All posts by natalienoa

Five for Friday on Saturday

Let’s pretend it’s still Friday and not halfway to another Monday, mmkay?

1. Last weekend the man and I had a lovely date night.We started with a romantic dinner followed by questionable fashion choices, heavy duty trash talking and many mortifying celebratory dance moves.



We had bumpers and one of us still didn’t hit 100 in any of our three games. I swear I used to be an athlete.

2. Asher had a specialty doctor appointment (nothing serious), and this little guy is for real, with no exaggeration, the best baby on the planet. He didn’t even start fussing until the procedure had to be repeated. By that time, I was fussing more than he was.


Don’t judge a book by its lips.

3. I’m embarrassed by how true this rings in my life. To be fair, I do wear workout clothes in the hope that already being dressed will eliminate one of the excuses to avoid exercising. It works about 50% of the time. But I can be sure that Clayton will now chant in a horrendous British accent, “Active wear! Active wear!” 100% of the time.

4. My master plan is falling perfectly into place and all my friends are finding themselves with a similar schedule to ours during the week. This week that meant MOSI and the splash park.

Just a little aircraft maneuvering, no biggie.

FullSizeRender_1 This picture made my life. That stink eye game is LEGIT.


Don’t worry, he cheered up when I told him he could smile, too.


Two years ago, almost exactly, at this park. Tear drop.

A hyde park gate

5. Kicks.


6. Bonus for being late: Listen to this song and try to accept that it’s been almost 20 years since it came out.

I hope you’re spending all weekend being inactive in your active wear. Just me?

Five for Friday

1. How all women feel when stepping on a scale.

IMG_9609 2. I am kind of obsessed with my new pair of workout/picking up Addison/cleaning the kitchen/napping capris. JCPenney, who knew?! Now, the obnoxious level of neon may have a little (i.e. everything) to do with this, but while wearing these, I caught a fella checking out the goods for the first time since college probably. That is some serious supernatural fabric wizardry for this postpartum, anti-cardio physique.

3. We went to MOSI this week and it was sort of the best time ever. There is an entire secret building for younger kids that I completely missed the last time I took Addison. It’s basically a museum within the museum and we couldn’t do it all in the two hours we were there. But we did manage Asher’s first trip to space.


The lighting sucks on the moon, btw.

4. This week has been a fun little experiment: Addie vs. the fall decorations. Clayton started putting out the various accoutrements, and I told him that was a bad idea. They’d be gone or missing or eaten within 24 hours. He persisted, so I acquiesced with the agreement that I would not be touching any of the decorations as they inevitably get strewn about the house multiple times a day. And I stuck to my guns.

With all that free time not picking up plastic pumpkins, I was able to document my being right. Win win!

A seasonal counting riddle – how many pumpkins does it take to drive your father crazy? Also, that cart can now park in the handicapped spaces because it’s down to three wheels.


The scarecrow found a front row seat for Daniel Tiger.


And then I caught the cute caper in the act.


Related: my book “Using Your Children as Pawns to Gain the Upper Hand in Your Marriage” should be hitting shelves soon.

5. Comic Sans My Friendship.

comic sans

Also, blue. Also, bold. Also, STOP IT.

FSU plays tonight, so that accounts for our Friday and frees up our Saturday for a highly sought after date night. If you even have to ask what we’re doing Sunday, then you haven’t really been paying attention, now have you? (#dolphins)

Five for Friday

Comin’ at ya late today so I won’t waste time with niceties.

1. Last weekend Asher was dedicated at church. When Addison was dedicated we invited everyone on our Facebook friends lists and threw a huge party. This time, being the equitable parents we are, we didn’t take one photo. Sigh. Hopefully Asher forgives us if we agree to go halfsies on his future therapy.

asher dedication 2. Speaking of…happy four months to that little chunk!

asher 4 months

I got him crinkly table paper to celebrate and he loved it.

