In Real Life: Week 30

Happy week 30, everybody!

I spent Sunday doing a little food prep.

I made an awesome Greek pasta salad (inspired by this one, with a few variations), and ate it over salad greens for lunch all week. Yum.

One of my colleagues passed the Asthma Educator exam last week! It’s such a hard test and she studied so hard for it, so many, many deserved kudos to her!

A little mental break in the meditation garden.

I found this to be a fascinating description.

Lox was on sale, so I have been happily eating many lox-and-bagels sandwiches for breakfast this week.

My little laundry helper.

When there is time to kill, always go to the ocean if you can.

Breathe the salty air, listen to the waves, and be cleansed. Amen.

A good bedtime routine.

Hey there!

Pancake morning at the Starks’ house.

Had a consultation to get started on my tattoo! I didn’t think I would be nervous, but as soon as I got to the shop I had to talk myself down a little. I’m sure it was obvious that I was a tattoo virgin. But as soon as I started talking to my guy he put me right at ease. Now I can hardly wait for my appointment to actually do the ink!

I love the decorative style of having tons of photos all mounted close together, covering most of the wall. It feels like being inside a scrapbook.

An apropo vehicle choice for a tattoo artist.

A foggy morning jog.

I don’t always feel like going for a run, but I never regret it when I do.

Maybe someone who knows plants can tell me… is this a Scottish thistle? I feel like it’s a Scottish thistle.

I feel like maybe I’m too sober to truly appreciate Dr. Pepper’s latest can design.

“Excuse me, ma’am… do you know why I pulled you over?”

Preeeeetty.

James has been at drama camp all week, and his performances were yesterday! I got to take him to his second call time, which meant that I had an hour to kill.

Reading was nice for a little bit, but then I got bored.

So I decided to go for a walk instead.

It was such a nice day… I figured, why not?

I didn’t realize what a gorgeous neighborhood I was in until I got out of the car.

This VW van is clearly living its best life.

I need a drink with an umbrella in it, please.

Also, um… can I have your house? Either one will do.

And the best surprise? The ocean was just three blocks away the whole time. Doh!

If I had known that I never would have sat in the car for so long!

Oh well.

Welcome to Santa Cruz, where we have lifeguard firemen who drive around with surf boards on top of their department vehicles.

I’ve always liked these shrubs. They remind me of flames.

And then it was time for the main event!

I may have gone snooping a little bit before the performance.

But I still got a pretty good seat.

They put on The Great Mouse Detective, and Jamesy was the lovable toy maker, Flaversham.

His costume was just OMG ADORBS.

And he did such a great job!

Delivered his lines with confidence and only need one teeny little reminder of what to say.

I hope he stays excited about drama. I can’t wait to see what he does in high school and beyond!

The whole cast did a fabulous job!

It was definitely a proud mama moment for me.

He even got an award for being so creative with his character!

Though he was a little bashful afterward. 🙂

All my boys need love.

And that’s a wrap! What were you up to in week 30?

Much love…

…Jess

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Currently: July

How is it the end of July already? I feel like I blinked and poof! Half the summer is already over. But July was a pretty awesome month! Highlights included…

  • ...our day trip to San Luis Obispo! Including dinner at Sylvester’s and OMG FRY SAUCE.
  • …the paddle out for Jack O’Neill! What a surreal experience. So, so glad I chose to go.
  • …our trip to Idaho! It was so good to catch up with everybody. I miss home already.
  • …one yet to come, which is James’ play tomorrow! He’s been at drama camp all week, and I can’t wait to see them put on The Great Mouse Detective tomorrow night! Going into hardcore mom mode right now.

Those things alone could have been enough to keep me happy this month. But other things inspiring me these days are…

  • ...outdoor exercise. Whether it’s doing my couch-to-5K jogging intervals or just going for a walk, I’m finding that a little activity out in the fresh air helps keep my mind more clear. And makes me feel less guilty about all the delicious things I want to eat all the time, lol.
  • …spending less time staring at my phone. I have been making more of a conscious effort to be more present, and to spend less time scrolling social media. I’ve actually taken to deleting Facebook and Twitter off my phone at the beginning of my work day, and leaving my phone in my room once I get home. The result has been a better feeling of focus and less anxiety. For real. Maybe you want to try it too? Trying looking around you instead. Notice those clouds, the leaves on that tree, the way the light reflects off your wine glass. Breathe. Aaaaaah.

I’ve been watching…

…a lot less TV this month, lol.

