I have a thing for self-portraits & clouds, I guess. I have about 3 or 4 photos just like this.

Reading: In Zanesville: A Novel. I just started this book so I'm only on page 14 (I actually just put my Kindle down to type up this post), but so far so good, if I can even judge it yet. It was a random book that Amazon recommended to me, and I've had good luck with their recommendations before, so I'm hoping this one follows suit. I think it's something about the summertime, but as soon as May rolls around I always find myself reading more than ever.

Watching: Rosemary's Baby. Again. This movie is in my top three movies of ALL TIME and I watch it often. I love everything about it- the story line, the architecture of the old buildings, the clothing (oh, the clothing!), and of course, Mia. And what I wouldn't give for a first edition copy of the actual novel, from 1967. If you haven't seen this film, rent it tonight! I know you'll love it in all of its creepy glory.

Thinking about: lots 'o blog stuff. I read an amazing post recently and it was everything I needed to hear- it's probably the best post about blogging I've ever read.  So seriously, if you have a moment, check it out. It started a whole series of thoughts, especially since I'd already been thinking a lot about how I enjoy it most when I don't care or think about numbers or hits or page views and just write, and that's what I've been doing. I also really loved what Ryan said about negative comments and/or criticism. I used to get so bent out of shape by stuff like that but it doesn't bother me at all anymore. And not even the pretend "it doesn't bother me at all" then go obsess about it for 30 minutes kind of thing I used to do. I've evolved/grown up, whatever you want to call it, and I don't mind the negative stuff at all. If everyone agreed with me or loved me, that would be pretty boring, and I think it was important for me to come to the conclusion that if I put it out there, I am opening myself up to whatever may come, good opinions or bad. I'm happy to just go with the flow and it's awesome to have this sense of peace with it...I am almost 30 after all! Ha.

Loving: hot yoga. I've been going 3-4 times a week for the past few weeks and I am so in love with it. My sister, Mom, and a couple of my girlfriends had been going down in Phoenix for awhile and I'd wanted to try it forever. I attended a class of a friend up here and loved it, then ended up checking out a different studio with another friend of mine and really, really fell in love with it. It's been by far the best thing I've ever done for myself physically, and the benefits extend to my spiritual and emotional self too. I was scared to try it at first- all new things (especially new things in 90+ degree heat) can be a little intimidating, but if your local studio is anything like the one I go to it's absolutely worth giving it a try. And if you do, let me know what you think!

Anticipating: the month of May. There's always so much excitement going on- Mother's Day, Shirley's birthday, my birthday, our anniversary, and Hank's birthday (even though his is June 1st).  Lot of love, lots of celebrations!

Listening to: Gaslight Anthem's new song from their album that will be released this summer. They are one of my favorite bands, and although I liked it I wasn't the hugest fan of their most recent album. From the sound of this song they have returned to their roots, and I am really excited to hear the rest of the tracks. This one is great!

Eating: salad. I'm on the biggest salad kick. I have a favorite homemade dressing I make that I've gotten all of my friends obsessed with too, and it makes every salad that much better.

Feeling thankful for: lots. Hank and his ability to snap me out of any bad mood I find myself in. Henry and his new "scaring everyone" game that leaves us laughing so hard we cry. Mexican food (always). The simple but often overlooked things- our home, enough food, etc. And for being able to spend free time exercising...this one is huge and I'm so grateful Hank and I make it a priority for both of us to get in gym/yoga time throughout the week.

How about you? What are you up to today? Feel free to do your own "currently" post on your blog and link back in the comments!

Follow Jesus!

NOTE: Andrew Sullivan has an intriguing piece in the April 9 issue of Newsweek unfortunately titled "Forget the Church, Follow Jesus."  Despite the poor title, the article makes some poignant arguments.  It doesn't hurt that he proposes St. Francis as the model for us to follow.  Here's a quote from that article:

Christianity Resurrected

I have no concrete idea how Christianity will wrestle free of its current crisis, of its distractions and temptations, and above all its enmeshment with the things of this world. But I do know it won’t happen by even more furious denunciations of others, by focusing on politics rather than prayer, by concerning ourselves with the sex lives and heretical thoughts of others rather than with the constant struggle to liberate ourselves from what keeps us from God. What Jefferson saw in Jesus of Nazareth was utterly compatible with reason and with the future; what Saint Francis trusted in was the simple, terrifying love of God for Creation itself. That never ends.

