the hard and the good

I had a Twitter conversation with Gwen yesterday (who I don’t think has a blog anymore, and her Twitter account is locked, so I can’t link to her, but hi, Gwen!) about the people who I call Chronic One-Uppers. These are the people who, no matter what you’re doing with your life, they have to top it somehow. They make themselves feel superior by minimizing you.

Chronic One-Uppers exist in all facets of life – in school, at work, at the gym, in your social circles – but Chronic One-Uppers as parents? Are some of the most annoying people to be around. There are several different variations on this, from the Sanctimommy types (“you let your kids eat French fries? My children only eat raw organic vegetables that I’ve grown myself!”) to the My Child is More Advanced than Yours parents (“oh, your baby is 8 months old and not crawling yet? My baby crawled at 6 months!”), but the ones who I find the most intolerable of all are the “just wait!” parents.

(This is where I scrambled to try to find Temerity Jane’s post on this subject, but alas, Google has failed me.)

The “just wait!” parents are the people who take great delight in telling you how hard parenting will be further down the road than wherever you currently are.

It starts when you’re pregnant.
“Enjoy sleeping now! Once the baby comes, you won’t sleep again for years!”

[Side note to pregnant ladies or those who may become pregnant someday: this is a load of crap. First of all, sleep isn’t a savings account that you can store up and withdraw later. Second, trying to sleep when you’re hugely pregnant is miserable. You need a million pillows to support your body, and if you have to roll over, it’s a whole production of moving said pillows, and also you have to get up to pee every 20 minutes. When you have a newborn, yeah, ok, babies wake you up a lot, but when you get the chance to sleep, you can sleep however you want (on your stomach! On a couch! On the FLOOR if you want to!), and you may have the option of letting your spouse take a shift to give you a break. Your spouse cannot, however, take on your giant belly and sciatic pain to let you get a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant. So those “sleep while you can!” people are liars, and you should either ignore them or kick them squarely in the shin.]

Then when you have a baby.
“Just wait until you hit the terrible twos!”

Oh, your kid is now a two year-old?
“Oh, three is so much worse than two, just wait, you’ll see!”

When you have a kid in grade school?
“Just wait until they’re teenagers!”

It never ends. There’s always something.

The thing is, no matter what phase you’re in, there’s some hard stuff, sure, but there’s also good stuff.

For example, when you have a newborn? Sure, you’re exhausted and you feel like you’ve been run over by a Mack truck full of hormones, but you also have this amazing little person who’s suddenly been thrust into your life. Which is pretty fantastic in and of itself.

From my point of view: I have a 3 year-old. And it’s pretty widely acknowledged that three year-olds are terrible and difficult, and basically irrational tiny dictators. And while that’s true, I also get unsolicited hugs and “I love you, Mommy”s, which are pretty much the greatest thing in the world.

She said, "I want to lay down in your bed & snuggle with you because I'm a little bit tired." I thought she was joking. She wasn't.

The snuggles are pretty nice, too.

And when she’s not acting like a threenager, Lucy is hilarious.

She is the stereotypical second child, a total ham, and she has a way of expressing herself that keeps us laughing all the time. (At least as long as she’s happy. When it’s tantrum time, LOOK OUT.)

Lucy happy about water play day at daycare

With Catie, at seven years old? Sure, there are times she throws a bad attitude around. I know that right now she’s practicing for the tween years, and testing my boundaries and trying to see how far she can push me. But at the same time, since she’s seven, I can talk to her like a normal person, and she understands. I can take her places and she acts like a civilized person. We can go to a restaurant, just the two of us, sit and have a conversation, and eat our food together, and she’s just completely delightful to be around.

School picture day for Catie. Lucy wanted in on the action too. (Texted to me by their dad.)

Here’s where I get to my main point:

You can be in a really hard phase of parenting, and it can also be really good at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Just because it sucks sometimes, doesn’t mean that it isn’t also amazing and totally worth it.

Example time!

