Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Why you should listen to Bohemian Rhapsody and also my wedding

We got married on the hottest day of the year.
I know I am prone to exaggeration but June 4, 2016 was indisputably the most blazing, hot muggy day that Oregon has ever seen since the creation of Earth. #notexaggerating
I will admit, I was worried a few weeks out that we would have rain interrupt our outdoor wedding, but it became very clear closer to the BIG DAY that the heat would be far more uncomfortable than standing outside getting rain-soaked while my makeup ran down my face, thus making me look like the fifth member of KISS, would have been.
But I digress.
Let me start from the beginning.
In mid-April, Mark called me at work and asked me to lunch.
It was a Monday (which he typically has off) and I thought nothing of it.
He frequently asked me to lunch because we were dating, needed to eat, and liked to do stuff at the same time in the same place.
He suggested we grab lunch and eat down by the river.
Again, no bells went off because it was a beautiful day, and what good is living in Eugene surrounded by so much splendor if you never go outside and enjoy it?
So I agreed and he picked me up early (he is always early), and we drove to the park totally normal, like regular people.
We sat down and whipped out our lunches and starting talking about houses.
We did this a lot because we knew that once we decided to get married we would need a bigger house for our blended family to live in.
We were currently looking very seriously at a few and he was about to put his house on the market.
As we were going over future plans, he became quite serious.
"You know I want to marry you, right?" he said with his eyes shining.
"Oh, I know," I replied nonchalantly, looking down at my sandwich.
"Will you?" he said. "Will you marry me?"
All of the sudden he was at my side, kneeling next the park bench holding open a ring box that encased the most delicate, glittering band of diamonds.
I looked up in surprise.
I had been feeling a little edgy for a few weeks prior — impatiently waiting for him to know what I had known all along: that we would be happy together, that we could make this complicated thing work, and that he should propose.
"Really? Are you serious?" I squeaked, my voice rising in pitch by several octaves.
His eyes were brimming with tears and they spilled over now as I threw my arms around his neck.
"Of course!" I screamed. "Of course I will marry you!" I was manic and a little too shaky.
He laughed and slipped the ring on my finger.
I knew that I had made the right decision.
I couldn't wait to marry him.
And it turns out, I didn't have to wait very long.
After I texted every single person that I knew or would ever know to share the good news, we buckled down to figure out our wedding.
In the next few weeks, we put an offer down on a house, started showing his house, found a buyer, and looked at our work and the kids' school schedule respectively.
We knew we didn't want a long engagement and we also knew moving, changing schools, and settling in should happen in the summer, THIS summer.
So we decided that because we wanted a small, intimate wedding that was un-fussy and fun, we would just pull it together and get married 6 weeks later, at the beginning of June.
I continued started looking for a dress and we discussed our budget and a venue.
We were both getting married for the second time so we knew that we didn't need a gift registry.
And we also knew we just wanted a low-key party.
My sister and friend Claudia started coming over once a week to help me organize everything.
I was also picking paint colors for the house that we had just purchased because we were doing some minor renovations.
I didn't feel like we were busy enough and/or making enough major life choices simultaneously so we also began planning a major medical mission/honeymoon for early fall.
Oh, and I got in a car accident for good measure.
However, the details quickly fell into place.
We nailed down a guest list, sent out Etsy invitations, begged our neighbors to let us use their beautiful backyard for the ceremony, and talked to my brother, who is a culinary master, about food.
We (read: me) decided on a woodsy, casual theme with lots of texture, plants, and candles.
My best friend Tracy flew into town two days before my nuptials and basically orchestrated the whole thing single-highhandedly with the help of my siblings.
Saturday morning dawned and I couldn't stop smiling.
I literally smiled the entire day.
My family
His family.
My wedding day.
An hour before the ceremony, my sister and I were squeezed into my parents' tiny bathroom as she precariously applied my fake lashes.
We had two fans going at full speed to keep the makeup and the skin from melting off my face.
A dozen family members and friends were running around between the kitchen, the neighbors' yard, and other various errands.
Mark arrived, unbuttoned his dress shirt and tented himself over the other rotating fan positioned in the kitchen.
My dear friend Christina arrived to take our pictures and anyone without a job was commissioned to help the kids get dressed and ready.
3/4 of the Beard children.
I walked out of the bathroom, lashes at the ready, hair braided, dress zipped up and feeling pretty; my eyes found Mark.
He let out a breath.
"Wow, you look beautiful."
I felt beautiful. Which is not always the case.
Most of the time I feel like an unwashed hobbit with crazy grow out and pimply legs.
We all wound our way over to the yard next door to find it transformed from its usual manicured beauty to manicured beauty with tables, chairs, food warmers, and twinkle lights.
My face the whole day.
The day went off without a hitch.
Or if there were any hitches, I certainly didn't notice them.
Mark's best friend married us in the shade while Mark cried and I stood grinning like a fool.
As soon as we kissed as husband and wife, applause erupted along with the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy.
In fact, type "Guardians of the Galaxy" into your Pandora station and listen to it all day every day. It's amazing and will change your life. Trust.
We ate and mingled and dripped sweat all afternoon.
Mark said that all he could think of when seeing this table was "Bowel Movement." Nice.
I was surrounded by the people I love the most, married to the man of my dreams.
I could have died right then a happy and content person.
But then I wouldn't have been able to enjoy our wedding night.
Which I did.
Very much.
Isn't this backyard dreamy?

