something pretty.

(Photo shot in the Beacon XV Hotel in Boston. The place is incredible.)

While in Boston two weeks ago, I stayed within a twenty minute walk of Anthropologie. The weather was 90 degrees and muggy, but needless to say, that happened. A little sticky weather wasn't going to keep me away. For some time I'd been online creepin' on this dress, but without a reason to wear it, or without the ability to try it in person I wasn't about to splurge. The original plan in Boston was to hit up a well-known magnificent restaurant and indulge like crazy. The day of, nothing in my suitcase seemed fantastic enough, and my eyes began to roam, convincing me that the lavendar, detailed number I'd packed wasn't special enough for dinner. The travel companion easily coaxed me to hit the fitting room...and well, I fell in love. With the dress, that is. (Don't get all excited ladies.)

We wound up cancelling dinner and ordering room service: BLT's with french fries...possibly the best decision of the trip.

But, curvy girls rejoice! I think this dress was made specifically for the non-linear among us! Normally a size 8-10, I immediately went for the small. Even on the hanger I could tell this dress was roomy. Perhaps it was the feel-good Anthropologie fitting room, but I loved it on. Jersey makes it light, made to bear summer nights, but the top is detailed enough to be appropriate for a a low-key wedding or event.

Now, to find an occasion...


a change in plans.

On a flight somewhere over Ireland, two travel companions decided they couldn't stand to part ways a few days later in California, when one of them had to return home. And so the boy who works in Iraq booked seat 2A on a flight to Wisconsin, so he could spend his final week of leave with the girl who had booked seat 2B.

It has been reported that passengers 2A and 2B were spotted holding hands on a layover in Chicago's O'hare International Airport, before boarding their final flight to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

What does this mean? I'm not about to pretend I know. For today, it meant Monday morning bowling, a brewery tour and ice cream cones. It could be sparkly and wonderful, or it could be heartbreak. All I know is, I've experienced and survived both...and am daring enough to try again for the sake of what could be.

Stay tuned. :)


complete exhaustion.

(A bedroom at Bunratty Castle...with which I am in love.)

Yesterday I experienced one moment of travel exhaustion so severe I wanted only to crawl into bed and stay there for days. I didn't even want to eat. (Something had to be wrong, right?) Each day for the past two weeks has held a minimum 3-5 hours of travel by plane, car or boat, and some days up to 23 hours of travel. I've existed in four different time zones, and the world hasn't stopped spinning long enough for my brain to grasp any long-term concept of time. I keep waking up at 3:30am, unsure of the time, yet finding myself unable to fall back asleep. Then I just lie there, waiting for the sun to rise, meaning it is a respectable time for me to wake. This morning, I made the travel companion sneak out of the house with me before 7am, walk to the grocery store and cook breakfast while the house rested under a blanket of sleepy haze.

Even with all the jet lag, the travel exhaustion and the presumed 4 pound weight gain, I don't regret this trip a bit. The last few weeks of my life have, without a doubt, been the most incredible of my existence. From the rush of Boston, to the beauty, charm and simplicity of Ireland, to the comfort of catching up with my emotional Siamese twin in California...nearly every moment has been epic and memorable.

God bless people who dare you to take chances, live outside of the box and help make your dreams come true.

God also bless my own little twin size bed and my peaceful bitty apartment waiting for me back in Wisconsin. :)



Aaaand the eating continues.

The travel companion discovered in advance that my best friend and I have, for years, had a weakness for Rice Krispie bars. So, the little devil had a box of specialized Rice Krispie treats delivered to our friend's house in Santa Cruz to be enjoyed upon our arrival. I have most enjoyed the confetti treats, because if you've not yet noticed, I have a disgusting soft spot for pastel colors...and sweet treats general. Although, the peanut butter and chocolate chip treat is a close second...

At $4 a piece, they may seem a big...um, extravagant, but I can assure you that they're worth every penny. Indulge, my friends. Indulge.


weighing in: the damage.

