Black Friday {Coffee Date}

Black Friday sure has changed since I was a kid.  I can remember combing through the sale ads after Thanksgiving dinner.  Circling what I wanted.  Wishing for the plush Snoopy from Macy's, just like the one in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Usually both my parents worked the day after so the dreams of shopping the big sales were out of the question.  As a kid, my Black Fridays were spent with cousins or my grandma.  Later my Black Fridays were spent at the mall with friends, and then at sixteen they were spent at the mall working.  I'd spend many Black Fridays working since retail was my major.  Now my Black Fridays are calm.  No crazy shopping urges over here.  I'm happy and content at home, shopping online, watching football, baking, crafting, and currently, writing.  

If we were having coffee today, I'd suggest we hit the Starbucks drive thru and enjoy our red cups in the car while we listen to Christmas music.  We'd park at the nearest Target and watch the crazies fight to the death for the best deals, and we'd laugh because as we are tempted we are not that crazy.  Then after we rehashed our Turkey days, I'd tell you about what's been up with me...

I found my winter uniform.  I mean this is gonna be on repeat folks.
It's basically pajamas.  I couldn't be happier.

People Magazine featured Sexy Men and their cats.
Cat ladies everywhere are buying batteries in bulk.

I like to take selfies with anyone and anything.
Timeout our Mascot at Fresno State included.
Crazy old lady right here.

The Hubbs and I took this little lady to see Frozen.
Just the three of us.
It was magical, and the movie was great too.

Got some sweet happy mail from the Its Just Emmy Christmas Exchange.
My partner was a genius!  Those are jars covered in SOCKS.
Yes, Christmas socks!
I know, right???

I'd confess I wore this outfit two days in a row.
Once to see Catching Fire on Tuesday, and again to shop at Costco on Wednesday.
I will never try to go to Costco on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving again.

Finally.  I couldn't wait, and it was so worth the wait.
I went with my Mama, my Aunt, and my two teenage cousins.
We yelled, we cheered, we flipped out lids.
Then my mom started talking about Mocking Jay in the car, and 
I had to start yelling SPOILER ALERT.
The kids weren't so happy about the spoilers!!
Mom stop taking about Prim!!

I mean, these were too awesome to pass up.
Candy Crush has taken over every bit of our lives.
And we totally love it.

So this is me today.
Watching football, prepping for the great Tamale Cook off tomorrow, writing a little,
baking a little, and enjoying every bit of my yoga pants and slippers.

So how is your Black Friday?
Grab a cup and read the conclusion of The Dinner Party.
I hope you like it, and thank you so much for supporting me on this 
little venture of fiction.

coffee date pic

Liking up here

Thankful Thursday {Happy Thanksgiving}

photo by Laura Hernandez Photography
This morning I'm thankful for the quiet before the storm.  The nice calm of being the only one awake before the hustle and bustle of this holiday season begins.  Tuesday and Wednesday were spent shopping and prepping and cooking.  No time to sit, no time to ponder, no time to think.  But this morning I purposely woke up early to savor this last bit of 2013.  The year is almost over.  How on earth did that happen?  It's so cliché to say that time flies, but my friends, it soars.  I'm thankful for all the little moments of bliss.  Those moments that I didn't realize were memories in the making.  The moments that maybe started off as a disaster, but ended with a silver lining.  Not every day is a victory, but it's always a lesson. 
I'm thankful for a Husband who continues to surprise me, who still loves me, who still makes me laugh.  I'm thankful for daughters who challenge me, who love me anyway, who have changed my life beyond measure.  I'm thankful for parents who go above and beyond in their love.  Grandparents who are still with us, who I pray will be with us for years to come.  I'm thankful for a family that is loud and boisterous, in a way that we challenge the sound barrier on days like today. 
I'm thankful for this community of women and mothers.  Who continue to bless me with their support and love.  Who have accepted me and made this space a safe one.  I'm thankful for the support you, my readers, give me.  I'm thankful that after almost three years this is still fun, that I continued to be inspired, that the words continue to flow.
Happy Thanksgiving.  A day for family and friends and food.
No matter where you land today may it be bursting with love and food and
that feeling of home.