I struggle with weekday evenings. It often feels like a nightly marathon. It starts with dinner, then homework, then bathtime, then one last snack (usually fruit of some kind) before we brush teeth, read books, and settle in for the night. Combine that with trying to make sure we’re set up for the next day – packing Catie’s lunchbox, setting up the coffee pot for me – it’s exhausting and I often get stressed out and short-tempered with them.

(Credit where it’s due: I almost never do the dishes anymore, because Chris does them for me. So that’s one less thing off my “nightly marathon” plate, and I make sure that I always thank him for doing it, because I am truly grateful for the fact that he does little things like that to make my life easier.)

So, the other night, I was irritable and kind of rushing the kids through the whole bedtime routine – making sure Lucy went to the bathroom one last time, making sure Catie took her asthma medication, all the stuff on the nightly bedtime checklist.

I finally got the girls into their room, and Lucy picked out a Sandra Boynton book for me to read to her. Catie said, “Hey, Lucy, you want me to read to you instead?” Lucy said yes, so Catie climbed into bed next to her, and read to her.

Catie has taken over story time from me. I will never complain about this.

It was one of those moments that just made me so happy. I love it when they’re sweet to each other, I love that Catie is more eager to read, I love that Lucy is old enough to not freak out when we suggest changing her routine just a tiny bit (6 months ago, she would’ve screamed if Catie had gotten into her bed to read to her instead of me).

So yeah, being a parent is hard. But ignore the Chronic One-Uppers. There will always be hard phases. The good stuff balances it out, and more often than not, the good stuff significantly outweighs the hard stuff.

And I guess that’s my version of the “just wait!” thing – if you’re in a phase where parenting feels like it’s just too much and you can’t deal with it, just wait, because someday your kids are going to do something that knocks the wind right out of your chest because of how overwhelmed-with-love you are.

And ok yeah, maybe that’s cheesy. Sorry for that. But damn, if it isn’t the truth.

P.S. Thanks for the inspiration on this one, Gwen.


Thursday was my 38th birthday. I tend to think that past, say, age 21, any birthday that doesn’t end in a zero feels pretty unremarkable. And really, I spent way more time planning Catie’s birthday party than even thinking about my own. I guess that’s what happens when your child’s birthday is 11 days after yours.

But my birthday was good. The kids were with Dave, but Chris brought me flowers, and we went out for dinner.

He remembered tulips are my favorite. Points for that.

It was really nice just to have a little grown-up night off, where I got to dress up a little and not worry about whether or not the restaurant would have crayons or if I should bring our own from home.

After work on Friday, I picked the kids up and went to my parents’ house for dinner. My mom had gotten some fancy cupcakes from a little bakery here, and the girls blew out my candles with me. It was nice.

(And yeah, I’ll admit that I gave up on the detox diet long before the 3 week point, because I totally ate the hell out of those cupcakes. I’m still working on more “mindful eating” and I’m back to running at least 2 miles a day, and I guess I’ll just take it from there.)

Today, Catie and I dropped Lucy with my folks and went to see “Frozen.” After trying to take Lucy to the movies twice now (for “Despicable Me 2” and “Walking with Dinosaurs”), I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s really just not old enough to sit through a movie in the theater, because both times she got antsy and I ended up walking her around in the hall for a good 15-20 minutes to keep her from having a meltdown. So I think I’m going to add “movies” to the list of thing to reserve until she’s a little bit older and has a longer attention span.

Plus it was nice to have some alone time with my big girl, because that doesn’t happen often. And Frozen was a really, really good movie, so I”m glad we went.

So really? Yeah, ok, I’m one step closer to 40 and yadda yadda, aging, crows feet, whatever. But so far, 38 is off to a pretty good start. No complaints here.