In hindsight, I should have temporarily renamed this blog B Eats Her Way Through Ireland. When I first planned for a trip to Ireland, I foolishly believed that due to my vegetarian tendencies, I'd have a tough time finding food. Through the grapevine, I'd also heard that Irish food was rather, "Meh." Oh, how wrong these reviews were! I have eaten anything and everything in sight: Four course meal in-flight? Demolished. Turndown service with a chocolate? Do come in! Ooo...is there a BLT on the room service menu?! Can I get a side of chips with that? They make Irish fudge? How yummy! Yes, why not try the chocolate cake?

My travel companion has a metabolism the speed of the Autobahn, and is blessed enough to be able to eat as he pleases. I've been living under the illusion that I can do the same. I cannot. But I have no restraint to do otherwise.

I swear to you, girls (and the occasional stray male reader) my trousers are tighter. I'm doing that thing, where you pull your pants up over your belly in an attempt to sidestep any appearance of muffin top. I'm certain it wasn't there before. I feel noticeably paunchier. And yesterday, I got winded while walking up a small hill. Now, the logical portion of my brain is attempting to convince me that it's impossible to gain a visible amount of weight in seven days, and perhaps I'm just experiencing imaginary guilt weight. Is it normal to feel so...enormous during and after vacation? I tend to fixate on numbers, so I'm not letting myself near a scale or measuring tape. My curiosity would get the better of me, which might only land me in a teary heap on the bathroom floor. Thanks to all your input I've decided that I will bear the thunder thighs in California, but will not allow myself to cry if I have to size up when purchasing a suit. (Yes. I will brazenly admit to being that delicate.)

Approximately a week of vacation remains, but I'm already scheming about what my plan of attack will be upon returning home, lest I continue my streak of indulgences. What's your trick for dealing with the caloric sins that so often a vacation brings? Hit the gym more often in the weeks following? Detox diet upon returning home? Decide not to care?

Do tell.

Must go. I'm on a layover, and spotted a Ben and Jerry's while deplaning. Not...even...kidding.


one quick lesson...and votes needed.

(Me, overlooking the vast lack of internet connection.)

Today's Lesson: Ireland has yet to learn about the beauty of a stable internet connection, and it seems Wi-Fi is only in the vocabulary of the technologically advanced. Each hotel we’ve visited has told us upon arrival that their internet is “spotty”…which is a friendly way of saying, “There’s no bloody way in hell you’ll check your e-mail here.” As the travel companion (recently renamed 'Muscles') is an IT geek, this drives him nuts. It drives me nuts, simply because I’m an internet addict, and whittle away more time than I care to mention wondering if bloggers have popped out their babies or thinking about editing my photos.

The lack of predictable internet connection means photos and writing is rather backlogged. I only worry about this because I'm the type of traveler who, if she doesn't sort through photos and edit them promptly, becomes completely overwhelmed by the 500 (really...there are more than 500) photos awaiting sorting, editing, etc. and winds up never touching the heap of memories. I've sworn on the Bible that I'll catch up and share when I get back stateside. After Ireland, the next leg of my trip is in sunny California to see my best friend. Muscles is close friends with my best friend's husband (got that? I'll give you a second.....), so we'll be spending a few days with our favorite couple.

(A window in Adare. Unrelated, but lovely enough to barge in on this post.)

There's been talk of visiting the beach in Santa Cruz. My friends have told me not to worry about beaching in Santa Cruz, as it's filled with floppy grandmas in unflattering apparel, so no one will notice my lumps. Problem: This girl doesn't own a swimsuit.

Time to vote, dear readers: Do I stay firm on my lack of suit and rock shorts and a tank, or do I shop stateside, find a swell suit and decide not to care about my thunder thighs?


more ireland.

Yesterday saw another day in Killarney, and a trip to the Blarney Stone. I'd always assumed the Blarney Stone would be just a silly tourist trap,but it was incredibly worth the trip. A mere 80 km from Killarney seemed like an easy morning trip...however we had forgotten that Ireland's strange (and now slightly less endearing) road situation would mean our trip would be not be an hour, as it would in the states, but instead closer to 2.5 hours. Again, worth every minute...even the ones spent clogged up in traffic in little towns I can barely pronounce.

