Day to day

The Empty Corner



We raced our bikes for hours. Two bad-ass little 9 year old girls still all long limbs and confidence. Nothing beat out of us yet, we were free from body hate and helicopter parenting wasn’t invented yet so our parents pushed out the door to exercise those long limbs in the sun as we screamed with laughter and our muscles felt joy at working and nothing else.

She lived on a double cul de sac. Two circles at either end, slightly elevated and the middle connecting section slightly lower. It was essentially the world’s best place to live if you liked to race figure eights for hours. We did. Race all morning, come in for lunch, race all afternoon. A little boy our age and grade also lived there and though his name was Brian we called him Booger. I’ve no recollection as to why, but I’m certain we owe him an apology.  We had spent the early morning torturing Booger and not letting him play with us, so it was after lunch that as we raced our bikes in faster and faster figure eights we noticed a large rubber spider on the road, in our path.

Booger. We thought. It would be just like a boy to put a big rubber nasty spider in our way thinking it would scare us. Boys are so lame. But we were scared. Pick it up, my friend said, we will ring the doorbell and toss it at him. You pick it up, I shot back. I was never a big fan of things with many legs, especially ones the size of an avocado. This went on for a while as we stood there in the sun, staring down at the spider, straddling our bikes, contemplating.

It’s belly looks like it’s moving! She said. Must be melting, I responded. Then, for some reason I reached a toe, newly clad in grey Nike tennies with a pink swoosh, out toward the spider and gently touched it. It was instantaneous, it appeared as if the abdomen peeled and baby spiders were everywhere. It was a swarm. I mean within a split second they covered the street and were on our bikes and legs.

This was no rubber spider. Booger had been notoriously wronged. He was not the culprit. We dropped our bikes and ran screaming back to her house at the other end of the crazy 8 racetrack where her father, hearing our screams met us at the door, took one look at us teeming with baby spiders and immediately turned the hose on us. In the sunlight it appeared as if the road undulated with a million spiders moving and crawling over the entire section. Our bikes were covered. I’m certain this is an exaggeration of memory, but I am also certain If I were polygraphed on this, it would read true.  Her father bravely rescued the bikes as her mother wrapped us in towels and ushered us into a nice warm shower and gave us clean clothes and then made popcorn. Our bikes met the same fate with the garden hose as we did and were none the worse for wear.

There is a Daddy Long Legs that took up residence in a high corner of my bathroom almost a year ago. She is small and barely moves, though I assume she is getting enough to eat. (I’ve assigned her sex as female as she is in my bathroom!)  For some reason, I feel fondly towards this little spider, despite my abject fear. I check on her in the morning. There she is and oddly it makes me smile. She is alone, I guess spiders don’t have friends over much, and sometimes, despite myself- knowing it is insane- I say good morning little spider! I hope you had a good night and ate some yummy bugs! I’ve no explanation for feeling a connection to a Daddy Long Legs just kicking it in a ceiling corner, but she makes me happy. I know, crazy.  She is part of my daily routine, and her presence is calming and happy.

She’s gone. She’s simply vanished, probably having reached the end of her natural life span though I’ve found no evidence of her demise. One day she just wasn’t there. Every morning I look for her and nothing. That corner seems so empty. My heart misses her. It’s silly and strange, but the world is so crazy right now I looked forward to that consistency I guess. That tiny little creature, just hanging out. Living. And if she could hear and understand she would probably say “Hey, crazy lady. You know you’re saying good morning to a spider, right?”

I miss a spider.

Life is weird.

Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down…

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Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Except for rainy days. I love rainy days. Love them. Mondays though, ugh. Right? Except there IS a certain deep sigh I can breathe when my kids are back to school. I mean I love my kids. Love them. But it’s kind of nice to have a touch of quiet knowing they are safely ensconced in the care of others and learning to be productive members of society. Even one of them is only in preschool for 2 hours…an hour and forty five minutes by the time I get home. Hour and a half by the time I get the baby to nap.

That’s not enough time to REALLY do something. Well, take a shower. Yes. I could do that. A long hot shower without someone ripping open the shower curtain with the latest breaking Paw Patrol news! Yes, maybe I’ll take a shower. And blow dry my hair. That’s a luxury.

