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

3F8CB160-3C34-4377-9DBE-D30A2DF9360B

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

A1A70638-FC83-486E-AC8D-F80A1BE8A86B

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

BCA10381-3604-4480-A3F4-727AA069968E

Also works with creek rocks:

6F71A037-DCA6-4F36-A39A-7C00D4AB20FE

 

Advertisements

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!

img_5206

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…

img_4676

To this in just 6ish months and many many dollars

img_5558

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

img_0191

Disneyland

img_0012

Montana

img_4903-2

San Diego

img_0030-1

Oceanside

img_5301

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.

FullSizeRender (4)

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…

IMG_8054IMG_8070

 

Singing her face off…

IMG_8067


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

IMG_5668 IMG_5680 IMG_5679 IMG_5688

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:

IMG_4532

To this tank in just 12 months:

IMG_5706

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.

photo 1 (20) photo 2 (24)

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

Wand Family_June 2013-12 Wand Family_June 2013-52 Wand Family_June 2013-57 Wand Family_June 2013-54 Wand Family_June 2013-22 Wand Family_June 2013-18

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!

940284161106

919374161106

513684161106

191494161106