New Year’s Meme for 2013

Since I seem to do these every year, let’s sum up 2013!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
* Became the mom of a first grader.
* Got new boobs.
* Said the f-word in front of my dad. (I was quoting something, so it was appropriate in that context, but it was one of those, “Whoa, I guess I’m really an adult now because I didn’t get in trouble for saying that” moments.)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, I generally don’t make new year’s resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few friends had babies. My college roommate had her second little girl, and another friend just recently adopted a baby after years of infertility problems, and I am so happy for her.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Well, the world lost Dawn, and that sucked. Nobody in my immediate family passed away this year, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
No other countries. I did go to Texas twice, though. (Once in May for my sister’s bridal shower/bachelorette party, and again in November for her wedding.)

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
This has been my answer since 2011…

Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

Yeah. That. I would still like that, please and thank you.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
* May 1st – Chris and I got back together. It’s notable because it’s turned out to be the best risk I’ve ever taken.
* July 18th – boob job day.
* November 9th – my sister’s wedding.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I worked really hard on a lot of things – fitness, mental health, communication skills, being better at my job – and I made a lot more progress with all of them than I ever had before.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Sinking to someone else’s level and reacting when they were obviously only trying to antagonize me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Normal stuff. Sinus infections, tweaked muscles, nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
There’s a few gadgets I could list here (upgraded phone, second iPad to make the kids stop fighting over the one, etc.), but I was trying to think of something a little more creative.

Actually, one of the best things I got was the armoire that I bought off craigslist and put in my office. So much storage space! So much easier to tidy things up!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My sister. She pulled off planning a wedding for over 200 guests and never once turned into a Bridezilla about any of it. And it was gorgeous, and everything was perfect.

I mean, COME ON.


Let’s face it, she wins the whole year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Without naming names or being specific at all: people who spend their lives so consumed in anger and bitterness that they try to take down everyone else around them. I suppose I knew these people existed prior to the past year, but I had never had firsthand exposure to just how horribly some grown-ass adults actually behave. And it is pathetic and sad to see, let me tell you.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare, rent, bills, same ol’.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I got stuck on this question because there are just so many things.
* Seeing my sister get married.
* Watching my kids as they grow and evolve into their own personalities, and just reveling in each of them.
* Getting back together with Chris.
* Seeing how much my kids love Chris, and getting to know his kids, who are delightful and fantastic.
* Introducing Chris to my family and having them completely embrace him and love him, because they see how happy I am with him. And that makes me realize how much they love me, because they all want me to be happy, and oh man, it’s just a big ball of ooey gooey love over here and sorry I’ll shut up now.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I was going to say “Blurred Lines,” because that song was everywhere this year, but I’m not particularly a fan of it. I mean, it’s a catchy tune, I’m just tired of it now. Same with that “Royals” song by Lorde. Or “What Does the Fox Say,” because Catie has played that one approximately 10 bajillion times.

So I’ll pick “I Love It” by Icona Pop, because it’s Lucy’s favorite song (well, I guess it’s toss-up between this and anything by Katy Perry), and we listened to her sing “I don’t care, I love it” more times than I can possibly count.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier x 10000% x infinity.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner by about 35 pounds (yay!).
c) richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Losing my temper with the kids over stupid, trivial things. Some days I’m too short-tempered and yell too much. Happens to the best of us.

(I also say I’m sorry and give hugs & kisses afterward. And I’m pretty sure nobody’s going to therapy because they were fighting over a toy and Mommy yelled, “KNOCK IT OFF OR EVERYONE IS GOING TO BED RIGHT NOW!!” But I still feel bad when I’m irritable with them.)

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Surrounded by my favorite people, as well as some really fantastic food. I am very lucky and I have zero complaints.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Technically I fell in love with Chris last year, but I fell in love with him again – and so much harder – this year. So I guess he’s my answer. And hopefully he’ll keep being my answer every year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Breaking Bad.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hmmmm…. define “hate”? There are a couple of people who I genuinely dislike now, but I try not to waste my energy on hate.