First though, I’ll just sit and enjoy the quiet and drink some coffee. Now where IS my coffee? Ah, yes. there it is, right there on the kitchen counter where I left it. I do adore that cute Starbucks travel mug. It makes me smile every time I use it. I purposely bought it so I could drink coffee while driving the boys to school. But I left it and now it’s cold.

I’ll just pretend it’s iced coffee. I remember when my husband and I were dating and we would go to little cafes and drink iced coffee and people watch. This is just like that. Except for the massive pile of laundry I need to fold and put away. And the breakfast dishes to wash. I’ll just close my eyes and enjoy my cold coffee.

Wait, is that the Phineas and Ferb theme? I must have left the tv on in  the playroom. I should probably get up and turn that off. HA! This is one of my favorite episodes. Oh, Candace. Candace, Candace, Candace.Why don’t my kids appreciate the genius of Phineas and Ferb like I do?

So funny.

Huh? What? I must have dozed off. Time to go get the preschooler!

Good thing my cold coffee is already in a travel mug.

Mondays. Right?

years measured other than numbers.



So. Today is that day we add one more candle to my cake. At this point I can illuminate quite a room with the flames!

But if forty is the new thirty and thirty is the new twenty, then twenty is the new…ten?


All I know is that I don’t feel as old as the number would indicate. However, I have noticed some  things about the passing of years. My trips around the sun are changing the way I think.  So this year, instead of a numerical age, I am defining my age differently.

I am Peter Rabbit is a total sneak thief and Farmer McGregor is totally in the right years old.

I am but I may or may not leave strawberries carrots and such for the family of bunnies that live in our backyard years old.

I am no thank you Urban Outfitters, I don’s want to pay 85 bucks for clothes that look like dirty rags years old.

I am too old for Forever 21 and too young for Chico’s years old.

I am basically my style guide is does this make me look like Amy Poehler in Mean Girls and if so…then it’s too young for me years old.

I am oh! That “ancient Korean Beauty Treatment that looks like a torture device sounds promising!” years old.

I am yay! Amazon prime can have that “Ancient Korean Beauty Treatment Device” here straight from China by next Friday years old.

I am Greg Heffly is horrible and the book should really be called Diary of a Selfish Brat: A Cautionary Tale of How To Have No Friends years old.

I am those aren’t grays, they are natural highlights years old.

I am I have to have my roots done every four weeks years old.

I am off all the styles I thought would stick around from when I was young, pants down around the knees is not the one I would have bet on years old.

I am I totally confess I just did that thing where you look in the mirror and pull your face back to see what you would look like with a little “refresh” years old.

I am by a little “refresh” I mean a total overhaul years old.

I am knowing I maybe have another year of nursing a baby if I am lucky years old.

I am I will be drinking a lot of wine when Lady weans because I had no idea how much nursing my babies would mean to me years old.

I am I recognize how sometimes things you never thought would happen can be the most meaningful seasons in your life years old.

I am I will probably also get a little Botox when she weans cause… you know, angry forehead years old.

I am if you don’t like something and you CAN change it, go ahead and do it years old.

I am acting AS IF really can work years old.

I am I love Pretty Little Liars years old.

I am but then sometimes I think…these are high school girls and I want Ezra Fitz in jail for statutory years old.

I am I teaching my children patience as I learn it myself years old.

I am I finally understand forgiveness years old.

I am hey! I think that “Ancient Korean Torture Device” straight from China might really be working! years old.

I am I have no time for sneaky, dishonest “friends” and I value myself- and my other friends- enough to say when I am done years old.

I am really happy where I am and though my life didn’t go the way I had planned (does it ever?) I wouldn’t change anything years old.

I am wait, no I would change one thing…I would save more money and not take out that damn student loan but other than that, nothing years old

I am sad for my younger self, so riddled with self hatred and I wish I could tell her she wasn’t fat, wasn’t bad, wasn’t worthless, I wish I could tell her all those people who were cruel don’t mean shit in the real world. That every year as you get older the world gets larger and you will find people who love and treasure you just as you are years old.

And now…cake. Or ice cream. Or both, cause it’s my birthday. Have some cake too. Just cause we are all still living and breathing and loving.

Here’s to another year! Let’s DO THIS!



Away he goes…


He has decided camo is cool. A decision cemented by the photo sent of two of his oldest friends as they were off to their school, all of them wearing camo shorts as if they planned it. He insisted on wearing his black high top Chucks, even though they are huge on him. His mind was set, they were his one back to school request so I made sure he had them, even if I didn’t know they ran really, really, really large.

