Category Archives: Jacksonville

Shangri La

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*Spoiler* “Shangri La isn’t a a wave we are going to find, it’s wherever we are going next” <— Annnd thats the last line of the surf documentary “Strange Rumblings in Shangri La”. Probably one of the coolest lines I’ve heard too.

We (as a family) have graduated to attending premieres of surf documentaries in the parking lot of surf shops. Sunrise surf shop to be exact. What can I say? We are neighbors to the shop, so why not? I got to sit next to a surfer that looked EXACTLY like Sean Penn from Fast Times at Ridgemont High … I seriously stared at him from the corner of my eye for a good 5 minutes thinking “Dude, I SO know you from somewhere!!”

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Family friendly event, where pizza and drinks were supplied. We scored some front row asphalt seats and got wrapped up into what really seemed like a long music video, with surfing and the occasionally snippy comment from the surfer commentator “Where the f*ck are the waves?”. It was really a great documentary. Cinematography was along the lines of a Royal Tenenbaums type film, and of course beautiful faces, places and waves.

Just before attending the event Mark got me my first board, which we promised my little Mark that he would learn to surf. My little mister informed me after the film “Mama, I don’t think I can surf those big waves“, Me “Baby your absolutely right, we will start with little waves first, then you can travel the world and ride the big waves, ok?” , “Oh man! That is crazy! Its gonna be so hard!” <—- The hard is what makes it great my love.

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If I were to ask the kids their favorite part of the movie, I know they would say it was the pizza. I’ll admit that it was some pretty good pizza. My favorite part of the movie, well part of that evening, was just sitting there on warm asphalt, watching waves next to beautifully svelte tanned people, while a lightning storm played out just north of us. It was a beautiful night.

The turnout for the event was the perfect size. From a 70 year old man sitting behind us, teenagers rolling up on their longboards, to the middle aged surfer with his 4 kids (who all I am sure know how to shred it up, his wife looked like a Hawaiian Princess). Where the heck do I live again?

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A big thank you to Sunrise Surf Shop for a great night. For all the drinks, and to Globe for all the stickers my kids seem to have collected. Heck, though my husband has no real want for surfing, I believe he was inspired to feel the freedom and gravity of what the water has to offer.

Its documentaries (and events) like these that bring the community together, and really plant seeds within to achieve great things. Hell if some surfer dudes can pull off the funds to travel the world looking for the perfect wave, and make a movie about it? Well just about anything is possible, you just have to want it bad enough.

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Note: There was the CUTEST kids there. Along with my kids of course, the cuteness happening was unreal. There was this little kid in front of us, maybe 2? He had a short board, and kept riding it around, and his laughter was contagious… I think most of us spent time laughing with him then watch the movie. Pure joy was on his face as he rolled around. Plus he had a little Globe black flat billed cap on that covered half his face… flipping adorable. So whoever kid that was… Pinch the crap outta those cheeks for me!

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I left that night a happy person. Heck, it was a happy day. Looking forward to future events like that. Events that can inspire my kids to take part of what the earth has to give us (not getting hippy on you, but meaning that adventure is all around us wether it be surfing, hiking, or base jumping).

“Shangri La isn’t a a wave we are going to find, it’s wherever we are going next”

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Are You Ready For Some Football?

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We are on a roll with “1st’s” … First professional football game for the four of us! Mark of course is a big college football fan. GO NAVY (its MANDATORY for all Midshipmen to attend every football game)! As for me.. Well… I’ve done plenty of high school football games, and I do enjoy watching the occasional college game, and who doesn’t like the Super Bowl?

