Thanksday #87

I’m really homesick, y’all.

Homesick for where I’m from/home, the Pacific Northwest. (Which is a tad ironic considering I just used “y’all” in the opening line.) I don’t know what it is, but I’m having waves of homesickness crashing over me at the most random times lately. In all the 17 years since I’ve left and moved to the South, I think this is the worst.

I miss my people. I miss my parents and my brother and his wife. I miss my aunts and uncle and cousin. I miss my Grandpa, who’s not doing well right now. I miss my friends — my high school friends and my college friends — and their kids, some of whom I haven’t even met yet.

I miss them all.

I know there’s always visits, but it’s not quite the same, you know? A quick visit when it’s jam-packed with drive-everywhere-and-see-everyone-ness is wonderful, but it’s not the same as doing life with your people. And I really miss doing life with my people.

I’m not at all saying I want to leave here (because I adore it here and there no plans to), I’m just saying I want to go there.

Does that make any sense?

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining, because I am way not complaining. Just sharing that I’m feeling a bit homesick right now. I know many of you transplants completely get it. (Please tell me you get it.)

Anyway, the quickest way to pull myself up by the bootstraps is to be thankful. So here we go!

Thankfuls for this week:

1. Texting, Facetime and Skype. Because seriously, how did people stay in touch through varying time zones without it in the olden days?

2. New Routines. Hands down, the best part of this summer is having new routines. Which translated into Monica-ese means no routines at all. There are no set times to wake up, or leave the house, or pick up from school, or go to t-ball, or anythingIt’s the most peaceful and perfectly blissful place to be. (Until around August 1, when I’ll be blogging about my desperate need for the structure of a school week, and good grief we have 18 more days to go!)

3. Iced Coffee. Yes, still an addiction. But I got smart and brewed my own to keep in a cute little hot pink pitcher in the fridge, so I can have iced coffee anytime I want without melting the ice with hot coffee. Anytime I want!

4. Sweet, Sweet Sleep. I have no idea what the difference is, but since we’ve been back from vacation (um, ding ding?) I’ve been sleeping a-m-a-z-i-n-g-l-y. Like, deep and hard and wake up almost feeling fully rested. It’s phenomenal.

5. The DVR. Y’all. There is nothing like coming back from being gone awhile and seeing all your favorite shows waiting in little blue folders for you on your TV. I hunkered in one afternoon to catch two episodes of something delightfully awful, and am hoping this weekend will lend itself to a few more.

6. Cheap Reads. I’m in one of my read-everything-I-can-get-my-hands-on phases. So I’ve found a bunch of books on Amazon ranging from $1-3. They’re no Shakespeare, but they’re entertaining enough for $1.99. I’m on my fifth book in two weeks. I figure I’ve got about two more books in me before I push Kindle aside and take a several-month break, and go back to my old-lady Woman’s World and First magazine obsessions.

7. Trusting God Equips. The only way I am able to face an enormous fear I have is that I know God is calling me to it and will equip me for it. I can’t go into detail now, but will later. But if you think of me and picture me knocking my knees and shaking, you wouldn’t waste a prayer throwing one up for me.

8. Movie Theater Popcorn. Y’all know we don’t live near a movie theater, let alone a big multi-plex (do they still call them that?). But I took the kids to The Big City this week to see Monsters University at the big multi-plex. And they have the best popcorn. So I ate a lot of it. And I paid for it the next day (am I the only one who gets a stomach ache after eating popcorn?), but all that salty, buttery goodness was worth it. (And no, I don’t want to hear all about how bad it is for me, but thanks!)

9. Knowing it Was a Good Beach Trip. This will be the last I speak of the beach, I promise. But you know what distinguishes a good, long vacation from a shorter one? Coming home and being pleasantly surprised at your countertops. I absolutely didn’t recognize my kitchen countertops when we got back. And I ooh’d and ahh’d all over again when we got home at how much I liked them. Yep. Exactly.

10. Skywire. I am thankful that the walk across the Grand Canyon is OVER. I couldn’t take the stress, people. I was riveted but also couldn’t watch. And those camera shots from the helicopter made me nauseous. I don’t know how his wife survives these things, because the first time he took a knee (ON THE WIRE! OVER THE GRAND CANYON!) I lost my breath and threw up a little bit in my mouth. So I’m glad it’s over. My 40 year-old heart can’t take that kind of nonsense. And the stress wrinkle certainly doesn’t need any further assistance in looking like the Grand Canyon. He might be able to walk across that in about 10 years.

Well, y’all. I still miss my peeps, but I do feel better. Listing out some thanks sort of feels like a big ol’ hug from the West Coast. (Although, the West is a little too stiff for a big ol’ hug, so maybe it’s more like a “way to go, bro” fist bump.)