A Hundred Years War

I feel like motherhood is like a war set against the backdrop of a hundred years.  As in, it's a never ending battle to do right, be right, make the right decisions.  And for the better part of these six years since becoming a mother I feel like I'm doing it right.  That I stay just ahead of the game, my head finally just above water.  Most days the battles are small, the tears are few, I'm no longer in danger of losing my voice from yelling.  Most days.  But not every day.
Saturday started out as a great day.  A day date for the Hubbs and I, a neighborhood get together for the families in the evening.  As we wrapped a great day, the exhaustion set in.  I was tired, the Hubbs was tired, the kids burnt out and strung out on ice cream and cake.  Not unusual for a Saturday night around here.  We are those parents with a lose interpretation of the words "bedtime" and "dinner".  We live in and out of boundaries that we set and never follow.  It's fine, usually.
Usually.  But this Saturday night was different.  It capped off a week of tears and fierce battles between me and my oldest.  My oldest who has never once picked the road most traveled, always the one least.  My oldest who has never once been content with the easy way, the compromise, the amicable disagreement.  My oldest who has set and strategized the battlefield since she took her first breath that late June afternoon.
And I know this about her.  Now, I know this about her.  Back then, six years ago, not so much.  So much of my confidence in motherhood was wrapped up in my failures and shortcoming with this child.  She knows nothing of those.  But she now knows my anger, my short fuse, my combustible and combative temper.  That the little things can set me off, can start an uncontrollable wild fire.  Together we are a Molotov cocktail.
Saturday night capped off a very tough week.  We hadn't had a week like this in years.  Uncontrollable tears about everything, anything, nothing.  Fights and arguments about hair styles, shoes, breakfast choices.  And with every battle, a little more gasoline on that fire, my patience a little more cracked.  Until, Saturday night, when my oldest went into a crying tirade about a diamond rhinestone something or another, and I absolutely lost myself.  Again.
It wasn't pretty.  I was awful.  I threw a fit that would put any toddler to shame.  I threw things (not at her).  I screamed (in general to no one and everyone at the same time).  I was so angry.  And she knew.  And she told Daddy that she was sorry she made me mad.  And that killed me so much, but I was still so angry I couldn't even cry about it or see it as I can see it now.  I am so flawed in this life as a mother.  Like I've said so many times, I wasn't built for motherhood, it has built me, over the years, and still I'm not even half way there.
I write this not because I want to expose how terrible or horrible a mother I am.  I write this because I'm hoping that I'm not alone.  That I'm not the only one who looks in the mirror some days and know I could have done better.  That I can be better.  I write this because I need you to know that my life isn't a life of filtered Instagram pictures.  That my life is chaotic and sometimes ugly.  That my smile isn't always bright, and that sometimes I make it harder than it has to be.
Saturday night was a reminder that motherhood is still building me.  I'm still under construction.  It was a reminder that with my oldest, every tear, every tirade takes me back to those dark and foggy days six years ago, when my smile and my facade was cracked.  When my world was happening around me and I was too scared to admit that I was drowning.  I worry that I will never shake that feeling with my oldest.  That every year the hugs aren't as comforting, that our connection isn't as solid.  That every battle that takes place over the hundred years of motherhood will drive us further and further from mother and child.  I fear that one day, neither of us will recognize the other.
I love her, you know.  With everything.  My heart aches in the aftermath of our latest battle.  The guilt stifling.  But like everything in motherhood, Sunday was a new day.  Sunday was another fresh start that I was blessed with.  I'm not above apologizing to my child for my horrendous behavior.  I'm not above admitting that I can do better.  I can tell her a thousand times I love her, but I also have to show her I love her.  I have to show her that my love is unconditional.  And that is where I feel that sometimes I fail.
I'm trying.  I'm learning from past mistakes.  I'll keep charging ahead with a new strategy.  In my mind, motherhood is still a hundred years war, because the biggest battles are always for love.

Foggy Friday

Suddenly it's winter in Fresno.  Thursday we awoke to rain, and Friday to fog.  There is nothing wrong with the fog, but it's quite a shock to the system when last week it was 80 and sunny and today it was dreary and 60.  But it's not all bad, it's finally boots and sweater weather, just in time for Turkey Day.  You would think that a day like today would make me want to stay inside and cuddle with a notebook and a pencil, or a book I've read a thousand times before.  On the contrary, today made me want to go and shop for Christmas gifts.  To try and complete the task and be done before Black Friday.  There aren't enough deals in the world to get me back out there.  I worked retail for years, and I don't do any serious shopping on Black Friday unless it's from behind a screen.