His backpack was filled with all the forms that needed to be signed for the first day and his requisite PB&J was tucked in his brand new lunch box.  As we turned the corner to his school, he asked us to turn off the radio, he has done this every day since he started, as if he needs a few moments of quiet to ready himself for the day ahead. He was nervous about the crowds outside the front door. He prefers to be able to walk right in the school. I reminded him of last year when he was in Kindergarten and how on the first day all the moms and dads stood outside taking pictures and trying not to cry. The crowd today would be much larger than tomorrow’s. I reminded him he knew where he was going and the crowd was NBD, as we say.


Before we knew it we were at the front of the line and he hopped out of the van, his jaw set with determination and we watched as he tentatively made his way through the crowd to the front door and then he was gone.

Watch out, first grade. Max is here.


Sometimes I have to pinch myself in order to believe Max gets to attend the school he does. Once again I am thrilled with the teacher he has been assigned, and he is really looking forward to his days. Here’s hoping that lasts and lasts and lasts!!


Oh the places you will go…

Growing up in Boulder, Colorado, I never fit in. Everyone thought I was a weirdo (or so I thought, and let’s be honest I thought I was a weirdo too.). Boulder was a confusing place filled with wealthy hippies, a lot of actual rocket scientists and as my mother used to say “even the checker at Whole Foods has a PhD.”  It was a contradictory place, for me. Until I moved away, I truly believed that Birkenstock’s were the official shoes of all clergy.  (except the LDS, but that’s another post for another day, am I right?)

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I was too pale, too loud, I wore sunglasses that were too big. Then I moved to California and absolutely everything that made me unattractive in Boulder made me attractive there. It was mind-boggling. I was the same person but people’s reaction to me was vastly different.

It wasn’t until I got to Los Angeles that I truly felt HOME. I understood feeling like you belong to a place. A geographical location. And I met my people. That’s not to say that in Colorado or Northern California I hadn’t found people to which I belonged. I’ve been very blessed to make great and long term friends that become family along the way. My husband says it is one of my superpowers.

I’d say that’s a great super power, but I’m still asking Santa for the ability to move things with my mind. Every year he disappoints.

Within ten weeks of giving birth to my oldest, we packed up the entire contents of our Los Angeles life in an ironically named moving van blazed with Broadway across it, waved good bye to my sister, nephew and best friend and drove away. Almost seven years later and I still can’t believe it. The rawness of the wound hasn’t healed, but something has happened.

I found a second home. For a long time we have felt like been treading water, licking our wounds from the financial crisis, unable to move forward. But in the last six months I’ve been feeling almost as if I am in a chrysalis. Almost ready to burst forth. Hyperbole aside, it’s a strange feeling, not uncomfortable…but almost as if I am perched on the edge of the high dive, at the ready, a little scared, a little excited, waiting for the final impetus to make the leap.

We’ve got all the babies we are going to have. Our family is complete and happy. We have general paths we wish to follow, we are ready.

This weekend I photographed a sweet newborn and traveled back and forth to DC to celebrate NCGE’s 100th anniversary where I photographed the Gala, awards and receptions. I’m not sure if you’ll find a nicer group of people than geographers and geography educators.  Did you know we have an official geographer of the United States? We do. I met him.

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If you had told me when I was my son’s age and already feeling out of place, that someday life would take me to Los Angeles, that I would do commercials and movies and that at one point Morgan Freeman would lay down one of my biggest life lessons for me while we made dinner. That I would visit the Ancient City, the Vatican, St. Peter’s. That one day I would be a mother, that one day I would be a photographer,  that one day I would spend every weekend at the pool and LOVE IT, that one day I would make friends here, that one day I would look around DC and appreciate it’s beauty and feel at home;  I would have declared you insane.

But here we are. Oh, the places I’ve been. And the places I hope to go.

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Whole 30 when you have been eating disordered.


10835168_10152659607565876_5416511026038435177_oThis summer my entire family decided to do Whole30 and I was definitely on board. Once I had Piper and was able to eat again I basically went crazy.  I was feeling sluggish and crappy and honestly?  I have a sugar problem. As in I was eating a big bag of Hershey Kisses a day. No exaggeration. So, primarily I wanted to do it to get that out  of my system. I knew I wasn’t eating well and I know food really DOES impact how we feel, think and behave.