I’ve just been too busy! But things I couldn’t resist included…

  • Game of Thrones! I am so excited that it’s finally back. Although staying up until 10 on Sunday nights is really killing my Monday morning energy. (Man, I am so old.) Even though I can definitely notice a change in the writing style and the plot seems to be moving at lightning speed compared to the rest of the series so far, it’s still been totally awesome. No spoilers here… just trust me, you’ll want to see it.
  • Wonder Woman! Finally! Some friends were nice enough to watch Jack so we could go, and it was 100% worth seeing in theaters. Now I just need to take James, so he can see firsthand just how badass women can be, too.

And reading…

…a lot more!

I bought a neat little reading lamp to incentivize me to read at bedtime instead of scrolling through social media until I pass out. No more using the excuse that I’ll wake up Jack with the light! So hopefully it won’t take me 3 months to finish one book again, lol.

  • The Heart Goes Last (Audible): I’ve been spending more time listening to my audiobook this month instead of podcasts, because, honestly, I just kind of need a break from all the media noise. And after listening to The Handmaid’s Tale a couple months ago, I’ve been on a bit of a Margaret Atwood kick. She writes dystopia so well! The Heart Goes Last was a little hard to get into in the beginning, but now I’m over halfway through it and I find myself trying to find opportunities to listen to find out what happens next. I definitely recommend this one.
  • Alias Grace: Another Margaret Atwood! This was honestly the first book of hers I tried to find on Audible after The Handmaid’s Tale, but all they had was the abridged version. So I checked it out from my library instead, because I had heard from other Atwood fans that this was another great novel by her. I’m not very far yet, but so far it’s good!
  • The Sound of Gravel: I had heard multiple rave reviews about this book on various podcasts and blogs, so I was excited to check it out. However, maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention, but I didn’t realize just how dark it would be. There are a lot of serious familial issues addressed in this book, and the fact that it was a true story just tugged at my heart too much for me to finish it right now. I put it away after finding that it really haunted me, and actually left me feeling depressed after reading it. Maybe I’ll pick it up again at a better time.

And I’ve been listening to…

  • …more country! Especially after our visit to Idaho, I’ve been on a bit of a country kick. I’m obsessing just a little bit over Little Big Town – especially “Better Man,” which is so well-written even if it doesn’t apply to me – and Lady Antebellum.
  • The Offspring: The upbeat angst has just felt really good this month. Throw in some Blink 182, too, for good measure.
  • Revisionist History: Like I said, I’ve mostly been taking a break from my usual podcasts for my own sanity. However, Revisionist History is one of the few I have actually been listening to. Season 2 just recently started up, and the episodes so far have been surprisingly enlightening. It’s been fun to hear a different spin on topics I thought I already knew about, and fun to think about them a different way. Which is the point of RH, I think. We could all use some more of this kind of nuance in our lives.

I’ve been thinking about…

  • …my tattoo! After much thinking and research, and more thinking and more research… I’m finally moving forward on my idea! I actually have a consultation appointment this afternoon, eek! I am simultaneously pee-my-pants excited and shaking-in-my-boots nervous. But I think I’ve found the best guy in town to do what I want, and I can’t wait to see what magic he can work for me.
  • …planning a beach day. I’ve been talking about it all summer and haven’t made it happen yet! And I’ve already bought the stuff, so what am I waiting for? And we live 10 minutes from the freaking beach, for crying out loud… we need to make this happen.
  • …a psychic/tarot reading. I know, I know… bear with me. My mother took me to a tarot reading on my first visit home after moving to California 3 years ago, and it has stuck with me just how spot on the reader was and how much it seemed to help me work through the emotional mess I was in at the time. And even though I’m feeling pretty good now, I also feel like I am in a completely different place than I was 3 years ago. And gosh darn it, I’m curious to see what a reading would tell me now.
  • …growing our family. With Jack well over the 6-month mark, the idea of whether or not to have another baby has been weighing heavily on me lately. It’s not a decision we need to make right away, so I’m not sure why I’m giving it so much thought right now, but it’s been on my mind a lot. I might do a full post about this soon, just to process what’s going through my head. Just… so many thoughts.

My favorite hobbies: eating & drinking…

  • …homemade ice cream! I made two kinds this month, my favorite standby vanilla with chocolate chips and an epic chocolate-brownie. I need to stop, because it is so not helping my fitness goals, but it’s just so good! And life is all about balance, right?
  • …Dutch Bros Coffee! Man, I was so excited to order my favorite Cocomo again when we went to Idaho. I know I’ve said this before, but can we please have a Dutch Bros in Santa Cruz?
  • …fresh summer fruit: With the recent purchase of my handy-dandy pineapple corer, I have been eating a ton of fresh pineapple because it is so juicy right now and it’s so easy to carve up at home! I have also been guilty of eating an entire large container of raspberries in one day. And the peaches are finally starting to get good… mmm… summer produce must be God’s way of making up for the blistering heat.
  • …grilled everything. Steaks, corn, pizza, peaches… summer time just begs for grill marks and a little smoke. And I have come to the conclusion that if you grill it, it will taste good. It is known.

