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First Monday

The first day of school brings grand ideas of fresh baked banana muffins for breakfast (we did have those) as we get ready to walk out the door early to avoid the back to school crowds so that we can settle in to the new desk and visit with friends in the hallways.

But there’s the sleepyhead toddler getting used to first day of the new school year’s wake up call.

And then. And then. And then.

You get to school where all the rest of the neighborhood is walking in their kids so you have to park nearly a quarter mile from school (or close to it) in makeup and work clothes with a 30 lb weight on your side. It’s steamy in Texas. There was sweat.  Thank goodness for air conditioning.

Drop off is a success. First day of school picture is taken.

Then on the way back, a kid escaping from school- or something- runs you down (the whole back of your leg) with his bike. Literally. He doesn’t stain your pants at least. Phew.

But then traffic is great-especially for the first day of school. And a Monday.

And you come in to find something that leaves you with a smile. The elusive Jess coke that you’ve been chasing all over with a happy note to start the day. It’s the little things that bring the happy.

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Week in Review

The week is done and tomorrow starts third grade for Ava. Allie’s new year doesn’t start till next week.

Last week was a short one. I had a day of work then we went on a mini vacay after lots of procrastinating and lots of indecisiveness about where we would end up. Literally a few days before we left, and two reservations in two cities later, we finally figured it out.

Houston.

More on that later I’m tired and as expected, it was only mildly relaxing in the evenings but the kids had a blast, so that’s what matters.

1) Gypsy Sisters is back. It’s an embarrassingly trashy show (super bad) on TLC. Love that show. Sometimes you just need to indulge. Even if it’s in 5 minute spurts when no one is around.

2) So is Dallas! I know this sounds like I’m a couch potato, but really these are the only two shows that are worth my time on the DVR. But seriously, DALLAS. John Ross. Christopher. Sue Ellen!

3) Manziel got fined for his incredibly immature and unsportsmanlike move against the Redskins. In case you didn’t catch it before they censored it, he flipped them off. Winner. Then he got sacked by Michael Sam (Chargers) who then did Manziel’s signature “money fingers”. Ha! Two wrongs don’t make a right, but that dude is just a tool.

4) OneRepublic. We saw them last night at Circuit of the Americas. (Date night!)

IMG_0130Holy. Krrrrrrrraaaaap. Oh. My. Gooooosssshhh. Seriously. If that’s not enough to express my amazement of how awesome they were in concert? I think I have … Downgraded John Mayer. Gasp!!! At least for concert. He’s still a song writing and guitar playing genius.

Seriously. Two songs in and I had already dubbed it best concert ever. The cello, piano, the violin. Mind blowing. It was all so gorgeous. Ryan Tedder (lead) has a voice like nothing else. The entire band just all sang so well in harmony and they all sound amazing. They need a live album like yesterday.

“Counting Stars” was as awesome as you could imagine. Even better? When the song was winding down, Ryan ran RIGHT next to us as he headed up the stairs to the upper level. Whoooooa there was even more screaming than there already was. I gave the teen girl next to me a run for her money.

Allie and I have jammed to this song in the car no less than 15 times. Not even kidding. And we’ve only been in the car twice. She has been requesting “Baby” since I played it this morning. It’s a “happy” song. She’s my music buddy.

If they come to your city, GO.

Christina Perri opened and she was fantastic! It blew me away what a strong voice came out of a tiny person. And yes, she has a lot of upbeat songs and we heard more than “Jar of Hearts.”

Me + live music = super happy. Totally good way to kick off the week.

Needless to say, this day before the new year has been the epitome of lazy relaxation. Just what we needed.

34.

Another year has come and gone. I’m now 34.  Yup, my birthday was last Tuesday. I generally like to go under the radar for birthdays.

I got my driver’s license renewed and already got it back in the mail. The picture is fine enough but it looks like a selfie because they couldn’t get the lighting to DPS specifications and kept making me move closer. Dear officer, I promise it’s not a fake.

I’m one year closer to the 40th birthday bash I decided I’m throwing myself at Disney World. No kids allowed.  Or something, at least that’s what’s in my head for now. Maybe I’ll grow up and pick someplace grown ups go. Or not. In true Jess fashion I’ll park hop and hit downtown Disney. Yay!

But seriously.

For me, birthdays have never been about parties. Well, except for the awesome quinceañera I had when I turned 15. That’s a huge deal when you’re in high school. My parents were awesome enough to throw me one.

As I’ve gotten older I think birthdays have become less and less about making a big to do.