My travel mate,the poor man, is charged with snapping my touristy photos at our destinations and has commented on my ability to shamelessly and effectively rock a pose in nearly every photo. I'm certain that this is only because I'm narcissistic enough to have discovered in advance what poses hide my at-times lumpy body, making me look deceptively smaller than I am. (Which doesn't at all mean that I look 'small' or 'thin'...just smallER than I really am.) He thinks I'm full of it, and somehow believes I look 'perfect-size' in real life and in photos. Didn't I strike it rich in travel companion-land? Catching him on film is nearly as difficult as spotting a leprechaun here on the Emerald Isle, but somehow I convinced him to pose for this photo. I've told him I'm going to refer to him only as Muscles...look at those pipes! Meow! (Or whatever you're supposed to call out to muscly men.)

I continue to say, "The Irish know how to do blue." Every shade of aqua, teal and blue is represented on the city streets...a dreamland for a girl who has been hopelessly in love with aqua for years. This little window box of flowers sat an arms length away from me yesterday as we were jammed in traffic...somewhere between Blarney and Killarney. Gorgeous. If I'd been ballsy enough, I could have plucked a flower from it.

Last night was our final night in Killarney, so we decided to forgo dinner and feast on dessert. Desserts have looks so sexy and tempting the entire time we've been here, but we've been entirely focused on chips and bangers and mash that dinner has left us bloated enough to overlook dessert. Not last night. We ordered three desserts. The poor little Irish boy who served us gave us a confused eye and said, "So....just three desserts?" I replied with an embarrassed, but satisfied, "Yes. Sadly enough, yes." They were incredible.

Must quickly post...as the travel companion hates photos of himself. He's in the room, and I cannot let him see this, or I will be instructed to destroy this photo. Also, its nearing 10am...life is about to start in downtown Killarney, and I will not leave this place without a final custard slice from our baker of choice!

Happy weekend. :)


lessons in ireland.

(Me, on the Dingle Peninsula.)

Day two here in Ireland...and although I'm an unexplainable mix of exhausted and inspired, my brain still cannot find words to describe exactly how beautiful this entire experience is. (I'm certain ending a sentence with "is" is not at all grammatically correct. Watch me not care, for once, Internet!)

Currently, we're staying in Killarney, a sweet little city in south western Ireland. It's the sweetest place I could ever dream up, and that's hardly hyperbole. We've already found and visited our favorite baker twice (or three times?), and tonight I'm praying she whips up another batch of whatever I ordered today. This morning, we left our favorite village and took a little day trip out to the Dingle Peninsula (insert your inappropriate sexual joke here), a place that has been my cell phone background for approximately two years.  (Dreams do come true! Keep saving those gorgeous places as your desktop background, office monkeys...maybe someday, you'll go!) The drive was about two and a half hours each way, but most definitely paid for itself in breathtaking seascapes and landscapes. But, oh, the things we learned:

Lesson One: Road signage in Ireland is epically impossible. Don't plan on searching for street names, as they're rarely visible.

Lesson Two: The rented Irish GPS cannot find anything but Dublin no matter how you search. Travel with an iPhone. (We did.)

Lesson Three: Dark chocolate ice cream + raspberry sorbet is an amazing marriage of two frozen treats...especially in gorgeous coastal Dingle.

(Chilly ice cream in chilly Dingle.)

Lesson Four: Multiply any estimated drive time by 1.25. Unimaginably teeny roads (even on highways) means meeting any traffic requires one driver to pull over to a complete stop, and allow the other to pass. This is fun for the first twelve times. It also means that should you get behind a jaunting car...it's gonna be a while, folks.

Lesson Five: Shepard's Pie in Ireland is still just as frightening as it is in the states.