Next up is the honeymoon or the house? I am not sure which one will win but either will most likely have to be split into a few installments.
P.S. I am listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy station right now and the Bohemian Rhapsody just came on.
My life has reached its pinnacle.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dating ... and finding love

So, my love story.
It started out pretty pathetic.
About a year and a half after Scott died, I started to "date."
And by date, I mean my sister convinced me to sign up for several online dating sites.
Which were dreadful.
In fact, if someone were sitting around thinking of what they could do to feel more like a lonely, mediocre drain on society, they would sign up for match.com or some equivalent.
And then they would be one step closer to spiraling toward total self-hatred.
In truth, after pursuing the internet meat market, I plucked my eyes out and threw them down a well so I wouldn't have to look at another person that would not respond to any witty, adorable banter I had carefully composed, sent to someone way out of my league, and then sat around waiting for an answer to.
And then I retrieved said eyeballs so that I could stare into the mirror and cry about how hard it was to date when you cut your hair off into a ethereal pixie when you were married only to find it looks like a butch crew cut when you are single.
I cancelled any and all dating profiles my sister I had created and resigned myself to the life of a companionless old maid.
I had three small children, no job, and a myriad of personal quirks/issues, so there's that.
I figured I would just try to stop caring.
And then I got asked out.
Granted he pulled out a beard comb, from his murse (man+purse = murse) and groomed his beard 30 minutes into our first date, but at least it was a start.
I also went out with a man who didn't talk to me the entire duration of our double date until near the end when he told me he "really liked my toes" because he had a thing for feet.
It was not hopeless at all.
And I certainly did not think that there was perhaps something wrong with me because I was only attracting eccentrics.
Around the time I swore off dating, men, and pedicures my lawyer boss mentioned a guy, named Mark, that he knew and thought I would like.
I asked him if he had a glass eye because if not I had no chance.
He told me he was a single dad (Ally, his daughter, was 9), was a P.A./athletic trainer, loved to travel, was funny, and happened to be Mormon (like me).
He said that Mark had already been told I was also a single parent, played roller derby, and worked at his office.
He would be coming by on a Monday to meet me.
"Which Monday?" I asked.
"Hmmm, dunno. Maybe soon."
"Thanks. You are really good at this."
So for the next few Mondays, I made an extra effort to look cute in the off chance that Mark would stop by.
Now mind you, I had no idea what he looked like or when to expect him so when a few weeks later he came in bright and early, I was caught unaware.
In walks a tall, handsome guy with white hair and a sexy, scratchy voice.
"Is Scott here? I am a client and I wanted to talk to him for a second."
There were no introductions.
Only awkward, embarrassed silence.
Not knowing that I was looking at my future husband, I grabbed Scott from down the hall and ushered them into our conference room totally oblivious.
Unbeknownst to me, they just whispered in there like a pair of girls until it felt like the appropriate time to emerge.
He shot me a quick wave, jumped in his car, and practically pealed out of the parking lot.
It was magical.
"So that was Mark," my boss said.
"You are the worst. You didn't even introduce us."
"Sorry, I don't know how I got roped into this."
"Just give me his number and I will take care of it myself."
"Well, let me text him first and make sure he wants you to have his number."
And then I rolled my eyes so far into my head they resurfaced from the bottom as I muttered something about being in junior high school.
The next day I texted Mark and asked him out.
I figured we were both adults and if he thought I was a heifer he would say no and I would be no worse off.
Spoiler alert: He didn't say no.
He picked me up a few days later at my dad's for our first date.
It was not mortifying at all to have every single member of my family peeking from various perches around the front windows as I sprinted out the door and raced to his car just as he was getting out.
"Oh, Hi!" he said. "I guess you are ready to go?"
"Yep. Let's get outta here."
We went to dinner and talked until the restaurant closed.
He was funny ... and smart ... and had a sexy voice. Did I mention that?
Once we got kicked out of there, we went for dessert and closed that place down as well.
He finally took me home.
We pulled up and started to walk to the front door. All of a sudden, my dad, who was taking out the trash, dashed back inside with a full can of garbage, slammed the door, and turned all the lights in the house off, except for the porch.
Mark pretended not to notice, kissed me tentatively good-bye, and left.
That night was the best one I had had in a long time.
Mark took the reigns from there. He called me a day or two later and asked me out again.
I high-fived myself and accepted.
The second-date conversation came easily and we had a lot in common.
I was excited but tried not to get too excited.
It was fun to have someone to call and spend time with.
Someone that made you feel as if your heart was dropping to the bottom of your stomach because you are nervous and excited and turned on and it's new and you're slightly hysterical and eager.
Someone to bring up in conversation at random with every single person you encounter.
"Why yes! I was just talking to my boyfriend about that very thing the other day."
We dated for about six weeks before introducing each other to our kids.
We tried new restaurants, went bowling, visited a very steamy (in more ways than one) hot springs and watched movies.
And things just continued to progress at a good pace.
Until we went on a family trip together at the four-month mark.
That nearly marked the end of our relationship because it was a lot of time together with four kids, two different parenting styles, and ideas about money, and blah blah blah.
But we talked it out like adults, made-out, and moved forward.
We spent more and more time together and then eventually I told him I loved him.
To which he replied, "Thank you."
To be fair, he had been through a really messy divorce, been hurt very badly, and was a little gun-shy.
But I knew he was worth waiting for because he was a good man and a good dad.
I eventually wore him down and convinced him that I was worth the trouble too because a little over a year after we met he got down on one knee, cried, and asked me to be his wife.
I have never been as happy as I am with Mark.
And I remind him that he has never been as happy as when he is with me.
Marriage the second time around is still hard sometimes but I would like to think I do it a little better having had some practice.
He has embraced his role as the father of four, and the husband to a slightly broken girl who talks far too much about their house, her sad boobs, and her kids.
Thank you Mark, for taking all this on.
I bet that sometime you wish you were back in Saudi Arabia dodging enemy fire instead of dealing with my mood swings but you have made me the happiest.
My life is better than I could have imagined and it is because you are in it.