The fog is such a beacon for what's to come.  Cold days followed by colder nights.  Warm snuggles under blankets and books read about snowmen and elves and a bearded man in a red suit.  Hot chocolate makes it's rotation on our breakfast menu.  Cookie mixes end up in our carts at the grocery store.  Wrapping paper scraps litter the floor. Red and green M&Ms fill candy bowls.  It's one of my favorite seasons.  Just to be in, to breath in, to revel in.  But sadly it's so short lived.  How do you capture every single moment?  How do you savor every last bit?

Pajamas all day.  Blankets that never get put away.  
Books that get closed with cookie crumbs between the pages.  
Christmas carols in every car ride.  Christmas movies around the clock.  
Sugar cookie trees and gingerbread men for breakfast.  
Night shopping.  Starbucks red cups.  Peppermint bark.  
Evergreens with hanging lights.  Elves on all the shelves.

Thursday is Thanksgiving, and I was once a purist that didn't listen to a single carol until the day after.  I didn't buy a single gift or even think about a tree.  With children the magic has returned.  Santa is real.  Frosty will return.  Rudolph will lead the way.  

But thanks to some Friday fog, the holiday has begun.

The next part of The Dinner Party is up.
Read The Night Cap now.

Thankful Thursday {eleven twenty one}

Today I'm thankful for...

Finding pictures like this.  My grandpa and I.  Found while cleaning and he is in the hospital.  Thank you to all my Instagram friends for their prayers and kind words.  He's on the mend.  This picture sums up just the kind of man he is, loving, kind, thoughtful.  He will tell you that holding babies is one of his most favorite things in the world.

Gifts from neighbors that have turned into great friends.  Who tell you things like,
"I saw this in a Facebook sale and knew you needed it in your life".
Wow.  That just knocks me out.

A cupcake face.  Saying yes to cupcakes after school with capri sun chasers.  Even though the sugar high will last well into the night.  Being thankful for days where life is fun and spontaneous.

For a fashionista, with a mind of her own, and style that is unmatched.  She officially dresses better than me.  I'm also thankful for quotes like this,
"Mom I want to wear pink on Wednesdays, 
and have all my friends wear pink on Wednesdays too".
I swear she has never seen Mean Girls!

For chicken nugget dinners and last minute craft store adventures that yield zero tears. 

For a new cabinet to hold some of my most precious items.  Some of my favorite people and places live in black and white worlds.  Tucked between dog eared pages and broken spines.  I'm very hard on my books, but it's with love and devotion to the stories within them.

As I type, it's an atypical Thursday.  We, the girls and I, are playing hooky, while mother nature tries to make up her mind about the rain.  We are knee deep in blankets and books and crayons and movies.  I'm thankful for that.  I'm thankful for some extra time with kids who won't stop growing at the speed of light.  I'm thankful for a time to breathe and get some thoughts out.  

I'm thankful for a day where the only expectation is that there isn't one.

One Day {2013}

I feel like many of my days roll together.  That's what happens when you have children.  You get settled in a routine, for better or worse.  I worry that if I don't slow down on most days I will miss the little things.  Holding hands on our walk to the car after school.  Dancing to the music in the car.  Kisses and snuggles with the little ones to prolong bedtime.  The little things that make up a day in our life.  They seem so insignificant while we are in them, but even the most mundane task can hold a little magic if you let them.  Here is a day in my life.

Packing lunches.  Clementines that are so tiny and sweet.  Crusts cut off of everything.  

A trip to my favorite place.  To buy things we needed.  To buy things we didn't.  

A distraction for my three year old so I can shower.  'Tis the life of a mother who can't even shower without the worry of little people unsupervised.  

New luxury items for me.  Since when did shampoo, dry shampoo, and brow gel become luxury items?

A chance to wear makeup.  Eyebrows and all.  It's sad when the importance of an event can be measured by my eyebrows.

A maxi skirt and a sweatshirt for Fresno weather that still can't decided if it's November or May.  And a sleeping three year old, who falls asleep on the way to pick up big sister and of course wakes when I put her back in the car.  Oh how I miss nap time.

A treat for me.  Just because I did something outside of my comfort zone.  Treat 'yo self.  If you can name that quote, I love you most.

The perfect $20.00 pump that often alludes me at the gas station.  I can't abide by $20.01.

Dinner with a kindle.  I love nothing more that diving back into a story I've read before.  I get wrapped up in it's world all over again.  Like it's the first time.  Good books make everything better.  Even dinners on messy cluttered tables.

