Tag Archives: marriage woes & wows

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.

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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.

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The scarecrow found a front row seat for Daniel Tiger.

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And then I caught the cute caper in the act.

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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

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.

maya

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.

dunkin

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.

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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

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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

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.

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

5. This little boy and his profoundly simple wisdom.

swimming

Five for Friday

Clayton’s two-week vacation began on Monday! Woop woop! Rather than a cliché trip to Europe or a tropical cruise, we decided to go all out and schedule meetings with a financial advisor and attend Addison’s preschool orientation. Go big or go home, right? Here are the wild ways we’ve been spending Vacay Week One. 

1. The kickoff to our subdued staycation was Addison’s birthday party last Saturday. It seemed like everyone had a good time, even though the rain switched up the “Fun in the Sun” theme to more of a “Fun in the Living Room” theme. For the few minutes we could venture outdoors, it was a smash.

addie slide1Let’s be honest, all you really need to placate most 2-3 year olds (and their parents) is food. Preferably food that involves icing.   

kids cake

2. Truthfully, I knew a single date night would make me feel like the vacation was a raging success. Two and a half months without a night out with my boo was feeling like an eternity. And by boo, I obviously mean this:

beer flightPic taken on an actual vacation when we were livin’ that DINK life hard.

So on Tuesday, we dropped Addison off at preschool and had ourselves a little day date (with our tiniest third wheel in tow). We explored Locale Market in St. Pete before heading to Cassis for lunch.

cassisThen we walked along the water for a bit taking pictures of ourselves.

st pete2

clayton nat st pete3. If that wasn’t indulgent enough, we even had a real live just-the-two-of-us date that night. My parents watched both nuggets while we FINALLY saw “Jurassic World.”

jurassic world

Did it rival the brilliance of the original? No. Did I love it? Yes. For such an ambitious undertaking, I thought it was a great resurrection of that franchise in 2015. And it certainly put those other crap sequels to shame. I want to see it again already.

4. I made a Cuban sandwich tray for the party and way, way overestimated how much ham and pork I needed. I hope my family enjoys a daily grilled Cuban as much as I do.

cubans5. I grabbed this bag on my way out of TJMaxx the other day because I was starving, impulsive and cranky from trying on bathing suits (a task that should be forbidden until at least six months after giving birth).

$8 snack

When I got to the car, I realized if was $8. Eight dollars for puffed nuts. A part of me died inside.

So far today’s plans include staring at the unending rain. Party on, Noas.    

Five for Friday

The kiddos and I are making it out of the house more and more lately. I still forget something crucial every time, like diapers for Asher, but I figure that’s par for the two-kid course. Here are some of the things that we enjoyed this week.

1. I was on a hunt for summer shorts that would work throughout the crazy postpartum weight roller coaster. Gap/drawstring waistbands to the rescue.

gapThey were on sale in the store, so I got the gray pair, which are more casual, and the dressier garnet pair, which I envision fancying up with some wedges once my cankles morph back into calves.

2. A little breather after our intense shopping.

mall coffee

3. Our first experience with Moe’s Monday.

addie ev moes

He wants all the quesadillas. She wants all the chips. Match made in heaven.

4. I like to keep Clayton’s guitar pick in my car to remind me how dreamy he is and to make myself feel cooler in the mom-mobile. Doesn’t matter that I can’t play one single chord on the guitar.

guitar pick

5. #seinfeld

cereal

Just can’t pass up a BOGO.

Here’s to a weekend of sunshine and happy surprises!

sidewalk heart

Babymoon

You know how most times, when you build something up in your head for weeks and weeks, it’s a total mega let down once it actually happens?

That was so not the case with Babymoon #2.

Any time someone asks me about it, I can’t help but describe it as – wait for it – perfect. That’s right. Perfection. And I don’t toss that word around lightly. Usually I’m up to my ears in “okays,” “goods” and “nices.”