Up next ... our wedding.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The plan ...

Eating gelato on our honeymoon.
We ate this every. single. day because: Italy.
Last night I was taking a shower and talking to myself about my day, as a normal person would do, and I got to thinking about the blog.
I have a lot of things backlogged that I want to share.
I really want to talk about my guy (...let's first stop and delight in the fact that I HAVE A GUY!), the wedding, and the new family sitch.
I want to explain the trip to Africa (why the eff Africa ... for starters) and our lovermoon to Italy.
And I want to show off the house and basically document every single detail about it: the changes we made, the way we I am decorating it, and why I will be marrying my counter top as soon as it is legal to wed a work surface.
But the thought of writing until my fingers bleed for sake of documentation purposes gives me a bit of an eye twitch.
I discussed with me three options:
1) I could get a boob job. As I was contemplating my future writing endeavors, I happened to look down at my sad, limp chest. Picture, if you will, a knot of silly putty; you know how when you remove the silly putty from its plastic egg and manipulate it with your hands, and then perhaps stretch it in half and hold one end up and let the other slowly elongate until you have two small lumps connected by a thin membrane of pliable clay? Imagine that puddling in the bottom of a bra and you will have a vision of my femininity. So there's that.
2) I could be my regular self and write until I no longer have individual fingers but instead two bloody stumps because I am long-winded and my natural inclination is to include every. element. of. my. life. that. ever. happened. This option could then in turn set me even farther back unless I stop doing things until I catch up.  
3) I could dedicate one, succinct post to each fantastical, life-changing event and call it a wrap.
It is decided.
Number 3 is probably the direction I am going to drive this mother in.
That was really the only good option anyway, but I like to give myself several choices so that I feel like I make decisions. 
I think I will start in chronological order and just lay it out there while trying not to be too wordy.
And now to leave you with a few photos of this year.
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be ... sun more.
Ezra loves animals. But this one did not
love him. Look at his face. #wth

My beautiful freckle ballerina. 
The Fourth of July with all four
of our kids. That sounds weird. Four kids. 

Micah is 5! And wearing glasses.
He's so cute I literally cannot even
look at him. It is blinding.

A back shot of the 'ole tat. This shot was made
even classier by my twisted bra strap.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Testing, testing ....

