Monday, March 17, 2014


In two weeks (God willing) I will turn 38 years old. Which means that in one week, it will be six years since my mom passed away. 

I don't know which number shocks me more...I mean, 38 seems so...well, old. And six years?! How is that even possible? 

March 24, 2008 has become a timeline marker by which I measure all significant life events. Getting laid off, having Anna, starting a new job, moving to Oklahoma, becoming a stay at home mom, Brendhan's new practice...All after. 

With each new hash mark that takes me further away from DOD, I find myself grieving her loss all over again because I hate things being so different from how they were when she was alive. Like if she were to somehow come back to earth she wouldn't even know where to find me because I live in a different house, in a different state and I have two little girls, not one. Irrational much? 

That's not to say I haven't felt her presence in the last six years. 

I have. 

I feel her with me when the late afternoon sun shines through the kitchen window and you can see a million microscopic dust particles caught in the light. I feel her when Brendhan tickles Anna under the chin and she erupts into a fit of deep, slobbery belly laughs. I feel her when Ava and I ride bikes down quiet streets past clapboard houses with chippy paint. I feel her when Rusted Root sings "Send me on my Way." I feel her when I am running alone. Confident on strong legs. And I always feel her when I see 11:11 and I know that is her way of saying she sees me too...regardless of how different things look now from six years ago.  Kairos in spite of chronos. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why I Gave Up Social Media

The first week of December, I read this post on Momastery and it really resonated with me. Not because I'm bulimic. P.S. I'm not. I checked.  But, because the writer, Glennon Melton, #nailedit.
Please take a moment to read it before we move on.
The very second after I read her post, I linked it to Facebook (of course I did), typed some very meme-ish post like "THIS" and promptly deactivated my Facebook account.
It has been nearly two months since that day and I swear I am telling you the truth when I say

Not one single itty bitty bit.
A few weeks after that, I took it a step further and deleted my Instagram account.
And, if I had a Twitter account, I would've deleted it too.
Since then I have had at least one person, per day, say something about me getting off social media.
Everyone wants to know why...what happened...did someone say or do something to me?
Well, here, my friends is your answer:
1. I am sick of hearing about "your life". Not your real life, but the life you play on the internet. You know the one, where your kids say charming and precocious things, where you and your spouse go on amazing trips and dates, where you pray for everyone and join every cause and do random acts of kindness, where you exercise every day and you eat clean and you take the latest weight-loss pill, where you tell the world how many steps you took today and how many pounds you've lost since your last log in and what week you are on in your couch to 5k program. The one where you complain that your kids are sick/driving you nuts/sassy/allergic/growing too fast/not eating enough/eating too much/teething/potty training/not sleeping/backtalking/and on and on and on, but you are dealing with it and if someone could please call the prayer warriors that would be great. The one where you can't sleep, your _____ hurts and you just.need.a.nap. 
God, people, it's freaking exhausting. NO ONE CARES. I know it's hard to imagine that, but it's true. I've been on both sides. I know how something deep in your heart pings everytime someone validates what you post. It makes you feel good to one-up someone and it makes you feel good to have company when you are miserable. I get it. I just don't want to participate in it anymore.
2. Social media takes away from my kids. When we moved to Duncan, away from our overscheduled, stressed out lives in Dallas, my main goal was to spend as much time as possible with my kids. I had already sacrificed the first 3 of Anna's life and the first 5 of Ava's for a paycheck and I had no intention to ever do that again. Believe it or not, I honestly want to BE WITH my kids. I find them hilarious, adorable and I genuinely want to be around them.  I want to build a strong and honest relationship with them. Social media was threatening this relationship.  I would find myself staring at Facebook when my kids were swimming (that's safe), while I was sitting at a stoplight with my kids in the car (even safer) or worst of all, when they were talking to me. Your kids have amazing and important things to say. They do not want to talk to the top of your head while you stare down at your scrolling news feed. It had to go.
3. Social media is not healthy for me. I am a very competitive person, often to the point of being obsessive and irrational. For example, if I see your post that you ran 10 miles today, even though I already ran 8 this morning, I will very likely go back to the gym and run 2 more so that we are "equal." If I had half a pizza for lunch and you posted about your clean grilled chicken and asparagus that you cooked on Sunday on meal-prep day and took to work in your cute little gym bag with the refrigerated food holders, I felt terrible about myself for the rest of the day. Comparing my life to the lives of others is lame, not to mention unhealthy. I needed to get a grip.
4. Bitching is contageous.  Everytime you bitch about how you had THE WORST service in the history of the world at Applebee's last night, or how cold / windy / hot it is outside, or how you are never flying on such-and-such airline again, it sucks the wind out of my sails and it makes other people feel miserable too. Maybe that is your purpose, but seriously, it brings everybody down. So now we are all bitching...What good does that do? Love wins. Every time.
5. I don't want you guys knowing every single thing about me.  Sometimes I just want to be left alone. Nothing is wrong. Nothing happened. I am quiet. I am private. That's the INTJ in me. I need my privacy back.  
6. BUT...when we are together, I actually want to interact with you. I don't want you to be on your phone the whole time we are at lunch / on vacation / at a movie / at the park. I would love to hear what is REALLY going on in your life. Your real life. I would love to feel like you want to know about my life. I don't want to feel the constant pull of the phone and the need to see what everyone else is doing at that very moment. I want to actually experience the moment instead of thinking about how I could describe what I am doing to make it sound better than it is or waiting to take a picture with the perfect filter to make it look even more amazing than it is.
So, anyhoo...I guess that's it. I am not saying that you should join me in quitting Facebook / Instagram / Twitter, but I'm pretty sure you won't regret it if you do.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Teen Beach Movie Birthday Party

