Friday, November 25, 2016

Favorite Small Shops and Holiday Deals + Gifts

c/o shoparq


Wetsuit Wearhouse // code: MERMAID20
Roxy // code: FRIDAY
Pom Pom Surf and Skate Gear // code: WEEKEND
INT Surfboards // code: mermaid20

Children's Clothing & Toys

Billie Blooms // code: GIVETHANKS
Urban Baby Bonnets // up to 75% off site-wide
Over the Ocean

Ideas and Favorites 

For Avalon

Sarah's Silks (great for wrapping gifts in, too!)
Toy Pots and Pans
Little Blue Truck and Color Chart Building Blocks
Tech Deck Toy Skateboards
Crayola Color Wonder Markers and Paper
Linen Food Tray

Children's Books

Current Favorites

Wish List Books

Thursday, November 17, 2016

So Much & Santa Cruz

The late afternoon light casts a coolness over the house. Everything looks bluer, but the house smells like cinnamon so it feels warm. I'm sitting on a couch that might as well be stuffed with cotton balls thinking back on our trip to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago. Sometimes I feel like I hang on the travels of my life hoping they'll tell me things even after they're over and, in this regard, I feel like the lessons of our road trip to Santa Cruz will be revealing themselves slowly for a while.  

We planned, we played, we came home happy-exhausted. What is there left to say about a time so meaningful and so short? I feel the same way about the holidays, which seem to be right behind almost every corner ready to pounce. These squishy human bodies feel so much and know so little.

I do know I need to write down some things about our time in Santa Cruz, not only because I like to keep record for myself anytime I do something resembling my life in my twenties, but because I can tell it's time to move on to something else.

Before the trip, I became obsessed with picking the most ideally perfect AirBnB possible. In other words, I started a search for our exact set-up here in San Diego, but further north near our friends and with a working fireplace. I narrowed it down to two places. One was near a world class surf spot called Steamer Lane and the other was near an equally famous, but less-shortboardable spot in Pleasure Point. When the house near Steamer Lane became unavailable, I did what any reasonable person would do and dwelled on it for days. The people who booked it were also getting to stay for a whole week, which we were unable to do. I pretty much needed Daniel Tiger to come in and sing some song with odd intonation to help me move on. Although, I've been looking for a reason to kick that sanctimonious tiger, so I'm sure I would have taken advantage, had he actually shown up.

The owner of the house we chose was kind. I could tell before I met her. I could hear it in her email voice and in the way she said "The number one rule for the beach house is no stress!"

On our first evening we arrived at the small, warmly lit wooden beach house with teal shutters that made the front windows look just like eyes wearing eyeshadow. There was a note on the chalkboard welcoming us and I cried a little. I knew we were in the right place.

We specifically booked a house with two bedrooms so we could all sleep in peace, but after Scott was tightly tucked in bed with his ear-infection drops soaking and his insagram feed synced up, I became overcome with anxiety that the heater between the two bedrooms could, in a Nighttime News inspirited fantasy, catch fire rendering me unable to save my baby. We carried the crib and sleeping babe carefully through the door jams and around the tight corners of the little hallway into our room where we all slept soundly to the hum of the heat.

The next day Mark visited and we rode bikes to the beach, the sky hovering over the four of us like a great blue blanket. I was expecting that I would have a rebuttal to almost every claim Mark made. This has been the nature of our friendship since I met Scott and him at a keg party on a cold winter night and he insisted he wasn't drinking. However, on this trip, Mark and my conversations went together more like two different musical instruments playing the same song. He took my advice about his relationship and gave me questions about God I'd never thought about. When I think of Mark and the four other guys Scott lived with in college, I think of the time Scott and I were driving through South Carolina and he said that they were all like the brothers he and I never had. 

In the evening, after a taking turns between surfing and playing with Avalon, we skated a new skatepark and drank some pale ale called Baby Daddy (after Avalon went to bed) with our friend T who's about to be a dad. When T was calling earlier in the day I didn't pick up because I thought he was a telemarketer. After all, on Scott's phone it said call from 'T Mobile'.