Pretty. I especially love my meaty, veiny neck. Looking like a wrestler was
the vision I had for my nuptials. #nailedit 
Do you remember when I used to blog?
Like, almost every day?
Yeah, me either.
It had been so long that I actually forgot the password required to log in to my account.
And the name of my blog.
And what a blog is.
But then I slapped myself and remembered and thought, "I miss blogging. I miss oversharing all of my most intimate and personal thoughts with total strangers who will probably pity me and judge me while they watch my life unfold like the train wreck it is."
And it is for this reason that I have decided after an 18-month hiatus, to begin writing again.
'Cause I have loads to share.
And approximately 8 million photos to upload.
And need a creative outlet to distract me from my "real" job.
Also my life is completely different from what it was a year and a half ago.
In fact, if you remember where I was last ... MARCH?!? .... then picture the exact opposite of that.
Before I dropped off the face of the internet. 
Where I am now makes me so unbelievably giddy I literally want to tear all of my hair out and then use it to make pom poms to cheer for myself and my happier life.
But first a recap of the last year. *this is in no particular order and every event is of equal importance. **some of these events may also require more explanation and warrant their own post.

1. I met a boy, er, man. He had a sexy voice and a good sense of humor. We fell in love.
2. I learned how to use emojiis.
3. I discovered high-waisted jeans and now my mom-tummy is tucked in nice and tight. I am so on fleek.
4. I learned what "fleek" means and began overusing it. I am totes trendy. Obvs.
5. I started collecting and listening to records. As you can tell, I became a lot more hip this year.
6. I adopted a skinny pig. (Well, actually Santa got Ezra a skinny pig — which is a hairless guinea pig — for Christmas. His name was Alan. He looked like a penis.)
7. I totaled my car. And by me, I actually mean a dumb guy who hit me like a big idiot.
8. I got a new, better car. My Honda Pilot is basically a part of my family.
9. I discovered World Market. 
10. ... After I bought my first house with the man I mentioned in event #1.
11. ... After we got married.
12. ... On the hottest day of the year. I had boob sweat for days.
13. I contracted C-diff. At once point I gazed wearily from the window of my hospital room and actually wished that I were the man that I could see outside fixing the roof of the annex next below me. It was that bad.
14. I got another tattoo. Shhhhhh ... 
15. I went to Denver and spent some time with my favorite friends. They get me ... and now know things about me that no one else does.
16. I watched Micah "Whip" and watched him "Nay, nay."
17. I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was really epic, and not in the way a teenager would describe sneaking-out-of-their-parent's-house-and-stealing-the-car-in-order-drive-up-to-woods-and-drink-cheap-beer-with-their-tacky-friends epic
18. I bought bigger glasses because my Sally Jesse Raphael pair weren't fantastic enough. Now my glasses cover a larger percentage of my face. #winning
19. Mourned the "break-up" of 1 Direction. It is a week of my time I will never get back. 
20. Had the sex talk with one child and the puberty talk with another. It was not awkward at all. 
21. Mastered the perfect beach wave. My hair is super fancy now and has started its own youtube series on lob hairstyles.
22. Enrolled my baby — because he IS still a baby — in kindergarten ... and doused my entire front porch with tears while snapping the obligatory back-to-school picture.
23. Went to Africa (aka the surface of the sun) and then Italy! This was truly life-changing and although just as important as the introduction of high-waisted pants into my wardrobe, it will definitely need at least 10 posts to describe it. Minimum. 

And that was a perfect summary of everything that has happened to me. Period.
Stay tuned for the aforementioned series on my sweaty wedding and probably the puberty talk I had with my 10-year-old.

Monday, March 16, 2015

On a Monday night ...

As I am writing this, all I can hear are the tortured sounds of my two oldest bellowing at each other in the backyard.
They fight constantly, and yet, instead of retreating to their respective corners, they insist on remaining within a two-foot radius of each other.
They are constantly bothered by one another, yet are forever sharing the same breaths.
It's weird.
And annoying.
But in cases such as these, I just shut and lock the door, pretend not to hear them crying or tattling, and watch YouTube tutorials on how to create natural-looking beach waves or how to apply lip liner.
Then I think about making dinner.
But decide that because the sun is out an hour longer, dinner should be an hour later.
And should consist of cereal.
And then I think that I should get the kids in bed early so that I can watch an different episode of Glee on Netflix because I left off on the episode, yesterday, where Finn died and ended up crying myself to sleep.
Not because Finn died.
I don't even know him.
But because death, in general, is sad and hard.
And somehow it became a big part of my life.
And I am tired of being uncertain, sad, overextended, and alone.
And also I am tired of listening to my whiny self talk about bereavement.
I mean, all I do is whine and whiiiiiiine, and GO ON AND ON.
I am beginning to see where my kids got the annoying gene.
Seriously, I need a slap in the face.
Or a fishhook to the lips.
And now I am going to make meatloaf.
Because nothing gives you a feeling of equanimity quite like a brick of meat.
How about a few inspirational treasures?
^^ She is so pretty. I just want to rip her whole face off and glue it to mine. Her eyebrows are perfection. ^^
^^ This. ^^
^^ This is what my dreams are made of. I am saving up for it. You know, to buy and then place on my dad's front lawn. Because I don't have a house of my own. And then I will rub my face on it. #illogicalfinancialgoals ^^
^^ And don't forget this. ^^