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I actually made notes while at Everbank Stadium, here we go…

  1. Touchdown Selfie : As you may have noticed, I am not shy of the selfie. Also there are at times that I stick up for the selfie. But how bad ass is this?… so guy scores a touchdown, teammate comes running up behind him, puts arm over his shoulder, hand up as if a phone was in his hand, and they PRETEND to take a selfie!! HAHAHA! Oh man! I loved it! I am STILL chuckling to myself…. touchdown selfie… genius…
  2. The personal foul: Now I don’t have an allegiance to one team…. OK, BS, I love JAX, and in loving JAX that means that I love the Jaguars, so be it… so my personal mama bear came out when I saw this personal foul. Myself along with half the stadium, jumps out of our seats screaming “WHAT THE HELL!?!” … I sat down quickly. My dear heavens what came over me? Football fever, eek!
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  3. Jacksonville in Motion: *Watch it here* This video is the halftime show, and at first you think “Hell, no band? No performance?”, but then you get sucked into it, and think I AM NEVER LEAVING JACKSONVILLE!!  Its a 7 minute video of EVERYTHING Jacksonville has to offer. Just how amazing this city is. The video is so great, that is has a STANDING OVATION. Yep. Just move here already.
  4. Friday Night Lights: Ok, it wasn’t FRIDAY, but it was Thursday night football, but once it started to get dark, I turned to Mark and said “wonder when….” then looked up to see the lights start creeping on. At that time I had goosebumps and a world of flashbacks to every high school football game I’ve ever attended. There is just something about being under the lights and watching football, its like a drug. You get sucked in, you feel as though you’ve had 2 red bulls. Great feeling… hell I nearly cried. I was SO HAPPY to be there, and to be with my little family, watching a flipping football game.
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Unlike the baseball game, The Jaguars game was a GREAT family experience. We had actual seats, got to take part of a Firehouse Subs tailgate party before the game, and since we were so high up we actually had a breeze. It was perfect and the kids were great!

Also note that Everbank field was GORGEOUS. With our seats, we had water views on both sides. Just beautiful. Tried taking photos, but my stinking camera phone just couldn’t do it justice. After the 3rd quarter we left to avoid the madness. Walking out we had a great view of downtown, *sigh*, beautiful people. As of right now I am not gifted enough in words to express the beauty and feelings it gives me. All I know is that I am in a happy place.

Thank you Jacksonville.

What to wear & expect at your (my) first SUP race

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Before I get into my first race experience I want to cover TWO things I had to google the night before my first SUP race. Ya know, sometimes you throw yourself into certain situations, and not till the moment right before (of night prior) do you stop and think “What the hell am I supposed to do tomorrow and what am I supposed to wear?!”. I shall take on duties of clearly this up for you.

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What to expect at your FIRST SUP (stand up paddle board) race:

  1. You aren’t the only newbie– Hell I was cool enough for 2 ladies to come up to me and say “You look like what you are doing, what do we do next?”, I only laughed, thanked them on the compliment and explained I was glad I even made it on time. SUP is a new sport, kicking off really in 2005, though its been around for a LONG while. According to WIKIPEDIA, a recent report stated the SUP as an outdoor activity had the most first time participants in 2013. So smile put on a hat, and roll with it, you aren’t the only one.
  2. Make sure you have a PFD and LEASH– My dumb ass couldn’t find my PFD in the morning, and didn’t realize you HAD to have a leash. We are paddling on a river, is there some wave coming to wipe me out and I have to be attached to my board? Egh, probably not, but rules are rules. Don’t be THAT guy. Though I was totally that person. Great thing though, I WASNT the only one (thank you other newbies), and SUP organizers are surfer laid back/friendly. “No problem, we got you! Just pull that leash off that guys board”.
  3. Surfer Friendly– I actually just looked up the definition of Surfer Friendly (SF), apparently it means things are idiot proof. But in this post it means IDIOT friendly. The most chill, happy people out on the water today. You know the dude with the bleach sunned hair that comes up with a dopey smile and just thinks its totally rad you made it? Yes, these are the people at SUP races. You can see the appreciation of people just happy to be out on the water. Its like an adult skate park. The funny teasing back and forth. The “Hell yeah!”s. Its a happy place.
  4. The Surfer & The Newbie–  There are only 2 kinds of people out there ; The Surfer & The Newbie. One thing I learned the other night at my first SUP meet up was “Either they have been doing it forever or they JUST started“. Completely true. There are NO in-betweens. You can usually tell between the 2, and again the surfer is glad you’re there and the newbie is as nervous as you are.
  5. They are serious about there sunscreen– Everyone reaks of it, and if you don’t, well you might as well have a cigarette hanging from your mouth as you are walking down the aisles of Whole Foods. Just wear it. Please.
  6. You will fall off your board– Yep, it will happen, and if not you, someone else will, and if YOU do, someone is glad that they aren’t the only core challenged person. When you do, pretend it was hot as hell and you needed to cool off. Because it probably is hot as hell.
  7. This is a RACE– Though it is all fun and games, and people can state that they are just out there for the experience, its STILL a race. Even the sweetest of old ladies will cut you off. Also who knows, according to a SUP pro (ok, maybe not pro, but pro of information, Dan the Man of WUT SUP), winning a race can start from the START. You get the right lead, you better keep it, you might be going home with some bling.
  8. Doesn’t matter what kind of board you are on– Yep, you don’t have to have the fastest thing. Trust me, there are things out there that look like they should be illegal, cause how can you compete with that? Most races actually have different classes/heats for different kinds of boards. The majority of people might actually be on rentals. So don’t be scared to rent, borrow a friends (kinda a big deal for someone to loan out their board), and or roll up on your foam board.

