What I Want Her To See

My baby girl is three and a half months old and already, she is becoming accustomed to her mom’s shenanigans.

When I was pregnant with her, I traveled to Puerto Rico, Colorado, Mississippi, Milan, Florence and Venice. I went indoor skydiving when she was only a bean in my tummy. I ran a handful of 5ks, covered a red carpet event, met Willie Nelson, posed for photo shoots, dived into my first post-college career and self-published a short story.


She was with me for all of these things, and that was incredibly special to me. Now that she’s here, I still love being able to take her along on adventures with me, but I also know that she can’t come along for all of them.

She wouldn’t have been able to soar through the sky with me as I went hang-gliding, nor could she have been my plus one as I covered an Ed Sheeran performance for my event blog. She can’t really come with me to food tastings, and she can’t tag along when I attend a social media conference for work tomorrow. It wouldn’t really be appropriate for her to join in on every excursion I have with friends, and she probably wouldn’t have been nearly as amused as I was, had I brought her along to shower under a waterfall with me.

This weekend, my girlfriends and I will be road tripping it to another state, and Brynlee will be spending this time at home with her amazing daddy.

Since Bryn has been born, my whole entire world has been overflowing with joy, more joy than I ever even knew was possible. She smiles and I turn to goo. She laughs and my heart melts. I watch her with my husband and I feel as if happiness is seeping out of my ears. I made my favorite little person with the help of my very best friend. I look into her eyes and I can see that she is mine. It is the absolute best thing I’ve ever had the chance to experience.


And yet, I still feel so capable of living my own life to its fullest. I heard recently that moms who work full time today spend more time with their kids than women who were stay-at-home moms decades ago. I find that admirable and selfless in many ways, but I also know that this isn’t the way in which I will raise Bryn. This is partly because I don’t feel that my daughter’s existence makes mine disappear. I am still here, as are my dreams, desires, loves and passions. Also partly because I have a sweet mommy who watches Baby Bryn while I’m at work and a loving husband who whole-heartedly wants to share responsibilities 50/50 with me as a parent. I am a little shocked by how rare said sharing still is in our day and age. But more than anything else, it’s because there is so much I hope my daughter will learn from watching how I try my best to live life.

I hope that she will always be open-minded and accepting, and that she’ll realize that everyone finds their happiness in different ways.

I hope she will see that marriage, despite the statistics, can work out. That actually, it can do so much more than just work out. That it can be beautiful, fulfilling and most of all, so much fun. I hope that she won’t settle when it comes to love, that she will only be with someone who is able to give her as much joy as she saw her parents give each other.

And more than anything, I hope she will see me living my life and be inspired to live her own. That she will have confidence to follow her passions, the courage to go after her biggest, craziest dreams and the desire to make a mark on her little piece of the universe. What I want her to know is that this world is hers for the taking, if only she has the eagerness to go out and take it. What I hope she notices is my hunger for life, and that this will make her appetite grow wild too. What I want her to see is me, the person who loves her more than anything, showing her how to fall in love with the life she lives.


Healthy Jelly

(A couple of my favorite blogging friends are nutritious food bloggers. I’m wondering if this misleading title has lured them in. Evil laugh goes here.)

I received these sweet words from a blogging friend on my last post:

“you honestly have always inspired me to take advantage of the blessings i have been given and live my best life. so glad you are still living yours.”

This meant a lot to me, because when I first started reading Caitlin’s blog, I remember thinking her life was the coolest and felt a little pang of envy.  She was, and as far as I know still is, a food blogger who gets to cover lots of awesome, local events. I remember thinking something like, “That is so cool. She is so cool. I want to do that.”


(Picture Credit: areyouaniceguy.com)

So I did.

I started looking into Austin event blogging stuff and eventually found a site that I applied to be a blogger for. I was accepted as part of the SeeSaw Austin crew, and for nearly a year now I’ve been able to do fun things like indoor skydive and go to media tastings and meet Willie Nelson.

I’ve never really understood people who act like jealousy is such a bad, evil thing. It can be, definitely. I think the absolute worst thing is to be the type of person who sits with their envy. Who is envious but does absolutely nothing about it. That sort of jealousy can, and will, swallow and consume and poison a person until they are bitter, angry and really no fun at all to be around.

The thing is that we all get jealous, and anyone who says they don’t is a liar, liar, pants on fire. It’s a natural, unavoidable human emotion. And it’s not really the most pleasant feeling either. But I think that, if used correctly and alongside plenty of hard work, it can be a powerful and even healthy life tool.