3. After the dedication Sunday, we spent the day at the suite where my parents were staying for their anniversary. Romance crashers, party of four. Naturally, the rain spoiled most of our pool and beach plans, but we were able to take Addison swimming for a bit before dinner and the view wasn’t too terrible.

little harbor

4. I escaped for a short respite one night this week and ended up scribbling some prose while jamming to Van Morrison. It felt like so many nights in college when I drove around late at night with overpriced coffee waiting for the poem to strike. And, like always, I was intoxicated by freedom and inspired by possibility.

coffee scrap

5. I braved the mall with a free range toddler. Addison was enamored with this pink suitcase and rolled that thing up and down the aisles. She was quite chatty with the mannequin about her find, and we were able to pick out all the items we’d need to put in her suitcase for our imaginary big trip. I don’t know the precise destination that would require a crock pot, rice cooker and fry pan (we were waiting in the kitchen department), but we will certainly be well fed when we get there.

addie suitcase

And here’s the first text I ever received from her, using my dad’s phone.

addie text

In a few decades, we’re going to discover that’s a brilliant code to solve one of science’s greatest mysteries…hopefully the first hair product that is actually resistant to humidity because, you know, priorities.

I hope your weekend is as awesome as crinkly table paper.

Five for Friday

1. Last weekend we met up with Addie’s buddies to catch “Toy Story” at the children’s museum. The peacefulness was fleeting, so we tried to capture a photo. This is the response when we called their names 18 times:

photo 1 And then, in a moment of sheer parenting brilliance, my friend said, “Pizza!”

photo 2

2. Realizing a dream of mine ever since creating a fake news broadcast in 7th grade. I had a total crush on my co-anchor before the project started, but one day I found him laying on the floor behind our news desk. His stomach hurt or he had a headache or his hair wasn’t cooperating—I don’t remember the details—but I do remember that THE FAKE NEWS WASN’T GOING TO DELIVER ITSELF, SIR. Some of us had to get up, adjust our ill-fitting blazer stolen from our father’s closet and get the grainy, VHS show on the road.

In the end, it didn’t work out with me and middle school Ron Burgundy.

photo 1

3. My little nuggets being adorable.

photo 5

Moments later Addison belly flopped off a pretend boat and burst into sobs.

4. Guys, it’s here. If you need us during the next 16ish weeks…

photo 5

5. We went to the children’s museum yet again this week (it’s air conditioned, get off my back) and when I came back to my car in the parking garage, this little gem was waiting for me.

photo 2

I have so many issues with this ticket. First, it was for an expired tag. It was September 1 and my tag expired at the end of August. One. Day. Late. C’mon, man!

And guess what was sitting right inside the car on my passenger seat???

photo 3

I can’t make this stuff up. I know, I know—it was my fault I didn’t put the new sticker on, but who writes a ticket for an expired tag in a parking garage?! I wasn’t in a fire lane, I wasn’t in one of those electric car-only spots and it was the straightest I’d parked since getting this mom-mobile. Had I been pulled over, I’m pretty confident I’d only get a warning since I could have handed the cop my new sticker that was 18 inches away from me. Oy.

The schedule this weekend looks quite kid-centric, but they’re only young once, right? (Thank God, says every toddler parent.)

Five for Friday

I’m trying to scarf down lunch, finish a work project, email Addison’s teacher, blog and catch up on my Friends marathon on Netflix all before heading off to car line to pick up Addison. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

1. Happy National Dog Day to this exquisite specimen.


Allergies aside, she is the perfect companion and handles all of our neglect with the utmost grace and forgiveness. But the pool is never gonna happen, Clayton.

clayton maya

2. Despite all my hesitation, I took both kids to the museum this week AND stopped at the grocery store with them on the way home, even though it was past Addison’s nap time. It could have gone all sorts of sideways, but we made it in and out without incident! And then I picked up 24 ounces of positive reinforcement for myself.


Speaking of treats, Clayton played golf last Friday, and I was responsible for getting the rest of us ready and over to Addison’s preschool orientation on time. It’s still quite the event to wrangle all of us into something presentable and arrive anywhere punctually, so I was handsomely rewarded for my efforts. Bribery is the key to any successful relationship.


3. Addison started K3 this week. It’s going to be an adjustment for all of us—new schedule, new classroom, new teacher, new friends–and I don’t think I realized just how startling that was going to be for her until after her first day. The bear hug and “I missed you Mommy!” warranted nothing less than an immediate cake pop.

addison first day2 Maybe by kindergarten I’ll be able to brush her hair without a steel cage death match.