We dropped off the girls after pancakes on Friday. I guess they were both experiencing a carb hangover.

photo 1Then we drove the two hours to Fort Myers. We were a little early to check in at our B & B, so we grabbed lunch downtown at Ford’s Garage. We didn’t realize this until Saturday night, but a group of owners basically bought up the entire downtown and owns four, soon to be five, restaurants. We ate at almost all of them. We knew something was up when there were chickpeas in our salads at three different restaurants.

fords1All of the restaurants are themed. Ford’s is obviously car-themed, complete with cleaning rags for napkins and a big car hanging over the bar that honks and shoots steam. The food theme is aortic blockages. We were fans. However, it wasn’t the best place for a prego desperate for a beer. Sad [sober] face.

fords foodAfter lunch we headed to The Hibiscus House, a newly renovated bed and breakfast just outside of downtown. We’d never stayed at a B & B before, so this was a bit of an experiment for us. Our room was gorgeous, the bathroom was pristine and no strangers randomly wandered into our room, a legit concern we had. Sharing intimate breakfasts with people I don’t know is not on my list of favorite ways to spend the morning, but even that proved harmless and a good exercise for my reclusive nature. Also, the breakfasts were flipping delicious. (Source)

The Hibiscus House

Gold star number one for this getaway: a two hour nap after we checked in.

Once we woke up, we got ready to hit the town. At 6 p.m. Don’t be jealous of our star status. We waited for our table at The Firestone (yes, tire-themed) on the rooftop Skybar. The view was decent and I didn’t mind enjoying my mocktail with the pre-sunset crew. It took the pressure off to hangout after dinner when I’d be ready to kick my feet up with some chocolate.

skybar1

firestone selfie1I was not really hungry, so I only had the crab cake appetizer and a grilled Caesar salad. As Clayton noted, once you get past the warm grass taste, the grilled salad isn’t so bad.

What mama wants, mama gets. Feet up, chocolate downed.

feetThis was after the bagger at the grocery store asked when I was due, looked me up and down and said, “You’re ready.” I was totally cool and level headed about it because, you know, I have two more months before I’m “ready,” thank you very much. I may have snapped back if she wasn’t possibly mentally handicapped.

Maybe it was the tunic?

Saturday we headed off to Sanibel and Captiva islands. The weather was supposed to be nasty, but it’s Florida, so never change plans based on the weather. Sanibel is just plain gorgeous. The water is this serene teal and the beaches are covered in white and pink shells. Even for someone who grew up in Florida, Sanibel was impressive.

I would have done some shelling if I could 1. bend over or 2. tolerate temps over 78 degrees. We ate lunch at The Bubble Room, which was more hyped up than it should be. It was kitschy and cluttered with plenty to look at, but the stuff seemed less like antiques and more like, well, stuff. And most of it was creepy, not fascinating, like dolls and old combs and this face.

tunnelGold star number two: It was a very, very happy accident that we were staying a block from Bennett’s Fresh Roast, known for their homemade doughnuts. I’m not going to say we planned our day around getting to Bennett’s before they closed, but it was certainly on my radar. We snuck in just before they closed at 3, so the selection was limited, but all I wanted was a classic glazed anyway. Did not disappoint. I guess that was the theme of the weekend. I’m so mushy it’s making me uncomfortable.

We lazed around snacking on our treats for a bit before getting ready to head out for the night. We went back downtown and stumbled into a car show. Downtown Fort Myers isn’t huge, but there are plenty of restaurants to fill up a weekend. We could stay close for all of our meals. Along with the car show there was a Brews and Tattoos event going on, so the people watching was superb from our patio seat at Capone’s. Fun story: when we initially asked about a table, the hostess said the wait was an hour. And then, spotting my bump, she told us to stand there for a sec. Just like that, we were seated immediately minutes before the rain came. For all the muscle aches and awkward maneuvering, this thing has provided its fair share of perks this time around.

downtown rain1Shockingly, I wasn’t in the mood for pizza and opted for a pretty bland pesto ziti pasta. Life is built on small choices, and I’m still regretting that one.

capones1Guys, I fell asleep at 9:30. Didn’t I tell you this trip was perfect?

I will blame that early bed time on the rain and, mostly, the non-plot of “A River Runs Through It.” I confused it with the other movie about a river where dramatic events take place, so I started it from the beginning and kept waiting for a major twist or Kevin Bacon to show up or basically any sort of excitement whatsoever, and nada. A little over an hour into it, I gave into sweet, sweet sleep. My husband is a lucky dude. For all I know he snuck out to go bowling (his suggestion for the night) without me. I wouldn’t blame him.