Today, we celebrated Anna's 5th Birthday with a Teen Beach Movie party. The girls have been *slightly* obsessed with this movie since it came out this summer. We have the movie DVR'd twice (one with dance instruction / song subtitles and one without) and also on DVD, CD and iTunes. Ava dressed up as Lela for Halloween in a custom dress from Etsy and Anna has been asking for a Teen Beach Movie birthday party since August, so yeah, slightly obsessed.

{Door decor from Hobby Lobby}

{Banner downloaded from Disney Channel website and printed on cardstock}

{Dress from pinkbubblesclothing on Etsy}

{Sodas from Wal-Mart, umbrella straws from Hobby Lobby, Twine from Target}

{Treat cups from Oriental Trading}

{Plastic shot glasses and umbrellas from Oriental Trading}

{Bohemian necklace craft kit from Wal-Mart}

{Cake from Special Days Cake Boutique in Duncan, OK}

{Goodie bags with sunglasses, leis and surfboard key chains from Oriental Trading}

 {Scooby Doo pinyata from Party City}

{Cardboard surfboard from Oriental Trading}

Anna at the end of the party wearing her new PJ's with her new gigantic teddy bear!

Best party ever!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about the concept of "drift" lately.

According to author Gretchen Rubin, drift is the result of decisions you make by not deciding, by falling into things or by taking the path of least resistance.

Like me, Rubin is an attorney who drifted into law school because she didn't know what else to do with her life and law school sounded as good as anything else.

Also, like me, she eventually came to the conclusion that a career in law wasn't making her happy and she went a different direction completely.

By Rubin's definition, drifters tend to be guided by other people's expections or opinions and fail to listen to their own internal voice. They tend to focus more on what they should do, rather than what feels right on the inside.

Drifters spend a lot of time daydreaming about a different life than they currently have; they feel as if they are waiting for their "real" life to start; and they find themselves doing something just because other people are doing it.

Oprah Winfrey may have been talking about having Aha! moments for years, but, this my friends, is my first true Aha! moment:

I am a drifter.

I drifted to college at OU because I was too scared to admit that I really wanted to go out of state.
I drifted into a sorority because that's what girls from Edmond do.
I drifted into a degree in Psychology because it sounded easy.
I drifted into law school because my college roommate was also applying.
I drifted into a career in regulatory compliance because, quite frankly, it was easy and it paid really well.
I drifted into motherhood because that's what young married people do, right?
I drifted into putting my kids in daycare, driving an SUV, living in the suburbs, voting Republican, becoming a Methodist, breastfeeding, starting a photography business, owning an iPhone, using Facebook, and on and on and on.

I look around at choices I've made and continue to make every day and the only ones I know for sure to be my own are marrying Brendhan, having children (actually, Anna was a big fat surprise, but that's another story), drinking Coke, running and loving rap music.

Everything else is up for debate.

Everything else is being evaluated and analyzed.

One of my closest gay friends and I used to joke about taking personal inventory before going out on a date - the process of starting at your feet and working your way up your body to identify any areas that need be addressed, lest anyone discover you are less than perfect, i.e., a stray chin hair to pluck, a zit to be dealt with, toenails that need trimming, etc.

In a way, I am doing that very thing to my life right now:

I am taking personal inventory.

