Sweet Sand and Summer’s End

 

No point in being too detailed about a weekend at the beach. We enjoyed the sunshine, saw a wedding from our hotel room, ate delicious seafood, sipped delicious cocktails, got a little sunburned, and enjoyed each other’s company. We hadn’t had time together like that in years, and it was fabulous.

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My sweet bestie, Lauren.
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Cocktail of the weekend: Prosecco and peach juice. A simpler bellini.
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A storm rolling in, and back out. Make way for the sunshine.
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Seafood feast in the form of a low-country boil.
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The ocean is one of the most amazing things the Lord created.

Overall it was a lovely, relaxing weekend. I’m already aching to do it again soon.

Currently.

What my days look like. See "wishing".
What my days look like. See “wishing”.

Here is my second Currently. post to link up with A Mama Collective and When At Home! I love being able to connect with so many awesome writers and believers and thinkers and doers. Y’all are really, really wonderful.

I am currently:

thinking about my family. Not just Hubby and the kids, but also my parents, my grandparents (of which I have only one living, but three dearly loved and missed), my great grandparents (two of whom I knew well), my brother, my aunts and uncles and cousins… We have a circle of love and support, a tight bond that can only be forged by doing life together. Living so far away from them and missing things and coming home not as often as I thought I would has only made me think more about spending intentional time with them, wherever it is spent.

reading Dragonfly in Amber. It’s the second book in the Outlander series. My mom and one of my best friends (and 947204275 other women) read these when they came out, and I am just now reading them for the first time – partially because now that Starz is making a series about them, I want to SEE it, not just read it! So far, I’m a third of the way in, and it’s a little more slow-going than Outlander was, but I’m still in it to win it.

eating banana bread and macarons. I am in the middle of finding all the banana bread recipes I can, and make them healthier without losing their yum factor. Also, on the subject of macarons, my best friend Lauren is in a macaron-making swing, so naturally I’m on the helping and receiving side of that. Let me not complain!

loving this fall weather. NC hasn’t seen as much fall yet as some more northern states have I suppose, but it’s definitely cooling off a little, and I’m seeing a few yellow and orange leaves. Also, the temperature drop has really helped my running (read: I’m not as miserable doing it) because I tire less easily and I pick up the pace when I’m not sweating into my eyes and stopping to take a drink every 12 feet.

wishing my sweet daughter would extend her sweetness to her brother. Every time he gets near her, there’s a squeal almost at the pitch that only dogs can hear. And he adores her. I just want her to tolerate him a little, ya know?

watching all of those lovely shows I’ve been missing all summer. The shows Hubby and I are excited to start again include Modern Family, New Girl, Once Upon a Time, Parks and Recreation (SO SAD it’s on it’s last season!), Grimm, and 30 Rock.

listening to Citipointe Live. They’re an Australian Hillsong-like group that writes tons of worship music. A friend recommended them to me for possible new worship songs for church, and I was happy to listen to several great tunes to share with the worship team!

anticipating fall and winter and CHRISTMAS! I know, Halloween isn’t even here yet, but fall/winter weather and holidays are my favorite (yes, Hubby and I both have birthdays in there) and Advent through Christmas is by far my favorite few weeks of the year.

thankful for my incredible Hubby. When he found out that my grandmother had passed and I needed to get to GA, he cancelled his weekend, helped make a plan and pack, drove all the way here, and has done everything he can for the past few days to make my life a little less stressful. He is the biggest supporter and encourager I have, and I don’t know where I’d be without him. Love you, babe.

There ya have it – what’s happening with me Currently. in a nutshell. What are you doing currently?

I’m Getting to That Age, I Guess.

…that age where your grandparents are old. Really old. I’m 28, so my grandparents are in their late 80s and early 90s. They have ailments. They move more slowly. They do fewer things. And then, the inevitable happens. They get a disease – for some, it’s cancer. For others, like my dad’s mom, it’s Alzheimer’s. They deteriorate. They lose parts of themselves. In an Alzheimer’s case, they can become someone totally different than the person you knew.

In the span of 11 months, I’ve lost two grandparents. My mom’s father passed last November, completely unexpectedly. I don’t know whether that’s better or worse than the months or years of deterioration that can prepare your heart and your head for the end result. In a way, it’s merciful. There’s little suffering, few tears cried on the front side, and less burden of who will take care of the person or where they will live when they need around-the-clock care, and (yes it’s cold, but a very real problem) who will pay for it. But on the other hand, he was way too young, too healthy, too close to us to say goodbye right then. And the fact that he was visiting me in North Carolina at the time instead of home in Georgia when he passed? That was brutal.