24. What was the best book you read?
This is terrible, but I cannot think of a single book that I started and finished this year. I started a lot of books and didn’t finish a single one. I apparently have literary ADD.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Lots of stuff on the radio that I liked this year. Imagine Dragons, One Republic, that “Cups” song, pretty much most of the stuff that my kids sing because I think it’s adorable.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
An upgraded iPhone. (Finally retired my 3 1/2 year-old iPhone 4 and got the 5S. Or rather, it was given to me as a Christmas gift. Best gift ever, too, since I use it daily.)

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
For Lucy to sleep in her own bed at night. Seriously, we’re up to 31 months now, and she’s still crawling up in my bed every single night. WHEN DOES IT STOP?

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I think it came out last year, but we watched Super 8 on Netflix, and I thought it was fantastic.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37, and I had dinner with my kids at my parents’ house. Not that exciting, but it was nice.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’ve got nothing. I am incredibly fortunate.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I’d call it “still trying to figure out what works on my differently-shaped body now that I’ve lost weight and gotten boobs.” It’s pretty hit-or-miss.

32. What kept you sane?
Not a “what” as much as a “who,” and it was undoubtedly Chris.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I admit, I developed a little bit of a crush on Aaron Paul/Jesse Pinkman. I know he’s too young and I could probably snap him like a twig, but… yeah. Go figure.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Oh, gun control, abortion rights, marriage equality, all the typical things us hardcore liberals get amped up about.

35. Who did you miss?
The first 4-5-ish months of the year, I missed Chris a lot. Now I just miss all of my friends and family who live far away.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met lots of people this year, not sure if I can single out one as the “best.”

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
See #9. I’m learning that if someone comes after you and their only intent is to provoke a reaction or make you angry, the worst thing you can do is let them.

As one of my very dear friends back in Mississippi says, “You just gotta be like a duck, darlin’. Just let it roll right off you.”

So there’s my life lesson: be more duck-like.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Not my favorite song of the year, but it always reminds me of Chris:

“It’s not a walk in the park
To love each other.
But when our fingers interlock,
Can’t deny, can’t deny you’re worth it
Cause after all this time.
I’m still into you.”

Yep, that about sums it up.

Happy new year, y’all!

post-holiday stream of consciousness

Today feels like the official end of the holiday season. My sister is flying home this afternoon (her husband – and man, it still feels weird to call him that since they’ve only been married a little over a month – flew home yesterday because he had to be at work today). The kids are back at daycare today, and after a week off, they were both excited to go see their friends. And I’m back at work too, although apparently my work laptop has other ideas, because it’s been on the fritz all morning. Which is probably a sign for me to just can it and give up, but I’m trying to fix it.


I hurt my back last week, and I have no idea how. It could be from helping Dave move stuff, could be because I’m constantly hauling around a 30-pound toddler on my hip, could be because that same toddler climbs in bed with me every night and sleeps with her feet poking me in the ribs. But whatever the case, I’ve been hobbling around like an arthritic 90 year-old for the past few days, popping ibuprofen like M&Ms, and I feel terrible. I called around this morning and found an acupuncturist with an open appointment today, so I’m going to give it a try.

I have sort of mixed feelings about “alternative” medical treatments – my mom has a lot of chronic pain issues and she swears by acupuncture, it really helps her a lot. On the other hand, I saw a chiropractor for a shoulder injury earlier this year, and while it did help a lot, the injury flared up again as soon as I stopped going. And I don’t really want to have to go get adjustments twice a week, every week, for the rest of my life. So, I’m hoping that a couple of sessions with needles in my back will clear this up and I’ll be done. Maybe this acupuncturist can even fix this stupid shoulder thing that I’ve had for well over a year now. We’ll see.


Catie’s 7th birthday is a month from now, and I found out that the place where she wanted to have her birthday party (Pump It Up) is already booked the day I was planning to have her party, as are a few other places. It’s frustrating and I’m trying to call around to find her a fun party place.