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What to WEAR to a SUP race: (yes, this was actually a minor freak out for me)

  1. Your bathing suit– Your on the water. You WILL get wet. What are bathing suits made for? TO GET WET <— again something so simplistic and I still have a panic attack about it.
  2. Sunglasses– I want to say don’t wear the nicest sunglasses you own, but I saw some classy ones today, just have a sunglass leash on them, so it they DO fall off, they only fall off onto your neck.
  3. Sun block– Don’t be stupid. Put it on. You are out on the water, and for who knows how long! Protect yourself from a burn and from skin cancer.
  4. Hat– Im a total classy lady and am ALWAYS rockin’ a hat. Well truthfully I don’t believe in washing my hair everyday and hide behind hats. But the purpose of a hat is to provide shade from the sun. AGAIN, you are out on the water, protect your face and give yourself some shade. Plus you can jazz up a boring outfit with a hat, get crazy, there are so many selections of hats out there.
  5. Rash Guards– I actually saw quite a few people with rash guards on. Not only to protect your chest from a RASH made by the boards, but to provide you with protection from the sun. See the trend with sun protection?
  6. Camel Packs– I did not wear one, but there were some of the guys doing the longer distance that had one. Makes sense, I was sweating like a whore in church, and was desperate for water and only paddled for 20 minutes! Its hot out there, and you don’t want to drink the lake/ocean water. There are NO water stops in a SUP race. So bring your own nutrition, and don’t be a douchebag and litter.
  7. Something Comfortable– There were plenty of people in just shorts and a tank. Wear something you don’t mind getting wet in. Something that breathes (it gets HOT out there). Wear something you would wear to the gym, again this is a SPORT and you do get a workout in.

All those tips my be common sense to some, but others it may help. Again, last night I was googling for help. In the end DONT freak out. People are happy you are there. This sport is ruled by beginners, and in the end race organizers want you there, so TALK to them. UntitledUntitled

My race experience at the St Johns Sup Rush was great. Again with the sport & community just building up here in JAX it was a pretty low key grass roots feel of a race. Everyone said hi, truthfully everyone had more to say than hi. It was nice to have small random conversations, and make new friends.

As with most races you start with walking up and checking in. There I picked up my race t-shirt (which is a sweet ladies fitted North Face tech-tee, VERY NICE), got my number marked on my arm, and was redirected to the map, start times and informed that there would be a captains meeting at 8:15. This is also where I quietly asked if I could rent a PFD because I couldn’t find mine, then asked if I HAD to a have a leash on my board. Though I was embarrassed to ask both, they replied quickly and sweetly and hooked me up with BOTH to borrow.

After mingling for awhile, and listening to when & how we would start, we all slowly started entering the water. I have to say that I had the best little crew with me (Mark, Chloe and Little Mark), they were my handy helpers, cameraman and cheer squad. They wished good luck as I entered the water. Now normally I am nervous, but I told myself “its only for the experience”. I kept calm, talked to the guy paddling out next to me, and then we waited.

Once the race went off, it was the fastest 20 minutes of my life. I knew within the first 30 seconds, that this was a RACE and not an experience, plus the Smith Optics rep told me that they were giving away a pair of sunglasses to the winners of both groups (beginners & intermediate). So my ass took off. I took Dan the Man’s advice and went out strong. Since we all went out together I had NO clue who was in which group. I based it off of athleticism, yep I was totally checking everyone out.