This Christianity comes not from the head or the gut, but from the soul. It is as meek as it is quietly liberating. It does not seize the moment; it lets it be. It doesn’t seek worldly recognition, or success, and it flees from power and wealth. It is the religion of unachievement. And it is not afraid. In the anxious, crammed lives of our modern twittering souls, in the materialist obsessions we cling to for security in recession, in a world where sectarian extremism threatens to unleash mass destruction, this sheer Christianity, seeking truth without the expectation of resolution, simply living each day doing what we can to fulfill God’s will, is more vital than ever. It may, in fact, be the only spiritual transformation that can in the end transcend the nagging emptiness of our late-capitalist lives, or the cult of distracting contemporaneity, or the threat of apocalyptic war where Jesus once walked. You see attempts to find this everywhere—from experimental spirituality to resurgent fundamentalism. Something inside is telling us we need radical spiritual change.

But the essence of this change has been with us, and defining our own civilization, for two millennia. And one day soon, when politics and doctrine and pride recede, it will rise again.

Weekend Links

May Day picnic
I can't believe this was a year ago! Henry was so tiny. 

Another Friday, another set of links, right? And this is going to sound weird, but I'm going to come right out and say it- I am typing this right now and hearing the Gossip Girl voice in my head. Not even kidding. I'm alllllmost caught up and right at the end of the current season and I'm SO INTO it. No spoilers but I'm right after episode 100 and I just watched three episodes in a row...hence hearing this blog read aloud in the GG voice. Call me crazy, I don't mind.

In other non-television news this week has been a good one. Nothing too notable, just very busy and full of hot yoga which makes me immeasurably happy. And luckily this weekend will be full of family and some pool time. I'm looking forward to seeing the lot where my sister and her husband are building their new house too- I'm so excited for them! I'm going to try to remember to take my camera out and about all weekend so hopefully on Sunday I'll have some fun photos to share. So until then.

oh and p.s., I thought I should tell you all, since I mentioned it in my last links post, that the morning after sharing my "ugh, I hate that my mouth is still swollen and I'm in post-wisdom teeth hell" rant, all pain subsided! It was a wisdom tooth (or lack of) miracle. Hallelujah!


If you read one thing on this list, read this article, and then tell me what you think. Here's the first line: "TO Elisabeth Badinter, educated women who become stay-at-home moms have lost their minds." There's so much to say about this, but I'm curious to hear what you all think too. Thanks to Jillian for emailing it to me.

Head over to this post to see if you're the winner of the Homegrown giveaway. If you weren't the winner, you can get 15% off your order using code "sweet 15."

You either like me or you don't. I love this simple quote.

I can't wait to see this.

10 pretty party inspirations.

This dress is so gorgeous, along with the rest of next season's line.

I love this idea of a homemade body scrub as favor gifts- they'd also make great Mother's Day presents.

Sponsor love: pop over and say hi to Meadow Creek.

This is the cutest nursery I've seen, pretty much ever.

And speaking of kiddo rooms, aren't these DIY hot air balloons great?

Peach Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake. Just yes! 

Lauren's 5 Things on a Friday are always good.

Pretty amazing art.

Kelli is over on A Beautiful Mess sharing some style tips. 

How Do You Define Success? Any interesting read over on Vanessa's blog.

I want to live here.

30 things every woman should have and know by the time she turns 30. Hmmm. What do you think?

Boston Terriers are the cutest dogs ever. I may be biased, but just look at this. Too adorable.

Some items I'd love to have in my closet, striped edition: one and two!

And finally, this makes you really stop and think...check out this Dad's time lapse video of his daughter growing up- from birth to age 12. What dedication!

I know My sheep!

HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, April 29, 2012:.

