Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Ever since I graduated with my bachelor's degree I've talked about getting an MFA.  It was always this eventually/someday/maybe when Joony's older kind of dream, though, and I would mention it casually sometimes to friends and wistfully sometimes to David but it was tucked safely in the back of my mind.
Lately, though, ad quite out of the blue, we've started talking about master's programs.  First, David mentioned wanting to get an MBA, and when I complained about how little I would see him, he pointed out that maybe I should just jump in and get my MFA at the same time.  Something clicked in my heart when he said that and it just felt so...warm and good and right and comfortable.

I have this image in my head of the person I am, this idealistic way I see myself, and I haven't been doing things lately that move me closer to actually being that person.  I like to think of myself as a yogi and a voracious reader and a serious writer and in reality, the main thing that my free time is producing is an advance in Mad Men episodes on Netflix.  I've been so doubtful of myself and my creative abilities that it was easier to dream about doing really cool things than to actually do them and risk failing.
Since Joony was born I'd talked about plans of becoming a doula* and a kickboxing instructor and a runner and none of it came to fruition because it wasn't where my heart was rooted.  Circling back around to the study and craft that made me so happy for four years of my undergrad feels like a big smack in the forehead, and having the training and ability to teach at a college level is just so perfect considering my profound dislike for any kid that isn't my own (or my sweet neicey-poos, of course. I'm not a monster here).  The best part is that with an MFA in Creative Writing my thesis is a work ready to send off to agents to work towards publication, which is perfect because I have this vampire novel I'm dying  to get published, har har har.

So I'm talking to online universities, and sitting down to write every day because a big part of the application process is a couple pages of writing, and wondering if there are scholarships for 20-something white moms going back to school online, and sprucing our office into an awesome creative space, and feeling hopeful and smart and brave and excited.  It's a good place to be.

OH - these pictures are from my graduation from BYUI and picture goddess Kate took the top one and I still love those pictures so much. She totally captured the pride and excitement we were feeling and ohmygosh I miss that BFF of mine every single day.

*I actually do still want to be a doula someday, I have to add a caveat for that one. That is also a passion, just not the right one for this season of life.

Friday, April 18, 2014

crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful, beautiful

24 Hour Roller Coaster:
+ I got a massage, scheduled as a surprise by my husband, and I loved every second of it.
+ We went on a last-minute date night to our favorite burger place and spent the whole time dreaming about getting our master's degrees and planning how we might make it happen for reals.
+ Then we took the sexy meter up a notch and headed to PetSmart for dog food, where I found like 4 different people to talk about dogs and compare cell phone pictures with.
-- Dog food is so freaking expensive whyyyy.
+ We came home and spent forever googling programs and jobs and getting excited...
-- ....which kept us up after midnight....
-- ...and then Joony woke up in the middle of the night and tossed and turned in our bed for a couple hours...
-- ...and the night ended when he woke up an hour earlier than usual...
-- ...so the whole dang family woke up terribly, horribly grumpy.
+ I got to talk to the coolest lady about her Creative Writing MFA experience and ended the conversation feeling encouraged and excited and hopeful.
-- Joony pulled my straightener off the counter and burned the crap out of his finger. It blistered and he screamed and I hyperventilated and felt like the worst mother alive.
+ My BFF Shpitty came over on her lunch break and I got to have my 2nd awesome conversation of the day with an awesome lady.
-- Even after his nap and ice and Tylenol and Neosporin, Joony was so miserable and sad...
+ ...so we went to the park with Carmen and had so much fun walking around and enjoying fresh air!...
-- ...and Carmen had the most uncomfortably slow motion dog poop directly in front of a row of high school students watching their friends play tennis, and then I had to bend over and scoop the poop into a doggy bag while they watched so I wasn't that awful, disgusting dog owner who just leaves poo in public parks for nice people to step in.
-- Joony ripped pages out of one of my favorite books, which was a gift from a high school English teacher and is filled with highlighting and her hand-written notes and is one of my most prized possessions.
+ I met up with a group of really funny people who are forming an improv comedy group and we talked and cracked jokes and started making plans for a really fun time and I got REALLY excited about the possibility of doing some improv again.

Monday, April 14, 2014

...and many more

Birthday gifts + birthday cake + gluten-free birthday cake for Dad + Curious George cake topper = awesome.

10,000 pictures of this yellow cake and chocolate frosting because I made it all from scratch and I'm annoyingly pleased with myself about it
Here's the thing about parenting: sometimes it's really, really disappointing.
Sometimes you plan this perfect day, but you forget to account for the needs of a toddler, who's easily confused and thrown off by slight changes in his schedule.  Sometimes he has the biggest tantrum of his life, and you somehow slam your head in the car door, and you bicker with your husband about really dumb things, and you feel like you're failing your kid on what should be a really special day.

Here's the other thing, though: It's not about you.  Parenting has to be selfless or it doesn't work, and sometimes I'm so focused on what I want that I forget what Joony really needed was a nap on time and understanding when he gets frustrated and confused and a parent who goes with the flow instead of getting upset that the day isn't going exactly as imagined.
As far as checklists go, we had a great day.  We went to a Kid's Fair (with a dog adoption thrown in as a huge bonus!), Joony is obsessed with his new scooter, he loved his birthday cake, we spent a sunny afternoon in the park.  Check, check, check.  There were just a few really unpleasant moments thrown in there to remind me that sometimes life can be real, real messy, and if I don't roll with it, I'm going to be a mess, too.  I really love this baby of mine, and becoming a good parent is a learning curve that barely leaves me with my head above water most days, but I'm excited to be learning. Happiest of birthdays, little buddy. We love you more than words.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