On Friday, Scott surfed and slept in the hammock. Avalon napped a long nap and we prepared for new company. I got to skate the Santa Cruz Skatepark and Scott, Avalon and I ate a rushed dinner at a local brewery. My college roommates--Nicole and Basia--arrived after dark with their families and it was like Thanksgiving dinner with Vodka-Lemonades and cold leftover kid's meals. We drank and laughed and no one slept well. In the morning the surf was huge. We visited a beach probably in every tourist guide for Santa Cruz ever called Natural Bridges. Avalon and Nicole's son, Will, held hands and slobber-kiss each other with sandy, open mouths. I surfed in the evening at the spot by the house, Pleasure Point. I got some amazing set waves under my feet and on my head. Even though the water was in the 50s and night fell before I reached the cliffs, I was practically steaming in the cold from all the paddling I did. 

On our last day it's just us again and no one woke up in a particularly good mood. I wanted to stay, Scott was ready to get on the road and Avalon wanted to put spoons in the heater. 

I did finally get to surf Steamer Lane though. It was windy and cold and had I not crouched like a fox, I would have somersaulted into the water since I took the most dangerous, rock-scaling way of getting to it. Bottom-turns, top-turns, seaweed, locals, wind and whales. I could hear the seals bellowing in the distance so predictably I could have mistaken them for a fog horn. There was so much life there, and so many ghosts. At the top of the cliff were memorials to the Santa Cruz greats, some flowers and paint fresher than the rest. Shawn Barney Barron, one of my favorite surf characters, being one of the most recent. In these moments I remember we are not forever.

Driving home honestly used to be so much more about procrastinating settling into reality when it was just Scott and me drinking margaritas at lunch and wandering seal-covered beaches like early settlers. This trip it was about watching Daniel Tiger on my lap top, spilling peas in the back seat and stopping at my in-law's for bath time. 

Once we arrived to our own cheerily lit house, we unpacked our suitcases and let out deep sighs. There was so much still to do, but now so much more that we had done.

We snuggled into our beds with exhausted joy and dirty fingernails. I lie awake for a minute wondering what these trips will become someday as our family grows, as our friendships evolve, as we age. 

These squishy human bodies feel so much and know so little.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Fish Hat Man and The New Identity

There has been good swell and hot weather all week and I've been watching from the beach or cliff. In true Endless Summer fashion most people were sure to tell me I "shoulda been here yesterday" once I paddled out.

There are many things that are hard about motherhood that I wasn't expecting--least of which was having bad hair days for over a year and probably most of which was trying to find myself again once my identity shifted, even though I've meant to and wanted to be a mother forever; even though I miss Avalon when I'm surfing and when she's sleeping.

On this wave there was a guy behind me, a guy who just got dropped in on by my friend Mike M. on another good wave. I didn't think he'd make the section, but he was fast on his retro fish. When we kicked out he gave me a big thumbs up and called over the sound of the waves and wind, "You were ripping!" I was shocked (and sorry and oddly validated).

I feel like in 30 years I could be a pretty good person, but I might not live that long so I need to try harder now; to do little things every day that make people feel like they matter and are seen and heard and loved. To be more of what I need when I'm sad or confused or lonely for other people when they are. To be like that guy in a fisherman's hat riding a fish who congratulated me even though the wave was his. I want all of that to be a part of my evolving identity too. 

I know I don't get to surf as much as I used to. Sometimes that even comes out to the psychologist I occasionally see, but I enjoy it more too (I mean it). I notice more now like how the cold water actually feels good and makes your heart beat slower so you can focus on just one thing; that a friend has grown a weird beard or gotten a new board with a black stringer. To notice that you're actually excited that your life has changed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Peace of Wild Things

•The Peace of Wild Things •
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 
-Wendell Berry

Monday, November 7, 2016

Urban Baby Bonnets Giveaway!

I've shared pictures of Avalon in various bonnets over the course of her life. Those bonnets have all been Urban Baby Bonnets. I've had them on my radar for years and now that we've stashed them in diaper bags, stuffed them in beach bags and packed them in suitcases for various adventures I can say they're everything I wanted in a hat and more. They're protective, functional, easy to clean, easy to pack, have a comfortable, adjustable chin strap to keep them in place and they're so cute. We get asked about her hats wherever we go and I always feel confident sending people over to Urban Baby Bonnets. Needless to say, I'm thrilled to have the chance to offer a giveaway here today. They have caps for boys, too and snow bonnets for winter. All of the hats are reversible and handmade. In case you are new to Urban Baby Bonnets you can read a little bit more about this awesome company below...