At any rate. It helps.

What are you thankful for this week?


Thanksday #86

I’m at the beach.

Actually, this is my 11th day at the beach.

So I think you already know what my thankfuls for this week are going to be. But as we wrap up our time here and prepare for just one last full day of fun, I have been reflecting and thinking over all I’ve been thankful for this week, and it might not be exactly what you’d expect.

Not that I’m entirely sure what that would be.

Regardless. Here is what I’ve been thankful for this week, in no particular order:

1. Swimming Pools. My kids, they like the actual beach pretty okay. Paxton used to be vehemently against it — he was too prissy for the sand on his feet and the waves splashing him. Now he is a fanatic and could spend all day there. Jaana, on the other hand, used to adore every single thing about the beach and could spend hours there. But somehow in the last year, her love has waned and the sand in her swimsuit thing has become a bit of a bother. So while we have enjoyed quality time with the beach, we have spent quantity time with the pool.

2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And introducing my tweeny girl to it for the first time and watching her die laughing at DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.

3. Aloe, Aquaphor and Advil. The second day here, I got a sunburn on my bottom lip. Yep, just the bottom. It was minor and took me awhile to notice because it didn’t hurt. And then one morning I woke up, and it looked as if it were I was a finalist on Lip Injections Gone Bad. I honestly was dying laughing because it was horribly swollen and the entire situation is so ironic. Because here’s the deal — of all the oh-so-many-places I could use some kind of surgical assistance, my lips is just not one of them. And I began wondering why I couldn’t have gotten burned on the stress wrinkle between my eyebrows so that it would puff up and fill itself out?

4. Getting Back on the Bike. Literally. I can’t tell you the last time I rode a bike. 17? 20? It has to have been at least 20 years. But Greg went for bike rides almost every morning, and after a few days of wogging/jogging at blissful sea level, I wanted to shake it up. Because I’m crazy like that. So I picked up a bike and went for a ride. And after a few hundred wobbly feet, I found my footing (wheeling?) and was off. It was just lovely. (Although I had to remember not to be like Meg Ryan in City of Angels and close my eyes and ride with my arms wide open.) (Because as I remember, that ends badly.)

5. Vitamin D. Cheers to getting it the natural way, and browning up in the process.

6. Alone Time. Y’all know my need to be alone is a most desperate need. And you probably also know that when your entire family goes to the beach, it’s an elusive find, like that bird Charles Muntz tries to find in Up. And somewhere around day seven, I started l-o-s-i-n-g my mind. And there’s not much to spare. So one afternoon, Greg took care of the kids and I ended up having two hours alone in the house. Alone. In the house. I showered without interruption and blew dry my hair in peace. I listened to the new Justin Timberlake album at full volume and danced around while I got ready. (Should I admit that part?) (The JT part, not the dancing part. I’m fine with the dancing part.) (Sigh.) And when I was done, I sat on my most favorite chair in the world (which happens to be here in this house) and finished a book. With the TV off and no bickering in the background. I think I lost five pounds, it was so freeing.

7. Fully Present. When you’re home in your own house, it’s hard to not give primary attention to the mounting dishes, the stinky laundry and the unswept floors. But on vacation, it’s a hall pass, is what it is. And since being here, I was able to let go of all the house stuff for awhile. And our time was spent snuggling, drinking coffee, reading books, watching movies, swimming, playing, shopping. Many afternoons, when Paxton would sleep and Greg would do work, Jaana and I would have Mommy-Daughter time. Sometimes at the pool, sometimes at the Barnes & Noble. Sometimes at the Steinmart. It was wonderful to be able to ignore the noise that tries to be louder than the moment and be fully present. I’m going to try and take that home with me.

8. Good Friends, Good Eats, Good Laughs. What’s better than vacationing at the beach? Vacationing at the beach when others you adore are there, too. And getting to spend quality time celebrating them and birthdays. And experiencing new restaurants. Kid-free. And new laughs to old stories. Stephen King is quoted as saying, “You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.” I love nothing more than chair plopping with dear friends.

9. Hair Tricks. Y’ALLLLLLLLLLLL. I accidentally discovered The Best thing that has made my hair sing. Backstory: the day I sunburned my bottom lip, I also sunburned my shoulders. Not terrible, but enough to make my bra straps hurt on them. (I know, TMI.) So after my shower I put my hair up and slathered Aquaphor on my shoulders. Then after I put my shirt on I took my hair down. Except that maybe it didn’t happen in the order I just listed. Because when I went to blow dry my hair, it would not dry on the ends. Not dry one bit. It was Aquaphor’d and goopy and stayed slicky. Which is exactly what I need with fine, stick straight hair in 1734% humidity. To try and rectify the situation without the agony of reshampooing, I picked up my dry shampoo bottle and sprayed all over my head until I developed the black lung. And do you know what happened to my slicky hair? It was transformed. TRANSFORMED! It was voluminous and full and very Housewives of Orange County-ish, which was very fitting because of the bottom lip situation.