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My super awesome life

In the last three weeks I have been spending a lot of time in one of these:
^^ Well, I haven't been spending time in this bathroom. If I had a bathroom that looked like this I wouldn't even need the rest of the house. I would make a "Girls Only" sign for the door, create a cozy little nest in the shower, become a recluse, grow out my nails Howard Hughes-style, watch movies in the nude, and never leave. ^^ 
Trying to convince Micah that this is part of God's plan:
^^ Have you read this book? It's gross. ^^
And when I wasn't being the potty cleaner-upper whisperer, I was trying to stifle my disdain for handling human poo by unlocking my inner tranquility in an aerial yoga studio.
I learned that I am very inflexible and have poor bladder control.
I also learned that one does not unlock anything doing aerial yoga except an overpowering need to giggle loudly in a quiet gym when everyone else looks like this :

And I look like this:
^^ Flattering, no? This is a real picture of me at Bounce Gymnastics. ^^
And yes, it echoed.
Meanwhile, when I wasn't embarrassing myself in front of a lot of limber ladies, I was watching The Bachelor.
Because it is a sophisticated show.
And I need to get some applicable dating tips for my life.
^^ I predict Chris will pick Becca. You heard it here first. ^^
Which means that I was not getting enough of this:
^^ This baby is so cute I could just eat him. ^^

And then after being completely exhausted, it was my birthday!
I turned 33 this year and I am hoping it is my best year yet.
I certainly think it will beat last year.
32 blew.
And to ring in another year of ME, my family got me an ice cream cake (my favorite kind of cake):

And we listened to Backstreet Boys:
^^ Kevin was always my fav (second from the right). ^^
And Ace of Base.
I knew every song.
And then I thought about tattoos.
And what I want my next one to look like.
Because I am a rebel at heart.

And then I realized that I hadn't blogged in three weeks.
Because I was too busy watching quality television and stuffing my face with a slabs of layered ice cream. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

One year

January 31 was the "anniversary" (for lack of a better word) of Scott's passing.
One year ago our lives changed. Drastically.
And I remember one year ago, I could barely breath.
Like, literally, I could not fill my lungs with enough air.
I felt completely obliterated.
And totally adrift.
I didn't sleep.
My mind never stopped circling.
Circling around my loss, my kids, my future, my lack of direction.
It was the lowest I had ever been.
And I look back and am glad that I am not there anymore.
Every day is a little better.
Sometimes the difference is so subtle it feels as if I am standing still.
Or worse, moving backwards.
But then a week, a month, six months later ... I find myself laughing at something without the all-too-familiar heartache.
It really does get easier with time.
And then a year has passed.
And my life (which is not perfect or even completely on track) feels normal again.
Our family dynamic has changed, but that change no longer feels like a change.
It feels regular.
And that is a gift.
In fact, today I was at church lecturing teaching the 12 and 13-year-old young women about adversity.
We talked about how trials and challenges are a part of life.
No one can avoid them.
Some are self-inflicted and others are the result of someone else's poor choice.
And then sometimes pain and hardship just happen.
Death, illness, infertility.
Everybody has something that tests them.
Mine right now is losing a parent and a spouse.
And accepting that I have small, sad boobs that puddle in the bottom of my brassiere.
But I have also learned that having a good attitude, hope, and structured undergarments go a long way.
I believe that things will improve.
That the best parts of my life are still ahead of me.
And that I will appreciate them that much more.
Until then, I will do what I have been doing: I will put one foot in front of the other.
^^ Family pictures. He cooperated for 12.6 seconds. Luckily, my sister has a quick trigger finger and captured this. ^^
^^ He was angelic. He gave me, like, 25 pictures that all looked this great. ^^
^^ I see this expression a lot. Her teen years are going to be magical. ^^
^^ This is my favorite of the bunch. I am contemplating this photo on a large canvas. ^^
^^ This is how loving they are all the time. In opposite world. ^^
^^ My little family. ^^
^^ You're welcome. ^^
Have a happy week.