The only people in front were surfer dudes that were hauling ass and an asian guy that had just slipped by me. I only had to get to the first bouy, and pay attention to who was hitting that bouy as well, and the only people that were headed that way was me, asian dude, and a 17 Liard Hamilton. I was positive that the Liard look alike had to be a race organizer, and was only showing the beginners where to go, because that kid was HAULING ass. He as so far in front….yeah, he was so far in front.

3/4 of a mile to the bouy. Pssh, I SWIM farther than that, so I can sure as hell slip a paddle with some strength for that distance. Paddle, paddle, paddle, and WHY THE HELL IS IT SO HOT!??! Thats all I thought for 20 minutes, oh and “That kid better not be a beginner”. I was on a mission, those sunglasses were mine. I was feeling strong, I had passed the asian dude at the turn, and no one was getting by. Hell I felt as though I didn’t even have time to look over my shoulder.

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I came across the finish line happy as a clam, and asking the mini-Liard if he was a beginner, and apparently he was. DAMN! Oh well, at least I was first female, and second only to Billy Bad Ass over there. So happy. Felt strong. Just having the feeling of strength made the race amazing. I thank my strength/Tri coach Audra for all the work I’ve had in the gym, because without that I know it would haven’t taken me longer, and that would have NOT been fun.

After I set up my board, we stayed with everyone else on the dock and watched the rest of the paddlers come in. I was in a happy place sitting there watching everyone glide in. It helped that the kids were somewhat enjoying themselves on the dock. Once the last of the paddlers were out of the water, the award ceremony was held in the Rudder club. First drinks were on Blackcreek Outfitters (main sponsor of event), and awards were given out swift & sweet.

Check out that swag for placing!! Crazy amazing! What neat is that all paddlers went home with a goodie bag full of amazing things! Coming from running/triathlon racing, you have almost given up on anything great coming in swag bags anymore, so to get this, WOWZA! Registration was only $25! Big thank you to the race organizers and volunteers. Everyone was super helpful and sweet. Best first time experience, and the other paddlers made it amazing as well. I think I am hooked!UntitledUntitled

So yeah, sitting on the dock watching the paddlers come in, Mark starts shaking his head, I turn and ask whats wrong, he tells me “Your going to have to get a full time job….. because your going to need a faster board”

“I was pretty bad ass huh?”
“Yes, but not as bad ass as that board there” (points to guy in a sleek fast looking board)

I then start shaking my head…
“Your right Mark, I do need a faster board, and a surfboard”
“Oh shit”

Right then and there I thought he was going to pass out and fall off the dock…. This is my life.

SUP & SURF 1sts

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Its been done, I came out of my little shell and met up with the local SUP group, AND took my first surf lesson! Phew! Group meet ups are NOT easy for me, some may be surprised but I am actually a very nervous/shy person. I have to get myself pumped up (or raging on caffeine) to drop myself into a social situation. Nothing worse then being the new kid, and not having a clue what you are getting into!

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Though for my first SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) meet up, I DIDNT bring my board (yeah, running super late, thought people would have already been gone, didn’t want to be THAT person), we stilled rolled up anyways. I thought I might as well say “HI!” and meet with some people, with all hopes that I would see the same people Saturday morning at the St Johns SUP Rush race.

Ended up being SUPER chill. People just hanging on the beach, playing in the waves, and the guy that puts it on (Mike) was super friendly and introduced some people. Most of the guys there were local reps, and some there just to try out boards. Got filled in on the local scene. Though JAX is a big surf community, the SUP scene has yet to get as big as you would think (for some reason I thought it would be huge here). I’m totally cool with small.

Sometimes its hard to come into an established group of athletes (paddlers? people?), it can be extremely intimidating, you feel yourself getting sized up…. Flashbacks, scary, egh, totally didn’t happen here. I’ll take these laid back surfers any day. This sport has been nothing but beginner friendly (both here and on the MS Gulfcoast). Heck its essentially a new sport, its just gaining ground. So hop on the bandwagon while its still growing. Just like the waves though, it will always be there.