A quick browse through Redbook Magazine and I find the perfect uniform for winter.  Then I notice it's actually on a page about pajamas.  I think I'll wear it anyway.  With boots and a nice bulky cardigan.

Skipping homework to watch Glee videos on YouTube.  We take our musical appreciation and education very seriously around here.

Why does it feel like brushing the teeth little people is life's biggest challenge.  It's like brushing the cat's teeth.  Sometimes we forget.  Don't tell the dentist.  Bath, brush, book, bed.  A routine so lovely and challenging in it's simplicity.

Princess slippers and books.  Some old.  Some new.  One of my motherhood successes has been sharing books and the love of reading with my daughters.  I have to say, if that be my only success, it's a damn good one.  

You never know when you will catch a moment so full life.  Sure I was trying to take a picture of me and this night owl.  We were the only two still awake, but then it turned into this.  A moment of late night (for her) giggles.  Say what you will about my iPhone being tethered to my body.  I will never regret it if I capture all of life's moments like this.

Laughing at Pinterest before bed.  For the levity and the chance to relax.  In a quiet house.  A little me time.

One day, like many others.  So different from many others.  One day to really capture my very ordinary life, but suddenly see it as extraordinary.  One day to live, and breathe, and see that all the days matter.  The good, the bad, and the very (extra) ordinary.

One Day was an event via HollywoodHousewife.
Check out this link for more info.

Some Mondays {eleven eighteen}

Some Mondays look like this.

That's not to say that it was a bad Monday.  In comparison to some Mondays that I've survived, it was pretty good.  Mondays sometimes get a really bad rap.  They are the beginning of the week, which for some reason has become synonymous with the beginning of the work week.  Like all the hard things have to be done and accomplished on Monday. As if all the other days of the week are extra days to fill with fun and frivolity.  Not true. You can do all the hard things on Wednesday if you like.  But for some reason we like Mondays.  It has an official sound to it doesn't it.  As if Christopher Columbus said, "Let's explore the new world on Thursday", and some a-hole said "Negative, it has to be Monday".

Some Mondays are a nice fresh start.  Kind of like a mulligan (if you are a golfer).  Oh, hey, I didn't clean a thing last week, but now it's Monday, so I can try to fix that.  Some Mondays are productive.  Mine was today.  For the first time in my adult life the only laundry to wash and fold is actually the dirty laundry in our designated laundry baskets.  I even stripped a bed last night and washed and dried and PUT AWAY the bedding this morning.  I know what has gotten into me?  Well, it is Monday.

Some Mondays are good for wearing your most worn in comfy jeans and a sweatshirt that is almost as old as your first born.  Deciding at nine in the morning that McDonald's will be cooking dinner for your family.  Taking the extra time to bleach out your sink because something funky almost grew legs in there over the weekend.  Some Mondays just beg you to indulge in crossing almost every item off your to do list.  It happens I swear.

Some Mondays surprise you.  They show you that with a little change in your expectation, a little loosening of the reigns, a little different mind set, they don't have to be so bad. And yet, at some point Mondays will let you down, show their true colors, and make you remember why you hate Mondays.

But guess what, all the other days of the week can do that too.

