A Family Beach Day, A Day in Photos

A family beach day is so cleansing to the soul. Sometimes, words aren’t necessary when the photos tell their own story. This is one of those occasions, and I’ll enjoy this photo journal for years to come! Random thoughts from a mom after a day at the beach.

family beach day

Sometimes, just letting them enjoy each other’s space is enough.

family beach day

And most of the time, just letting them be them…well, it’s enjoyable for both of you. I dig his style!

family beach dat

Bubbles! What’s a beach day without bubbles? What’s any good day without bubbles, actually?

beach family day

A day without bubbles is like a day without a beach ninja. I mean, it’s not even really a day, is it?

family beach day

The only sad part of the day is when you look through the lens and realize they might be growing up too fast. It all goes by too fast. Until…

family beach day

You realize that one of them is looking back at you, from inside of a sand hole, enjoying life like only a small child can, and you realize that there are still many years of joy, and frustration, to come. Be still my heart!

b burying kylee edit

And then there’s this. THIS is the beginning of a memory in the making, with a man that you adore making memories with.

beach family

It ended way worse than this, of course, but I was too busy unburying my baby (face and all) to get a photo. Sometimes, like this time, it’s not OK to just sit back and be the spectator…because…buried alive?!?!

beach family

And just when you realize you’re absent from your own online album, all of your family photos, you see that you were there all along. In their reflection. Capturing every moment. While they looked adoringly at you, and you realize you’re doing exactly what you were meant to do all along. Take care of them, love them, enjoy the moment, and capture the memories in their reflection while they reflect on the love that you give them.

In the end, that’s all that matters. The memories, their love, capturing their beauty. When you realize you’re doing what you love…while you’re watching the ones you love the most…enjoy themselves? That’s when you know you’ve made it. That’s when you know your life, your world is complete. That’s the moment you realize you’re living the life you intended, the life you’ve always wanted to live. That’s when you know love.

I know all of these things, and I’m glad my camera reminds me daily. I’ve made it. I’m happy to be in their reflections. I’m just happy. Not everyone achieves that level of success in life. I’m content that I’ve found my success from within my own little world.

Are you?

The Storm Will Pass. The Spring Will Come.

Spring is a time of new beginnings for all of us. Never make rash decisions based on the winter storm’s events. The storm will pass. The spring will come. Embrace the warmer weather. Embrace the blooming flowers. Embrace what you love the most and be the change.

The Storm Will Pass. The Spring Will Come.

Every spring, I seem to re-evaluate my life. I guess we all do.The storm will pass. What changes can I make in this world, to my life, to make it a better place? I’m often tempted to throw in the towel and just give up after braving the winter storms. I think we all are. Being cooped up, both literally and figuratively, makes us all feel that way at some level, I guess. That overwhelming feeling of, is this really all working out for me, is it all worth it, kind of gets to you, you know? I know you know.

So, what do you do?

Do you throw in the proverbial towel and just decide that the struggles aren’t worth it anymore and start anew with a whole new life? I mean, we’re all getting old (as we read my dribble), so is it all still worth the fight? Are the struggles really worth the pay off? Would it be easier to just start over, just like the flowers in spring?

Or do we take the lead from the most beautiful season that nature has to offer? Do we just stay where we are and enjoy, and nurture, the rebirth of the new season in our lives? Do we just grow back, annually, despite the diversity?

I choose to stay. I choose to bloom. Again. Because my life isn’t always beautiful, but overall, it’s a beautiful life.

My family, my marriage, has a lot of struggles. We’re human. We make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Forgiveness, rebirth, and remembering what matters the most is what keeps us all going in life. I take my strength from the season of growth. Springtime.

The flowers are blooming. The weather is heating up. There’s a freshness in the air. There’s a freshness in my step too. This time, unlike the spring epiphanies I’ve had in the past, I plan to keep that freshness alive.

I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth. None of us do. I’m embracing spring. I’m embracing life. I’m embracing an awakening in myself, my marriage, my family.

This year, the only spring cleaning I’m going to do is from within. The cobwebs can wait.

My family comes first. They’ve always come first, but I forget to tell, show them enough. No more forgetting to tell them that they come first. No more forgetting them because I have just ONE MORE task to complete. No more putting them off. No more skipped biked rides. No more ‘in a minute’ or ‘we’ll see’ replies. No more forgetting them.

Ever.

Hello spring! I’ve missed you and I’m ready to make the change.

The storm has passed (for good). The spring has come. I’m happy, I feel playful (for the first time in 100 springs), and I’m ready to never cut down a tree again.