I was in bad habits and wanted to change them, but as an eating disordered person I know this can be a tricky business. In fact one thing that snuck up on me was when I had HG and my neonatologist had be sipping protein shakes trying to keep them down I ended up switching shakes. The ones he had prescribed were the same ones I was on when I had to relearn how to have food. Without even realizing it I started thinking how great it was! I was thinking when the baby was born I would just keep eating ice chips and drinking the shakes. As soon as I recognized that thought pattern, I changed shakes and flavors and that helped a lot.

My point is that as far out as I am from eating disordered behaviors, the thoughts sometimes pop up.  And as I want to stay alive I do need to consume my addictive substance-food. I cannot quit it like a drug addict. I need to have my addictive substance while not having addictive behaviors. And for many eating disordered people, restrictive diets are an addictive behavior.

For me restrictive diets are both a good thing- they give me freedom from worry. I know what I am allowed and not allowed and like any structure I find comfort within them.  However, they are also a bad thing. Because I’m a bit like Crocodile Dundee and his “That’s not a knife” quote. That’s not a restrictive diet. THIS is a restrictive diet! And the next thing I know I am only eating 5 thin slices of apple and 7 almonds. That only can last so long before I will binge and purge.

So, I knew going into this I needed to be careful. Luckily for me I had already done a restrictive elimination diet before under a doctor’s care and knew a few things, like corn tortillas etc were fine for me. I went in to it with a resolve to focus on health and energy and not worry about weight. (Which was good because at the end of the  30 days I weighed the exact same) I made a few of my own rules, I had splenda in my coffee and non-dairy creamer. I already knew dairy was really hard on my system.  So was definitely cutting that out.

I realized several things during this month. One: my stomach was a lot smaller than I thought. Once I got over that omg I want all the junk food craving I was satisfied with decent sized portions and able to stop when I was full a lot easier. Two: by the second week the cravings were gone and I wasn’t feeling like I was being deprived. Three: I have a sweet craving in the afternoon and it was easily taken care of with almonds, coconut, and dried cranberries (get the ones from the salad toppings section, not craisins) Four: I felt GREAT! I had so much more energy, I was sleeping better, my skin was looking good. All around it was  a total win! Five: while I didn’t lose weight, it was like I depuffed. It was the weirdest thing!

Then we went to the beach and we ate our own weight in ice cream. And I puffed right back up!

My general plan is a 90/10 split. I want to eat whole 30 compliant most f the time but have the freedom to have a hot fudge sundae without feeling badly. I want to be vigilant, not only for me but for my daughter. I want to focus on being strong and healthy and NOT on weight loss or being thin. I will verbalize why i choose salads with protein over pastas….I simply FEEL better. But I will make sure she sees me indulge, she will see me enjoy ice cream and birthday cakes. Mostly I want her to see me honor my needs and actual hunger. I will grab a snack if I am hungry. I won’t say the word diet to her or to myself.

I almost died from an eating disorder and I will do my best to guard my girl from that experience.

It starts with being healthy. That’s my vow.

(You can read about my struggle with eating disorders here)

Bitten by the I Wants.

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I don’t think of myself as a bitter person, I don’t frequently focus on what I don’t have. Somehow, somewhere along my life I switched from a glass is half empty person to a glass is crazy full person. Perhaps it just wore me down, a rough childhood and – let’s not sugar coat it- self destructive teen and young adulthood, I was always feeling what I didn’t have, feeling sad for myself, feeling…the victim. And I was a victim in a lot of ways, I didn’t imagine that, but I certainly didn’t have the mindset or the capabilities to get OUT of the line of thinking of victim. I’m not sure how I did, but I did.

Even now I don’t get dragged down too often, even when the last seven years have been a major  comeuppance for me, adult like.  Having lost our money, our jobs and my identity. We’ve licked our wounds and regrouped, but it has taken time. It’s a scary place to be, but I think I am pretty good at seeing the good, being thankful for what I have.  But every once in a while, the I WANTS get me.