After scarfing some homemade blintzes and waxing poetic about them in the guest journal (“The fruit compote is what dreams are made of.” I seriously wrote that.), we checked out of the B & B on Sunday and drove down the road to the outlet mall. Outlet shopping looks much different nowadays and our major purchases were from Carter’s and Gymboree.

We’d learned the ropes quickly and placed an order at Bennett’s earlier in the day that we swung by to pick up after the outlets. This time I was able to snag quite an assortment: peanut butter, orange crunch and maple toffee. I would have ordered more if Clayton wasn’t hovering and whisper-shouting that three was enough. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ENOUGH.

doughnut list

All of the flavors were divine, but my favorite was the peanut butter. The orange crunch was out of my comfort zone – I’m normally chocolatechocolatechocolate – but surprisingly delicious. I’m still sad they were out of Boston crème both days. Am I still talking about doughnuts?

Anyway, we drove home and I dropped Clayton off while I picked up the kids.

I considered it a perfect babymoon because I didn’t want any pressure. If I felt like sleeping for 48 hours, I wanted to have that option. If I felt like taking an hour walk on the beach or reading or lounging in a giant  bed watching a terrible movie, I wanted to do just that. And that’s exactly what our little vacay was like. I am thankful my normally antsy, active husband was flexible enough to go with the flow, even though the flow was like seven-months-pregnant molasses most of the time.

It’s a week later and I’m still wishing we were leaving tomorrow to do it all over again.

How to Freak Out Your Valentine with Love

As much as I’d like to be too cool for school and totes nonchalant about Valentine’s Day, I’m not. Not even a little. I like holidays. I like excuses to veer from the norm, eat excessive amounts of junk and buy things that would otherwise be deemed unnecessary, e.g. polka dot ribbon. I am not the girl who expects a dozen roses (roses = no thank you) and a $200 steak dinner, but I do want a little pomp and circumstance. I love love, and it’s fun to think of new ways to celebrate it.

This year was Addison’s first year in preschool, so she I got to make valentines for her class. Hippie alert: I didn’t want to use candy. With Addie potty training–and rather successfully might I add–her life has been all manner of hand sanitizer and chocolate treats. The girl pees five times before 11 a.m.; she is her mother’s daughter.

I hopped over to the Dollar Store under vast amounts of pressure from my frugal hubs to keep things within reason. (“They are only two years old!”) I present to you sixteen adorable, “healthy” valentines that I didn’t even hijack from Pinterest.

school vday supplies

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school valentine

school valentines bunchI did forget/ultimately decide to forego her teachers and still feel bad about that. (Their Christmas gifts were on point, don’t worry.) They may have a sweet Presidents’ Day gift heading their way if I can come up with an equally adorable Abe Lincoln craft.

I guess my mom blogger status is now official. Womp womp.

Valentine’s morning began with heart-shaped perfection. Doughnuts and pregnancy take the place of pizza and beer for nine months over here, and someone better hide those bad boys until after my glucose test on Monday. There was already one, uh, missing before I took this picture.

doughnuts2We have ambitious, likely-to-end-our-marriage plans for the new nursery, so we went on a research mission to Home Depot. Clayton still has some semblance of trust in our toddler’s capacity to listen to direction and obey commands from a distance, so he didn’t secure her in a cart. Do I need to spell out how enjoyable that trip was between the rows of loose lumber, wood cutting devices and swinging model door displays?

To reward both of us for not throwing tantrums at the tile displays, we stopped at a park to let that energy out. Ladies and gentlemen, my Valentine:

C slide C slide2

C slide3

C slide4

C A slideThey are the cutest.

I had to kick Clayton out for a couple of hours of Super Secret Vday Prepping, so he took A to my parents’ house. While he was gone, my little valentine elves, my brother and dad, got to redecorating the backyard.

Idiotically, I assumed my eagle eye hubs might not notice an open side garage door (with the extension cord trailing out of it) or a big gaping hole where our futon once sat. He did. And he was noticeably freaked out by the whole situation. In retrospect, watching “Gone Girl” the night before trying to pull off an undercover house heist while he was gone wasn’t the best idea for instilling confidence in one’s wife.

