dryer. Not that it really matters, but we got a new washer and dryer in the fall and I love them so much that I honestly don’t MIND the laundry anymore. The folding, however? Well. I  do not claim to love the folding.

2. Traveling! In town! Out of town! Massachusetts over Thanksgiving! New Orleans for Christmas! New York for the marathon!

I looked like this:

My pants were ridiculous. I meant to buy tight pants! They were SPANDEX, for goodness’ sake! And still, at mile 16, apparently they were sagging. Hmph. Anyway. The marathon was fabulous, one of my very best friends got engaged, and I ate a lot. The end.

3. Casey turned 32. He enjoyed it. I am still older than he is.

4. New Year’s happened. I took sparkler pictures and Regan and her family came by and ate hot dogs, which made her child throw up. I’m sorry, Truman.

5. I didn’t really make any resolutions, except to stop biting my nails (ew, disgusting) and to try not to yell. The cause of my yelling is usually whining, so Georgia has promised to try to stop doing that. I’m not holding my breath for either of these things, but it’s good to have goals.

6. I am not training for another marathon anytime soon (uh, or EVER) but I would really like to take a ballet class. Who’s with me?

7. I’ve been taking pictures again. I got really burned out last year when I was doing the 365 Project, and I realized that if I make it a chore, I won’t have fun doing it anymore. So! No more of these organized challenge-type things. I like to take pictures, and I’m going to keep doing it.

8. The last, final, and truest excuse for the not posting: I am kind of lazy.

But I do love you, internet, and I vow to remain faithful. Or, you know, more faithful than I have been. Maybe I’ll post twice a month? Like I said, it’s good to have goals.