Jesus was walking around Heaven one day and came out by the gates where St. Peter was hard at work sorting out those who would enter Heaven from those who wouldn’t.  Jesus said, “Pete, you’re at the Gate a lot.  When do you take a break?”  Peter said, “Never. This is my job. All the time.”  Jesus, feeling compassionate for His friend said, “Hey, I’ll take over for a while, why don’t you grab a cup of coffee.”  Peter gladly said yes and went on his way.  Jesus opened the Book of Life and looked up to the next person in line.  “Name?” he said.  “Mary O’Donnell,” the old woman responded.  Seeing her name he said, “Ah, yes, here you are. Head right on in, we’ve been waiting for you…Next.”  A middle-aged man stepped up and gave his name, “John Smith.”  Jesus looked at the Book and didn’t see his name. “Sorry John, you’re not in here.  You’ll have to take that elevator over there…press the down button…Next.”  Suddenly an old man appeared before Jesus and he looked familiar.  “And you are…” Jesus asked.  The man responded, “I’m a carpenter.  And, I was told that my son was in there.  I’d like to see him.  You’d recognize him, he’s got nail marks in his hands and in his feet.”  Jesus was stunned, He leaned forward, looked at the old man, smiled and said, “Dad?”  The man’s eyes widened and he looked at Jesus and said, “Pinocchio?”

“I am the Good Shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”  There is something poetic about the fact that as I mark my final weekend here as your pastor before I head back to Boston to resume my full time work of Vocation Director that we celebrate today the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  What a perfect day to be mindful of vocations as we hear this Gospel reading in which Jesus gives us this powerful image of Himself as the Good Shepherd.  To fully understand the image, we first need to know a little bit about shepherds and what they do.  In Jesus’ time, there were two kinds of shepherds. First, there was the hired hand for whom keeping the sheep was just a job. He moved from flock to flock depending on the conditions of service and he would most definitely not risk his life for them. Seeing danger he would flee and leave the flock untended.  Then there is the shepherd-owner of the flock who grows up with the flock and stays with the same sheep all his life. He knows each and every sheep in the flock individually. He calls each one by name and knows everything about each of his sheep. He knows which ones are strong, which are weak; which ones might stray from the flock and would keep an eye on them. When in danger, he would risk his life to defend his sheep.

Jesus tells us that this is the kind of shepherd He is.  He knows each one of us individually.  He knows the cares and concerns of our lives.  He knows our needs.  He knows our strengths and weaknesses.  He knows what we can be.  And this is the heart of vocation.  Discovering our best identity – who we are called to be in God’s sight. God continually calls people.  We must create environments in our lives, in our families where we help and allow people to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, so that they can follow where He will lead.  The Good Shepherd is calling all of us to something. He is most definitely calling someone here today to the priesthood or religious life.  The question is, can we hear His voice?

You know, people talk about the vocation crisis – what are we going to do, there aren’t enough priests and religious?  I can tell you that there is no vocation crisis.  All I have to do is show you the wonderful young people in this parish alone who love God, who are involved in many aspects of our parish life, who are always there when it comes to service, who very likely may have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.  But, time after time, that seed of vocation planted in their hearts is not nurtured or encouraged by those around them. 
Just think about your own experience for a moment.  When was the last time you said to someone, “I think you’d make a good priest, or religious sister or brother?”  Or, if someone expressed a desire to become a priest or religious, would you be more likely to say to that person, “Why would you want to do that?”  I know in my own vocational journey, I heard that response very often.  The crisis the Church is facing is not a vocation crisis, it is a crisis of vocation awareness.  Young people are not encouraged today to think about a life dedicated to God in the Church.  It’s no wonder why we have a dwindling number of priests and religious?

It is up to us to be people who value the role that priests and religious can play in our lives.  We have to be people who encourage our young to consider lives of dedication and service as priests and religious.  I don’t know if I would be a priest today if it weren’t for the support I received from crucial people in my life as I explored this call – the Dominican sisters who taught me and encouraged a vocation, my aunt Maureen who is a Sister of Mercy and who showed me the joy that can be found in religious life, Fr. Marc Hession who was my first mentor and led me toward a life of priestly service, and most importantly my mother and father, who gave witness to me of what it means to live a Christian life.