This whole kids’ party thing is kind of a racket, but since she has a January birthday, having a backyard party isn’t an option, and I am not nearly zen enough to deal with having 8-10 kids in my house at one time. So, I’m a big fan of farming out the birthday party. I just have to figure out the location and how we’re going to manage it. And I didn’t realize that apparently I should’ve started figuring it out weeks ago.


One last holiday thing: New Year’s Eve, tomorrow night. I’m planning on taking the girls to First Night to see the early fireworks show. Downtown Raleigh has a countdown & fireworks at 7 p.m. for the little kids, so they can be home and in bed long before midnight. My brother and I took them last year, and it was a lot of fun, Catie talked about it for ages. I think it’ll be even better this year, since Lucy is old enough to understand what’s going on. (Last year, she was mostly just confused by all of it.)

Plus, my cousin and her kids are planning to meet up with us, which should make it even more fun for the girls, because they love getting to hang out with their cousins.


No reason for posting this picture, except that I love it.

My dad and Lucy. Those two have a really special little bond between the two of them. My brother-in-law got that picture on his phone, and I think it’s just perfect.


I need to do my end of the year meme. Maybe tomorrow. Right now I gotta go get some needles shoved in my back. Good times.

random rants

I gave up Diet Coke about 8 or 9 months ago (I forget exactly when), and I think breaking that habit has been a big part of the reason I’ve been able to lose weight. Based on what I’ve read about the effects that diet sodas have on the metabolism and your brain, and the fact that I’ve lost 35 pounds since I gave it up, I think it’s safe to say there’s probably a connection there.

(Well, that and the running. I run an average of 12-15 miles a week now. I think that makes a difference too.)

I had some Diet Coke a couple of months ago, because I was at a party and there were two-liter bottles of soda, with cups and a cooler of ice, set up on a picnic table. I was tired and figured the caffeine hit would help.

The crazy thing: it made me totally sick. It tasted terrible, it burned my throat, and I felt burpy and bloated and sick for the rest of the day.


So, what do you know. Apparently that stuff really isn’t good for you after all. I knew it wasn’t healthy, of course, I just didn’t realize quite how much damage I might’ve been doing to my body until I gave it up.

I don’t want to turn into one of those anti-soda people, because I generally find those people to be annoying and tedious, but that’s my personal story of Why I’m Glad I Don’t Drink Diet Coke Anymore. You’re welcome, and I promise that I’ll try to never get preachy about it.


Of course, giving up the soda means finding a different source of caffeine, and generally I’ve become a big fan of iced tea. Unsweetened with a little sweet ‘n’ low is my new favorite thing – and it HAS to be the pink stuff, do not try to give me Splenda or Equal or I will smash your face.

First thing in the morning, since I always feel like death when I wake up, I’ve started drinking coffee. I’ve never liked coffee, but I’ve managed to adapt to it. My problem is that I really don’t like hot drinks, but if I make iced coffee, I’m fine.

And a few times, I’ve gotten an iced coffee at Starbucks – which, for the record, I still cannot walk into a Starbucks without feeling like some terrible suburban mom stereotype.


I couldn’t figure out why the Starbucks iced coffee tasted a million times better than the stuff I made at home.

Then it dawned on me that at Starbucks, the milk I put in is half-and-half. At home, I was using skim milk. So apparently that’s the key. As with so many other things in life: once you add a little fat to it, suddenly it’s MMMM, TASTY!



Totally unrelated to all things beverage: I’m normally a Kelly Clarkson fan. She’s cute and feisty, seems like she’d be fun to hang out with, and I generally like most of her music.

But I hate-hate-HATE this new “Unconditionally” song. Because you know what? There is no such thing as unconditional romantic love. Everyone has conditions. They vary per person – some people’s conditions may be far more extreme than others – but your partner can always do SOMETHING that would alienate your love.

So, really, what she means is more like, “I love you unconditionally… until you cheat on me/hit me/start cooking meth in an RV out in the desert/what-have-you.” But those are all conditions. So the entire premise of the song is bullshit.

