Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dear Sprout,

April 28th, 2016

Dear Avalon,

What is it about dust that interests you so? That it can fly? That it’s soft? That no one really knows exactly what it is (definitely some hair, though)?

I want to be the kind of mother who is always present. Sometimes I feel I have trouble focusing on what’s in front of me. I think: how awesome that we’re outside and it’s so nice and you’re trying to practice walking, but this moment would be even more awesome if we were also listening to the new Sam Beam album or if I was eating almonds and sipping white wine mixed with limenade a two ice cubes. 

But here you are in front of me: with tiny ribs only as big as my pointer finger. Here you are so fascinated by the heater grate and dry leaves and the imperfections in the floor boards and dust. I want to remember that. I want to remember you always. I want to know you better than I know me.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Wetsuit Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just in time for summer, Wetsuit Wearhouse, the largest wetsuit specialty shop in the world, is giving away this Roxy Syncro wetsuit in your size to one lucky Tale of a Mermaid reader! Isn't that awesome? I love the colors! This suit is perfect for all summer water activities from surfing to stand-up-paddling to snorkeling, diving, kayaking, swimming and lake sports like wake surfing and water skiing. Wetsuit Wearhouse has the best collection of Roxy's Syncro line of suits which are made of 100% stretch FN Lite neoprene and bio fleece thermal linings.

Check out Wetsuit Wearhouse for all of your surf, wake, ski, scuba, and triathlon wetsuit needs and enter to win this suit pictured! 

*sorry, US Addresses only.... Good luck! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Nap Time Slash Grinds

We went to Austin last weekend for a reunion and gave everyone the stomach flu. More on that later. Here is a little video of me practicing slash grinds on my mini ramp while Avalon sleeps. Any other skaters out there?

p.s. I'm giving away a wetsuit next week! Get excited! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spring Cleaning

Avalon, Scott and I have been cleaning house. Of course, anyone who knows babies knows that means while we've been cleaning, Avalon has been tornadoing through any cabinet without a child lock, but this is her home so I like to think she had a part in its latest makeover. 

I have been feeling so productive and enthusiastic while going though every drawer and cupboard and closet we have (which is not that many, honestly). I want to write that it was like all this anxiety was tangled in my mind since Avalon's birth and Maddie's diagnosis, and every piece of clothing and rug and tupperware container I gave away helped untangle it and set it free. But I'm not sure that's 100% true. Some of it is still there. 

Avalon has an ear infection. She's not been herself for what seems like weeks and sometimes I start worrying again that she'll grow up to despise me and that I'm really no good at this motherhood thing. 

This morning I took her to swim class and later when I was on the phone making a follow up appointment with the pediatrician's office, the RN said, "Well you didn't dunk her under water did you? and I said, "A bunch."

But in the evening there was a podcast about a mom who lives on a storybook farm and cusses more than me. There was a trafficless drive and an end parking space. There was a whistling man vacuuming waiting room carpets, a receptionist named Ruby with lipstick that matched her name and a good doctor who said Avalon's ears looked like they were never infected at all. 

Sometimes my mind seems to be muttering 'you can heal yourself' over and over. So I skate my mini-ramp and give away shirts that will look better on someone else. I don't hold as tightly to things anymore.

All the cards I got for my birthday and Mother's Day said nice things like how much I've grown as a person this year. I try to hang on to those thoughts when the other part of my mind seems to be muttering 'you suck.' :)

 // main things I kept in mind during cleaning (and 
this might be from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I haven't read it. My dad and Scott's mom Carolyn just told me some key points)...

+Take everything out before you start reorganizing a space.
+If it doesn't bring you joy, get rid of it. I added, if l don't find it beautiful, I'm getting rid of it (or hiding it like some of the toiletries I stuffed into little canvas bags under the sink).
+Memories are better than things anyways.
+Thoughts like 'making a home is about slow growth' from this book by Erin Boyle.

 // new items pictured... 

+Coffee Table (a belated Christmas gift and I used my birthday discount!)
+Rug (I waited for it to go on sale)
Chair (thank you neighbor's for leaving it on the side of the road and Scott for bringing it home)
+Mr. Basil Fox Kit
+Wooden Whale Toy (Avalon has been taking apart that shelf on the daily, so I re-did it with pretty things we like to look at that are fine for her to play with). 

//baby gear wrapped up like a plastic turtle...

+Scott took apart all the gear we're keeping, wrapped it in saran wrap, and put it on top of her closet. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Loving Wild

It's much more of an accomplishment when I make it out in the lineup now.
Mom ma ma ma Mamma Maaa A A 
Are the first words that sneak past tangled hair.
And I bring her into a room that's still dark 
For warm milk 
and the latest political news.
She's so warm, it seems like she could melt us. 
And so rough, too.
She brushes my teeth and hair with her nails.

I put on my wetsuit over sticky skin and get her situated with the rest of the banana 
and Nonnie and Poppy.
I don't even check the surf forecast anymore,
I just go when I can.