And finally, I am looking forward to…

  • …camping! We have a campsite reserved at Lake Tahoe next month, and I am so excited! We’re going with some friends and their kids, and I think it’s going to be a blast. Plus, Lake Tahoe! OMG!

July was so good to us… I can’t wait to see what August has in store!

What inspired you this month? 

Lots of love…

…Jess

In Real Life: Week 29

Here’s a look at our week 29…

We started the week still in Idaho, and enjoying some morning Gpa kisses.

I left Jack with grandma and grandpa for a bit while I went for a run.

I was a bit surprised at how short the corn still was for being mid-July.

Peaceful.

Sorry guys. I do not have treats for you.

This place will always feel like home to me.

I can’t wait for these two to go fishing together.

In my grandpa’s front yard.

Chester is huge. He’s gotta have an ancestor who was a bobcat or something.

He also has thumbs!

Goin’ Dutch with my Meggie.

Side note: can we please get a Dutch Bros in Santa Cruz? Pretty please?

Of course, we had to go more than once. Meggie’s usual is the Grasshopper. Mine’s the Cocomo.

Lolwut?

Ugh. As much as I miss home, I’m not sure I could be a blue girl in a red state anymore.

Grandma’s boy.

He was getting pretty fond of Auntie Nene, too.

The view from the hot tub.

Followed by a backyard fire. Man, I missed this.

Big boy got to go on his first 4-wheeler ride!

While mama went for a walk.

Hello, little pony.

My parents remodeled their bathroom. I am too short for their new mirror.

You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.

Sitting in the cart like such a big boy!

I think Grandma Carrie missed him.

It was the perfect day to go swimming.

And it was so good to have Jamesy back, too!

He finally has enough hair for it to get messed up.

An obligatory stop on our last day.

Grandma had to go show him off.

I hope everyone had a great time at the Pacific Northwest HOG Rally this week!

James with his “dream bike.” He was dead set that he wanted a small bike and it had to be red.

My WWII-loving heart wanted this one, personally.

I think these two missed each other.

Catching up on GOT. Arya is such a BAMF.

A much-needed coffee date with my love before work. And caramel drips for dayzzz.

Meeting some friends for lunch.

Prince marks the spot.

Didn’t get a picture of it, but our friends’ mugshot table number was Lil’ Wayne.

The Chuck Norris FTW.

Somebody’s happy to be sitting up with the big people. And also for french fries.

And that’s a wrap! Now I’m off to work on folding my enormous pile of laundry…

Have a great week!

In Real Life: Week 28

Happy week 28, everyone! It’s been a crazy awesome week for us… let’s take a look!

We started Sunday by going to the paddle out for Jack O’Neill.

It was a giant event to memorialize Mr. O’Neill, who was a long-time resident of Santa Cruz and surfing legend. He passed away earlier this year.

He is credited with inventing the modern wetsuit, and founded the O’Neill surfing company.

Thousands of people came to pay tribute. This was the crowd we encountered when we showed up an hour and a half early.

Also, that house with the porch sticking out over the cliff apparently belonged to Jack. I had no idea until we got there.

Hundreds of people took to the water, on surfboards and boats.

Many paddled out with flowers in their teeth, to toss into the ocean for Jack.

It was too foggy to get a very good picture, but the enormous crowd of surfers formed a giant circle around the boats. On cue, they all began whooping and splashing in the water, and it was surreal to experience from the cliffs.

Another thing I learned: apparently Jack’s son is credited with inventing the ankle leash on the modern surfboard.

Jack came with me, and he was a total trooper.

There were an impressive amount of bikes parked along the side streets. Another indication of the enormous crowd.

You too!

I’m sure it’s true.

Welcome to Santa Cruz!

Making more homemade ice cream. Chocolate this time.

The only thing that could have made it better was adding brownie chunks. Which of course I did.

I may or may not have been eating it straight out of the carton all week.

Big boy wanted to be in the kitchen with mama.

It was fun until he faceplanted on the linoleum trying to chase the cup.

Had some free time after a class, so I decided to be good and go for a run. Didn’t think about the fact that it was 90 degrees at the time, though… I totes wanted to stick my head in that creek.

People have been telling me about Aqui ever since I moved to California. I finally tried it, and it is pretty tasty! Gotta go back and try the swirl when I don’t have to drive.

I also tried a new coffee shop this week. Great Bear was pretty cute.

And their breakfast burrito is pretty dang delicious, too.

Downtown Los Gatos is pretty adorable.

Good morning!

And then the highlight of our week… going to Idaho!

Oliver did not come with us, as much as he wanted to.

