Beachy Memories

If your kids are like mine, they are always trying to keep every little rock, bucket of sand, broken shell and sea tumbled piece of trash that they find on the beach. Or in a creek. Or just walking down the road. Sure you can bring it home in the name of preserving your sanity, but then what do you do with it?!

I let everyone collect all the shells and sand that they want and then sometime things “blow” out of the car on the way home. What are you gonna do? With a paired down set of shells, rocks and sand, we create little jars. They are cheap at Michael’s and we try to get the same size each time – or at least the same style. Then we fill them, label them and put them on a shelf. Easy to dust and no beach memories on the floor!

And if glass scares you, grab a plastic jar instead and hot glue the lid on for a toddler / hands on friendly version.

Easy way to control the amount of crap that comes home and keep it in one place is to use a drink cup with lid. If you’re extra fancy, remember to pack some ziplock bags

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Our sand dollars were purple and hairy. We put them in a bleach bath over night and voila! White and smooth.

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Ta da! A sweet little mess free collection of our vacation!

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Also works with creek rocks:

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Happy New Year 2017!

Wowza. It feels like it was yesterday I was sitting here typing away and thinking about the past year. And yet there’s been a whole 365 days since I wrote this post about my resolutions for 2016. What a year it’s been!

My goals for 2016 were simply written, but given what we did this year, were not always easy to tackle! I wanted to 1. Have No Negative, 2. Have Less Noise and 3. I’ll Do Me. I think focusing on those things allowed me the time and space I needed to do the things I really wanted to do. Well, except one…

I failed miserably at the Less Noise part. It  was supposed to include no long term volunteer commitments for this school year which should have allowed me to just jump in where and when I wanted to. Instead I am Auggie’s class room mom, his soccer coach, was a committee member of the school auction and now the co-chair of the St.Mary’s Centennial Gala. So, yeah. I probably should have written “take on too much” and then when I did the opposite, it would have been helpful. But I have to say, it is all really good. I worked with and am working with people I love and while I was in no way qualified to be a soccer coach, we had an amazing time!

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Given all those commitments, we were neck deep in remodeling our house. Which is one of the reasons my  posts here have been sporadic at best. More on the other reason to come. But for the house, here’s what we did in a nutshell:

We boxed up 3/4ths of our house

Moved out with the other 1/4 of crap

Gutted our house

Put it back together

Moved it all back in 6.5 months later

We are still finishing the final touches… for now. They say when you’re house is done, you die. So I guess the upside is that we’re going to live forever because the list of “phases” keeps growing. I think we’re on phase 15. With about 25 more to go…

from this…

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To this in just 6ish months and many many dollars

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Despite all the house craziness, we were able to get away a few times. We traveled separately and together and it was all awesome.

Mexico

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Disneyland

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Montana

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San Diego

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Oceanside

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One of my main goals for 2016 that I didn’t really write down was to start my writing business. It’s funny, I’m not where I thought I would be, but where I landed is so much better. I finally returned the email I wrote about last year. I negotiated a deal and started the freelance writing “course”. I worked through the exercises and geared up for my first call with the woman who wrote the course. I was so excited to hear her expertise and get her insight….and then she blew me off. And then rescheduled our call. And when we finally did get to talk, she yawned at my work. Like for real. It made me so mad that she was so dismissive of me and my goals – I never finished the course or contacted her for our next meeting. No Negative. See? I got one of them right.

And I’m so glad I did. Instead of moving forward with the course, I contacted friends. Friends who write, friends with small businesses, friends who are just damn good at being cheerleaders. I asked for their opinions, I made a few deals and I got busy writing. And it is awesome. I’ve made contacts and work seems to keep finding me (www.bethwand.com!) It’s a huge and exciting challenge, and  it makes my soul happy.

What’s in store for 2017? I think I’m going to keep working on that Less Noise part. And also:

  • Balance – How do you get it all done?? I have no idea, but I’m going to keep working on finding balance, maintaining balance, and most importantly and most difficult for me is letting a few things go in the name of balance.
  • Reconnect – It’s so easy to fall away from old friends when your lives take different paths. Even when your lives take the same path, there’s always something to distract us. This year will be a good year to reconnect with some friends and keep the momentum of contact going.
  • Keep thinking about and working towards Less Noise, No Negative and I’ll Do Me. I think those things got us pretty far in 2016. Here’s hoping 2017 is juuust a little quieter.