10. Dressy Tees for $7. I got a couple of these shirts from Target on the way to the beach and they were on sale for just $7. (They look better in person.) (I got teal and cobalt, but the online names are too fancy.) (Ain’t nobody got time for that.)

And since it’s the 11th day here, I have to add one more:

11. Sleeping In. My daughter has slept in until 8 am every day. It’s Christmas in June, people.

To sum it all up, I think it’s safe to say that if I were to ever have to love anywhere with 1743% humidity again, in a heartbeat I’d choose Hilton Head Island. The place where dreams come true and miracles do happen. Where getting your lips done is as easy as stepping outside and your daughter stops waking with the sun.

When my brother has to wrap up a call or visit quickly, he always begins with “so check it out” which I find highly annoying in that I-adore-my-little-brother way.

So check it out.

The final game of the Heat v Spurs battle is on. And while I care squat about the game or the outcome, it does mean that it’s time for me to hunker into my chair and settle into my next book.

Love ya, mean it.

What are you thankful for this week?


Thanksday #85


It has been a sweet forever since I’ve done a Thanksday. Seven months in fact. And it’s actually been 11 months since I’ve done an old-fashioned, list version.

So I woke up this morning at five-stinkin’-forty-five AM! with a splitting headache and couldn’t fall back asleep. And after chasing three Advil with a vanilla protein shake, I said to myself, “Well shoot fire. I feel like I need me a good, old-fashioned Thanksday.”

Because evidently I like to channel my inner Clampett when I’m riddled with head pain before the dawn.

So friends, buckle up and brace yourselves, ‘cuz this is going to be mighty mediocre.

Things I’m thankful for this week:

1. Advil.

2. Mini Bobby Pins. Back in January I decided I needed fancy, swoopy bangs, and I adored them. Adored! I felt very sophisticated, and more importantly, it covered up my stress wrinkle in between my eyebrows. But as sophisticated as swoopy bangs are, make no mistake — they are very high-maintenance. (Or more accurately, they are very high-maintenance for someone who avoids washing her hair every day simply because she hates blow drying her hair.) And so I started planning ahead to summer, and thinking about all the time at the pool and how on earth am I going to maintain swoopy bangs when they’ll dry funny after swimming with my kids? So I started growing them out. But pinning them back made the regular bobby pins stick out like a lightening rod. Then one fine day at the library, a friend showed me her mini bobby pins — in her hair, right that second! —  and now my life is forever changed.

3. A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet. Boo Mama’s book just released Tuesday, and I’m halfway through it. And when I tell you it’s funny, I mean that in a laugh-so-hard-you-make-funny-noises-and-are-worried-your-husband-will-come-into-the-bedroom-thinking-you’re-wheezing-to-death-and-you’re-afraid-you-might-wet-the-bed way.

4. SCHOOL. IS. OVER. I gave up on school somewhere around April 13th. And after reading this post from Jen Hatmaker, I felt completely fine with that.

5. Potty Trained Toddlers. Do you know what makes going to the pool with the kids one thousand percent more fun this summer? Not having to use swimmie diapers. And do you know what makes trips to The Big City or elsewhere a lot easier to pack for? Not having to load up a small suitcase with diapers and wipes. There is so much less to pack when your kids get older, it’s a freedom that ranks right up there with waking up at seven thirty like a normal person without a splitting headache.

6. Summer TV Programming. A guilty pleasure of mine just started it’s new season this week, and it was everything I expected it would be. I won’t tell you what show it is for fear of judgment, but suffice it to say, it embarrasses my husband to no end that I watch it. To which I reply, “Umm, hello? WWE?” And then he sighs loudly and shakes his head while I snuggle smugly under the blanket and crank up the volume. (Don’t judge me!)

7. Beach. We leave Sunday straight from church to head to the beach. I. CAN’T. WAIT. I’m in the worst way desperate for some fun and sun and relaxation with my people. And I’m ready for Paxton to get just enough sun on his white body to not look like a vampire.

8. Frownies. I’m going to be straight up honest with you because there’s no shame in this game. I will do anything I can to eliminate this stress wrinkle in between my eyebrows. Anything. Because here’s the truth — I could care less about the parentheses around my mouth, or the lines around my eyes, or the other forehead wrinkles — that’s all normal aging stuff and proof that I like to laugh. But this stress wrinkle is one that is 100% related to life stress and trauma, not aging, therefore qualifies for removal in my book. So I recently purchased Frownies. (And yes, I’m absolutely aware of the ridicule that is to follow.) (And yes, Greg has, in fact, ridiculed me to no end already.) I have only been using them for a couple weeks, and I forget to do it most nights, so I doubt anything will ever change. But it’s worth a shot. And if these don’t end up working, I will one day get collagen and botox. And then some fine afternoon when I show up at the Ingles with a perfectly smooth between-the-eyebrows space, I will unashamedly proclaim, “It’s a miracle! Jesus healed me!