I challenge all of our young people to consider living a life dedicated to God as a priest or religious.  And, even more so, I challenge everyone here today to pray for vocations and encourage vocations.  If you’ve ever thought that someone might be called to the priesthood or religious life, tell them.  Maybe they’ve been waiting for someone to confirm what they’ve been feeling inside. We can’t bemoan the problem of fewer priests without recognizing our own responsibility in this regard.

The question of vocation is all about identity.  Who we are is what is important.  And the only important answer to the question of our identity is who we are before God.  St. Francis would remind his brothers, “You are what You are before God.  That and nothing more.”   The Good Shepherd helps us to see this.  He knows who we are intimately and wants to help us grow to see ourselves primarily through the eyes of faith – as God’s sons and daughters.  It is only when we know our true identity before God, we discover our vocation.

If this identity has been nurtured by those around us, and if we’ve been open to the Good Shepherd, we see it most clearly each and every time we gather around the Eucharistic table of our Lord.  Receiving the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus, tells us something about ourselves.  When we enter into that personal relationship with Jesus that we can only have in the Eucharist, Jesus helps us to discover who he has called us to be.  We are most clearly the people we are called to be in the Eucharist.  You want to know what Jesus asks of you, what Jesus wants you to do, what your vocation is – meet Jesus in the Eucharist and he will reveal it to you.

I’ve told my vocation story many times before.  But, it all boils down to this.  As a teen, I really didn’t have any faith.  I did not yet know the Lord.  In my early 20s I felt drawn for the first time in my life to the Eucharist.  When I began going to Mass, I started to have powerful experiences.  The Mass was speaking to me in ways it never had before.  I felt the presence of Jesus that I had never felt before.  I remember receiving the Eucharist at one of these Masses and in a spiritual sense this was my first Communion because it was the first time that I truly believed in my heart that this was Jesus.  And when I met Him personally, for the first time, in that Eucharist, He began to show me who I really was and what He really wanted from me.  It was through meeting Jesus in the Eucharist that I discovered my vocation, my calling, my place in God’s Kingdom.  And you can too.

We have all been led here by a Good Shepherd who knows His sheep and wants the best for them.  We will meet Him in a profound and special way in the Eucharist and discover who we are in God’s sight and what God has planned for us in His Kingdom. “I am the Good Shepherd and I know mine and mine know me.” Let us pray that more young men and women will have the courage to pursue the vocation that God is calling them to; that they will follow the Good Shepherd.  And let us be the people who encourage them to do so.    And if you know any of them, send them to me!

May God bless the Church with many vocations and may God give you peace.

Literate & Stylish: Jess from TART

The premise of Literate & Stylish is simple, and the post is short but sweet- every Thursday I'll be showcasing a lovely lady and her favorite book. She'll share a few pretty photos showing off her personal style, along with her book of choice, and tell us why she loves it. 

from Jess, of TART

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is a trilogy that snuck up on me even though everyone assured me that I would love it. It's the story of a girl who has to grow up too fast, make decisions one should never have to make and do whatever it takes to ensure her family and friends are safe. You'll have no choice but to fall in love with the characters and cheer on even the worst of them at some point or another. With heroes like the struggling girl next door, the stylist/activist and the pitiful drunk. With villains in the form of a hegemonist, a materialistic society, a man with the power of life or death by button and unique mutations. With unexpected humor, inevitable sadness, real and palpable love instead of fairytale fluff and so much more, this book is one that pulled me in and still won't let go long after my eyes ferociously scanned the last sentence of Mockingjay. Don't let all of the Hollywood hype fool you into overlooking this story because if nothing else, it's an entertaining and easy read that is sure to stir up enough emotion that you just have to finish all three books! May the odds be ever in your favor...