For me anyway, envy has always signified that I’m unhappy about something in my own life that probably needs changing. Many years ago, when I would look longingly on the adventures of others, I realized I needed more life experiences of my own. So I started saving most of my money and time for travels and other exciting shenanigans. When I was envious of uber-healthy looking people, I realized I was unhappy about my own body weight and image. So I lost 40+ pounds, started modeling, ran a half marathon and otherwise became obsessed with exercise. (So much so that I still jog nearly every day at almost 5 months pregnant—with doctor’s permission, I swear!) When I felt a little green about those who were passionate about and loved their job, I studied a crap-ton, built a resume I was proud of, graduated college and found a job to love and be passionate about. And when I looked at Miss Caitlin’s blog and thought to myself, “She is so awesome, oh my gosh, why am I not doing these awesome things too?” I stalked and researched and applied around until I too was doing these things I found to be so awesome. Crazy as it may sound, immediately acting on my jealousy has always resulted in me being a better, happier and more confident version of myself.

So I say, don’t let envy consume you. Let it inspire you. Allow it to better you. Overcome the icky feelings by doing something about them. If it’s worth a tinker’s dam, work really damn hard until you have what it is that made you jealous in the first place. If you want something someone else has, don’t sit around on your booty, idly wanting want they have. (Unless, of course, you’re wanting someone else’s significant other. In that case, I do suggest sitting idly. Or taking up a new hobby! Stamp-collecting, perhaps?) Don’t hate them for having something you don’t. By golly, go and get it and love them for motivating you to be someone you weren’t before. Because jealousy is only a bad thing if you don’t do one gosh darn thing about it, y’all.

The eyes of a child.

“Seek the wisdom of the ages but look at the world through the eyes of a child”- Ron Wild

Went to my parents last night and enjoyed a few games of Uno (I was 3-1,baby!) and had some quality family time.For laughs,I decided to ask my four year old brother some serious questions as I recorded him on my camera. I was giving him simple enough ones but my seventeen year old brother, always the ornery one, decided to ask him some a little more challenging. It’s interesting to get into a four year old’s head. It took me a while to realize that, when asked about the President, he was hearing “Presents.” Thus, Santa Claus.  Also,In his mind, food solves all problems. Yup, definitely my brother. This whole video cracks me up everytime I watch it and helped me write the rest of this blog. Kids.

I’ve been told my opening quote fits me very well. I am, in many ways, still a kid. I’m younger than a lot of the people I hang around, but more than that, I just really strive to have a young heart. There’s a magic about youth, an innocence that so many of us let go of or lose. I say don’t. Keep it around, Nurture the kid in you. If you can see the way a child does, you’re living a bigger life and seeing things that many people lost sight of way back when. I’ve made this here list of my 5 simple ways to keep the child in you happy and alive.

1.Forget to be mad. How often do you see a child get mad about something for more than a day? Hell,more than an hour or two?  They throw their fit and cry and scream and after that, everything is better, we’re friends again, Oh I’d love to share my toy with you now. We, as adults, treasure the grudges we hold. It’s an indulgent feeling, to store up anger against someone.  After all, we are big kids now and have the luxury of  being mad at the world for umpteen amount of reasons. We constantly remind ourselves why we have the right to hate somebody, whereas children simply forget. Why do you think they’re so carefree? I’ve practiced this and after my little tantrum or pouting for a while, I forget about whatever it was that irks me. It simply doesn’t matter enough to ruin your life, or a day at that. Children are masters of getting it out and letting it go, and if we could do a little less holding on I think we’d learn a lot from that.

2.Play. In the hustle and bustle of life and work and school and our broken hearts and oh my God my hair appointment….we forget to have fun. Watch a little one play for just five minutes. Just take in all of that joy and try to mirror it. No matter what is going on in your life, take time to not just relax, but to play. We forget how fun it is. Fly a kite. Eat a banana split. Play a game of football.  Run around aimlessly. Draw, even if you’re like me and can only draw ugly stick figures. Find a hobby you like. Go putt-putt. Whatever it is.. take a day, maybe just a moment, to do something you really enjoy.You ain’t gonna regret it.

3. Believe. When we get older we are more or less told not to do this. We are cynical, skeptical, pessimistic assholes. That’s what we are. We are too cowardly to believe in anything, so we believe in absolutely nothing. We give ourselves cool names like ‘The realist” when we are really just big,emotional chickens. I’d rather be known as “The believer.” Watch a child’s eyes light up when he talks about Santa. Watch when he tells you about the money the tooth faerie gave him, or the candy the Easter Bunny brought. Maybe believing won’t get you anywhere,but at the very least it brings a huge amount of happiness to the world. Maybe what or who you believe in will never come through, maybe it doesn’t exist, maybe he/she will never change. I always found it hard to believe in Santa because a mean relative ruined it for me at an early age. But I held onto that glimmer of hope, that tiny little piece of wishing…because I wanted to and because I had to.  Don’t ever let anyone keep you from believing. It takes courage, but it’s worth it. Because life is not about saying “Fuck you, old man, I know you don’t exist.” It’s about clinging onto that sliver of hope,waiting for the sun when the rain is the most persistent, keeping that sparkle around and always thinking, ‘Just maybe.’ Just maybe.