I sing rhymes about ponies
and swim into the wild, gathered in it's arms;
Knowing that it wants me to give it my fears freely.
They're in my wrists and shoulders and eyes as I touch water that knew fear before I did because someone else was here first

It's 8:02 
And there's still fog sleeping on the beach.
The wind woke up first,
on the other side of the mountains,
to other voices.
The wind is the boss of the water now.
It pushes it onto the bottom of my feet as I paddle over waves less free than me.
I'm smiling the smile I've always had.

I try to ollie out of a wave that I've surfed well and I want to think that: 
Here I am, putting in work.
Getting better at surfing, 
getting stronger, 
for swimsuit season,
and other waves.
But this isn't work.

The water comes towards me like a tongue trying to swallow my fear 
as I sit just inside of Kirk and Robb and some other guy who keeps asking me what time it is. 
I turn quickly, 
making no sound.
Then I paddle knowing I'm going to make the water mine for a minute.

I'm carving and I'm gliding and salt is dripping down my brows.
Seaweed is hiding in my hair. 
And maybe bravery.
I'm celebrating the wave,
by singing about ponies.
Then it takes a big breath as it reaches the shore and swallows me up.
And I think: I will never die of thirst. 

Do other people out here look at my long hair?
At the stickers on my board? 
Or my bright colored wetsuit?
At my face? 
Do they expect more? 
I don't care, because I'm busy loving wild things.

And I think the same thing about the ocean every time: 
It's so loud and it's so quiet. 

{wetsuit from wetsuitwearhouse)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Universe at 31

[press play]

The night before I turned seven years old my mom was sitting on the edge of my bed tucking me in. I remember how soft her hands were, but not the expressions on her face; her voice and how it sounded hopeful. I'm not sure if I know the moment more from her re-telling of it or because it was such an identifying instance from my childhood like who your first kiss was (although mine wasn't until college). I can still recall my room being the ideal temperature and that I was in a nightgown that felt like a hug, with even the backs of my ears feeling clean after a bath. There's all of that and then the most dominant memory of all from that moment: how I felt a lack of control in the universe. 

Trying to evoke the sense of elation and eagerness I was expected to have for the approaching festivities, that she herself probably had after planning them, my mom asked me a fairly traditional question on the eve of my birthday..."Are you excited?" I just started crying

"But Mommy, I'll never be six again!" 

Maybe I've told this story here before. In fact, I'm sure I have, but I just thought I'd bring it up because that story, just like being a sentimental six-year-almost-seven-year-old, is part of the past. If you read my sister Maddie's post the other day you know that after the doctor told her the growth in her colon was cancerous, the darkest thought she stewed upon for hours was: what if she died? Of course that's what her mind fixated on. It's what we all wondered in the weeks following her diagnosis.

With Maddie completing her twelfth and final chemo treatment five days before my birthday this year, I never thought once about being sad that I was getting older or that I'd never be 30 again. With Avalon hugging my neck and slobber-kissing my face, I just sit thinking how a real baby is all I've ever wanted. I think about this line from Marina Keegan's short life..."The middle of the universe is tonight, is here..." 

My universe is Scott and Avalon and my family and friends. It's this tiny house that might be ours for a few more years or forever. It's salty waves and sun damaged skin and fingers with tortured nail beds and too many rings that love to type truths as best they can. It's relatives that seem to revel in being happy, or sad. It's curly hair, it's passing anxieties, it's lumpy couches and big dreams that I try not to be scared of. It's a husband who I have such an all-consuming crush on. 

My universe is here, is now, is tomorrow, is not mine to control. And I just might ride the mini-ramp Scott got me every day until I'm 32 or 79. I might ride it right to the hospital. I might ride it with Avalon and whomever might come next and whomever might come into our lives after that. 

And I will be so in love with every tomorrow I have, even if sometimes I'm afraid of it.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dear Momma, (on your birthday)

Dear Momma,

You always smell so nice, even when you aren't wearing any perfume. You *always look pretty, even when you aren't going anywhere or have worn your "uniform" to the store three days in a row. I love making fun of you because you almost always laugh the hardest. Food always tastes better at your house, even if you're making  "crap-ass" leftovers. Conversations are always more fun when you're in them. I love watching you look in the mirror when you're getting ready; you fluff your bangs with both hands and put your chin down.  I love how you love jewelry, but you are the one who makes it look good. The doctor who delivered you was right, you are a total sparkler. 

Every year I get nervous writing your cards because I feel I'm not capable of truly telling you how much I love and admire you. 

One true thing I know is: I love living life because of you (and Dad, too). You have shown me all the special things about it like how to skip and read and pack for the beach and cook and believe in things I can't see. You took me places to make friends; you showed me how to be one. You have shown me how to appreciate what I have; how to save it, organize it, clean it, treasure it, love it. You have shown me how to grow someone and help them to be their best. You have shown me how to nurture someone back to health. 

You give so much of who you are everyday, which means you have given so much to everyone around you, and you have the best laugh. I hope I can hear it forever.

Happy birthday! Thank you for making everything better.


*except when you have crazy "sailing hair!" 
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