Birthdays are a chance to stop and think about all the blessings in life. To look around you at the people and places in your life and be grateful.

They’re a chance for you to look to your parents and say THANKS.

They’re a chance for my girls to get to celebrate me, and I love the homemade and hand picked cards.

Looking around, things are pretty awesome in my world and I’m really thankful.

Bangarang.

What a shock. Robin Williams is gone. He died.

Scratch that. He didn’t die. He killed himself. There’s a difference. A sad one. {it’s an uncomfortable thing to read that, isn’t it? Killing oneself vs dying?}

I think it’s safe to say that at some point in our lives we’ve all been Robin Williams fans. “Aladdin” did it for me. Ava just got into “Hook” and thought it was pretty cool. “Bangarang!” is all I can think as the thoughts swirl about this loss.

Robin Williams had a talent that was truly a gift. He also had demons that only he knew.

This is the part that is just so sad. This is an illness. This is the part where real life steps in to break down the glittery glamour of Hollywood and reminds everyone that this is real life.

What happened? I have no idea.

All I can think is he must have been in the kind of deep dark hole that tells you that there is no ladder out, no search party coming in, and no point in bothering to cry for help.

Depression is the lie that keeps the brightest light from seeing the light beaming around him, even when everyone tries to prove to him that it’s true.

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No one saw this coming. Not the public, anyway, but maybe not those near him either. Why? Because someone with depression works damn hard to hide behind a facade to keep the world from knowing the truth. To fend off the stigma.

Smile through the dark clouds.

Go through the motions.

Conceal don’t feel. (She’s right.)

I hid for a long time. Scared of what people would say. Embarrassed of what they would think.

Depression.

I. Was. Depressed.

Thankfully I never wanted to hurt myself. I never had the demons Robin Williams and many other people struggle with. I’m thankful I had have support from people who love me and the resources around me to kick my way out to the other side.

Robin Williams had love and a plethora of resources. But he still lost the battle he fought most of his life. He had reasons to keep fighting. But he didn’t.

Why? Who knows.

What about the ones who are fighting but don’t have anything? That’s a discussion about a flawed system for another day.

I won’t get too high on the horse but I will leave you with this reminder:

Everyone fights their own battles. They’re not displayed like battle scars for all to see. Some are still fighting.

Be gentle.

Be kind.

Bangarang.

Oh hi! It’s me.

Oh hello, remember me? I’m the girl who sometimes blogs around here but not really because I’m kind of on a social media fast.  Not really banning it just not really into it right now.  I check in on Facebook because, well, I get bored. But I haven’t been around much. And that’s ok.  But mostly because I haven’t really had much of anything to say. So why say anything at all, huh?  Pretty boring, this girl.

*****

I finally finished reading the Steve Jobs’ biography. I’m entranced. Such and amazing book and such an amazing man. The way he revolutionized computers and personal computing devices. iDevices. He made that stuff happen.  He didn’t invent it all, but he pushed the people that made it happen.  He wasn’t a nice guy, but wow.  What a genius.  Needless to say, I was an Apple girl before, but now I’m for sure never, ever going back.  And also I want to go to the Apple Store in Cupertino, California.

Also as a side note, John Mayer is discussed in the book. He’s one of the only people Steve (we’re on a first name basis) talks about EVER that is not actually relevant to the development of his devices and it was freaking awesome. He’s in the index even. Yes, I’m a nerd, I looked. JOHN MAYER. 

Now I’m back to big kid books and I’m reading Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in New China.

*****

The summer is almost over.  And vacation is still not planned. HA!  Procrastinators much?  Add in the fact that the week we want to travel is turning into the busiest week ever and this is not turning into a good combination. Perhaps maybe a mini vacation plus a long weekend later in the fall when we’re all off.

*****

Can I just say that despite the fact that this is probably one of the most mild summers in YEARS, including the year when we brought Allie home and we moved into our house and it was about 110 degrees everyday for like all summer, I’m still ready FALL.  For October. November.

Football.  Cool weather. Long sleeves.  SCARVES (I blame my love for scarves on Heather). Jeans without sweating (I wear jeans year round so this would be awesome). The smell of wood burning in a fireplace in the cold night air while out on a chilly evening run.

*****

Back to school is in full effect. Ava has found out who her teacher is and we’ve already gotten back to school supplies. (Holy moly, the older you get the more expensive your school supplies get.) She’s like me, I LOVE pens and papers and all that stuff.

