The case for dried sweat

I’m pretty sure the people at my daughter’s school believe I spend my days as a stinky, frizzy-haired mess in exercise pants. I know this because it’s how I pick her up from preschool every day. I come straight from the gym, and I look like it.

I still remember the “oohs” and “aaahs” when I showed up to Lina’s first parent-teacher conference last year. That’s when it dawned on me that a lot of these people had never before seen me in makeup.

I look around at pick-up, and there are plenty of other moms in workout clothes. But not one of them looks like she’s coated in dried sweat and wearing a ponytail that endured an actual workout. This leads me to wonder, do these women actually work out? Do they wear those clothes to hang out at the coffee shop? Or do they know something I don’t about post-exercise grooming? (I’d certainly welcome suggestions for the fly-away hair halo.) Maybe they just don’t sweat like I do.

Also, let’s talk about women who wear makeup to the gym. Look, I’m not criticizing. If you can look that put together while hoisting a 39-pound bar for squats, more power to you. If I try to do it, I wake up the next morning to pores that look like the foothills of the Rockies.

I’ve always been in the “less is more” camp when it comes to makeup, anyway, I suppose, though I find myself using a few more products in my 30s than I did in my 20s. I like looking put-together. I like using cosmetics to give that bit of extra polish, in the same vein as the perfect pair of shoes.

But please, someone tell me it’s okay to look a little rough coming from the place I go to sweat, huff and occasionally grunt through the last set of bench presses. Not that it matters, I suppose. I’m unlikely to change my routine any time soon, which means, I suppose, that it’s time to own my dried sweat look.

‘Til next time

I have just a few pictures from our last day at the beach, and then it’s time to get back into full-swing daily life. Our last day was spent at Grayton Beach State Park, a lovely and relatively quiet spot a few miles west of Rosemary Beach on 30A. It was nice to enjoy the beach with a backdrop of natural sand dunes rather than the usual beachside development. The biting flies were our least favorite feature, but those seemed to be present pretty much everywhere.

The kids were more than ready for an early bedtime. They slept soundly under Mimi and Grandpa’s care while we closed out our vacation grown-up style. We hung with Justin and Katie on the moonlit beach, watching distant fireworks displays at Panama City Beach and Destin, and indulged in late-night dessert at the local tapas and chocolate restaurant. That night, with my toes dug deep into cool sand, watching a shooting star as the waves lapped the shore, I wondered why we don’t live closer to the beach. (Then I remembered all those Florida summers of my childhood and was immediately cured.)

Now we’re back to everyday life, but a little richer with memories. The leaves are starting to turn here at home, and there is much to look forward to about fall in Tennessee. It might just be time to bake something with pumpkin.

The (mis)adventures of Captain Ninja

My son is obsessed with superheroes. He recently read the first book in the Captain Awesome series by Stan Kirby. As a result, his first project this morning, on our first day back from vacation and the last day of his fall break, was to make a superhero cape using paper, markers and tape. (This is far from the first such project.) He decided to name himself Captain Ninja.

I was busy with post-vacation unpacking, laundry and grocery list making. He showed me his cape, and I smiled at his phonetic spelling. A little while later, we loaded up for the big grocery trip. Corin was wearing his homemade cape, which, though it looked more like a strange sign than a cape, didn’t seem like a problem. I gave it no more thought.

That is, until we were leaving Costco with an overloaded cart, and my son announced to the woman marking receipts at the door, “I have a superhero cape.” He turned to show her, and she read out loud, “My name is Capten Nega.” (Go ahead, read that out loud. I assure you, it didn’t sound like “ninja.”)

Sudden horror washed over me as I pushed the buggy toward the exit. I threw a remarkably calm, “He was trying to spell ‘ninja!'” over my shoulder and hustled us out of the store, praying no one else had bothered to read the sign on my son’s back. As I loaded the food into the car, I told my son that he probably shouldn’t wear his cape at our next stop. “Why not?” was the predictable response. And that’s how I found myself explaining the n-word to my son today in the Costco parking lot. I’d love to tell you that quickly ended any discussion, but in fact, I spent several minutes trying to convince a six-year-old that the letters on his project would not result in anything sounding remotely like “ninja.” I was eventually semi-successful, resulting in a compromise that he could wear the cape under his shirt. To the disappointment of all (ahem), the cape tore in the process.

I leave to your imagination the fate of that particular project once it arrived home and the former Captain Ninja’s imagination found a new direction.

That golden light, though


Day two at the beach was magnificent: perfect weather, fantastic home-prepared meals, pool swimming in the morning, a bike ride with my favorite budding cyclist after lunch, a lovely late afternoon and sunset at the beach, and priceless time with family throughout. Memory-making doesn’t get much better.






Making friends, as she did everywhere she went today



















Celebrating our bookworm

I love my kids’ birthday parties. I love planning them, I love watching everyone enjoy them, I love the photos and memories afterward.

The theme for Lina’s 4th birthday party pretty well chose itself. You’ve never met a kid who loves books more than she does. A quick Pinterest search dug up a fantastic PBS resource for a book party, and we were off and running.

Lina understood what was happening much more this year. She talked for days about who was coming, and a party is just the thing for a girl who loves to be the center of attention. She loved the birthday song and blowing out her candle. She was able to do more with opening gifts, though she still needed lots of help. We served some of her favorite foods, and let me tell you, girlfriend can put away some chocolate cake and ice cream.

But enough talk. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.







Story time with the Village People












Trying out a birthday present



Anyone who’s seen Corin in the past couple days will have noticed his massive black eye. This is the exact moment of origin.