9. Advil. Did I mention that already?

10. Laughter. Maybe it’s because we’re so excited about school being over. Or maybe it’s because we’re so excited to go to the beach. Or maybe it’s because Mommy is choosing to lighten up a little bit. I’m just not sure. But regardless, the kids and I have laughed a lot this week. A lot. And it feels really good. And I spur-of-the-moment decided to take the kids swimming the other night at 5 o’clock, and totally rocked Jaana’s world with my random spontaneity.

So here’s to a summer chock full of more laughter and spontaneity!

And Advil!

And waking up after seven thirty like normal people!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need a nap.

What are you thankful for this week?


Thanksday #68

First things first.

One, I’m back on coffee (praise. the. LORD.) B) I’m at the beach.

Due to number 2, I’m dedicating today’s Thanksday to all things beachy. Because I want to rub it in and gloat.You know.

I can’t believe the week has gone by so quickly. Today and tomorrow are our last days for sand, sun and swimming…and Saturday is the long drive back. Usually I get really depressed at the end of vacation, because I don’t want it to end. I love spending time with my family with no life interruptus. And then Greg reminds me that my whole life is pretty much a vacation and I think, “oh yeah.” And while that’s not entirely true, it’s kinda true. We do live in the mountains where other people go to vacation. And it’s summer, so I get to do the hard job of taking the kids to the pool and such.

So I’ll try to be strong and pull myself up by my bootstraps come Saturday. Or sandal straps. Whichev.

My beachy thankfuls this week:

1. Moss Covered Trees. Hilton Head is so beautiful. And walking and running through the moss-covered trees is almost fairy-tale like.

2. Palmetto Cheese with Bacon. My love of the Pimento Cheese With Soul is no secret. But guess what I saw at the grocery down here? OH. EM. GEE.

3. Day Off. Yesterday, I just couldn’t imagine putting a swimsuit back on AGAIN. I really needed a day off from the pool and beach. (Which begs the question, who am I??) And Lord knows Paxton did since he was a little sunburned (despite the 50 SPF sunscreen). So we went shopping instead. Score!

4. Harbour Town Lighthouse. And climbing all 114 steps in wedge heels. But then seeing dolphins while watching the sunset over the water. Worth. It.

5. Aloe and Swim Shirts. So yeah, Paxton got a wee bit of a sunburn on his back (again, despite the 50 SPF sunscreen. Just want to reiterate that I’m not an irresponsible parent). After a swim shirt and aloe slathered all over his back (plus a day off from the pool) and he’s good as new. (Whew.) But look, he’s at least got some color for the first time in his life!

6. Surprise Gift. In Harbour Town last night, we headed to the toy store and Greg said he wanted to check something out and that he’d be right back. While the kids looked at toys, I got an email I wish I hadn’t have gotten. And it put me in a really depressed and funky mood (as if I need any help with that). Then Greg walks in and hands me a bag and says, “surprise!” And inside is a Washington State University Tervis mug! The best pick-me-up I could’ve imagined. I got a good man, y’all. A good, good man. (And thank you God for him.) (And and thank you God for Your timing.) (And who’da thunk you could find anything WSU-related in Hilton Head of all places, when I never could in Atlanta??)

7. No Bedtime. To Jaana’s utter delight, we told her she could stay up as late as she wanted this vacation. The only caveat was that she had to be responsible during the day — cleaning up after herself, having a good attitude, yada yada. She’s stayed up until after 10 each night and has loved it. And due to the late bedtime, she’s actually sleeping in (well, for her it’s sleeping in). Win-win.

8. Greg. Greg has had to work every day. He had a paper due for school, a sermon to prepare for Sunday, a lesson to prepare for Sunday night, a lesson to prepare for Wednesday night, and materials for a leadership conference breakout group next week. But he’s done it all without a single complaint. I’m in awe of his dedication and perseverance.

9. Generosity. I’m most thankful to have this amazing place to stay here. Lord, please bless our friends a hundred fold.

10. A Great Family. I just casually mentioned over lunch that I just have one thing left to complete this list. And Jaana suggested, “having an amazing family and a beautiful daughter.” And I completely agreed. So I’m extremely thankful for my fabulous family, my insanely gifted children and our beloved like-a-daugther who joined us. God is good.

Your turn! Let me know what you’re thankful for this week and share the love. Leave a comment below or link up with Candra. It’ll leave you sun-kissed like the sun.