 

The Peacemaker

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Facebook from one of our favorite bands, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. It was advertising a small show and tequila tasting at an awesome restaurant called Blanco Tacos and Tequila. I called Peter who quickly called and reserved our place for the pre fixe dinner, tequila tasting and show.

I wasn’t quite sure how it all was going to work, but it turned out awesome. We were sent to the downstairs private room where we were greeted with Snakeskin Boot margaritas. They had Roger’s Mexican Moonshine tequila and a chili liquor, garnished with a jalapeno. I’ve now decided I will only drink margs when they have some heat to them because it was fantastic. There were large tables only so we quickly had to make friends with a group of people who had space left at their table. Roger came out shortly after to greet everyone and began the story of why and how he branded his own tequila. With each part of the story, we were treated to the silver, reposado and anejo versions of Mexican Moonshine with a food paring. It was delicious! I am a big tequila fan so it was fun to drink the good stuff that is made for sipping, not shooting.

After that, dinner was served. And holy moly does Blanco know how to make good food. We started with shrimp ceviche and short rib street tacos that were to die for. That was quickly followed by chicken mole served over rice. And lastly, caramel and blackberry flan that was perfect. And aside from our table mates complaining about the texture, that there was corn in the mole and that they really “just can’t eat shrimp” before deciding not to eat at all, it was amazing. (side note – when we watched the two wives pick at their ceviche and shutter, we decided we couldn’t be friends and talked exclusively to each other. After the corn comment, we decided we made the right decision).

Then. Then! The show started. Roger came out with a guitar and a microphone to answer questions about his life, his music and his tequila. He then took requests and belted out some of his greatest songs. It was heavenly to be 10 feet from one of my favorite singers and get to just yell out “Tell Yer Mama!” and have him respond “that’s a great one!” and then sing it. I’m dying thinking about it.

And trying not to be super annoying, I didn’t snap any pictures (and the one I did get came out dark so I quit). BUT, after a lot of pleading with Peter, we hung out for 20 minutes after the hour long concert to try to get a picture with Roger. PW was pleasantly surprised when Roger strolled back out and happily chatted and snapped pictures with what was left of the crowd.

And then I did get a picture. And it was awesome.

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So many good times and sad times have been punctuated with Roger Clyne songs. Singing Banditos in the car with my sister, Ali, driving across town to high school in our sweet green Volvo sedan. Sadly sipping beer at 2am with Peter and our friends while Mekong played loudly, knowing that college graduation was imminent and our fun times were about to end as the real world lay before us. Singing to Americano on the last cross country drive home with Peter when we moved home from DC. Listening to every. single. RCPM song we owned when we remolded our old house as we painted the ceilings and walls. Trying to make it through the day after Mame died listening to Leave an Open Door. Watching my lovely friend, Stephanie, and her new husband dance their first dance to Green and Dumb. Just about every song holds a memory of a time in our lives, even the bitter memories are sweeter with time and put a smile on our faces.

So Roger, if you happen to read this – thank you! Thank you for the amazing music, for the fantastic story telling and for the delicious tequila. To many more years of great music and good drinks. Salud!

I got a chance to ask what his favorite song to play is – he said that it changes all the time, but his current favorite is Today Belongs to the Light. Watch and enjoy!

Oh How They Grow

We got the best surprise at Auggie’s school Christmas program last week – he sang! My money was on him crying his eyes out the entire time. But instead, he quietly sang along to 1 Little 2 Little 3 Little Reindeer and was particularly enthusiasic about the HEY! arm swing and all.

Sadly, his perfectly matched and pressed pants did not make it to the show. Sigh. Oh well. At least he was wearing pants, even if they were his back ups.

Please forgive my pictures – I was A. hiding from him and B. not using a flash so I didn’t distract them!

IMG_8035 IMG_8037 IMG_8038At this point my mom leaned over and said “Goodness they are tiny! I can’t believe B was this small at her first show!”. I dug around and sure enough, they were that small. It’s so cute to see all her buddies in these pictures were singing with her this year too.

IMG_3603 IMG_3607 This kid has never been shy a day in her life!IMG_3613

 I’m trying not to get emotional thinking about this being her last preschool Christmas program…

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Singing her face off…

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All About Auggie

I can’t believe the little man is 13 months old. It’s strange how fast and how slow the last year seems to have been. Our little man has gone from a tiny little baby to a size 2T ball of fun. He’s totally self entertained, accidentally funny (hello dropping a Goldfish into the offertory basket at church) and just down right gorgeous.