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Tell you about the surf you say, ok…
I’ve only been wanting to surf since watching the surfers down in Encinitas, CA where we spent our summers (Del Mar racetrack, just didn’t “summer” at the beach).  My brother and I only had boogie boards, and though we weren’t as cool as the surfers, we caught the biggest waves we could, and put ourselves smack dab in the madness with them, which they (local surfers) absolutely hated, they would scream at us, and I remember thinking “Screw you! You don’t own the ocean!” Im pretty sure my 9 year old self was flipping the bird to them as well, sorry.

I desperately wanted to surf, my mom would try and promise us surf camps, and I would always bring home the brochures for them, but it never happened. Also couldn’t just ask my mom to buy a surfboard either, those things are expensive, so we stuck to boogie boarding. Boogie boarded our asses off. I think (pshh, I know) I have suppressed many memories as a kid, but the summers at the ocean, in the waves, I’ll never forget.

Now actually living in a place that has waves, and being only a walk away, it was time for a surf lesson to happen. Once I dropped the kids for their first day of school, I went and made an appointment for my first surf lesson. Ill be honest and say I was intimidated. Meeting up with Tony (surf instructor/owner of JAX Beach Surf Shop) was tough. Instead of easily penciling me in, we had to have a crash course on meteorology & oceanography and figure out the best day to have a surf lesson. Holy hell, we can’t just go surf? Proud to state that I may now be a semi-pro user of swellinfo.com , my meteorologist husband just MIGHT be impressed (we did get into a fight about ground swell vs wind swells though…. google it).

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How did it go? TOTAL BAD ASS. Not gonna lie, I was completely ready to get my ass handed to me. Was lucky though on the fact that Florida waves are no where near intense as the California waves I grew up with. Though I had a few wipeouts, I was able to get up on my first try, and things just got better wave after wave. Tony was direct, and straight AWESOME. He covered water safety, marine life, surfer etiquette, and a little more tips then normally given (I was getting the hang out it!). Apparently all those years boogie boarding played into my being able to read waves, yes-uh!

One of the coolest thrilling mornings of my life. I got to do something I’ve dreamt of for 20 years! So yeah, now I am getting ready for the next best day to hit the waves and looking into purchasing a surf board (lets get to Ironman Arizona first right?).

Oh, and you know your going to have a great lesson when your instructor starts with  “Don’t freak out when you see fins come out of the water. Totally the worst thing you can do is freak out. Understand?” <—- My thoughts? “This is gonna be totally awesome!”, and it totally was.

Lifeguards Kids Go to School Too…

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School has definitely kicked off with a happy start for my two little minions. They love it. So far no complaints, and I am proud to say that I have their teachers chase me down to tell me how wonderful they are, then we proceed into the car where they release the hellion that has been waiting to show itself all day… I digress.

Its mostly Chloe. “She is such and angel!” her teacher proclaims, then once the door closes to the car, I feel as though her head spins a slow 360 degrees and she demands to know why I am wearing a dress. <— That seriously happened. So now I am explaining myself to a 5 year old, which only leads to a screaming match between the two of us. I feel as though I am 9 years old and my dad is demanding to know why I am wearing nail polish! What the hell just happened? As Aunt Vicki would say “Beat the devil out of her!”, LOL…. There is no air!

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So I have to share, one thing that has been ingrained into my parent mind by the teachers of the kids new school is that “This is a beach community…”. Seriously, I heard that from EVERY teacher at orientation. I wasn’t sure how to take it. Like “we are laid back and if there is a good swell, school will start an hour later, dude” and or “Your child will be a pro on the quality, quantity and application of sun screen”? All I’ve done is nod my head and smile, because c’mon, Chloe’s kindergarten teacher looks like a 5’11, beach barbie, that can drop kick a 40 lb child across a football field WHILE standing on top of a surfboard. She’s no joke, I’m totally impressed.

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I’m totally  mc’lovin this beach school. In the morning I gawk at the lifeguards tans as they drop of their little beachlings (made that word up, going to have to google it).  I count how many Tony Hawks I see cruise up on their “club cars” (supe’d up golf carts, next to beach cruisers, everyone has one). What do you mean by Tony Hawks? I mean the 35-40 year old men that stroll up in flat brimmed hats, amazing sideburns, Spy sunglasses, Rainbow sandals, some surf brand t-shirt, and either board shorts or some sexy fitted Dockers/Dickies shorts.