Also, she puts her inflection on the wrong syllables and that just bugs me.

Try again, Ms. Clarkson.


I read this post by Helga yesterday, and it got me thinking about bullies/mean people in general.

I’m not sure why, but it inspired me to google a guy I dated in college, who was without a doubt the worst boyfriend of my entire dating history. I’m not even going to get into all of the details, because I’m still embarrassed to admit the amount of abuse and mistreatment I took from this jackass, even though it’s almost 18 years later.

And I remember very clearly, driving home after our break-up, thinking to myself, “Ok. Chalk this one up as a learning experience. Now you know how you will never let a man treat you, ever again.” And it stuck. So I guess I ought to be thankful for that, I learned my lesson early, and I haven’t dated anyone even remotely like that since then.

Turns out? Abusive JerkFace Guy is now on the national sex offender registry. And it was weird, but recognizing his face in the mugshot I saw online, I wasn’t even the slightest bit surprised to see that he had been in prison for sexual battery. In fact, it sort of felt… oddly gratifying. Not for whoever was his victim, of course, because I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But I had a moment of “good, I hope you learned your lesson.”


I mean, it’s doubtful. Assholes usually stay assholes for life. But I can hope.


There’s really no point to anything in this post, just a bunch of random stuff that’s been jumbling around in my head, and it was all too long for Twitter and/or Facebook. So here it is. Hopefully my abuse of animated GIFs made it more interesting.

If not? Well.

(I could watch those dudes all day.)

Edited to add: It was pointed out to me on Twitter that “Unconditionally” is actually sung by Katy Perry and not Kelly Clarkson. Which explains why I hate it. Ok then, nevermind! Carry on!

In which I nearly get hauled off to the pokey

(This title is such a tease. You know I’m WAY too boring to go to jail for anything interesting, right?)

Sometime back in June, I got pulled over on my way to a doctor’s appointment. I was running late, the left turn arrow was already on yellow, and I tailed someone through the intersection even though I knew it’d be red before I could clear the intersection.

Of course, a cop just happened to be there. And he pulled me over.

He was going to let me off with a warning, but then he ran my license, and he found a notice that I had no car insurance, and that he was supposed to take the plates off of my car.

Important side note: I did have insurance. What happened was an overlap with my car insurance when I changed over from a joint policy with my ex-husband to a solo policy by myself. So I was basically double-insured for a while. Then I figured it out, my old joint policy was canceled, and the new policy was in effect. But, hey! Boring-but-critically-important detail: my new insurance company never informed the DMV that they were covering me. Whoops.

Apparently the DMV sends you notices about these types of things when they happen. But the address that they had on file was my old house, not the one I moved into after my separation. And even though I had a forwarding address, for whatever reason, those letters didn’t get forwarded to my new house.

So, yeah, it was basically a giant clusterf**k of miscommunication that led to that Wednesday in June when the cop got a screwdriver out of his trunk and took the license plates off of my car.

I called my insurance company in a panic, they apologized profusely and immediately faxed a letter to the DMV, I drove my plate-less car to the DMV, paid for my new tags, and that was that.

Or so I thought.

I sort of missed one important detail there: the ticket that the cop wrote for my lapsed insurance? Apparently the ticket didn’t disappear once I straightened things out with the DMV. Court system & DMV are two totally different systems. Which I guess I knew, but never really thought about?

There was a court date a couple of weeks ago. Which I missed, because I assumed that there was no reason for me to be there. You know, since I’d paid my fees with the DMV, proven to them that I was sufficiently insured (and always had been), and gotten new license plates.

And all of that boring backstory is what led to this tweet tonight.


I had gotten home with the kids, heated up dinner, and I was in the bathroom taking a much-needed pee break when my doorbell rang. I saw the cop car outside, and… well, my general rule is that I don’t answer the door for strangers, but if a uniformed cop rings your doorbell, YOU ANSWER IT.