Boo-tify Your Home with Affordable Halloween Decor

Terrorize your neighborhood this Halloween season by having the most spectacular (spooktacular?) haunted mansion with affordable Halloween decor, ghouls, and party goods from Oriental Trading. Just so you know, I received product from Oriental Trading to facilitate this post. All opinions, ideas, and photos are entirely my own.

ot halloween big reaper hero

I love Halloween. Like, love it, love it. There’s a term my close friends and I use to explain how excited I get about this holiday, but I digress because that term isn’t suitable for my family-friendly site. Anyway, there are three “holidays” that excite me beyond belief…Halloween, Christmas, and Mardi Gras. For my three favorite times of year, I always turn to Oriental Trading for all of my festive home decor, party goods, craft supplies, and in this case…ghouls! Seriously, your one-stop shop for affordable Halloween decor and more. Like ghouls…have I mentioned the ghouls?

Darkness falls across the land, the midnite hour is close at hand.
Creatures crawl in search of blood, to terrorize y’all’s neighborhood.
And whosoever shall be found, without the soul for getting down.
Must stand and face the hounds of hell, and rot inside a corpse’s shell.
The foulest stench is in the air, the funk of forty thousand years.
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb, are closing in to seal your doom.
And though you fight to stay alive, your body starts to shiver.
For no mere mortal can resist, the evil of the thriller.
Can you dig it?!

I totally dig it, do you? If you do and you’re not quite ready for All Hallow’s Eve, I’ve got some last-minute ideas for you. For the record, if you sign up for Oriental Trading’s newsletter, shipping is free (shhhh…don’t tell everyone because that offer is too good to be true and we want to save that freakish deal all to ourselves).

ot halloween house iinao

Since we moved into our house last August, we’ve been rebuilding our holiday decor and Halloween is no exception. It’s starting to get a little scary around here and I’m totally digging it (get it…digging…grave yard…hell yea). Anyway, let me take you on a little tour. We’ve still got a ways to go, but it’s frightfully delicious so far and I’m stoked.

halloween cemetary iinao

As soon as you enter the front gate, you’re immediately haunted by this Crawling Zombie Groundbreaker with the rest of his friends. Watching people walk by on the sidewalk to his motion-sensored screams every night makes me giggle-snort uncontrollably. If you take the cemetery route in your yard, don’t forget the tombstones and skulls because no Halloween yard cemetery would be complete without those!

sonic man iinao

And Sonic Man eerily warns all unsuspecting guests about something spooky ahead! His jaw moves, his eyes light up, and he spouts spooky warnings all at the command of a moving passerby. Again, patio evening entertainment at its finest as people walk by…for me.

ot mummy rat iinao

Scary little items like this Mummy Rat and skull pop up all over the place to add to the frightfully fun ambiance. It’s super important to weave inexpensive decor that fits your theme inside and out to make the most of the experience and maximize the spooktacular on a budget.

ot halloween witch iinao

No, I’m not fooling myself into thinking this Tree Trunk (or porch fly) Witch is scary. That’s just funny right there, and I like funny, even when I’m trying to be scary. Dig?

ot halloween door iinao

A good entrance to your haunted house is a must. This sets the mood for the fright fest your unsuspecting guests are about to enter. Make it count, but be sure to add a little humor in there too to keep things light if you’re anything like me. Drink up, witches!

ot halloween skeleton iinao

A rattling, hysterically laughing skeleton just outside your door never hurts.

halloween desk iinao

Wow them with your totally mad (and completely affordable) Halloween decorating skills as soon as they walk in the door with simple set ups throughout the house. Get creative with skulls, spiders, bloody cloth, and webs that light up eerily with a well-placed strobe light.

halloween small reaper iinao

This creepy little reaper hanging over the staircase scares the snot out of the kids every morning…SCORE! I should feel guilty about that. I totally don’t.

halloween handprints iinao

The best and final details are typically the most affordable and often the most effective. These bloody handprints leading into our guest bathroom…

bloody feet iinao

Are preceded by these bloody footprints…

halloween blood on floor iinao

That left this crime scene. You’re welcome.

It’s that simple and affordable to have a freakishly haunted Halloween this year. Want to get $250 worth of free affordable Halloween decor from Oriental Trading this year for your fright fest? If you act now, you can when you enter their spooky giveaway.Hurry though…contest ends 10/17/15. Don’t be scared, you have as good a chance as any “body”.

What’s your favorite Halloween decoration? What’s your favorite holiday to decorate for? If you don’t say Halloween, Christmas, or Mardi Gras, we can no longer be ghoulfriends. See what I did right there? Overkill? I can’t help myself. Sorry.

Peace out and Happy Halloween!