Without Fanfare, Malloy Signs Bill Abolishing Death Penalty

NOTE: In a world where the Culture of Death so often prevails, how wonderful to have a victory for life! Way to go Connecticut! I worked with the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty when I was stationed there. So happy to see the work of so many come to fruition! - FT
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s signature this afternoon has abolished the death penalty for future crimes in Connecticut.
The signing was announced only after the fact.
Malloy had promised to sign the bill, but as recently as Tuesday his office said they had no knowledge of when he would sign it.
About 2:15 p.m., however, his office released this statement:
“This afternoon I signed legislation that will, effective today, replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the highest form of legal punishment in Connecticut.  Although it is an historic moment – Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized world by taking this action – it is a moment for sober reflection, not celebration.
“Many of us who have advocated for this position over the years have said there is a moral component to our opposition to the death penalty.  For me, that is certainly the case.  But that does not mean – nor should it mean – that we question the morality of those who favor capital punishment.  I certainly don’t.  I know many people whom I deeply respect, including friends and family, that believe the death penalty is just.  In fact, the issue knows no boundaries: not political party, not gender, age, race, or any other demographic.  It is, at once, one of the most compelling and vexing issues of our time.
“My position on the appropriateness of the death penalty in our criminal justice system evolved over a long period of time.  As a young man, I was a death penalty supporter.  Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued dangerous felons in court, including murderers.  In the trenches of a criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect.  While it’s a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the fallibility of those who participate in it.  I saw people who were poorly served by their counsel.  I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified.  I saw discrimination.  In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed.
“Another factor that led me to today is the ‘unworkability’ of Connecticut’s death penalty law.  In the last 52 years, only 2 people have been put to death in Connecticut – and both of them volunteered for it.  Instead, the people of this state pay for appeal after appeal, and then watch time and again as defendants are marched in front of the cameras, giving them a platform of public attention they don’t deserve.  It is sordid attention that rips open never-quite-healed wounds.  The 11 men currently on death row in Connecticut are far more likely to die of old age than they are to be put to death.
“As in past years, the campaign to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut has been led by dozens of family members of murder victims, and some of them were present as I signed this legislation today.   In the words of one such survivor: ‘Now is the time to start the process of healing, a process that could have been started decades earlier with the finality of a life sentence. We cannot afford to put on hold the lives of these secondary victims.  We need to allow them to find a way as early as possible to begin to live again.’  Perhaps that is the most compelling message of all.
“As our state moves beyond this divisive debate, I hope we can all redouble our efforts and common work to improve the fairness and integrity of our criminal justice system, and to minimize its fallibility.”

A Very Merry Un-Half-Birthday!


"Good morning, my sweet half-birthday boy!"

I got Henry out of his crib this morning with a little more gusto than usual; it was his half-birthday after all, and I was ready to start our day!  I hummed "Happy half-birthday to you, happy half-birthday to you" as I changed his diaper, picked out my favorite cardigan for him to wear, and got him ready for a day of running around town. His half-birthday was technically on Sunday, but since we already had a birthday party to attend that day followed by a busy Monday night, today was day we had designated to celebrate turning 18 months old.

It may sound silly, but it's always been important to us to make fun little family traditions like this. I had them growing up, and I love the idea of having something to look forward to every year...and in this case, every half year! So I went out and bought us two special cupcakes from our favorite local bakery- a coconut flavored one for Henry and a root beer float version for Hank and me to split.

When we got home I started typing up a little blog post too- "Henry: 18 months," and couldn't help but to wax a bit poetic yet again at how quickly time is going by. 18 months. Somehow this half of a year felt shorter than ever, if that was even possible. I took a break from blogging for a moment to upload a photo of the delicious-looking cupcakes to Instagram (Why yes! That is a root beer float cupcake with a mini straw!) and set my phone back down to type some more. A few notification dings later I picked it back up and saw a lot of "Henry was born in October like me! Yay!" and realized that yes, time had gone by very quickly. So quickly in fact, that I had skipped an entire month and was not two days late to celebrate Henry's half-birthday, but actually an entire month early! Oh, Mommy brain.

17-month cupcakes, anyone?

Tattoo Tuesday V.119

Name: Delane Lyn
Age: 31
Occupation: SAHM/Aspiring Photographer/Aspiring Hair Stylist/ Mom Blogger. Also be sure to check out her family's tattoo shop - Timeless Tattoo in Menifee, CA.
Age of first tattoo: 21
Favorite tattoo: Panther Head
Featured tattoo/location: On My right knee cap
Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: Jay Chastain 13 Roses Tattoo in Georgia but, he is currently work at Rock Of Ages Tattoo in Texas.

