Monday, October 14, 2013

You Should Probably Go to the Beach in October

My mom had plumbers at her house on Friday as we were loading up to spend one last day at the beach.  It was cool that morning, around 60 degrees, and the plumber told me, "this isn't weather to go to the beach.  This is weather to go to the mountains."

He was wrong.  Obviously.  I mean, for starters, it's always a good time to go to the beach.  Unless maybe there's a hurricane.  But still, meh, I'm pretty sure I'd rather attend a Hurricane Party than be in the mountains where it's cold.  But that's just me.

Anyway.  October is a FANTASTIC time to go to the beach.  Especially if you're more a bathing suits and flip flops person than a hoodies and boots person.  But even if you're not . . . October.  On the Beach.  It's where it's at.

The Weather
So, yeah, it's not going to be totally gorgeous every beach everywhere in early fall.  But in the southeast USA?  Amazing.  Not too hot but definitely not cold.  (The day we left when it was 60 degrees in the morning?  It ended up being 75 by the time we arrived at the beach and the high that day was something like 82.)

You Have the Place to Yourself
Pretty much anyway.  Hilton Head was more crowded than Tybee but the word "crowded" is a very generous description.  And the first day we went to Tybee, last Monday, there were maybe five other groups of people on the beach when we got there.  Hilton Head was a lot of older people and a lot of people either walking on or riding bikes on the beach.  My kids pretty much had the water to themselves.

The Water is Still Warm.
This obvs doesn't apply to California where all water is always cold.  But in Georgia and South Carolina, it felt great.  Especially when the air temperature heated up a little more.

We saw dolphins this summer at Virginia Beach but didn't see any at Hilton Head or Tybee.  This trip, in October?  We saw them at both places!  And they came really close to the shore in Tybee.  It was definitely a highlight.

There's a Good Chance You'll Have the Best Beach Body.
Seriously.  Just ask the guy in the speedo we saw at Hilton Head on Thursday . . .

Really, though, people.  There aren't many things better than tan lines in October.  Getcha self to a beach!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It Passed.

Yesterday made exactly four years that we've lived in Memphis.

Four years!

Before we moved here, we lived in the Dallas area in a house that I loved. I would walk my boys to our little neighborhood park daily. We had a Whataburger within a mile. My brother and his wife were only a couple hours a way; my sister-in-law and her family just minutes away. We welcomed Kyan while living in Dallas. We got married while living there. It's in my blood to love Texas (believe me, I realize just how corny that sounds but you'd have to know my dad). And I love Dallas. Love. But I look back on the time we were there and can't believe I survived. We were there less than two years and I consider that my "this too shall pass" time. And, yeah, I'm probably being fairly dramatic. But, y'all.  That shit was hard.

J wasn't quite a year old when I found out I was pregnant with K1. He was only 19-months-old, still a baby himself, when K1 was born.  K1 was born the Friday before Mother's Day and the first few weeks I had my husband and my mom and my grandma all around. By Memorial Day, they were all gone. My husband was working in Memphis, coming home on his days off, which meant sometimes I was alone with the boys for as long as a week or more. In hindsight, I realize how ridiculous it is. There are military families that do it alone for more than a year. But, at the time? Living in it?

It was HARD.

I was exhausted.
So true to life of that period of time in our family
J was the toddler who never stopped moving. If he wasn't getting into baby powder, he was covering the couch in maple syrup or the carpet in hair dye. He stopped napping. He climbed in bed with me every night, moving sideways and kicking and taking up way more bed space than a one-year-old should ever be able to. And K1! K1 woke up every two hours and he cried a lot and he only wanted me to hold him. I was exhausted. Most of the time, I had no one to hand the kids off to so that I could fake diarrhea in an attempt to get a five minute cat nap on the toilet. My sister-in-law asked to keep the boys overnight once. I was soaking in the tub, something I hadn't done in months, when she called and said she was bringing them home early. K1 wouldn't stop crying and J dumped dry spaghetti noodles all over the kitchen and "how do you do it?!?"

I've never been the type to let other people know when the going gets rough for me. I'm much more a "fake it till you make it" type person. And, for some reason, I thought a crying baby and a toddler who acted like a ... toddler ... said something about me, as a parent. YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, BRANDI. So I kept most of it to myself with lots of "K1's a good baby!" and "J sure is energetic!" and took cat naps and lived for the days when my husband was home and could stumble into the kitchen in the middle of the night to make a bottle.

There was a time when I thought those days would never end. When I thought motherhood would be a constant string of sleepless nights and toddler antics and bags under my eyes.

But now? I'm four years removed from those days. From the trenches.  Those trenches.

J is impossible when he gets overtired. The other day this led to a colossal argument between the two of us. K1 got mad at me the other day and slammed his door and yelled "oh yeah? I think your fingernails do not look pretty!" K2 is three-is-the-new-two and sometimes throws temper tantrums over things like juice boxes and granola bars. They're attitudes can be extreme and they're more expensive and I'm already cringing in fear of the tween and teen years to come. (I have a stepdaughter; I KNOW).

But right now. Right now. They're almost seven, five, and three. They sleep all night and they're all potty trained and can feed themselves. Two of them are in school. They entertain each other (and, boy, do they fight) and they say funny things and the other day J said, "Mom, some guys probably think you're hot!" They have opinions about movies and music and they're ... fun. We survived the baby years and now they're these cool little people. Admittedly, I think about that Bitch Living My Life at least once (okay, okay ... twice) a day. But I think about where I am now compared to where I was four years ago ... and where I'll be in four more years when we're in the depths of Tweendom. And I know I'm on Easy Street.

This too shall pass. Those days in the trenches, when you're so tired you can't even fall asleep and your DVR is your best friend because there's nothing on at 2:00 (and 4:00 and 6:00) when you're feeding a baby and you constantly smell like spit up and you can't remember the last time you wore something other than sweatpants and you're hair is greasy and dirty because shower? Ha! and the bags under your eyes are so large that a family of four could pack all their stuff for a week long vacation in them ... those days will pass. And you'll be rewarded with pretty cool kids. Kids who say things like, "turn it up! That's my jam!" Kids who consider a $3.50 happy meal the greatest treat ever. Kids who make your heart swell up with pride when they do well in school and their teacher tells you they're a "treat" or "a leader."  Kids who still want to hug you and hold you hand and draw pictures that say "I Love My Mom" to hang on the fridge.

They talk back and sometimes they argue and they can't find their shoes and they develop opinions about clothes and they want to watch annoying TV shows and everything they want to do costs money and they start to call you "Mom" instead of "Mommy" and your Netflix and DVR are both full of Jessie and Dog with a Blog and you can't listen to the unedited version of any song ever.  But, still.  It's the stage where the good outweighs the "OHMYGAWWW I CANNOT DO THIS."  It's worth it.