I smirk at the moms that have their cute little sundresses over their bathing suits as if they are actually going to cruise over to the beach that instant and hit the waves.
Wait…. that chick just grabbed her beach cruiser which has a rack for her surfboard, and yes she IS going to hit the waves <—- Hell, I learn’ today!

Last but not least, Namaste to all the Yogi moms hittin’ up one of the 100 yoga shops within a 2 mile radius, and HELL YEAH (high five!) to the ripped up Crossfit couples jamming out to the local box for their morning WOD.

This is what I see every morning! No exaggerations! This is my current life, I sit in my  car and people watch in complete shock and leave voicemails on Marks cell phone saying “I never want to leave…. Babe! I need a beach cruiser because I’m scared the hippies on the corner will drop some bad juju on me if I drive the one mile to the school again!”

#beachlife #hashtagginginmyownblogpost

First Game Ever?

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Wanna take the kids to a baseball game? <— Jacksonville has a baseball team!? For a quick moment I have a minor heart attack because I can’t remember a single team name (in all of MLB). Nah, just a minor league (double A) team.

Ah, ok. HELL YEAH!

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I’ve used this game and Marks return home as bargaining chips for the past 2 weeks. I of course more excited to go to a baseball game than the kids. Chloe kept thinking … wait this is exactly what she would say “Mama, we are gonna watch a football, um, soccer, a golf practice right? I have a golf ball with me.” <— She brought the golf ball to the BASEBALL game. No worries, Smokey the Bear was there and hooked the girl up with a proper baseball.

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We learned a couple of things at this game, biggest thing: Don’t bring a grumpy Chloe. That poor girl was hungry, and pissed we weren’t sitting in prime seats. <— Seriously? Eat this hotdog and be quiet.

Second: Don’t buy bleacher seats. Mark was in charge of getting us tickets through the MWR, and didn’t know what he was getting into. Its alright though. There happens to be grass seating, and a playground for the kids to play at! Yay for minor league baseball fields right?

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I learned something new, this was Marks (hubs) first baseball game, ever. Ever? Ever. What no Angels games? No near death experiences at a Dodger game? No college games, where you cheered on friends? No punches to a random strangers gut, all for a foul ball? OK, how about losing feeling in your lips because you have salted them with sunflower seeds?

Honestly I stared, just STARED at Mark for a solid 2 minutes. Confused. “Well you probably haven’t missed much”. But it lead me to ask him stupid questions like “Do you know what R.B.I stands for?”, “How many innings in a baseball game?”, “On which side of the baseball field does the home team always sit on”<— I didn’t ask that last question, but totally saving it for later.

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Though I didn’t really grow up watching baseball, wait…. I just called bull shit on myself, Yes I did grow up watching Dodger games on the television (channel 5 right? Would always interrupt Friends?), I had a crush on the first base men, what the hell was his name? Anyone?

I did grow up playing softball. Fresh cut grass, neatly lined infields, lightly sprinkled dirt, and the smack of a ball hitting a glove (in the sweet spot) is ingrained into my soul (if I like it or not). Can I be honest and say I will never sign Chloe up for softball (unless she asked)? Yep. But doesn’t mean that I will keep the sport from my kids.

Baseball is an American sport. I think its in all of us. So many happy moments revolve around a baseball/softball field for me. I am happy that I can share that with my kids in some form. Though they really had no clue what was going on, I was so happy to be at that field. Happy to be around baseball fans, eating a crappy hotdog, devouring burnt popcorn, and second guessing an umpires call “Ask for help!”. I felt a little at home. Plus I was sweating like a mad man, I might as well have been 3 games in and completely exhausted only wanting to throw my mitt into my coaches face…

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I am thankful for the sport. Thankful for family time. Honored to be with 3 of my loves at their FIRST baseball game, ever. But its going to be a couple years before I even go back with those crazies. Will take a date night, or drag friends to a baseball game (if you complain like the children, I WILL be bringing a baseball glove and smacking you across the face with it, “You’re killin me Smalls!”. And if you cry about it? Well, “There is no crying in baseball”, so get over it.