I am plucking out anything that needs to go,
shaving away anything irritating,
cleaning off the dirt and grime,
covering the gray, and
beautifying myself,
both inside and out,
with the end goal being
the revelation of my internal compass,
and the living of a life with purpose.

“Purpose is the great divider that separates those who are simply living,
from those who are truly alive.”
― Alex Rogers, Drifting

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Against the Tide

Isn't this what we all need...

A strong, capable man to put his back to the tide,
wrap his protective arms around you,
and pull you up out of harms way,
as the waves roll in and threaten to pull you apart.

My prayer for today and every day
is that my girls will be safe,
that they will feel loved,
that they will be healthy,
and that they will be happy.

Or at least more happy than not.

Monday, August 26, 2013

This Summer

This summer has been 12 of the best weeks of my life.

Like for real.

I have had so much fun with the girls.

I really don't want it to end.

Don't get me wrong,
I am dying for a little more structure to our days,
and a few hours here and there without the girls around,
so I can actually get some stuff done around the house...
but, I really do love being home with them every day.

I started making a list of the things we did this summer
and here is what I came up with...

A week in Sandestin, Florida
Bungee jumping
Swimming in the ocean
The Destin waterpark
The Lawton waterpark
Pelican Bay
Swimming at the pool more days than I can count
The trampoline park
Build a Bear
The American Girl Store
A week in Midland with the Rudnickis
A girls trip to Las Vegas for Mom
Beyonce at the MGM Grand
Dave and Busters
Golf Camp x 2
Young Doctors Camp
Methodist VBS
Baptist VBS
The Worlds Largest Garage Sale
The Rudnicki's garage sale
Dallas to see Uncle Jimmy
Uncle Jimmy coming to see us
Several haircuts - one selfie by Anna
Bike riding
Ava ran a 1 mile race
Frontier City
Swimming Lessons
Individual sleepovers for the girls with GiGi
Ava learned how to walk on stilts
Anna learned to swim without floaties
Ava learned how to play golf
Anna learned single digit addition and subtraction in her head
Ava became a better reader
Anna learned how to ride her bike without training wheels
Ava learned how to blow a bubble
Anna learned how to cross the monkeybars
Just Dance 2 and 3
Dune buggy and 4-wheeler riding
Face painting
A car show
Movie nights
Several movies at the Carmike and the Palace
Simmons Center swimming and jungle gym playing
Kiddie Land
Leaf rubbing
Library trips
The OKC Zoo
Oh, and I ran over 150 miles in June, July and so far in August.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On Time

It's Ava's last day of First Grade.

My heart hurts.

My baby is growing up way. too. fast.

Time is a jerk.

Time never stops.

And it never slows down.

My heart also hurts in anticipation of August.

When the lazy days of summer
have given rise to unstructured,
"boring" and stress-filled days,
where I stare at the clock
and will the time
to fast foward to 5:15 p.m.
when Daddy comes home
to save our sanity.

Time has its own agenda.

Time does what it wants,
when it wants.

Today, I am going to say a prayer
for a summer full of good times.
And less clock-watching.
More minutes enjoyed,
than counted.
More time together,
than time-outs.

This time,
I promise to make the most of the time
 we have together.

Because, even though time never stops,
and it never slows down,
our time together is a finite thing.

And I know very well how very precious that time is.

Ava's End of School List Interview

Favorite Food: steak
Foods I'd rather avoid: broccoli
My favorite things to learn: reading
My favorite color: purple
My best friends are: Ethan, Madelyn, Anna
My favorite games to play: soccer
When I have free time I like to: (play) tag
My favorite books: Junie B. Jones
My favorite movies or television shows: iCarly
My favorite holiday: Christmas
Things I do well: math
Things I need to practice more: Back flips / swimming
My favorite place to go: Country Club
My favorite family activities: Head Bands (game)
My favorite thing about home: Tiger (the cat)
My favorite thing to do outside: playhouse
My favorite chore: Put up my clothes
My least favorite chore: Cleaning up my closet
My favorite song: Gangnam Style
What I want to be when I grow up: Teacher
A place I want to visit: New Orleans
My favorite part of last year: Field Day
Something sad that happened last year: Ansly broke her wrist
When I get up in the morning I like to: eat cereal
My favorite part of each day: swimming
My favorite toy: 4Wheeler
My favorite drink: Dr. Pepper
My favorite sport or activity to play: football (?)
Something new I'd like to learn this year: Times (multiplication)