I want a place of our own. I want to decorate it with a mix of thrift finds and DIY. I want a Canon Mark III.  I want a ring to replace the one that was stolen and the sapphire that doesn’t fit cause I sliced my finger to the bone a year ago. I want a Pinterest house. I want to shop without worrying, not even big things…just little ones.  I want to be able to support my mother. I want to be able to afford all the camps my kids want to go to. I want my husband, who works himself to exhaustion to be rewarded for his skill, loyalty and work ethic. He can teach himself anything and he has totally reinvented himself these past years.

I want, I want, I want.

But, what I have is a safe roof over my head, with love-filled rooms and smile that greets my babies every time they wander in. I have a loving wonderful husband and three great kids, even if sometimes I just want silence for five minutes, I enjoy the chatter! I have enough money to cover the bills and work towards the future.  I have a husband, friends and family who support my photography dreams and build up my confidence and skills at every turn.  I have a sister, nephew and niece in LA that I would die for, I can’t wait to hug them again, and meet my sweet Dahlia, niece.  I have a lot of laughter in my life. That’s something I have.  I’m pretty lucky.

Even if I don’t have a Pinterest house.


Just a white girl from the suburbs.


I’m just a white girl from the suburbs. I grew up in Boulder in a predominately white area. The black kids in my school were of the same socioeconomic background and we either were or were not friends based on our interests.  I grew up in a Cosby Show world, idyllic, and thought nothing of our differences and everything of our similarities. Growing up I was certain that racism was a thing of the past, as I never saw it in action until I moved just outside of Oakland. I am sure now as an adult looking back, that the kids in my life who were black would not have agreed with that assessment. Even if I never saw it, even if I grew up in a very loving equal environment, I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt they experienced racism, in covert every day actions and words I was not aware of and as they grew older and ventured out into the world in overt ways.

I’m just a white girl from the suburbs and I am afraid my voice isn’t much, but I try to lend it to the fray when I see things. There are times when I speak out and am chastised by other white people. I can almost time it on Twitter from the moment I tweet something to the time someone trolling a hashtag has to accuse me of making it about race (it is) or takes me to task for you know…whatever racist trope is the flavor of the day for them. Then there are times I inadvertently use a word or phrase that means something entirely different to the black community than it does to me.  There are times when I speak out and am chastised by those I attempt to speak up with. I lick my wounds and think what an impossible situation. Maybe I won’t say anything.  Then I realize I am being a baby about it, I get my feelings hurt because even with the best of intentions sometimes I mess up. Big whoop. Sometimes I worry that I might step on their toes by speaking up, the community doesn’t need a white girl speaking for them…but speaking FOR them is not my intention. It’s not my story to tell, but I can amplify their stores. I can make sure they know this white girl hears their stories, sees them. Even now I am afraid I am saying something wrong.  I have decided that  to say nothing is much worse than saying something wrong.

There have been many good conversations where I was given help on how to speak out, I take those instructions to heart, I thank those who are willing to help me be an ally better and more effectively. I am grateful many, despite what currently seems like an atmosphere of open season, can see that this white girl from the suburbs believes in equality. This girl feels like she woke up in 1959. This girl can’t believe her white girl blue eyes at the shit that is going down.  This girl has three kids and is doing her level best so that maybe they won’t have to speak out against the shooting of  their unarmed friends and the burning of churches because maybe the more we speak out the less it will happen.

I’m not looking for kudos or accolades for speaking out, I’m not patting myself on the back. But this is on my mind a lot lately.

I am not alone in feeling like I can’t say anything right or afraid to speak out and do it “wrong” and yes, it does make me and others feel like saying nothing.  I see it on Facebook a lot actually. Cry us a river right? What a luxurious thing with which to be concerned. We spoke out wrongly, we phrased something in an unintentionally insulting way…we gotta stop shutting up and say “well, now I learned that one. ”

I have to do that. It is hard to be an ally and not quite know how to say things, because sometimes micro aggressive speech is so inherent to our experiences we literally don’t know. And giving the benefit of the doubt to me, the white girl from the suburbs, is sometimes a really hard leap of faith to make for those whose churches are being burned. Whose community is being gunned down while praying and oh, the shooter? Captured alive.

Unlike a young man just looking at a gun for sale at a store.

One CVS burns to the ground and the news rehashes it for a month, seven churches burn down and there’s nothing…just NOTHING except rationalizations, and then only for a quick second.

I speak up because this is so very wrong.