Once I let him in on the plan, it eased his little fretting mind. Mostly. He didn’t fully relax until the futon was back in its place on Sunday night.

After Clayton whipped up a delicious steak and shrimp combo, we took ourselves to the movies. In pajamas. With hot chocolate, popcorn and, duh, another doughnut.

movie night2I don’t want to brag is not something you’ll be hearing from me. I absolutely do want to brag about this one. It was the perfect mix of romantic and special—definitely out of the norm–but still comfortable. I was wearing a hoodie for goodness sake. Everything worked out with the technology, which was a major victory by itself. No one spilled hot chocolate on the rented projector, Maya didn’t start a yard fire with the candles and no one’s toes went numb in the chilly temps.

I hope you had someone or something that made you feel loved and celebrated this weekend. Baked goods totally count.

The Leak Heard ‘Round the Neighborhood

Life this week has been reminiscent of that one summer I spent in Australia when we were allotted three bathroom breaks a day, took an average of four showers a week and washed our five outfits even less, beating our clothes against rocks and hanging them over foliage to dry.

Let’s back up. Last week I checked in on our water bill and noticed that it was, oh, five times our normal monthly cost. The bar graph of average usage was actually quite comical. Normal, normal, normal, we need more ink for this month. Because of MLK Day Monday, we couldn’t start dealing with the problem until Tuesday. Ugh, that guy and his revolutionary upheaval of atrocious civil rights violations. So inconvenient. The mysterious part was that we couldn’t find anywhere inside or outside the house that indicated a leak or excess water build up. So naturally, we were all whatever, it’s probably the meter.

JK. That is so not us. We were all OMG the leak is in the foundation! Our house is going to be ripped apart and the insurance won’t cover it and there are CHILDREN and BABIES that are going to fall in that massive hole and it’s all over for us!!! How can we live without a FLOOR?!?!

Spoiler: we still have a floor. And we can account for all of our children.

Did you know that normal, run of the mill plumbers don’t actually come and find a leak? Nope. They come out, check to make sure you didn’t somehow miss a giant bubbling puddle of sewer water in the middle of your house, and then refer you to a super professional Leak Detection Specialist. In other words, a weathered gentleman in an SUV who pokes around in your yard with the Leak Detection Specialty High Tech Equipment, or what looked like—to the untrained eye, of course–a metal pole with a handle.

The L.D.S. was worth every penny (and it was a lot of pennies), because he poked in just the right spot to send the leaking water pouring out of the ground and into the yard. And that’s where his job ends, by the way. If you have any pennies left, they will then go back to the plumber who has to re-reschedule another appointment to actually fix the leak.

The leak, which happens to be in a pipe located under a root the size of a fallen redwood. I don’t know if your natural inclination would be the same as my husband’s, but Clayton thought surely we have to destroy that root before the plumber charges us to do it. And yes, that seems to make a lot of financial sense when you’ll be charged by the hour and just getting to the leak could take several hours. However, that would make sense in the middle of the day, with adequate lighting, and the appropriate root-destroying accoutrements. We had neither.

root

But, bless his heart, off we went as the sun was setting to the local cheap power tool warehouse (because, Nat, it costs the same to buy one here than to rent one at Home Depot). One of us was in a big ol’ hurry to scoop himself up a [specific name that I don’t remember] saw. The other one had spent six hours sitting on the floor cleaning out the second bedroom and organizing old paperwork while almost six months pregnant, so she could barely straighten her legs to get out of the other one’s vehicle and waddle across the parking lot. To paint you a picture, Frantic McFrenzy darted a few steps, felt bad, turned around and came back, couldn’t wait any more, darted a few steps in front, felt bad, came back, and so on as we walked into and around the store looking for the money saving saw of redemption.

In all of our blade comparing excitement, I forgot the one reason I’d agreed to go with Clayton in the first place: the opportunity to use a working toilet. Ours has been merely a collection receptacle, just so you get your necessary dose of TMI here. So, on top of my prenatal stiffness, I was working with like a five hour bladder. Not ideal.