1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story about why you chose it, or maybe a special meaning? 

Honestly no background on it. I just got it because I thought it would be a perfect tattoo. I fully dislike knees and think they are pretty ugly. What better way to make it pretty then to tattoo it!

2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where? 

I do have quite a few more tattoos. My legs, feet, toes, hands, neck, face, fingers, arms, chest, back, elbow. It is pretty safe to say I am heavily tattooed.

 3) Do you plan on getting more? 

I definitely plan to get more; I'm actually shooting for a full bodysuit! It's a work in progress.

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoos? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them? Do you have a significant other? Does he/she have tattoos? 

At first my family didn't like the idea of me being tattooed. I remember them saying I would go to hell because of them. Now I think they are just used to them and realize they aren't going anywhere. My friends love my tattoos because most of my friends are tattooed and if they're not, they appreciate them. I have run into some negativity over how tattooed I am, at times it can be really annoying especially when I am with my kids. My 4 year old has started to notice people staring and will actually say "what are you looking at?"

People shake their heads and scowl at me all the time, although I know it comes with being as heavily tattooed as I am. The thing that makes up for having to deal with the judgement though, is when you have those little old ladies come up to you and want to tell you they love your "artwork" and then they show you there hidden tattoos that you would never think they had. My significant other is tattooed and tattoos for a living. The funny thing is, as a tattooer you would think he would be more tattooed then me but, sadly I hold the award for most tattooed in our household. LOL. He has sleeves and a few tattoos on his legs and one on his neck.

5) What's the most interesting experience you've ever had in regards to your tattoos? 

The most interesting experience has got to be going to Disneyland. I know you are asking why...well my lower left leg is a work in progress and is all Yo Gabba Gabba.. Yes I just said Yo Gabba Gabba. ;) Every time we go and my legs are exposed, I get so many parents and kids loving the leg. The most memorable experience for me was a few days after going to Disneyland a friend named Parker posted a link on my Facebook wall to a blog post. This blogger was Toodee from Yo Gabba Gabba and there were photos of me and my leg. It was pretty cool to see it but, wished she would have said who she was because that would have been pretty amazing too. :)

6) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet? 

Research, Research, Research! Take your time to pick out what your going to get and don't settle for some garage tattooer or someone who is cheaper. You get what you pay for.

Giveaway: Homegrown // CLOSED


Congratulations to Beth Swanson for winning this giveaway! Homegrown will be emailing you soon.

If you weren't the winner, you can get 15% off your order using code "sweet 15." 

Today I'm really excited to share a giveaway from Homegrown, an adorable Etsy shop run by the sweetest folks. Homegrown is a shop full of fantastic, handmade items made from recycled wood for your home. They were kind enough to send us a gorgeous sign, and when Hank and I opened the package we were so excited to see how beautiful it was!
DSC_0006 The quality is top-notch, and I think the name sign would be perfect for a housewarming or a baby shower gift. Another favorite Homegrown item would be the "Mr. and Mrs." signs. How fitting for a wedding (I'm thinking photobooth props!) or even as a shower gift. I think they'd be perfect in a master bedroom, too.

And today you have a chance to win a sign of your choice from Homegrown.

To enter:

Visit Homegrown's Etsy shop, then leave a comment letting me know what sign you would choose if you win, along with your name and email address.

For an extra entry:

"Like" Homegrown on Facebook, then leave a second comment letting me know, along with your name and email once again.  And a bonus? Homegrown posts secret sales via their FB so you'll be first to know about discounts and deals. Awesome.

I'll choose a winner here on Friday and post a link back to this post in my Weekend Links. Good luck to all who enter!