We gotta leap and speak up even if we interpret language differently. We gotta learn that some words are loaded in a way to the black community that they aren’t to the white. WE need to take this first step in our daily lives.

It might be a small thing, but small things build bigger things.

Because I might say something wrong, but I would rather say it wrong that say nothing. To be silent is to be complicit.

I am just a white girl from the suburbs, I don’t know how much difference my voice will make but I will keep speaking out.

The Day I Forgot To Be Self Conscious.

IMG_2478Last year I spent June at the beach with my family, eight months pregnant, contracting regularly and unable to keep anything down except ice chips and protein shakes. The beach is both the greatest place and the worst place to be in this situation. I watched my two boys dig sandcastles, jump waves, float in the pool, run along the sand and I waved them goodbye as they headed off to a giant water slide park knowing that I couldn’t even walk from the car to the park much less go down a slide in my condition. I layed on the couch and thought “next summer I am going to do all those things”.

If I am being honest though, before I was the pregnant, contracting, sick mom who doesn’t get in the water, I was just the mom who doesn’t get in the water. Before that I was the wife who doesn’t get in the water. And before that I was the girlfriend who doesn’t get in the water. I can’t remember the last time I was the girl who gets in the water and has fun but it was surely 7th or 8th grade at least. That’s not to say I hadn’t ever been in the water since then, but I wasn’t enjoying it. It was too cold, I was too insecure in a swimsuit. Too insecure to be seen without make up.  Just too…self conscious.

I would say to my sons “That’s what Daddy is for!” and they would slink over to him and he would take them in the pool.

When the pools opened a few weeks ago I almost forgot about my pledge.  My oldest is so close to swimming and he was working hard on it. The water was frigid but none of the kids cared. My girlfriends got in the water with the kids and I stayed on the pool deck observing. I walked over to where he was and just did it. I canonballed practically right on top of him. Once he recovered from the shock of it his eyes lit up with joy and disbelief “mommy, you’re in the water!” 

This week at the beach he asked me to jump waves with him and I automatically said no. His shoulders dropped and he headed out on his own. What was I doing? I quickly snuck up behind him and swung his feet out into the water. “I knew you’d come!” he said smiling over his shoulder at me. Later I took his little brother in the waves and we screamed when we got splashed and laughed as the waves pulled the sand back from under our toes as they receded into the ocean.

Today, we left the baby with her grandparents and they waved us goodbye as we headed out to the big waterslide park. I told myself I was going to say yes to everything. Slides, wave pools, whatever. I was going to do it all. And I did. Max wanted to conquer the Toucan Twist water slide, a medium sized one,  perfect for an almost 7 year old.  I told him I would go first and catch him.  We did this over and over before we headed over to the pirate ship and the kids played while my husband and our friends lounged on chairs watching them and chatting.

It wasn’t long before Max wanted to do that slide again and I said yes, he ran alongside me saying this time he would catch me. His confidence having been built from repeated successful trips.  I smiled and laughing played my part “Will you? Meet me at the bottom!” Suddenly I realized the whole day had gone by and what was this I was having? Is this, fun? Real, genuine fun?! Yes. That’s what I was having. I hadn’t thought about how I looked in my swimsuit all day. I wasn’t spending energy trying to hide that lovely varicose vein, I hadn’t even sucked in my stomach all day!

No sooner than I thought it I became overwhelmingly away of my thighs wobbling as I climbed the wooden steps, and I heard my doctors voice in my head saying “You’re skinny fat, do you know what that is? You’re not big, but you have a high level of fat. There’s not a lot of muscle. It’s not healthy.” Though I conquered my eating disorder ages ago that comment hurt, all I heard was “You are fat.” Now every step I took I felt heavier, the curve of my belly, rounded from three babies grew outward with every moment. I felt big, I felt out of place, I felt like I couldn’t have any fun.

Just then my son grabbed my hand and with a big smile said “I love love you!” He was so happy we were doing this together. With a quick wave from the lifeguard he headed down the fast moving slide with a quick smile back.”Ill catch you mommy!” he wailed, his voice washing away with the water as he slipped down the water tube.  I decided to take Taylor Swift’s advice and shake it off. I perched at the top of the Toucan Twist and when I got the nod, I layed back, crossed my arms and my ankles just like instructed and swooshed my way around and around until I splashed into the pool where my son caught me.

I’ve never felt more beautiful.