4.Open your eyes. Our eyes are too often shut. We know what we know, we have our group of friends, we’re perfectly content with the way things our going. But a child? A child absorbs everything, is constantly discovering, and always wanting more. And have you seen those adorable wide eyes lately? Gah, the world would be so much prettier if we could all open our eyes like that. So open yours. Make new friends. Realize people that have hurt you are also hurting. Discover new places.  Learn something new. Lately, more than ever, I have been gulping up what’s around me.  Learning  has been more fascinating than ever to me;A new goal of mine is to be fluent in Spanish and I’m staying up late to read my boring old History 2 book. If you just look a little closer, Try to see what you’ve been missing…Everything is fascinating. There is this huge world out there that so many people are missing because they think they’re okay in their tiny little corner. Don’t be satisfied. Want more. Don’t just want it. Need it,crave it, long for it. Again I say, open your eyes.

5. Chew bubblegum. Not just any gum. Bubblegum. There is a humongous difference, my friends. Adult gum, sugar-free, teeth whitening gum? NO. Absolutely not. BUBBLEGUM. Always keeps the kid in me satisfied.

Do the happening.

It’s weird how life works out. I know they tell us hey, expect anything, live for today, right now is all you have….but how many of us really listen to that? It’s a cliché. It’s something we hear without hearing, say without feeling, and live without listening to.

And then it will randomly hit you, randomly and rather hard it’ll hit you. That—wow. That’s true. What they say about life being really short, about never knowing what will happen…that’s for real. For me, it was about five minutes ago as I did my regular stalking via facebook. I was clicking through pictures and found out a seventeen year old girl that used to flirt with my brother has a beautiful baby now. Maybe that’s not quite death but at seventeen, it’s got to be hell sometimes.  For me, living for the day isn’t just saying live in case you might die. It’s an anything can happen kind of deal. More than just death happens. Life happens. Babies happen.  Break-ups happen. Broken hearts happen. Mistakes happen. Life changing moments happen. Betrayal happens. Shit happens. There’s happy times and low times and in between ‘I’m doin’ alright’ times. No matter what the circumstance, there should be a realization that life, whether death be involved or not, is going to change. It’s going to change a lot, and we have nothing to do but to deal with it. I struggle with taking things for granted. I don’t go see my parents enough. I’m mean to my husband. I act on my temper before I think things through. I have the mentality that life works or my terms, and what I have is forever. But it’s not.

Boy in the green. I still can’t look at pictures of this boy without tearing up.  How life can change so much in less than two years, How someone can go from always being there to not being there at all,ever ever again–still baffles my naive heart.The picture was my nineteenth birthday and I was going through what I thought was the hardest time of my life. (It wasn’t.) My brother and this kid convinced me to buy them both cigarettes after eating and we all smoked (thinking we were oh so cool) in a closed pizza’s parking lot. It was a small moment out of millions, but one that cheered me up and I still think back on and smile.  How can this picture be amongst my hundred of others like it’s just any other normal picture? How can the recollection be so nonchalant, like I should be able to just call this kid up and laugh about it right this moment? It seems if he’s gone, these casual pictures and memories would also disappear. But it doesn’t work that way. Memories remain and what is a for sure thing continues feeling so indefinite, like a practical joke or a lie. It’s a subject I rarely talk about because it’s really hard to go there. Because sometimes when life changes, sometimes that change does mean death. It still doesn’t seem real, it seems like he should be outside playing football or doing other best friend things with my brother right now.  Or talking with his parents, or flirting with a girl, or about to graduate high school in three months. But it doesn’t work that way.

Falling asleep at the wheel happens. Car accidents happen. Tears and sadness and letting go happens. I guess what I’m getting at is we don’t control what happens. It just happens, and all we can do is be prepared for that. Prepared,not in the sense of waiting for it to happen, but living so that if it did–You don’t regret a single thing. Tell life. Grab it by the balls. Say, listen here life, this is what’s going to happen.  I’m going to go see my mommy and daddy more. I’m going to hold my baby sister every chance I get . I’m going to be the best friend I can be, I’m going to hug the crap out of everyone. I’m going to write a book, travel the world, let go of my anger and make millions of friends, smile and laugh until my mouth freakin’ hurts. I’m going to use protection when I’m doing it until I don’t want to anymore and then you know what ? I’m going to have a cute little kid. Maybe two. Maybe five.  I’m going to make everyday an adventure, every breath a lasting one, every person around me as happy as I strive to be.  I will go on walks for the heck of  it, listen to my husbands heart beat just to remind myself it won’t beat forever, I will go random places and take too many pictures and eat way too much.  I am not going to wait, I am going to live as much as I can right now. And, you know what else, life? We’re going to miss him every single day for a really long time. Maybe forever. When that song comes on, that picture shows up, that beautiful smile pops into our heads, When we really want to invite him to lunch but can’t because you took him away from us—we’re going to really miss him and it’s going to hurt really bad. But that’s okay. Because that boy told you what was up, he lived you hard and with a passion. Life happened and death happened but no matter what happened, That boy lived and he lived without hesitation. He is and will always be my constant reminder to live, to not wait, to hold onto everybody you have for as long as you possibly can, to remember every single breath is something you can never get back,  and to always, always Do the happening.