My dad’s mom, on the other hand, passed away on Thursday after almost ten years of physical and mental degeneration. Before that, she had showed signs of Alzheimer’s and we knew it ran in her family, but the passing of her husband in 2005 just unhinged her. Her doctor has been saying for several years that it could be days, or months, or years; we wouldn’t know. But what we did know was that her essence has been gone for a while. She hasn’t recognized me any of the last six times I’ve seen her, until I introduce myself. She thought my brother was my dad, thought my dad was her husband, and never even met my 8 month old son.

In spite of the past 11 months, I’m glad that I had so much time with all four of my grandparents. I even knew two (well, technically three, but only barely) of my great-grandparents. I’m luckier than many. But it also disillusioned me – those people are supposed to be there to witness my entire life, not just part of it, right? They’re supposed to see graduations and weddings and births and my kids’ milestones as well!

And there’s where I get happy. My grandparents are seeing those things. They’re seeing my kids, all day every day. They’re watching from Heaven, where they are way happier and whole and healthy. New bodies, new minds, and in a paradise better than any place on earth.

We All Remember Where We Were

I think we all (well, if you’re about 25 or older) remember where we were when the planes hit the two towers. When you found out that tragedy had struck, while you watched the news and waited for calls from friends and family to let you know they were okay.

I was a sophomore in high school, and I just happened to pop into the school store (a senior lounge type place) where every single person in the room was standing, staring open-mouthed at the tv. The bustle of the hallway hadn’t slowed down; it was mid-morning so few people had a tv on in their classrooms. But word spread quickly. I went to a school with boarding students, and several were from NYC. We all waited on pins and needles to hear from their families. People went or didn’t go to their classes, called parents, and generally cried and shook and prayed. It was so uncertain why or how or what was next.

So today, on the thirteenth anniversary of the event, and in light of my visit to the site in July, I want to say that I appreciate every single human who was there, who helped, who died, who fled, who lived, who lost a loved one, and who made the ultimate sacrifice for the strangers they saved. I am thankful now for each police officer, fire fighter, member of the military, and any other man or woman who helps protect me and my family. Thank you. You are why America is still awesome.

Looking for Patience and Grace

This post appeared on MyBigJesus.com

I’m constantly reminding myself to chill out. I’m always noticing a pan that didn’t get washed well enough, or seeing that J’s third shirt (of the morning) is dirty, or remembering something I forgot to do, or… you get the point. I immediately want to freak out at these things. My life is full of messes I can’t clean up and accidents I can’t prevent. O ye of little patience, I am your leader.

Being a parent, a wife, a human, is a lesson in patience for me. Being a teacher for six years was as well. I’m all about some deep breathing, counting to ten, and clasping my hands very tightly in my lap. Patience is the biggest thing for which I’m constantly asking God. Sure, I say it different ways: “Help me get through this traffic without succumbing to my Atlanta-bred road rage!” or “Help me not to yell at EK for spilling the sunflower seeds all over the floor because I know she didn’t mean to.” I come by it honestly; I can be high-strung and short-tempered (just like my parents – sorry, Mom and Dad). Hubby is a saint for putting up with me. But I don’t want my kids to grow up afraid of me because I lurch quickly into frustration. I don’t want them to have memories of me flying off the handle over small stuff. But how exactly do I extend the patience and grace that have been extended to me?

Hubby is a wonderful example for me in patience.  When I said he’s a saint, I was serious. He is able to absorb my craziness and let it go. He shows me endless support, patience and grace for my quick temper and my OCD nature. I see his patience with the kids and with me, and I know I can try harder to give others (okay fine, my kids) a little more grace.

I don’t have it perfected yet by any means, but I start by repairing my thought life. Toxic thoughts just multiply unless I change them. Changing the way I think changes the way I react. Changing the way I react changes how I feel. Often, if I have no patience in a situation, I notice it immediately, and then I get angry with myself for having no patience! It’s a vicious cycle if left alone. However, if I can wait, change the way I’m thinking – extend a little grace and a little patience – it makes all the difference in the world. When I feel like I have no patience or grace to give, I sit back for a moment, and draw from the boundless stores we’re blessed with every moment of every day.

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Run. Go on, do it!

(This post is a continuation of Run Away.)

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Two and a half years ago, I couldn’t run a mile. I had had EK four months prior, and wasn’t in shape at all. At the beginning of that Stroller Strength Challenge, I could do almost no push ups, only a few sit ups, and walked most of my mile. At the end, I ran the mile (yay!) and almost tripled my number of sit ups and push ups. Yes, I worked my butt off. I worked out in some way almost every single day, I cleaned up my eating BIG time (including two bursts of completely clean eating) and got Hubby on board with my eating/working out habits. (Side note: He has always been healthier than me, an athlete, and a guy who likes working out. When I say I got him on board, it mostly meant we did it together.) What made it even easier and more fun was my tribe of Stroller Strength gals. To know you’re encouraged by women in the same boat as you makes it so much better!