First we had lunch with Grandma…

…and G-pa…

…and Auntie Nene…

…and then we stopped to see Amuma on the way home.

And home it will always be.

Mike’s Hard Strawberry Lemonade with my Meggie in the wading pool in the 100 degree heat. #summer

I miss having a garden.

Happy flower.

G-pa bought Jack his own pool. Of course.

We were so excited to try it that we didn’t even bother with a swimsuit. Naked baby time!

What are you looking at, mushroom boy?

Hanging with G-pa before bedtime.

He’s determined to have him walking before we leave.

Then Saturday morning we went downtown for the Stampede pancake breakfast and parade.

My mom was a rodeo queen back in the day.

The Junior Jammers! How adorable is that tiny girl in the middle?

We met up with Grandpa Foreman for breakfast. My dad hasn’t changed a bit.

Savannah was there too!

Every store front was decorated for the rodeo.

Little pancake eater.

We walked around…

…and goofed off…

…and checked out the train depot…

…and I, of course, took a million pictures.

Savannah says, “You do remember that you used to live here, right?”

She reminds me of Maggie Simpson.

And then it was time for the parade!

Of course, the American flag always leads.

I rode in that stagecoach for the parade once when I was a kid. I felt so special.

So many rodeo queens!

Even junior queens! “Look ma, no hands!”

They start ’em young around here.

Drill teams, too. Go left…

…then right…

We were so hot and sweaty, but we had a great time anyway.

BOISE!

STATE!

“There’s gonna be a shootout!”

Totally passed the lady on the right coming out of the bathroom. She stayed in character the whole time.

Vaqueros. Wish I had gotten a good photo of the guy doing awesome lasso tricks, but no luck.

We’ve come a long way since 7th grade basketball.

Also, I kind of love that we’re standing right under a Coors Light sign with our kids, lol.

Some things never change.

And our trip continues today! Can’t wait to share more pictures next week!

Have a greet week, everyone!

In Real Life: Week 27

Here’s what week 27 of 2017 looked like for us…

We’re used to weird people in Santa Cruz, but even then, it’s still pretty strange to walk into Papa Murphy’s with your dog and a kitten on your shoulder. Especially when you sit down for 5 minutes and then leave again without buying anything.

I bought a pineapple corer. It was waaaaay too easy to use. I’m gonna be eating a lot of pineapple for the rest of the summer.

Also, super tempted to fill that shell up with rum and stick a straw in it. Tropical paradise, here I come!

Plus, cold pineapple feels good on sore gums.

With James in Idaho visiting his grandma, I’ve been making all the meals he won’t eat. Chili isn’t normally a summer food, but it sure was good.

Of course, you must have cornbread with chili. It is known.

I got up early on the 4th and went for a run.

They were just getting started setting up for the evening festivities in the park.

I’m sure no one cared that the Y was upside down. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Somebody was determined to have good seats for the fireworks.

Then I came home, showered, and snuggled my little firecracker.

Then I rushed off to the nail salon for a much-needed pedicure.

Then I came home and made ice cream.

Perks of being the chef.

Homemade ice cream is 100% worth the effort.

Then I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing.

I had grand plans to take Jack down to the parade, but it felt so nice to just sit on the couch and watch Saving Private Ryan instead.

Then we capped off July 4th the American way… with red meat and open flame.

So simple, but so good.

My happy boy.

I would highly recommend frying an egg and putting it on a piece of leftover cornbread. Trust me.

Dusted off my library card this week.

I’ve been trying to read for bedtime instead of scrolling through social media on my phone until I pass out.

I’ve always been intrigued by these cat sculptures at the library.

The pretty trellis above our carport.

Hitting up a different Starbucks before work.

Summer vibes!

It’s NRP renewal time again! The new online simulator is pretty neat.

I’ve also been working on a tobacco cessation counseling class. Learning quite a bit, actually.

I don’t trust that guy.

I FINALLY washed my car this week. It was getting pretty bad.

Another piece of art at work that I’ve walked by a hundred times and never actually paid attention to.

This one’s made out of books!

Uh huh.

It’s always nice when work does fun things, like a free BBQ on a random Friday.

It has been so hot again the last few days. We spent Friday night huddled in the bedroom next to the struggling mini air conditioner and tried not to be grumpy.

Then I got up the next morning and went for another run while it was still semi-cool.

It was a beautiful morning.

Hey, buddy.

I’ve always liked this little display of bird houses and other kitschy things.

Goofing off at Target, because they have air conditioning.

Words to live by.

Why hello there, ice cold, tropical-flavored, rum-laden drink. Let’s be friends.

I fail to see how this is a problem.

Jack is obsessed with boxes. And with shoving/dropping anything he can get his hands on onto the floor.

Basically, he’s turning into a cat.

And that’s a wrap! Have a great week!