On Being a Mom and Having Tattoos

This is one of the many pieces I'll be re-sharing here over the next year. This originally published on Hello Giggles, but since I am not writing for them anymore, it's important to me to have all of my writing in one place. If this is the second time you've seen this, I hope you don't mind too much! Enjoy. beach family

If you would have shown my 15-year-old self a photo of me now, I wouldn’t have believed that the girl pictured could really be me. It would have been hard to even imagine; I grew up in an open-minded yet somewhat conservative family and knew hardly anyone with a tattoo. Outside of the one biker friend of my Dad’s who had a rose tattooed on his skull, it was all foreign to me and admittedly, a little scary, too. In high school, I dated a few boys who had artwork on their bodies – one with his last name across his back and another with some sort of tribal etching on his bicep. But that was it. I don’t actually even remember ever seeing a heavily tattooed person in my life before I was 18 or 19. On our senior trip to Mexico the summer after graduating high school, I recall getting truly upset at two of my girl friends for going off and getting tattoos in a random shop on a back street in Puerto Vallarta. Not only was I mad that they could have contracted some sort of disease from the unsanitary conditions but I was appalled that they would do “that” to their bodies.

Well. Since then, I’ve done a lot of “that” to my body and now, at 29, I am what some would call heavily tattooed.

I’ve written about this topic in my own blog before and likened being heavily tattooed to wearing a dress that you just can’t take off. You went to the store, loved the dress, bought the dress and guess what? You will wear that dress for the rest of your life. Others will stop and comment on your dress – maybe they love it, maybe they hate it. But because it’s colorful, different from the norm and so out there, they feel that they have the right to discuss it with you, maybe show you their own and sometimes even touch yours. And you still can’t take it off. Ever. And that’s what it’s like to be heavily tattooed. It’s a part of you wherever you go, a conversation piece and what many people see before they really see you.

And now that I’m a Mom, I’ve gotten so many more questions from my friends, family and even complete strangers about my tattoos. What will you do if Henry wants to get one at a young age? Do other Moms judge you? What happens if your son is embarrassed of them?

It’s funny because these are all things I’ve thought about myself. My husband and I have laughed about the fact that Henry will either think we’re super cool or super lame. And that’s okay. I couldn’t imagine having a Mom that had her arms, chest, legs, etc. tattooed but this is all Henry will know. And because he’s surrounded by our tattooed friends and family most of the time, seeing beautiful colors and pictures on peoples’ skin is completely normal and probably more commonplace to him than seeing skin without it.

And because of this, I do wonder how it will affect our son. I hope if my tattoos do affect him at all, they teach him to be accepting of different kinds of people and to never base his opinion on someone’s looks alone. I wish more kids had that lesson growing up – we’d have a lot less adults who are quick to judge solely based on appearance and stereotypes.

Before I was a Mom, I was a high school English teacher in our small, conservative town. Every day I’d cover up my tattoos with work appropriate clothing and most of my colleagues never knew I had them unless they saw me outside of school. I taught there for almost six years and surprisingly, there were some people I never had the chance to see beyond our classroom walls. Then just the other day I actually ended up running into a group of them while out to eat with my family. Some of the women were shocked when my husband, son and I walked up; I was wearing a strapless dress and my chest piece and sleeve were completely visible. Many of them were in disbelief – “You always seemed so sweet! I never would have guessed you had so many tattoos!” and “I had you pegged all wrong- this is truly a surprise! You always seemed like such a sweet girl.” Because I had always seemed so nice (‘sweet’ seemed to be the adjective of choice), it seemed preposterous to them that underneath my pencil skirts, blouses and cardigans lie this seemingly wild and crazy heathen who must be intent on covering every inch of her skin with ink.

I’m used to people giving me weird looks – sometimes they’re just curious, but sometimes I get some pretty awful glares – and it was very interesting to me to see how these women reacted. They had already known me for years. They knew that I was a hard worker, friendly and a great teacher. They had based their opinion off what they saw everyday but I was suddenly tossing a wrench into their wheel of impressions. I was throwing them off.

We talked a bit more and as I walked away, I realized that I had done something pretty neat back there at that table. I had broken a stereotype and hopefully taught these women that whatever crazy idea they had in their heads of what a tattooed person is supposed to be like was wrong. Hopefully. To be honest, I’m sure when I left the table most of them didn’t give it a second thought, but I’d like to think that maybe just one of them questioned why they had been so shocked in the first place and realized I was still the same person they’d always known, even though I may be a little bit out of the box they had originally placed me in.