4. We had the “jumping gym” to ourselves this week. It was the best of times…

nat asher

addie gym

addie gym2

it was the worst of times.

addie gym laying down

5. Clayton came home last night and told Addison, “I have a new pet for you.” Listening from the other room, my oh-no-you-didn’t index finger instinctively started wagging as I bolted onto the patio. Thankfully my husband did not have the death wish I was imagining and the new pet fit on the lid of his coffee thermos.

Meet Annie the ladybug.

annie ladybug

She has since taken a toddler-initiated trip over the pool fence and is probably, uh, resting peacefully in the pool.

I suggested Clayton play some more golf this weekend, so I am expecting at least another dozen pieces of gourmet chocolate heading my way very soon. Cheers to a delicious, manipulative weekend!

Five for Friday

Addie’s school was closed this week, so I had an atypical week with both kids mostly on my own. It went surprisingly well considering how I’ve been feeling lately. We ventured out of the house every day (even if only for a Starbucks run), and that’s a victory of major proportions. Here are some of our adventures.

1. We went to my cousin’s wedding last weekend. Addison was off the walls at that reception. You know how there’s always that crazy child running wild across the dance floor and manhandling all the decorations and everyone is all, Who is responsible for that kid?! Yeah, that’d be me.

addie lindsey

I also had two handsome dudes on (and in) my arms.

clayton nat wedding

nat ash wedding

2. Then, it was my birthday on Sunday! All I wanted was a massive burrito from Capital Tacos, which I did receive despite no photographic evidence. The rest was just gravy.

nat mug 3. I feel so cheated that when I worked at Bed, Bath & Beyond in college I had to wrap all the registry gifts with a line of customers getting more impatient by the second and the gift purchaser breathing over my shoulder inspecting every last ribbon curl for perfection. And now that it’s ten years later, I still have to wrap the gifts at BB&B.

bbbFun story:my friend threatened to call the Better Business Bureau after they made me stay until 2 a.m. closing one night during Christmas season. Aaah, memories.

4. Addison rocked her first trip to the dentist. You say “prize” to her, and she falls in line like a veteran soldier.

addie dentist5. We hijacked Clayton’s peaceful lunch break and replaced it with condiment spilling, baby spit-up, mac ‘n’ cheese refusals and corn soufflé stealing. An hour has never felt so long as it does in public with two tiny humans.

clayton ash addie

We have Addie’s school orientation and dinner with friends on the schedule this weekend. Stay cool, kids.

Dear Asher: Three Months

Dear Asher,

Last week you turned three months old! Hooray!

You are not lacking in rolls or cheeks or cankles, my sweet boy. You are all pudge, and I am all in love with it. You are a great sleeper and only wake up once at night to eat. I’d say that sleeping through the night would be preferable, but we’ve been hanging out in this 3 a.m. wake-up phase for so long I find myself awake before you start fussing many times. I will get some eye rolls, but I think I might miss those overnight dates when they are gone. Just you and me in the stillness and peace, holding onto one another.

asher couch3

You are starting to find your voice and will coo and squawk when you get worked up, usually on your play mat when that hanging elephant gets on your last nerve. You’re also sitting in the Bumbo and your exersaucer now! What an exciting life you lead. You will entertain yourself for a little bit in all these contraptions, but your most favorite activity is hanging out with someone who will talk and laugh with you. You seem pretty social and a lot of times I think you fuss simply because you want some company.

asher bumbo3

This month you are an official roller-over! I’ve forgotten every word of every parenting book or article I’ve ever read, so I have no idea if this is advanced or weeks behind, but you’ve definitely mastered the back to tummy roll. More than that, you are a MOVER. Every night, without fail, I will come in to feed you and find you squished right up against the crib slats. A stray foot or arm has been stuck several times. You may even sleep through the night if you had a California king sized crib and could roll and scoot all night long with no obstacles. But don’t hold your breath, champ; Mama is still stuck in a queen bed.

Your smiles stop my heart, and every now and then they come with a lilting squeak that must be the soundtrack for joy itself. You are such a happy baby, and I cannot tell you how beneficial that has been over the past month.

asher bed5

I will tell you the truth, little man: it’s been challenging in this place with you and Addison. My optimism slowly dissipated into feeling overwhelmed and burdened with the weight of two lives and two schedules that seemed to require the sacrifice of mine. It’s not that I don’t love being your Mama—I absolutely do—it’s just that I am having a difficult time remembering who I am outside of that.