(Yes, that's me...and a pile of ground beef. There's a moment that you'll never see again...)

Lesson Six: I am in love with this beautiful place, and am bound to cry when I leave. I've promised myself that I'll not yet think about that moment. Perhaps the breathtaking scenery and romance of Ireland is making me a tad emotional, but after only two days, I do believe this place is forever imprinted on my heart.

Terrible pie, and all. :)


a million miles.

I once read a book titled A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. For the record, the book is stellar and yes, a must-read. But, I was lost in the title, not quite entirely sure what it meant...even after I'd devoured every last page.

Now I know--the author could only have been referencing international flights. Traveling a million miles in what feels like thousands of years. Truly, the title implies something much heavier than that, and I'm certain it has a weightier meaning, but today it means one thing: Jet. Lag. After approximately two days of travel, one day beginning at 3am and the following day and evening simply flowing non-stop into the next morning, time stamped only by fasten seat belt lights and bumpy turbulence, my travels have officially snuck up on me. Five planes in two days have left me looking more pale than I thought possible, even for a milky-skinned girl like myself.

(We stumbled across a 15th century castle today while strolling through a park. Only in Ireland...)

But, Ireland is...there are no words. Words I love, and will claim to know them well (even if I truly don't). But no one word can accurately describe a land this lush, and these city streets, such a kaleidoscope of colorful brilliance. I was commenting to my travel companion that there are some places for which I've decided there are no words, no photographs, no way to properly, or clearly replicate the experience. These places can only be done justice by looking someone squarely in the eyes and firmly, while smiling, saying: "You must go. You simply must."

(We spent time in downtown Killarney, pure Irish heaven.)

We arrived in Shannon, Ireland early this morning, and following a 2 hour drive to Killarney, needed to find away to whittle away 4 hours before we could check into our hotel. Blessed Killarney's brick sidewalks paved our way through colorful downtown, to a little cafe with the most delicious, and needed, lattes, and BLTS...yes, BLTs, at 9:30am. Delicious. My heart is full, and my eyelids heavy. I cannot wait to share more, when my brain and fingers allow for it.

I've included a few photos...but, suffice it to say: You must go. You simply must. :)


the traveling me.

(My travel companion and I decided to meet stateside, in Boston, before flying overseas. What a beautiful city.)

One would think it might be easy to lose her identity when thrown into a city and culture dissimilar to her own, specifically a city booming with excitement, ideas, beautiful people and breathtaking views. I imagined Boston might make me feel swallowed up, my small-town self overwhelmed by the greatness, the beauty, the busyness. But, as I've found in the last 24 hours, in dissimilarity, it is most easy to discover who you are not. Discovering who you are not, and tripping across new experiences that ignite your creativity and passion, makes discovering who you are much simpler.

I am not the label-wearing, glamazon knockout sashaying through the doors of Burberry on Newbury Street.
I am not the rosy-cheeked mother, wrangling a stroller and several curious tots through downtown Boston.
I am not the foodie, waiting anxiously to get into the hip new restaurant.
I am not the power-woman, conquering paved sidewalks in heels and a skirt, barking commands over her cell phone.

But, there is a woman drifting through Boston Common in a ruffled grey dress and pale pink cardigan, lugging a Target grey-blue purse large enough to carry a yak. She's eavesdropping on conversations surrounding her-some in languages she doesn't understand. The foreign, unable-to-be-understood conversations are better, she thinks. The woman shamelessly photographs every church, shop window and sweet vignette, without apologizing. Later, she's on the rooftop terrace of the hotel, her laughter rolling like waves, teasing her travel companion...indulging in a second glass of alcohol, and forgoing all worries that it will go straight to her ass.

That woman is wildly happy. I am that woman. That is traveling Bethany.

Traveling Bethany is incredible, and feeling fantastic enough to say it. Traveling Bethany doesn't worry about work, or school or finances. She simply experiences, explores. She always remembers to thank the cabbie, and tell the bellboy to have a marvelous day. She smiles at passersby, tells other women they look fantastic and that yes, they should buy that sweater. If Real-Life Bethany channeled Traveling Bethany on a more regular basis, reality might be much more enjoyable.