Chloe “Mama, its to hard to open the peanut”
Me (as I snatch the peanut from her) “It’s supposed to be hard (its a dang peanut). If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be doing it. *cracked open peanut* The hard is what makes it great.” <— She wasn’t too impressed with that peanut.

P.s  I haven’t seen the floater pitch since Scuffy McGee!
P.S.S Hey you guys, don’t throw me anything, my girlfriend put a curse on my glove…. I’ll take the hex off the eFFing glove…
P.Sx3 Just throw.
P.Sx4 Hey it could happen.

**Name me whats happening in those “P.S’s and Ill send you a JAX BEACH hat (what I’m wearing in the first photo), must post on FACEBOOK fan page, under the link to THIS post** Only ONE available, to the FIRST person who gets it!

A long weekend into normalcy

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Ya know, being away from my own blog for a bit kinda brought me away from myself. I know so many of you were worried I was dropping The Knitty Triathlete, and I promised I wouldn’t, this would always be my space.

Heck I come to learn that even Mark (the hubs) relied on my blogging to see what was really going on within my head, and to see more pictures! As much as this is a blog about my life, its a blog about my family, because they ARE me.

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This past weekend happened to be the longest/fastest weekend ever. Long because we have been waiting for Mark to get home, and fast because there just was a million things to do! School orientation, 81 mile bike, cleaning, organizing, beach time, pool party, Ironman tracking, finishing up Shark Week and snuggle time. All the priorities in life!

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Mark has been away since March. He came home to visit in Gulfport for a week in May, saw him for a day last month, and at last he is home with us (but just for a bit). Normally time apart takes a strong toll on me ( and it did) but this time around it was pretty tough on the kids. Though they are the happiest of campers, and had one heck of a summer (Thank you Paw Paw, Abuela, Aunt Ev, Uncle Justin, Sophia & Justin), they still had some hardy mental break downs not understanding why Dad had to be gone.

Many a times I would get into fights with Chloe “I MISS MY DAAAAADDDDDYYYY!!!!!!”, “DONT THINK YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE!!!!”, and then plenty of times had silent talks filled with tears with my little Mark going over the importance of Dad being out on the ship. Though I give in at times because Mark has been gone, I still lay down the law and explain that life could be worse, that we should be lucky, and there are plenty of children with Daddies that are gone for much longer periods of time. In the end I pray they come out stronger people for being military brats (does anyone else dislike that term?).

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So while we have waited patiently here in JAX beach, we have watched pink sunsets over the ships in port. Hit up a back to school bash pool party on base, where they lost their little minds in hamburgers, sprite and water slides. Geez, I wish I still had the excitement of a child in me knowing that I am at a pool party. I desperately tried not to be the party pooper, and pull them out early. Just look at how happy they were!

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But do you know how hard it is to put children to bed after a super awesome pool party… knowing that in the morning Daddy will be home? You don’t? Well it was like Christmas. Those kids were up till nearly midnight. Truthfully only my little Mark was, and he is the one normally zonked out early, leaving only Gremlin Chloe to harass me until she passes out in a hallway. We stayed up a bit watched Transformers Rescue Autobots (does anyone else watch that cartoon? Its hilarious! Or I was exhausted and thought it was hilarious).

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In the end, Christmas day came (Mark pulling into port). The ship is huge, and the kids knew right away when they saw it that Daddy was on THAT ship. There was happy screaming in the truck as we pulled up to pick up Mark. Once the crazy settled down, things were normal. Truly normal. Things HAVE NOT been normal since a bit before Mark left in March (prior to him leaving we just didn’t know what we were going to do, another story). *Sigh*, but I live on the fence knowing that this will be short lived, and I can not fully exhale, but I will live in the moment with my little family.

Geez, I have a family. 2 kids. A husband is who laying next to me snoring…Ill have to roll him over just to wake him up and see if I can fall asleep before the snoring starts again (ha! Totally called you out Mark, but I know it has to be amazing sleeping in your OWN bed, and not on the stinky ship).

I am happy. I am normal. Life is good.