At one year he:

Clocked in at 32 inches and 28 pounds meaning he’s grown 11 inches and gained 21 pounds in a year

Eight sharp little teeth have popped through

Says mama, dada, Mac (“ack!”), yes (“aaa yeah!”), bottle, up (“uppa!) and water

He loves to fish things out of the garbage can and is getting better about putting things in it

He can climb the jungle gym and go down the slide on his belly all by himself AND give his mother a heart attack all at the same time

He puts his blanket over his head and stumbles around to make his sister giggle

His favorite sippy cup is the pink one because it’s Baylor’s

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I have yet to witness a baby who never, ever cries in the pool – until this guyIMG_5634 IMG_5644

Those eyes are going to get him into and out of so much troubleIMG_5716 IMG_5730

From this guy:

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To this tank in just 12 months:

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Say Cheese

What do you do when your very favorite family pictures don’t include your newest addition? Why you recreate the exact same pictures. Down to the same clothes. Well, I wore the same thing anyway. Crazy? Maybe. But I’m so thrilled with the result, sign me up for a padded room and straight jacket.

Our good friends and sorority sister Gina and her husband Rene took the family pictures that have hung in our kitchen for the last 4 years. They were taken on our front patio and the colors of the teal bench and yellow flowers just so happened to coordinate with all of our decor.

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Since those pictures were taken, Gina and Rene have moved to Seattle. And in addition to missing their presence, we missed their photographic skills! Thankfully I have several talented friends so I asked Natalie, another sorority sister and my little sis from our Alpha Phi days to snap some new pics for us.  When she asked what I was wanted to do, I pointed to the wall and said “that. I want that. Exactly”. And so that’s what she did.

Now that I have finally gotten the right color frame, our new family photos are up! By the way – thank you Pottery Barn for changing the shade of white of your standard white frames and then not telling anyone. I bought it. Framed it. And then realized that once the sun goes down, it’s totally obvious that it’s a different color of white. Thankfully Pottery Barn knows they are nuts and happily found me the right shade of frame and exchanged the wrong color despite my lack of receipt and packaging.

So what do you think? photo 3 (20) photo 4 (16)

I couldn’t fit all of my favorites on the wall

So perfectly captures her funny 4 year old self

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Natalie’s website will be up and running in the next few weeks – I’ll be sure to post a link just as soon as it’s live. If you just can’t wait to book your session, comment below and I’ll make sure to get you in touch! Thank you Natalie for capturing such great memories for us!

Happy Anniversary!

I love the song Hey. Ho. from the Lumineers (Baylor calls it the song where “they yell a lot”). When they say “she’d be standing next to me” it always gets me – there’s something so powerful knowing that the person you love is standing next to you.

Today PW and I are celebrating our 8th anniversary and all I kept thinking about were the places and times we’ve stood next to each other…

He stood next to me at our high school graduation

He stood next to me all through college

He stood next to me at our college graduation

He stood next to me on an alter and said “I do”

He stood next to me when we moved 3,000 miles to DC

He stood next to me when I cried desperately homesick

He stood next to me when he graduated from law school

He stood next to me when we drove from Phoenix to DC twice and DC to Phoenix twice

He stood next to me when Baylor was born

He stood next to me held me up when Mame died

He stood next to me when Auggie was born

He stood next to me through countless hard times, millions of good times, struggles, triumphs…he’s always there with a smile, a hug, a voice of reason and a shoulder to lean on.

So here is to the last 8 years and at least 88 more, Peter!

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How Fast They Grow

I was struck by a picture I took of Baylor this weekend. I occurred to me just how fast she has grown. Here’s what I mean:

                       March 20, 2010                        October 22, 2011


Same kid. Same bench. From cruising to climbing.  Several inches and a lot more hair in just a year in a half!

A Day to Remember

Honestly, every time something comes on the news about September 11th, I’ve changed the channel. As the 10 year anniversary approaches, this is getting harder to avoid. I am very blessed that I was not directly affected by the tragedy – however the haunting images and the heartbreaking stories of others pain is so hard to watch.

September 11th is this generation’s “where were you when Kennedy was shot?”. Every knows, vividly, what they were doing.