At least for those that surround her.

Note: A giant thank you for all the sweet send-offs I've received as of late! You are completely wonderful. If you e-mailed me...I promise I'm working on responding. Slowly, but surely. Yes, even to you, Grandma. :)



(Please forgive this wobbly photo. Life has not provided much time for fabulous-photo taking of late.)

I am a nervous Nellie. A worry wart.

The anxious side of my personality comes into play most when I travel-leaving home base opens one up to a plethora of opportunities to drop the ball. A forgotten toothbrush, an unprinted reservation confirmation...currently my largest fear is work-related. In five years, I've never been absent from work for more than a week, I believe, and although I'm not at all important at the agency for which I work, I dread the thought that my absence, or more likely forgetfulness of a little detail, may cause a problem of epic proportions. But I suppose thinking one is important enough to ever do anything "of epic proportions" is a tad narcissistic.

This afternoon I leave town to meet up with the females in my fam for our annual ladies weekend...this is serving as an excellent packing trial run, as I'll return home Sunday night, wash my laundry, refold it, locate any previously forgotten items and throw it all back into my suitcase. I'll snuggle up in bed for a few precious hours and then, at 3am, I'll be greeted by my alarm, telling me that finally, today is the day that I start my trip to Ireland. I cannot wait to hear that alarm.

For now, I find myself in a constant state of "Oh!" as I remember little items- an extra camera battery, my tripod, a journal-that a girl needs on a vacation which takes her across the pond. Most importantly, I've been reminding myself constantly to remember my passport. As long as I have that, I'll make it. Toothbrushes, mascara, flip flops...these things one can purchase internationally.

But the passport? That's the golden ticket.

P.S. My travel companion just texted to say he's onboard his flight out of Baghdad. Apparently leaving Baghdad is a multi-day process...requiring numerous flights and connections. Whew. Thankfully leaving Eau Claire, Wisconsin, proves to be much easier.



(Disclaimer: I am aware that I am just a little blogger...a bitty drop in the bucket in comparison to giant, mega-bloggers with millions of views per day. But, I think in writing about our lives, we're all somewhat the same. So here it is.)

Blogging is sticky with a side of sweet. 

When I started blogging two years ago, my voice was soft, quiet. Not yet comfortable with sharing the intimate struggles and joys of a girl in her twenties. In time, specifically within the last year, life became murky and I turned to my laptop, Chuck, to tap out phrases and thoughts which drifted into my head during precious moments of clarity. I progressed, letting down my hair and becoming less edited, discovering that vulnerability was magnetic...it draws more of you than you thought it would. A gentle, quiet freedom builds inside. And writing without a face becomes like a confessional. Veiled in a little anonymity, vulnerability comes much easier. When responses are warm and wise, honesty is nothing to fear. I understand Catholics a little better these days.

Over the past year, as I discovered more individuals than I originally thought were reading my words, I figured I should establish a standard for what I would and would not write. I now write with only two rules:

1. Write only what is true: true in the world, true in my mind or true in my heart.
2. Written words, even if they're true, should never hurt others. Soften anything unflattering, remove identifying details and when involving others, write about them as objectively as possible.

I've stuck to my rules, remaining a strong proponent for honesty and vulnerability. But, most recently, I've found myself at an impasse: when writing transparently, you begin to feel that your beeswax is no longer yours. You occasionally find yourself the target of unsolicited advice, or discover an inquisitive individual probing behind your back, questioning your decisions. As a girl who lives a pretty drama-free, mom-and-dad-approved life...that can be a smidge jarring. Years ago, my people-pleasing self would have been thrown into a nervous tizzy at the thought of someone questioning me. Now my initial instinct is a combination of, "Wow. You really have time for that?" and "Mind your own beeswax." But, I suppose when one posts her beeswax regularly, she puts it out there for others to mind. And, although most mind it nicely, its tough when those distantly removed take time to make things sticky. I've started to think: perhaps transparency, without context, can be slightly dangerous. Perhaps I share too much beeswax here.