But in the midst of that struggle, you are here with bright, cheery eyes that tend towards blue; full, pouty lips that move to mimic mine; your Daddy’s rounded nose; chubby feet that kick and squirm incessantly and the sweetest, most patient temperament. In these three short months, you have seen me at my worst more than I’d like to admit, and still you seem to say, “It’s okay, Mama.”

asher red shorts6

If I hold you with arms that are weak and frail, you don’t want to get down. If I curl you into shoulders that are heavy and slumped, you still nuzzle into them without hesitation. If I look at you with eyes full of tears, you still know who I am. You still come alive with recognition and delight, and that, little Asher, has been a saving grace.

I know that my voice and and my smell and my face help define your world right now. That responsibility is ever-present in my head. But I also know that your staccato sounds, warm smell and sweet smiles have anchored me in the here and now this month. You have helped me rediscover the simplicity that I have been craving and the joy I was afraid wouldn’t be found. On dark days, you have been such a beacon of light in my life, in our home and in our family.

asher smile

Looking ahead, I already know the sunnier days are waiting. I am so grateful I get to share them with you.

From My Whole Heart,

Five for Friday

1. This song. A little morbid, but in an upbeat way.

2. And this one because I’m basic and highly susceptible to cheesy self empowerment lyrics at the moment.

3. Hope everyone in Tampa had their arks handy this week.


4. Addie was not amused by being homebound.

addie rain boots 5. I am not amused at her looking 13 years old.

addie seaworld

Off to ride out some more rain this weekend. Just keep swimming.

To mothers. To me.


We know, but I want to remind
to myself, mostly,

because, yes, we chose this journey towards and along tiny hands, tiny hearts,
huge personalities.

But we mustn’t love every second of it
to love our children every second.
We mustn’t pretend to cherish certain days
to know we cherish this life.

This living ain’t easy,
and we don’t have to act like every moment is magic.

But let’s agree that every moment is a privilege.

Our choice to embrace this role was
a promise
that we would accept the awful,
and appreciate all the mess in between the magic.
A promise to look beyond
while doing all we can to not miss
right now.

I will be remembering my promise today.
Through gritted teeth,
I will thank God for this privilege of motherhood.

And I will be wiping a lot of butts,
wading through a lot of tantrums and
taking lots and lots of deep breaths.

We can do both.
That’s exactly what makes us these magical mothers.

brenda nat addie asher

Five for Friday

Real talk: I want to throw some Friday fluff at you today, but I am not feeling particularly warm or fluffy these days. The constant, every day-ness of parenting a toddler and caring for a newborn has caught up to me big time. I am working on it, minute by minute. While we trudge on over here, I still wanted to share some of the bright spots…because they’re always there, aren’t they? Let’s keep looking for them.

1. A dinner like this can only mean one thing: my husband is on vacation and is doing the cooking.

photo 1

2. Addison’s first roller coaster. She was a champ—that thing was legit for a three-year-old!—and I was so proud of her. She went on it two times in a row, little daredevil. Sometimes Most of the time I don’t feel especially courageous, but I want to make sure that my girl knows her bravery is always seen and always celebrated.

coaster tailscoaster

3. Speaking of rolling…

asher roll

I definitely laid this little bean down on his back and found him like this in the morning. He’s incredibly confused once he makes it all the way over.

4.When you get married young, you are so blinded by puppy love and optimism that you can’t possibly imagine a life not filled with romance and sunsets and butterflies. And then you get real jobs, move a handful of times, have two kids and wake up realizing holy crap we are grown-ups and parents and old and different. What I would wish for every single couple embarking on that journey is that when they wake up to all those realities five, ten or twenty years down the road, they would be SO OVERWHELMINGLY THANKFUL for who they fell in puppy love with. That who they married for the rainbows turns out to be exactly who they need when it rains. This man is who I needed when I was crazy enough to jump out of a plane, who I needed when we were crazy enough to bring two tiny people into this world, and who I will always need when the crazy catches up to me.

c addie pool3

There. That has to make up for not doing an anniversary post in May, right?

5. This little boy and his profoundly simple wisdom.