Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Dear Avalon,

Most everyone in our family has been doggin' on the fair. Too crowded, too far, too hot; so I took you myself. I couldn't buy us an ice-cream cone because I forgot cash, but that was about the only hiccup. You loved the animals. I tried to usher you away from the cows so you could see the goats and you pulled my hand right back to the cow pen. My wild one, you are starting to show me the way you want to go. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Ice Cream Man's Playing Christmas Music

Earlier this week I went to Target to re-stock on the typical day-to-day items I try to buy in bulk: diapers, laundry soap, floss. Of course, I also bought a new shelf for our laundry closet and a pillow for my sister. I chose a checkout line where a girl was buying a outdoor table and chairs. Smart, I thought, because it looked like she was buying a ton, but in reality it was only five XL items. But then, none of the patio chairs had tags and then the cashier had the cash register manual out and quickly my bright idea seemed terrible. After 20 minutes, it was my turn and lo and behold, I forgot my wallet. Once I found it in the bottom of my skate bag in the car I got back in line to pay. I walked out in a hurry, but dropped the diapers out of the bottom of my cart. By the time I realized it, they were already gone and no one had turned them in. When I told Scott about the ordeal I said, “I feel like I used to have good luck and now it’s gone.” I’ve even been wondering if God is mad at me for praying less.

This afternoon I went surfing. Basia and Phil are in town and they watched Avalon for me. I could see them holding her hand in the waves as I looked back at the shore. The water was rough and windy, but perfect wedges kept coming right towards me like tiny marching mountains. I could see straight to the sandy bottom on every duck dive.

Later, the air was still and the grass was hot and there was an ice cream truck playing Christmas music down the street. Why would an ice cream truck play Christmas music?

Avalon and Phil were napping and Basia and I were making things with beads and fishing wire in the living room under the fan. Basia needed a clasp for her bracelet even though she said she could just tie the ends together and double wrap it. I got an old pocket watch chain from my jewelry nest and insisted she use it. “I would have given it to Goodwill if I’d gone through that drawer anyways, honest!” I said. Then we realized we needed to cut the chain clasp free with a sharp tool. I went into our storage shed. “Scott has tons of random tools”, I told her. I went into our storage room. I found wire stripers and a razor blade; one useless, one dangerous. I went to Papa JJ’s tool box. Scott’s always saying how he finds the right thing in there, but I never met Papa JJ before he died so I thought maybe the magic wouldn’t work for me. But then, right there, the first tool I grabbed was a sheer sharp enough to cut the metal chain, and more. And I thought, maybe my luck is changing.

Maddie’s chemo party is tomorrow. The end in this case is something so happy. And then, maybe my luck was never really bad afterall.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Iron & Wine & Ice Cubes

I spent almost all of last Wednesday hungover. I know that makes me sound like a terrible mother, but I don't feel bad about it. I still took Avalon to swimming class and picked up her toys while singing a song. I'm really trying hard to believe what I know in my brightest moments: I am the best mother for Avalon and I am doing my best. I'm actually kind of proud that Scott and I made it to a concert on a weeknight with Mike, Scott's friend since diaper days. I thought the part of my life where I stayed up late and mixed alcohols and expresso had been put in some mental storage box marked 'save for later' along with the prospect of sleeping in.

Iron and Wine sounded the same as they do on their albums, but louder like the notes were seeping straight into my bones. I wanted to cry at this concert. Really, really cry-- quietly and to myself, but with all the feelings I've had while listening to their music. Feelings about the things that hurt us and who God is; About what it means to be good and beautiful; About fog in the ocean cliffs in the morning and grass when it's dying, but still looks pretty in the right light; About Avalon when she dances and wakes up smiling and how she holds my neck and how hot Scott looks when he gets out of his car when he gets home. I wanted to cry because Maddie got cancer and maybe someday more people I love will too. I wanted to cry because I needed to. But I didn't.

Instead, they played their new album almost exclusively, I caught myself being jealous for Sam Beam's wife because he was signing love songs with a pretty girl in a gold, gold dress and some douchey hipster with a zitty beard and a beanie told me to "Shut Up!" for requesting 'Trapeze Swinger'.