But, on the sweet side, I've had such beautiful responses due to transparency: people I don't know, and some I do, letting me know that my silly little life and words have touched them, and brought them clarity or even inspired them. That is something I never expected, but is certainly rewarding. E-mails from women who've struggled as I have with food, their bodies and the desire to be loved...a few women thanking me for saying the words they couldn't find. Those emails and comments can make me cry, wanting to hug the faceless women who are so much like me.

It's sticky. And it's sweet. And I'm not sure what to do. I'll likely change nothing, but I'm pondering.

Dear blog readers...what are your thoughts on vulnerability in blogland? Bloggers, do you have personal boundaries for your own blogging,? Are there pieces of your life you're completely unwilling to share, in order to keep your sanity?


channeling seuss...badly.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Why have I no words at all?
Nothing sweet or even witty,
Nor a photo of something pretty.

My mind is filled with little things,
Itineraries and what to bring.
Seconds...minutes...hours tick by
Oh, how I wish that time would fly!

Five more days and I will soar
Grab my bags, be out the door.
I'll fly, fly, fly all through the night
And land in gorgeous Irish light!

But tonight it's life in U.S.A...
Tomorrow morning, another day
Meetings...e-mails...conference calls,
Will I finish before nightfall?

Mirror, mirror speed up time,
So I can stop this silly rhyme,
It's taking oh-so long it seems,
I guess I'll just sit back and dream...


on engagements and pinwheels.

(Photo by me. Pinwheel tutorial available here.)

"He's what?"

"Getting married. He's proposing."

Insert silence. Insert me stumbling into a chair.

I started making pinwheels that night, about four weeks ago, following a conversation with my best friend which went something like that. I made pinwheels like my life depended on it that night-no clue where the heap of pinwheels was going to go, or why I was suddenly so helplessly addicted. Each pinwheel, I found, was more adorable than the last, and I reached my creative peak when I plugged in the hot glue gun, affixing one button to the front of each pinwheel. The button severely affected the wheel's ability to spin when I blew towards it, but these pinwheels weren't likely to see much wind. Practicality was sacrificed for the sake of aesthetics, because this girl needed some pretty to make it through Friday night.

That weekend, I filled my world with pretty: flowers, pinwheels and a trip to Minneapolis to shop at the overpriced, but therapeutic, Anthropologie.

His and my relationship had been like buttons on pinwheels-it seemed like a great idea, a perfect pairing. "How cute!", ogled our friends. But even after three years, something hung us up, and together we just didn't function. The wheels never got spinning, and we rarely moved in the same direction. There were little niches of each other that were never discovered. Interests and habits and dreams held by the other that we didn't push, couldn't support because we didn't understand. I needed someone to dream with, to understand and push me. He needed someone relaxed and willing to take the days as they came. Neither of us wrong. But together...rather impossible.

No amount of time has made it easier to step into the places in town which used to be ours, the settings and scenes of our friendship: a Mediterranean deli, the market on Saturday morning, our favorite park. A few spaces I haven't visited since he left town. Like bruises, I avoid getting close or brushing past them, for fear that it might still hurt. Maybe they've healed. I try not to drive down Lake Street, past his yellow apartment building. Someone new parks in his space. It’s a truck. A rusty truck.

My heart has long remained warm to him, through a break up, a move across the country, and months of silence. Always aware that romantically it wasn't meant to be, but occasionally aching for the ease of our friendship, for his good, good heart and ability to make me laugh like crazy. Discovering he's engaged...I want to send a card. To send my love. To send well wishes and the friendliest, happiest hug. None of these, were I his new fiance, would I find at all appropriate. And so I remain silent. With time, past loves leave our lives for good and we must move on. These things I must learn to accept.

Most days, I hardly think about it.