Obviously, there is a season for everything. That was a time for me to find my “ground zero” where I felt like I was super healthy. I wasn’t looking to achieve a certain number (size, weight or otherwise). I was looking to feel great, and to start being able to set a healthy example for my family. I feel like I reached that goal.

That being said, I’ve got a new goal. I’ve discovered that I love running. I know… late in the game, you might say. However, it’s a stress release, it’s a fun time with other people if you find good running partners, it’s a great way to get outside, and it’s fun for me to run to the nearest playground, let my kids play for a while, and run home! Everybody gets what they want, right? My goal for this challenge is to complete a 10k that I’m running in October (The Ardmore RAH – check it out!) and I am struggling in this hot weather to get there. I’ve been running between two and three miles at a time for the past month. I feel like I’m stuck in a rut… maybe it’s a “three mile hump” thing and once you get over three miles, the rest comes easier? Probably not, but I’m trying. With my kids schedules, it’s difficult for me to get them up, fed, and in the stroller before it’s hot as hell outside. Therefore, I’m so hot by the time I’ve done mile two that I can’t think about anything but AC and a bathroom break. Mile three is simply getting home from wherever I am at mile two.

I’m at least thankful that my kids love it. They love our stroller (BOB Revolution Duallie), they love being outside, and I always pack snacks and sippies to get us through the trip. Often, we can run to someone’s house to say hi, or to the playground, or even run to a farther location- like the grocery store – and let Hubby come pick us up (yes, it’s happened more than once). And every once in a while, when I go on a run without the stroller full of heavy kids, I feel such immense freedom and lightheartedness (light-everything-ness) that I think I could run that 10k right then.

Let’s just say I’ll be excited for a weather change – and not only because of my running… but because it’s my favorite time of year. Scarves and boots and running without crying, here I come!

I Had a Meltdown

The other day, Hubby and I needed to run some errands. EK had been sick, so we hadn’t left the house very much, and if we had, she hadn’t gone with us. We needed a nice family outing to make us feel like we weren’t such homebodies.

We went out to lunch, and headed to Target. When we got there, EK was asleep (her schedule was totally thrown off while she was sick, and we haven’t straightened it out yet) so I ran in and left Hubby in the car with the kids. I wasn’t THAT long, but when I got back in, she was awake – aka not a long enough nap.

Next we hit Babies R Us (right across the street). I only needed one item, so I just ran in, grabbed it, (paid for it, obviously) and ran out. Super short. When I got outside, Hubby said J had been crying, so he didn’t want to get them out of their seats, so he was standing at J’s door entertaining him. When we got back in the car and started moving, he was alright.

At Lowe’s, Hubby ran in to get one thing. I could tell they were getting restless, but I thought we were done, so I just turned up the radio and tried to entertain them by singing along. It kinda worked.

Hubby got back and headed to the music store. I should have know to just get the kids out, but he said he just needed one quick thing (I also should’ve known that there’s no such thing as “one quick thing” at a music store). The longer we sat (with the AC on, of course) the worse it got. J was really sick of being in his seat, and every time he cried, EK cried. That phenomenon is BRUTAL and pointless. What is she trying to accomplish by crying when he cries, anyway? I know him crying and not being able to stop it is annoying. You don’t have to tell me. But when you start, also? That’s just ridiculous. Keep it together, girl.

But she didn’t keep it together. And neither did J. So I got out, got the kids out, and walked in the store. Of course, Hubby is just strolling, looking at something or other. He sees us, and goes to the register, where he’s already down everything he was going to buy. COME ON DAD! We are tired and hot and need a change of location from Mom’s TINY CAMRY. Let’s go.

Once I start putting J in his seat, he’s done for. He knows it’s time for him to eat and nap and he is pissed. Like I said, I should’ve known better. He wails all the way home. EK has finally decided that adding to the noise isn’t worth it, and she’s staring out the window trying to forget her life, teenager style. (I’m in trouble later, right?) Finally we get home. Once J is out of his carseat and EK is walking in the house, it’s like there were never any problems. I can’t even explain how weird that is to me. I wanted to be in the house, but even when I got in, I considered bursting into tears because I was so relieved and tired and frustrated and hot and wishing I could blame my crazy on hormones – I’m 8 months post-partum… does it still count?

Being in the car with two crying kiddos is my hell. Seriously. If anyone wants to make me miserable, that’s the way. Knowing there’s nothing you can do to help said kiddos is just the icing on the cake.

Have you ever had the moment where you’re at the tipping point? Wishing you could just call it and teleport to the beach, or a remote cabin in the woods? How do you cope in the moment?

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