It wasn't so long ago that I kicked a girl straight in the leg for blocking me and my dad at a concert on purpose and for flipping me off. Maybe I should be glad that I've outgrown this behavior. Maybe I didn't kick that guy because I have an Avalon now and it was the kind of concert where everyone sits and because Sam Beam was hauntingly playing a violin or something sacred sounding at the time. Maybe a part of me knows that the beanie boy probably had things he could have cried about too and to just leave him alone. Maybe I didn't kick him because I'm tired and I still had optimistic expectations for the night. It did end well. Mike and I made a commercial jingle for Italian alcohol bitters, we saw his latest art projects and Scott and I talked the whole way home while an Uber driver chauffeured us to my parent's driveway.

Before the concert we went to Austin for a reunion with my best friends. The first night we danced in a parking lot and under a tree. I can only see the tree's trunk in my memory because I never looked up at the top. Avalon and my best friend's daughter were throwing leaves towards the tree well, so that's where my focus went. Avalon and I shared a veggie burger from HopDoddy's, then put our feet in the cold pool of a hotel while I sipped a Moscow Mule with a sweaty glass and talked to Cassie about that time she borrowed a bra from the stranger she sat next to on a plane. It all felt so rebellious in this new family oriented stage of our life; Having Avalon up past her bedtime and holding a glass cup near the pool even though no one cared.

The rest of our college roommates and their families arrived the next morning. It was humid and cloudy and Avalon had allergies. We rented a boat and went out on Lake Austin. Scott and I got to try surfing because Michael's brother has a fancy boat and likes sharing. The water was grey and shallow, the boat was fast and quiet. The surfing was hard, but rewarding.

Saturday it thundered and poured and we made funfetti cake to celebrate Nicole's birthday and Nell's pregnancy. We played this game where everyone tried to describe each other's jobs. I only really understood what Nicole did because she's a teacher and I've had plenty of those. Avalon thew up after her nap, but I was led to believe it was a reaction to the Benedryl I gave her for her allergies. We went to a restaurant that night with brick walls and a crappy singer that I had Avalon give two bucks to. She loved dancing to his songs anyways. Basia and I had a heart-to-heart in the bathroom that made us both cry. A handful of us went out that evening to a bar with a DJ on the roof. Basia requested a certain song that she and Phil like to listen to and the DJ laughed and acted like he'd never heard of it. I threw an ice cube the size of a slice of butter at him from about fifteen feet away. It hit him right in the nose and we had to run (or at least I thought so). I had forgotten that detail until just now as I'm retelling this. 

Scott had taken Avalon home to bed that night and gave her a bottle while I was out assaulting people with frozen water, but she woke up early in the morning crying and barfing. She didn't even like the shower I had to give her and water always cheers her up. Turns out she had the stomach flu, not allergies, and by Sunday night about 50% of us had it. Luckily it was just a 24 hour thing. 

All of this goes to show I guess my wild days aren't totally behind me after all. Good.

And in an attempt to make some kind of conclusion, I would like to remind myself that the best days might not always be what you expect, but the best days are here, right in front of us.
+Iron & Wine photo c/o Scott's mom Carolyn via text. ha! She is awesome!
+Palm picture c/o Margaux Arramon-tucoo.

Monday, June 6, 2016

I Want to Surf Like Gidget.

Here's another short little video clip Scott and I made on Saturday while the sun was still deciding if it wanted to come out and my mom was watching Avalon.

I want to write down some stories, but I haven't lately and I'm not totally sure why. Things that I want to write about have happened, but I don't know what I want to say about them yet. I'm probably overthinking it. 

I hope you have all been doing well! I've gotten back to most of the comments from recent posts. I appreciate the weather and life updates from your part of this world, always. 

The song in this video is called Gidget by Mylee Grace and Ozzy Wrong. I've shared some of their music before because it makes me feel happy and chill and summery. I might have even shared their home tour before, but here is the link again in case you're in the mood to get lost somewhere else via the internet. 

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. Here you are so immersed with what's in front of you. 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. 
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