He told me that I’d missed my court date and that because of that, there’s a warrant that’s been issued for my arrest. When I started to freak out that I was home alone with my two kids because I’m a single mom, he shook his head and said, “Don’t worry, I’m not taking you anywhere.” (He really was very nice about the whole thing.)

He gave me a card with the number for the district attorney’s office, and told me that I need to call and set up a new court date. He said that if I have proof that my insurance never lapsed & that everything is ok with the DMV, it’ll likely all get dismissed.

Moral of the story: I’m apparently an idiot and need to pay closer attention to fine print. But it’s fine. I’m fine. Not in jail. All is well. Just… that was not exactly what I was expecting for a typical boring Tuesday night in the suburbs.

beach weekend

One of the cool things about living in the Raleigh area is that you can get to the beach in about two hours or so. The downside, of course, is that we typically only make it out there once a year. But we’ve gone in 2009, 2010 – skipped 2011, because, you know, I had a baby and my marriage was disintegrating and all that stuff – but went again last year. It’s always fun.

This year, my parents and I took the girls to the beach and met up with my brother there. Of course, traveling with kids is exhausting, but overall it was a fun trip. And the kids were amazingly well-behaved. I was expecting the drive there and back to be far worse than it was, but they did great. Catie shared her iPad with Lucy and they listened to music together.

(Side note: Catie is obsessed with “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, and has been for months. She plays it on repeat until you’re ready to rip out your ears. On a two-hour road trip, it gets old FAST. But, Lucy now loves it too and says, “Play da pop some tags song?” which is basically the cutest damn thing ever. So, fine, let’s hear it one more time, and Mommy will thank the stars that she remembered to double-check that she was downloading the bleeped version.)

As for the trip, I didn’t go as crazy with my camera as I normally do, but I did get a few good pictures while we were there.

Pop-Pop & Lucy check out the ocean
This was one of the few seconds that Lucy was smiling when she was close to the water. Unlike last year, she was not a fan of either the water or the wet sand. She kept saying, “No down! No down! I no like the water!”

my girls in the sand together
On the upside, Catie and Lucy did play together really nicely in the sand, during the few brief moments that Catie wasn’t out jumping waves in the ocean. (This picture makes me laugh only because man, that is a LOT of blonde hair right there.)

Exploring the beach

me, Lucy & my mom on the beach

Lucy’s favorite place was lying on the blankets where the sand and water couldn’t touch her. She did a lot of lounging around, pretending to nap and then laughing when she came up.

"I tired. I go night-night on da blanket."

Lucy on the beach
“Suh-pise! I not go night-night!” Oh, Luce. Good one. You almost had me thinking you were taking an unprompted nap for a second there. Right.

My dad, my brother, and I took turns holding Catie’s hands in the water while she jumped the waves. She went farther out into the ocean than she’s ever gone in her life, and she had a blast. At one point when I was with her, she screamed, “I COULD DO THIS ALL DAY!!!” Which is awesome. Except I can only jump waves for like, an hour, tops, before I’m completely worn out.

One of my favorite pictures I got of Catie was this shot of her walking to the water. And it reminded me of a picture I took of her almost four years ago. In 2009, when she was 2 years old, we were on the northern coast of Scotland, and I took a photo of her walking toward the ocean there. It’s one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken – I have an 8×10 of it framed in my living room.

Same girl. Same ocean. Opposite coasts. Opposite seasons. Four years apart.

Four years later, I got a similar picture of her on the opposite side of the same ocean. I love the contrasts and similarities – how she’s stepping forward on the same foot, but in a swimsuit instead of bundled up for winter. I may have to frame this one just to put it next to the picture from 2009.

We got home on Sunday, and my parents went back to their house to collapse. Chris came over, and he and I took the kids to a playground, and to a lake to catch some minnows. Both kids were completely exhausted and sound asleep by 8:15 on Sunday night, which has got to be some kind of personal record.

It’s probably a bad sign that I’m already craving more fried oysters, huh? Hmm.