Random {Coffee Date}

It's been awhile since I invited you dear readers on a coffee date.  I feel like Fridays are always a wild card day in bloggy land.  Some Fridays I put up some serious content, something from the heart.  Other Fridays I share some funnies and it's totally casual like a Friday is supposed to be.  Today, I just feel like talking about a few things that happened this week.  Just to bring you up to speed with my life and hopefully make you laugh at the chaos that is my life. 
If we were having a coffee date today, it would have to be at Starbucks or Panera.  My house is a disaster.  Not like the usual disaster, but a new kind of let's rearrange some furniture, and add some furniture we got at a garage sale into the mix.  Oh wait it will have to stay in the middle of the entry way because it will not fit in the office.  It's that kind of situation over here.  Then I would tell you that our entry way table is actually a folding six foot hard plastic banquet table with a clearance table cloth on it to "look nice".  I swear the Hubbs and I still look like we live in our college apartments with all the mix matched furniture.  And I don't mean mixed matched in a cute, anthro inspired bloggy kind of way.
I'd also tell you that on Tuesday I compared the Brazilian Wax to a crock pot.  Yes, I'm getting lots of mileage out of this cringe inducing beauty treatment.  But hear me out.  The Brazilian Wax is the "fix it and forget it" beauty treatment.  I swear I totally forgot that I needed to book that appointment until I caught a glimpse of myself getting in the shower one morning.  Oops.  So like your crock pot, that let's you get on with your life out of the kitchen for 4-6 hours, the Brazilian Wax allows you to get on with your life for 4-6 weeks without the worry of shaving and such.  I stand by this statement, even though my best friend is convinced I have an eating disorder because I keep comparing my lady parts with food or food appliances.
I'd tell you that Wednesday I had a job interview.  I know, you don't have to say it.  However until I can make some scratch writing, part time work is where I'm going to end up.  The Hubbs has been clamoring for me to get a "steady non seasonal" job for years, and like with most things I either: A) talk him off the ledge while making housewife promises we both know I'm not going to keep, or B) throw a complete and total fit while telling him how horrible my kids will end up without a mother who stays home.  I know it's not pretty, but I'm at the point where I think part time work will be good for me and my family.  And it will force me to get serious with my writing and treat it more like a job.  Still, it was just an interview.  So we shall see.
I'd tell you that Thursdays are my nights.  That I didn't even give the kids a bath last night, because I was lazy and it seemed like such a daunting task.  Instead they put clean pjs on dirty bodies and watched TV until they fell asleep.  Fine.  Whatever.  I also stayed up and watched my favorite TV show Scandal, and yelled and screamed and said "oh no you didn't Shonda" at my TV.  The Hubbs stays up with me while I watch and complains about me being completely obsessed with another show, but he's coming around.  Starting to ask questions about Jake and Huck and Baby Huck.  It's just a matter of time before he comes over to the dark side.  Trust me it only took one Harry Potter movie and two episodes of Mad Men to turn him. 
Today I'm hanging out with my three year old.  I watched last nights Glee on DVR.  And I just updated The Secret, the next part in my short story.  I'd tell you that publishing this short story in pieces has been so much fun.  I'd also tell you that from here on out, posts and published pieces on this blog are going to be spotty at best.  I'm working on a few things, entering a few writing contests, and trying to figure out my next step as a writer.  But that doesn't mean I'm going to be shutting this place down.  This is where I exercise.  This is where I get my daily dose of me.  I don't write everyday, but I like the luxury of knowing I can.  So bear with me until the holidays are over.  I'll be writing and working and baring it all on Instagram.  I thought about taking a Hiatus, but I can't stay away for long.  So instead, I'm allowing myself to post when I want and when I can.  To keep working on the things that scare the crap out of me.  And to continue to dream the big dream. 
Then because I've totally manipulated the conversation and the coffee date, which is really a specialty of mine, I'd finally ask you:
Hey, what's going on with you?
No, really I'll stop talking now. 
Hooking up with Alyssa today.
You should too.
Coffee Date

Thankful Thursday {eleven fourteen thirteen}

It seems that most of the people I follow on Instagram and on Facebook are participating in Thirty Days of Thanks.  I did it last year, and it's a great way to find something to be thankful about in every day.  It's just hard to post every day, especially lately.  My life has been so busy and full.  It's a good busy, and a good full.  So instead of daily thankful posts, I'm going to use my Thursdays here on the blog to talk about what I'm thankful about.  Using Instagram pictures of course!!!

I'm thankful for craft projects that actually come out like I planned.

I'm thankful for books that inspire me, writers who inspire me, 
and blank notebooks to fill.

I'm thankful for social media and celebrities who give shout outs like regular people.

I'm thankful for these two ladies who make my life and give me life.

I'm thankful for Against All Grain and her 7 layer GRAIN FREE cookie bars.
I mean, no sugar, no dairy, no grain.
Say what?

I'm thankful for Lil Blue Boo who makes Elf on the Shelf such a wonderful adventure.

I'm thankful for a Hubbs who still looks at my boobs.

I'm thankful for bloggy friends who cheer me on as I do the things that scare me.

I'm thankful for Fresno State football games, which guarantee a date night for 
at least six weeks out of the year.

This week I am thankful for cooler temps and jeans with sweaters.  I'm thankful for neighbors who come over late on Saturday nights and stay till one in the morning, and don't mind pancakes at 9 pm because it's the thing you can make the fastest.  I'm thankful for conversations with my best friend, and after all this time I can still make her laugh until she can't talk.  

What are you thankful for today?