And that’s what I hope for my son. I hope he grows up and sees that not everyone can fit into a neat box. That diversity, uniqueness and thinking outside of the norm are all good things. I want to teach him acceptance and tolerance. Compassion and kindness. As time goes by, tattoos will become more common but I know that in the world we live in, there will always be someone quick to judge or make an assumption based on appearance. And that’s okay. So when people ask me what it’s like to be a heavily tattooed Mom or how I think my tattoos will affect my son when he’s older, I still can’t say I know. All I can do is teach him to have an open mind and kind heart, and hope that the foundation his father and I have built for him will allow him to grow up to be a person who embraces differences. Or, at the very least, allow him to accept his two crazy, tattooed parents in all of their colorful glory!

Our Weekend

This weekend was great (minus the wisdom teeth stuff I'll get to later). I always feel like our weekend starts on Thursday for some reason too, so I'll share a bit about that day as well. I started my morning bright and early at the 6am hot yoga class (best way to start the day!). Later on Henry and I had another one of those afternoons where we ended up downtown, strolling around the square, me sipping on tea, and just enjoying the fresh air. We stopped for close to 30 minutes to watch some big trucks working on something at the courthouse- Henry was so into them! It was really cute to see him get so excited whenever they would pick up a big load and dump it on the other side of the construction. BOYS, right!?

Friday Adie, Henry and I spent the day hiking, and then I enjoyed a low-key "me" night while Hank went out with the guys for coffee and pool. Saturday morning I woke up and headed to a 90 minute hot yoga class (I can't get enough), then came home and hung out with Hank and Henry for a bit. Later on I had a hair appointment and got my nails done too. It all sounds so indulgent but it was SUCH a treat and it was one of the best, most relaxing days I've had in awhile.

Then later Sarah came up for the night. We were way overdue for some quality time, and it made me so happy to finally be able to catch up, hear about her honeymoon, and really just spend hours doing a whole lot of nothing more than talking on the couch. She got up here earlier in the evening and Hank, Henry, Sarah and I headed downtown for some Bill's Pizza, which was of course delicious. I've said it once (or ten million times) and I'll say it again: their Bill's sauce- half pesto/half tomato- is one of my favorite things in the entire world. I'm such a Bill's Sauce pusher too. "You love pizza right? Do you like pesto? Okay well you HAVE to try this sauce..." Every time. After dinner she and I walked around downtown for awhile before coming home and staying up way, way too late giggling and talking into the night. This morning we woke up and got smoothies, then Sar hit the road and we headed over to our friends' kiddos' 1st birthday party! It was another beautiful day and Henry had the best time playing soccer in the grass and hanging out with his buddy Marilyn. The birthday boy got to enjoy some delicious cake and open a ton of presents as we all clapped and cheered. Pretty awesome. All is all, it's been a great past few days.

But you know what's not so great? The pain and swelling that has come back to my mouth. I'm not sure what's going on but I have to call the oral surgeon tomorrow. From my googling I think I may have some sort of infection going on so I am looking forward to seeing what he says. Half of my lip is still numb too. Total nightmare. I hate you, wisdom teeth. Or my lack of, I guess.

To end on a positive note though, here are some photos from the weekend. 

Henry giving his thirsty dino some of his water // our beautiful state flags // construction on the square // baked blueberry oatmeal for breakfast // getting my hair colored (finally) // the guest bed all ready for Sarah // pizza and love // Henry and his Auntie Suki // BFF //
H & S, one of my favorite photos // playing soccer // the "we love to look unamused at birthday parties" club // wild boy with wild hair // tired little babe // the cutest, happiest one-year-old I know!

a Friday hike

Friday's weather was perfect- sunny, warm, and Adie and I had a whole afternoon to kill, so we headed up the mountain on a little hike. I decided to take Henry in the stroller this time and it was pretty difficult to maneuver (about halfway up Adie and were rethinking this bright decision), so I don't think we'll try it that way again. But regardless it was the most beautiful day and I was happy to spend it with my sweet friend, girl-talking while surrounded by such beauty. I probably say it once a day but I LOVE where we live. To me, it's perfect, and days like Friday only remind me of this. I am looking forward to a summer filled with adventures and lots of time spent exploring our beautiful Arizona scenery.

Here are a few pictures from our afternoon-

Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12