I wish I could go back to school. I think I would go back and work harder than I did. But then again, that’s all retrospect. It would be neat to get another degree.  Although no clue in what.  It would be awesome to go to medical school. But there’s the itty bitty problem of math. Which is not so very fun.

*****

 

Oh, and by the way, my awesome friend Deb featured me on her blog.  Even though I’m in a black hole of barely blogging.  I think she’s awesome and such a no nonsense, non-censored blogger.  And not just because she featured me.  If you wanna read where I lay it all out, here’s the link.

“My Best”

Being a parent is tough business. Duh.

I don’t feel like I’m half the parent mine were. Somehow I feel like I get more easily frustrated. Like I grow weary more easily. Like it’s harder.  Somehow they made it look easier.

As a parent (or maybe me) it’s something I work hard to fight constantly.  Hard to balance not letting things slide but letting the right things slide.  Not letting buttons get pressed and letting things roll off your back no matter how annoying because they’re just being kids.

Sometimes the day is beating you down and you feel like you’re just not doing it right.

And then at the end of the day you’re bathing the little one when she turns to you out of the blue and says, “You’re the best mom. You make me happy. I love you.”

And you melt because she’s never said anything like that. No matter what happened that evening or that day or yesterday or ever mattered because she still loves you.

Mornings are hectic and days are fraught with guilt for rushing them out the door and sad faces from stressing everyone out.  But pick ups are always filled with happy faces and love.  And knowing I’m still they’re best.

That’s some serious love. Must be doing something right.

Thank God.

In summmmmmerr

One of my most favorite things going up was going on vacation with my parents. No matter what, we always went somewhere.  Looking back, as a parent myself, I realize now what a sacrifice that must have been for them.  The money, the time, the crazy kids.  THANKS DAD.

Growing up my parents always took us to places where we went exploring and seeing new things.  We went to museums.  We explored caverns. WE WENT TO DISNEY WORLD AND DISNEYLAND OMG I blame them for my obsession.

Ava’s been asking to go on vacation.  She’s at a summer school camp and slowly all of her friends have been coming and going. Slowly but surely one by one they’ve been sneaking off to vacation. All but her.  #firstworldproblems

We’re working on a plan, but living in a state the size of Texas (it would probably take as much time to get from El Paso to California as it does to get from El Paso to the tip eastern tip of Texas) it takes forever to get places. This is not so conducive to road trips less than 5 hours.

There are quite a few options, but narrowing them down is hard.  

We’re not really sit at the pool and sip drinks kind of folks. I never have been.  Maybe for quick weekends, but we’d like to get away for a few days. Hopefully. Plans and actualities are always two different things.

Plus, taking Allie out can be a wee bit… like wrangling a cat… she’s got “spunk” that one.  She just doesn’t like staying in one place. Like mom.

Back to vacay, I did learn that I love the beach. I swore I wasn’t a beach person. The idea of sitting and watching water sounded like such a waste of time. (yes, I never slow down. Ever.)  Until we went. The waves.  The smells.  Awesome. (Texas beaches –without seaweed– don’t stink).  Running on the beach. Picking up shells. Playing  in the sand.  Love it.

Unfortunately, the beaches around here are kinda yuck right now. Did you know there’s a massive seaweed infestation attacking the local beaches? Gross. You can even see it from space.  Boo.

Anyway, it’s not about the specific place for her.  Or for us. It’s about the memories of being together and going out and doing things. It may be a day trip excursion or a weekend getaway that’s a 3 hour drive from home, but I know it’ll be fun because we’ll be together. It’ll be a new adventure.

I want Ava (and Allie even though she’s 3 because I KNOW she remembers her first trip to Disney) to look back and remember the trips taken with mom and dad.  I want them to get older and smile when they think about their trip to [fill in the blank] in the summer of 2014.

So yeah. That’s what I’m working on.

Happy summer.

My Favorite Summer Things

Hi friends. Here I am!  It’s almost July. Crazy huh? Just another week and a half. Three day weekend!!! Anyway here are some of my favorite summer things that I’m loving right now.

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To check out Addye’s work in her Etsy shop, click the pic.

1) A BEAUTIFUL print that I got from my beautifully talented friend A’Driane.  She creates the amazing paintings and has turned them into prints.  I got this beauty for $20. Best part?  Her proceeds were going to benefit Postpartum Progress (a life saving resource-really- for women with postpartum mental health issues). I told you about them, remember?  PS It’s still not too late to donate.  Just click here.

Postpartum Progress was aiming to raise $100,000 by June 21.  It’s June 23 and they’ve raised over $150,000!!! And they’re not stopping there. You can still donate through June 30 to their campaign to help raise awareness for women’s mental health issues.

