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?


This Amount of Fun Should Be Illegal

I hate being a braggart, but really, this so far has been the best summer ever.

I hate being a braggart, but really, this so far has been the best summer ever. Quitting has been good for me.

Let me list for you the oodles of fun already had, just in the 24 days since school has been out:

  1. Dance recital
  2. End of the year pizza party
  3. Hilton Head trip
  4. A few days in The Big City visiting grandparents, cousins and their new pool
  5. Swimming no less than four days a week (counting Hilton Head and cousins’ new pool)
  6. Dinner with friends (they cooked, not me, yippee!)
  7. PePaw’s visit
  8. Seeing Disney-Pixar’s Brave (in 3D)
  9. Seeing Madagascar 3 (in 3D)
  10. Church production
  11. Paxton’s first pair of flip-flops
  12. Day in Asheville

I mean, it’s been so jam-packed, even Jaana is sleeping until 8 am. And that, my friends, means fun to the point of exhaustion.

Yesterday, my dad and I took the kids to Asheville for the day. We had lunch out (using a gift card, holla!), saw Madagascar 3 in 3D, and did a bunch of bookstore jaunts, as Mama is doing market research for her book proposal. The day also included no less than 100 stops at various stores so I could “run in and grab something.” My dad chose to stay in the air-conditioned car and rest. ‘Cuz it was day two of no nap for PePaw.

Two observations after yesterday’s adventures:

1) I’m done with 3D movies. Ever. They cost more, for one, which annoys me. For two, I hate wearing dark glasses inside a dark theater. For three, wearing dark glasses in a dark theater diminishes the vibrancy of color in the movie. And for what? So I can see a zebra shooting RIGHT AT ME from the screen?

2) If you already have doubts about writing a book and preparing a book proposal, then definitely go to multiple bookstores visiting their Christian Growth/Inspiration sections. Because then you’d realize chopping your arm off would be much less daunting prospect. Seriously, it was incredibly depressing. I look and look at the thousands of books and think over and over , “Why am I doing this again? Why add to this clutter? Do I really have anything new to say or a new way to say it?” And then King Solomon confirms it with his whole “there’s nothing new under the sun” scripture, and I leave each store defeated, fists shoved into my pockets and head hanging low. (Sigh.) (This isn’t me fishing for compliments, by the way. I’m just being honest.)

Here are a few pics from our adventures in the A-ville yesterday (does anyone call it that? I might have just made that up.):

Fun at lunch

His first 3D movie!

Her bazillionth 3D movie

Bob & Larry. Veggin’ out.

Little feet up close. Aren’t they the cutest??

So that’s our fun in a nutshell. (What in the world does “in a nutshell” mean, anyway?) And now, I need to make a grocery run for the lake fun tonight and the Fourth Festivities tomorrow. And who am I kidding? Take a nap, too (since I’ve been up for three hours now).

Peace out and Happy Fourth, y’all!