dog days

Okay yes, hi, I'm Brandilyn and I'm weird about animals.  David and I lived in rentals for over 5 years after we got married and I wanted a pet so badly the entire time. I even tried negotiating with different landlords to get a pet in my home/arms, but nothing. Once we bought a house, though, I started getting excited and doing my research.  Adopting a dog isn't a decision we took lightly--they're a big financial and emotional responsibility, and abandoned animals make me sick to my stomach in sadness.  We knew we'd be adding a member to the family and it wouldn't be temporary, so we got serious about finding the right match.
On Joony's birthday we went to a Kids Fair in Idaho Falls...which was noisy and overwhelming and a little too much for all of us.  BUT they had an animal adoption fair with several different animal shelters from all over, which is what brought me there in the first place.
Long story long, we found Carmen!  I was immediately drawn to her sweet face and she was so mellow and kind, I fell in love.  We left to get lunch and talk it over, then came back for our girl.  She has turned out to be just as great as we'd hoped. She barely sheds, she's patient with Joony, and loves to hang out around the house and be doted on.  She's timid, especially around men, but still just a sweet girl all around.
Today I picked up a container of puppy treats which I guess looked like Joony snacks too.  When I gave one to Carmen. Joony asked me politely for one.  I told him they were puppy treats, so he walked over to Carmen, held out his hand, and said, "Peas?" Hilarious. He also shared some of his leftover birthday cake with her...woops.  Needless to say, we're hoping they become great friends.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I ain't ever lived a year better spent in love

Today is Joony's second birthday!
Joony is simultaneously fiercely independent and very clingy.  He wants me nearby, but not following him around.  He loves buses, trucks, cars, airplanes, and dogs.  All day long he waits for David to walk through the door and take him into the garage for their nightly playtime in the cab of the truck. The only television show he likes watching is Curious George (usually half an episode each day while I make breakfast). He doesn't talk a ton, but knows enough words to communicate when he sees a plane outside or to identify his favorite people.  If he thinks I'm being too serious or sad, he'll wrap his arms around me and gently pat my back or legs or whatever he can reach. When you ask him what his name is, he points to himself and says "Baby!"  And I love that. He is my baby.
In short, Joons is the most hilarious, infuriating, clever, stubborn, sweet, adorable little guy we've ever met.  I have no idea what I'm doing, and I know sometimes I mess up, but being a parent is still the coolest thing I've ever done.
Happy birthday, buddy!
P.S. Joony turns one and Joony's birth day

Thursday, April 10, 2014

If you were a seed, well, I'd be a pod

California...what do I even say about being here that I haven't gushed about in another blog post? I grew up in this house and this town so being back, even with a baby, feels so familiar and comforting.  People kept asking me why I came and I kept shrugging my shoulders because...do you need a reason to come home? I've been homesick and lonely and I wanted time with my family.

My flight was out of Salt Lake, and my Megs surprised me by walking in my door at 2AM the morning before I left to make the 4 hour drive to Salt Lake with Joony. I had been so anxious about that drive, and having an extra set of hands was the biggest relief. I won't ever be able to put into words how much her being there meant to me.
We spent the night with my high school best friend Michelle, which was bittersweet because she's moving to Colorado soon to start a brand new adventure with her husband. I can't wait to go visit, but saying good-bye suck suck sucked. And THEN we spent Monday morning before our flight curled up on my college bestie Brooke's couch, talking so fast our words would all jumble together and laughing and admiring each other's babies.

I'm saying all this so I remember someday how rejuvenating it was for my heart to have 24 hours packed with girlfriend time--with people who know my story and laugh at the jokes that make strangers think I'm a terrible person (Michelle and I said that, when meeting new people who don't get our jokes, were tempted to yell, "I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT IN SOME CIRCLES I AM CONSIDERED A RIOT!"). It was so refreshing to not wonder where I stood with them or hope I wasn't offending them or feel weird walking right into their house and curling up on their couch. I didn't realize how desperately I needed that relating until I was in the middle of it, feeling so healed.

Ok and...I meant this post to cover my whole week in the Bay Area, but I've been waxing poetic about girlfriends and just the one day I spent traveling to Salt Lake for so long that maybe I'll call it quits here and post about actually being home another day (so hang in there, I know you'll be ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT waiting for vacation posts! haha).

Friday, March 28, 2014


 Flats/Chambray: Target; Pants: Old Navy; Headband: Handmade; Bag: Nena & Co.

Joony in my outfit pictures?! Yep, I did it. He thought it was so funny so walk around in front of the camera, and funnier still when I started dancing (see second picture). I taught him how to raise the roof and now he does it whenever music plays.

OK these are the Old Navy Pixie Pants and I'm ob.sessed. Did I buy them because of the hilarious commercial with Amy Poehler? Yes. Duh. I'm a die hard fan of the Poehler/Fey/Kaling/Dunham gang of hilarious feminists. Here's the thing, though--I've maybe been a little too critical of my body lately.  I know, I know, empowerment and "I carried a baby!" and all that, I've been feeling chubby. These pants make me feel good, though, and I love their stretchy booty-hugging ways. I want them in every color! GIVE ME ALL THE PIXIE PANTS!

And then also, have I shouted from the blogging rooftops yet that I got a Nena & Co. bag for Christmas? Because I did and I love it and I only use it on the most special of occasions (like, uh, a trip to the nature park with my family). It's soft and colorful and matches everything.

Joony, so adventurous/accident-prone these days, smashed his baby fingers in our bedrom door the morning before we went on this little excursion. He held his finger and was so sad all morning.  We could tell it wasn't broken, but obviously bothering him, so we got him a special new bus (he L O V E S busses right now) and went to the nature park to throw food at the ducks and run around. It was chilly, gloomy weather--my favorite--and it seemed to distract him and cheer him up again, huzzah.