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2) I am loving my new iPhone wallpaper. I like to be colorful because it makes me smile so I’m going patriotic for the Fourth.  I get mine off of Pinterest (that’s the link to my iPhone wallpaper board).

3) I got free coffee from my favorite people at Seattle’s Best!  They’re promoting their new Seattle’s Best Frozen Coffee Blends, which is awesome for a girl who lives in a Seattle’s Coffee deprived city. Seriously, when are we getting one?  Anyway, you can try it too with their $1 off#FREEZETHEDAY coupon from Facebook.  How cute are those straws? I love cool straws and insulated cups.

Oh, and this is how you do a Texas wedding:

1) Lots of color.  Teal and orange were the colors du jour.  This pic is of me and my twinsie Shelby. We were both wearing it.  She’s a teenager and I’m not. Is that a bad thing?  Oh well, this is still my signature nail color and I pretty much wear it all the time. It’s Flower brand and you can buy it at Walmart. For cheap.
2) Beautiful tasteful flowers in mason jars to really showcase an amazing event at a rustic venue.
3) BARBECUE brisket and sausage with lots of delicious sides. CORN CASSSSSSSSSEROLE (that’s the big yellow lump. Can you tell that’s my favorite?). Don’t forget the mini-margaraita (in a mason jar). Nom.

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What are you loving? 

BTW, No one paid me to talk about any of this stuff. I just like stuff. And I like to talk.  And I have opinions. So there you go, meant to be.

What I’m Reading

I’m a horrible reader. Not that I can’t read, duh, but I make no time to read.

I put reading on our bucket list because I just want to get moving.  On my list was reading about a place (I’m intrigued by Japan, China and India–thanks, Naomi!), and a biography.

photo (6)Biography:  Cue the biography of Steve Jobs. I’ve been meaning to read this book so I hit up the library and found it.  In good old paper book where you actually get to flip pages! It’s huge, 600+ pages so not actually conducive to throwing it in my purse and going (like an iPad) but I love it.  So far really interesting–especially for an Apple addict like me.  iPhone 6 is coming out in August!!! YAY!

The biography is a very in depth look at his life and how Apple came to life.  Steve Jobs actually reached out to Walter Isaacson several times to get him to write the biography, but he never agreed. After the author found out that Steve Jobs had cancer, he jumped on it.

Interestingly enough, Steve Jobs had no input in the book whatsoever and chose not to read it prior to publication. TONS of people were interviewed and it’s a very real life look at where he was. I’m only 1/6 of the way done (huge book) but so far I’m very intrigued.

 

So far my favorite quote has been related to his long journey in India on a quest for mediation and peace (something he was very into):

If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things–that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.  It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.

Indeed, Steve. Indeed.  Duly noted.

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Country books: I’m not necessarily interested in reading a book about visiting, but thanks to my Third World Politics class in college (I really did enjoy that class and actually read the books), I’m interested in history and culture.

Right now this is on my hold list at the library:  Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China. Sounds interesting. It’s by Evan Osnos and just came out. It’s about the rise of the Communist party and its attempt to take control and the future of the country.

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Not sure what I’m reading next. I started reading Insurgent and got really bored and distracted so I couldn’t finish it. It’s on the iPad so I can read it eventually when I’m reading.

I do know what I won’t be reading: Fault in Our Stars.  Heck no.  A book about a girl dying of cancer? Why would I even try to do that? PASS.

I always love chick lit and need to catch up on the “Shopaholic series.”  I devoured that and love everything England. I swear I wanted to move to England after reading Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes. The latest books don’t have the greatest reviews, so I’m not sure what I’ll read next.

What are you reading?

To the dads

It never really quite hits that you’re the mom and dad like when a massive storm hits. Instead of running to your parents’ room, you’re the one running upstairs to make sure the kids aren’t too close to the window. You’re the one bringing them down for good measure.

In the wake of it all, you can’t help but think of the countless nights spent on the floor in mom & dad’s room because the desert thunderstorms, yikes. At least for a scaredy cat like me, anyway.

I did it. Often. I was terrified of storms and yet somehow, here I am, the grown up responsible for the babies. Despite being nearly asleep even through a great playoff basketball game, the parent adrenaline kicks in and you’re awake because the little darlings need you.

Funny the way things go full circle.

Thanks for letting me bunk in your room, dad.

Happy Father’s Day to my favorite dads. To my husband, dad and brother, you rock. Love you guys.

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