Cut to 8 p.m. and Clayton is still outside in the dark, sawing to the light of his iPhone flashlight app and, concerned spouse that I am, I’m curled up watching The Bachelor not so secretly hoping Clayton is preoccupied through the handing out of the final rose. Or at least until one of these chicks cries.

When he comes back in, he brings with him 1. lots of mud and tree shavings and 2. a noticeable air of disappointment.

“Well, that went about as expected.” To know where our expectations typically land on the optimistic to pessimistic spectrum, please see above reaction to water bill.

Tree root still splayed out over top of our busted pipe, almost mocking in its undaunted façade. Water meter still spinning like a whirling dervish when it’s turned on. We’ve been keeping the water completely turned off for the majority of the day, rather than pay $128 to make a pot of coffee.

Remind me to tell you about that one time I was in charge of turning the water off after Clayton had gone to work and there were winged, clawed beasts waiting in the meter hole when I, and my basketball stomach, bent down to wrangle it. Maybe the garbage man had to stop, get out of his truck and assist the pregnant woman on the verge of hyperventilation. I would have hugged him but I’d already maxed out my awkward capacity for the day.

Guys, we’ve really been roughing it in our air conditioned house with electricity and take out meals.

The plumber comes back tomorrow and we’re hoping he can de-root and de-leak by COB. We are not at all worried that removing the tree root will cause the gigantic pine tree to fall backwards on top of our house. No, hadn’t even crossed our minds, even though we have some experience in that department. We really need to find our homeowners insurance policy.

trees text  But hey, silver linings–we have a new saw and now we know BOTH Ashleys are cray cray.

Enough

I wrote this post several months ago but found it today and still got smacked in the face by it.

__________

Last week, up to my elbows in soapy water and covered head to toe in the mess of motherhood, I lost it. Full on tears dripping into the clean dishes lost it.

And the most maddening part of all was that I ruined those clean dishes (not really, I totes put them in the cabinet anyway) for a phantom. For a nothing. For an imagined problem that nags at women and moms with an incessant chirping of you are not doing enough!

I am surrounded by strong, ambitious superwomen. They inspire me continually. But because we have been numbered and categorized since our first breath, my instinct is to begin numbering and categorizing the theirs against the mines. This friend does this job, and this job, and raises this baby, and volunteers there. That friend works there, works out that many days, earned that degree, and takes her baby to the library. That girl wakes up at this time, works those hours, cooks those meals, and always wears mascara.

And, inevitably, what follows is the conclusion that

I am not doing enough.   

____________________

What is “enough?” How am I supposed to know when I’ve reached it? When I can’t put down the computer until midnight every night? When I have to find someone to watch Addison five days a week? When I have structured, age-appropriate Pinterest activities planned and prepped for her every morning when she wakes up? When my husband comes home to a hot, home cooked, edible (<– key word) meal every night of the week?

Why are we am I in an all-consuming, head-down, relentless pursuit of a goal that is wholly subjective and indefinable? What am I even chasing? If I look up, what is ahead that drives me to justify neglecting the truly valuable in anticipation of some fleeting, self-prescribed merit?

Stop. Look to the left and to the right. That is the goal. Those are the milestones that build a city of memories, a lifetime of timely pauses and spare minutes. The race is not against mothers or friends or women who do things that I can’t or never will. The race is with them, a shared marathon with some paving the way, others coming behind and the  beautiful synchronization of friends striding beside you. Swooping in with home cooked meals that will taste better than any concoction you could dream up. Busting out their own hot glue gun and ribbon when you don’t have any more space in your head for DIY crafts. Walking into your house and scooping up your baby with the warmest familiarity.

Time to enjoy the space between afternoon naps and dinner, with a swing in the yard or wagon ride in the driveway, is not

wasteful

or insignificant.

It is not a consolation for not having more important commitments.

It is

enough

and so much more.

When responsibilities are met, and the must-get-done’s are done,
breathing, deep and slow, for a minute or an afternoon, is okay.

When did it stop being nourishing and start being indulgent to read a novel that wasn’t accompanied by a test that counted toward a degree, to take a nap because you were up three times with an unhappy baby or just because you are tired, to let the laundry pile up one more day because a lunch date with your daughter is way more fun?