Some days, I can't stop thinking about it.

Most days, I wonder if I'll ever find someone to make me laugh like he did.

Some days, I'm sure I will.


truer words...

I have always loved these words from e.e. cummings, they only become more true as I become older. For months I've been trying to find a way to incorporate them into my home, finally landing on customizing a free wedding invite download from Download and Print. Easy peasy. If you're in the market for invites, or word art, and have access to a color printer, be sure to check out that site. Totally devoid of cheesy clip art and 80's inspired rose-and-ring invites, but best of all-a 100% free dowload straight to your computer in a tidy Word document.

Speaking of growing up, today marks my 5th anniversary at my job-my first grown-up job with a desk, business cards, vacation time and a 401k (or is it a 401b? Hmm.). Oh, and sweet co-workers who laugh lovingly as I worry about my biological clock, stress about the latest man-drama and hefty student loans. When you're single, you celebrate anniversaries with your job, your apartment, your car, your school. It may sound lonely, but it really isn't. It just makes for that much more celebrating, and no need to buy anyone gifts.

Well, except for myself. :)

On your journey to who you are today, what was your most courageous move?

skydiving and such.

I'm not entirely certain that in the normal world children have godmothers. It may be that godparents exist only in Catholic or Lutheran churches. And in fairy tales-but that hardly counts as they're an entirely different breed of godmothers, given that they possess the ability to turn pumpkins into coaches and whatnot. Not only do I have one godmother-I have two. And godfathers, too. My parents weren't messing around with my spiritual-well being, I suppose. Thankfully, none of them took their role as "spiritual advisers" too seriously, meaning that I never received any splashy Jesus wallhangings as gifts. Maybe those will come someday should I wed. (I'm holding my breath that they won't.)

I digress.

My godmother, Sara, turned 50 this weekend and decided there was no better way to ring in her 50th year than diving head first out of a moving plane at 13,000 feet. Daring, right? Yeah. I've got rad godparents. When my mother called me to ask if I wanted to join the small crew that would be watching, my stomach did a loop-de-loop...could I watch without getting sick? But this was something I couldn't miss, so we loaded up in the family mobile on Saturday morning and drove the hour out to the grassy field where a hundred others also waited to take the plunge.

(The lovely navy-clad woman front and center is Sara. I'm the baby hog in the front row.)

Due to cloudy conditions, all divers were delayed for about four hours...luckily my parents had loaded up a mini-grill and a few BBQ supplies. A quick trip to the grocery store multiplied the supplies to fit a group of fourteen and we were cooking. The day was warm, sunny and there was plenty of grass for lazing about, perfect for an impromptu grill out. Nothing better on a steamy July day. Once Sara's plane took off, nearly ten minutes ticked by before tiny specks appeared in the sky....we all stood, squinting into the sunshine waiting for her green parachute to make it's splashy appearance. When it did, we were all cheers and hoots, the noisiest bunch, for nearly a full minute before she touched down. We celebrated the successful land with a raunchy bottle of Andre champagne, a round of 'Happy Birthday' and a sweet toast. 

The day's delay also meant that I spent a considerable amount of time with my new book and Sara's grandchildren, two of the most adorable boys on the planet. Davey, below left, was more than happy to occupy my arms and lap, gurgle a few of his adorable stories and oblige my snap-happy tendencies. Never have I had the urge to pinch a little one's cheeks...but this little one gets me. Rolly polly perfection! Eli, right, was all giggles and energy, dancing to the blasting tunes, playing a little hide and seek over a playground railing.

When there are days like this, days in which babies are snuggly, toddlers are endearingly playful, I begin to think, "Hmm. Maybe I'll be ready for kids in a few years." But then I trod up the twenty-two stairs to my tidy apartment, click open the locked door and remember that my life is filled with decorative choking hazards, delightful silence and unprotected outlets. Quickly my mindset changes and I whisper, "Meh. Give me a decade."

For now I'll just keep cashing in on someone else's hard work, hittin' up the free snuggles.


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