I was asleep on the Alpha Phi sleeping porch. It was sometime after 6am and the plane had hit the pentagon. Two older girls in the house came in to wake up a girl from my pledge class. Her sister, who was an alumna of A Phi and had graduated the year before, was living in DC.  Her parents were calling and they couldn’t get a hold of her and so they started calling the cell phone of my friend, the sorority house, any friend that would answer their phone to go find and wake up my pledge sister.

I rounded the corner from the porch to my room, I heard my phone ringing. It was my mom telling me to turn on the TV. I stood, silently holding the phone with my mom silent on the other end, watching. Friends started piling in my 6 foot by 6 foot room to watch. I remember asking my mom “What do we do? Should I go to class? Should I come home?” and my mom, who always has the most  level head of anyone I know and an answer for any question, was speechless.

Thankfully, the alumna and sister of my friend was found. She was safe and had been a good distance from the disaster and was home safe. I decided I couldn’t watch any more horrible news stories and the school had not canceled classes. I had one of the meanest math teachers going so I assumed she would be taking attendance. She didn’t disappoint. She gave a heartless speech about life going on and then gave a lecture where not one person took even one note. F16 fighter jets patrolled the skies. The deafening fly overs seemed to happen every 5 minutes.

I headed home that weekend. I needed the safety of my family and my home. When we went to church that Sunday, the closing song was an acapella version of “God Bless America”. The cantor was the only one singing because there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. There was complete silence when the song ended. I remember that the song didn’t bring comfort, rather it seemed to be more of a question. The silence was eerie and the sorrow and uncertainty of what life had now become, was palpable.

I am very much looking forward to Monday (for once). I am ready for the sadness of the memories this weekend has brought to be put to rest until next year. But I think it’s important to note that everyday we are proud to be Americans. Proud to say that the heroes of that day are our countrymen. And that “God Bless America” is no longer the question that it was that day.

Snuggled Under Memories

I can’t remember if I ever wrote about my t-shirt quilt before. I feel like I have? But I can’t find one in my archives? And there’s a strong possibility that I just wrote it in my head but never on the computer? So if you’re reading this and it’s old news – then happy Friday! If you’re reading it for the first time, enjoy!

 

About four years ago, my sister Ali informed me that the boxes of t-shirts that I had been storing in one of her many closets (“No no, Ali, it’s fine! You have TONS of closet space so I see where 2 boxes are totally cramping your storage style!”) were no longer welcome. Forced to bring my boxes to my house and find a home, I decided it was time to find a solution that did not involve making more room in the closet.

I searched around on-line and came across Conforta Quilts. The front page had a picture of a blanket made entirely of St. Mary’s shirts – Peter and my alma mater – so I figured this had to be the right place. If another Knight trusted them, then we should too.

It turns out my gut was right. I met with Mike a few weeks later and brought my boxes o’ tees. As instructed, I pulled out my favorites and those with special meaning. I also had organized the ones that I cared the least about. We discussed layouts, style of stitch, etc over coffee and then I loaded my shirts into her trunk. On the drive home, I called Peter in a panic – what if she just keeps all my shirts and never actually makes a quilt!? His response “what the hell would some lady want with a bunch of Alpha Phi shirts??”. Ouch. And point taken.

About six weeks later, Mike called and we met at the same coffee bar. She pulled the most beautiful quilt out of a bag and handed it over for my inspection. Now, I was planning on it being beautiful, but I wasn’t planning on it being totally functional and amazingly comfortable too! Mike’s creation is machine washable and also backed with flannel so it’s warm and snuggly. In a word? AMAZING.

So many great memories, all said in t-shirt.

Not one shirt went to waste – even the logos were used and used on the reverse side too!

The square in the center of the picture is actually 3 shirts sewn together

This one has a special meaning – Peter gave it to me after I had decided I was going to UofA. He said it was one of his favorites from when he was a kid and that it didn’t fit him any more. I wore it to the UofA v ASU game where I met his parents for the first time. His mom, not knowing that her son had lied about the origin of the shirt, explained that Peter had bought it at SAVERS (for those not in the know, it’s like Good Will’s poor, bastard cousin – i.e. used clothes and not in a fun consignment store kind of way). I thought I had bed bugs crawling on me the rest of the game. What I really want to know is why they don’t make shirts with Wilbur the Wildcat trying to eat Sparky the Sun Devil any more?

So if you’ve got a similar issue with your college, high school or athletic shirts, I could not more highly recommend Mike at Conforta. I thought about doing this for Baylor and her baby clothes to some day. There are a million ideas!