I have freelance projects every week.
I am a full-time mother.
I volunteer at my church.
I take care of Addison while Clayton volunteers at our church.
I handle the cooking (or ordering) of our meals, the cleaning of our house, and the organizing of our schedule.
I keep my body healthy.
I go to a small group once a week.
I see friends and family as much as I can.
I write sporadically on a blog.

In what universe would this collection of identities not be enough?  I feel so compelled to fill in the gaps of every hour in order to feel accomplished, to be sure I am making the most of my time. But I know in my head that making the most of my time is defined by what and who gets most of my time. And I don’t what that to be a computer. Or a stranger. Or a brochure or web page that will wither and die.

Making something requires an intent to create, a choice to design a life that has some growing room, some space around the edges to relax for awhile. To allow for minutes that spring up when a cat finds its way into the backyard and needs to be watched through the back door, when the play area at the mall is completely empty for the first time ever, when your kid discovers how to flip over her toy table and climb on top of it but can only get down with a Mama’s hand.

Those seconds will sprint right past you if you are not so very diligent in making time for them.

And I have told myself I do not want to miss them.

I do not want more clients if it means less time with Addison, I do not want more volunteer commitments if the joy of giving is replaced by dread, I do not want quiet moments with my husband at the end of each day to be hijacked by exhaustion.

I want to find enough

laughter surprises spontaneity fulfillment joy confidence beauty

right here in this moment. Because I am certain it is there. I just have to stop and look.

 

Sunday Runday

Yet again, you can thank my husband’s off-handed comment about the likelihood of
a morning run for the actual completion of a morning run. Sunday morning I was out of bed by 6:05 and out the door by 6:20. This one’s free: running before the sun comes up is not as hot as running in the heat of the day. Times a million.

It was still humid, and my dri-fit tank was soaked during the first mile, but there was a gigantic difference in how I felt running in the dark versus running in the afternoon. Genius award for me. I ran five miles for the first time since 2011. I did the math during the run to make sure that’s true. Five fun, progressively faster miles. It was so fun I actually took a few pictures and debated tacking on another half mile or so, but I didn’t want “fun” to turn into “utterly regrettable.”

 

This is what a neighborhood looks like in case you haven't seen one. I sure thought it was worth capturing.

This is what a neighborhood looks like in case you haven’t seen one. I sure thought it was worth capturing.

 

Another perk of early running: hiding your water bottle behind a decorative rock without fear of tampering.

Another perk of early running: hiding your water bottle behind a decorative rock without fear of tampering.

After scrubbing off the stink of long run success, Addison and I booked it to church. I worked in the nursery, and this week was a bit of a doozy. Now, don’t take this the wrong way, especially if you ever leave your child in a nursery setting. I like babies, I really (usually) do. But the thing with your own mess monster is that you LOOOOVE them so much, it makes up for the gooeyness/smelliness/general unsanitariness that comes along with their existence. Sunday it was a lot of other people’s kids’ messes and tantrums, compounded by my own kid refusing to evacuate my arms. Wisely, they only schedule nursery workers once a month so those fine folks can catch their breath and soak their work shirts in Clorox for a solid 21 days.

Nothing a grande iced coffee and nap couldn’t fix.

My husband will be so disappointed that I waited until now to mention the Dolphins won their season opener. Go Fins! Fins Up! Fin in the Water! And anything else the cool kids are saying this year.

We were on the way to a dinner at church Sunday night when I heard a thwapping outside my car. In celebratory fashion, Clayton had secretly attached his Dolphins flag to one of my rear windows. Secretly because had he asked if he could affix flapping aqua and orange oceanic sports paraphernalia on my car, we all know what the answer would have been.

I’m doing my best to roll with it this year, to wear my pre-approved, non-bad-luck-causing shirts like a good fan, and decline Sunday afternoon social invitations on our behalf without even mentioning them to Clayton. And I do really like the post-win good mood that lasts for the whole week after a game…or until the Jets win. So  yeah, in all seriousness and for the health of our family, Go Fins.

After dinner Addison ran around looking adorable and showing off a new pair of kicks she got for her birthday. No, I do not mind her gooeyness at all.

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