And she’s off! I dropped Amber and Bean off in Redlands last Sunday. It was 104°F. We thought we’d hang out, have an iced coffee, walk down the little downtown and check out Orange Street Alley but it was way way way too hot to be out and about!
We tried though! We got our iced coffees, sat around in the air-conditioned coffee shop for as long as we could, and then quick-footed it down the alley with all the umbrellas and called it a day. Nice knowing you Niece-com-poops! Have a good life!
Just kidding. I wouldn’t give them a send-off like that in a million years. We might have kept our goodbye hugs short but we definitely made sure the daysbefore she left was really special. We had several “last chance” special outings. We went to the beach, we went to the pool, we went to Balboa Island and we went to the mall… we visited all of our special places (including Wahoos and the Shake Shack!) and tied up her visit with an extra nice bow. I’m so glad she was able to stay so long with me during such a tumultuous time and we were leaving on good terms. We didn’t even fight! It was really special to have this time to bond with her and Bean. I love them to pieces.
And yes, I miss them.
I mean, how could you not? Look at that innocent cherub face! All the memories of her interrupting my phone calls with high shrieks or throwing food from her highchair onto my white carpet have magically vanished away. What crazy psycho baby? I have no idea what you are talking about. She is a DREAM!
It was good for me to be in the thick of toddlerhood again to remind me that I’m good. I don’t need to do it all over again. Having only one child who is now an amazing teenager is not a bad gig. I’m very happy with my motherhood journey. Yes, I did want more kids but I’m lucky to have the ones I have now. There will always be children in my life, they just won’t always be mine. Sigh…
Amber took this photo of Bean sleeping on me. I’ll always have these memories and I can’t wait until they come back to visit, or maybe I fly out to Iowa and visit them! It’s possible.
Fly little butterfly, fly! You have a great big world out there for you and it’s going to be great.
In hair news: I decided to cut the “wolfie” into a regular “pixie.” I thought wrongly that the shorter I went the cooler it would be. Nope, I still sweat the same amount and I am sick to death of summer and all this sweating. I do like my super short hair though. It’s fun and super easy to take care of because no matter how I try to style it, it pretty much looks the same. So why try?! Bed head is taking some getting used to. I don’t love the crazy old lady tennis player wave I get sometimes but at least it’s entertaining. I hate it so much I rush to the bathroom sink and madly smash it down. Why does my hair have to be so free? It just wants to be full and escape my head. Note to future Brenda: do not cut layers above your ears. When will I ever learn???
It was a blur. A big orange and pink blur of happiness. I turned fifty, invited all my friends and family and I had a fabulous bash! All that preparation and it finally happened.
First I should start off with the balloons and the party prep at my apartment before the party because how can I not share these adorable photos of my great niece? It’s like having toddler Bug around to photograph all over again. She does not take a bad picture.
Then let’s talk about the elephant in the room: my haircut. I went big. Yes, I did. I walked into my hairstylist’s salon with a printout of several hairstyles I liked and we picked. One choice was particularly risky. I hemmed and hawed and she got all bubbly and excited and I thought, If I can’t go big at fifty will I ever? So I took a huge risk and hacked all my hair off into a “wolfie” style AKA a mullet. It got kinda scary in the chair, my natural curl kicked in, and the next thing I knew I had a David Bowie wig on my head. My stylist added more product and more product and straightened it with a straightening iron and it just got worse and worse.
I wasn’t devastated. I’ve had a similar haircut before (when I got married in 1999 and almost left Toby right before we got married… it’s a theme). I know it’s not the end of the world. I just need to remember not to cut layers above my ears because my hair likes to fluff upwards and be free like Marge Simpson’s blue do.
I left the salon to my stylist’s dismay (poor girl even called me after all worried) and decided I’d sort it out at home. As I was rushing around my house getting all sweaty from running up and down the stairs and carrying various party things in and out, I felt grosser and grosser. The product and sweat were combining into a sticky mess and it was not pretty. Bug said, Just take a shower and style it like you normally would. It’ll be fine.
Normally I’d love to keep that fresh out-of-the-salon look. That’s why I scheduled a haircut on the day of a party but you know, I live on the edge and I picked a freakishly new and fresh style that is a little too new and fresh for my vibe. So I took another risk and washed all the product out. It was a little better.
Then I put on tons of retro eye make-up with a bold blue eyeshadow and BAM! All better! Crisis averted!
I really had no other choice. No time for tears now!
It’s time to pump it up…. with bubbles!
And photos! The vector wall is back! I gave it to a friend because it doesn’t fit in my small apartment but she lives close by and I can borrow it whenever I like.
See what I mean about this girl? Have you ever seen anything cuter? Her mom put some semi-permanent pink dye on her hair and she was so happy. She got to have pink hair just like her grandma. It melted my heart.
My mom was in charge of making sure everyone was fabulous enough. We packed two vintage suitcases with various scarves and hats and costumes for any guests that might show up looking too ordinary. Nobody did. They got the memo.
Then we hammed it up like the Instagram stars we are. I jest.
Do you like this three-person mumu? I found it at a vintage store? It’s so amazing. I’m going to have to take it on a shoot in the desert sometime. It has way too much potential.
I wanted a fabulous party to take pictures at. When I sat and thought about what I really wanted I waffled between sending myself on a spa trip or hanging with my friends, being fabulous and taking pictures. You know me. I love to art direct beautiful images but of course, I was the hostess with the mostess and I didn’t hire a photographer so I didn’t get the shots I wanted because I was partyzilla with her head cut off. But I tried!
Next time: hire a photographer!!
We did take a lot of pictures. And we definitely had a lot of fun posing for a lot of bad pictures (Not the above…I’m just talking about the 50 or so shots I am not sharing because my double chin decided to steal the show.) A lot of old friends showed up and met my local friends. It was a reunion of All my favorite people together. Of course, a lot of people couldn’t make it but that’s to be expected these days. Nobody wants to go to a rager super spreader. Not even me.
We had brendaritas and champagne and nostalgic potluck food from our childhoods. There was jello salad and hotdogs and rice and my favorite three-layer-casserole that my mom makes that instantly takes me back to 1980. It was so fun to have a smorgas board of all our comfort foods and family recipes. Eat and share the memories!
Posing posing posing… more fun pictures… Look at that vintage crock pot! I love a theme party and so do my friends.
The kids even got in on it.
Then the big cake moment came. I specifically asked Bug to be in charge of the cake. I had an image in my mind of her carrying it all lit with candles and glowing pink. I didn’t count on the kids going in the pool and her showing up dripping wet but you know, we can adapt. I can slide that art director hat off and live in the moment. She was so sweet to lead the singing in a room full of people. I know she was a little shy but she pulled it off with her perfect pitch.
Then I blew germs all over the cake and we ate it! I’m joking but I do regret blowing on the cake. We need to come up with a better tradition. Maybe germs are good for us?. The pandemic has me all paranoid. Anyway, it’s been a few days and nobody has come down sick as far as I know so I think we’ll be okay.
By the time we finished eating cake it was time to clean up and get out. Everybody helped me clean and we locked up without any security guards kicking us out or charging me for the minutes we went past the curfew. Nobody was even there to tell us we were late! I wonder if we could have kept the party going. But you know me, I’m not really a night owl anyway.
All is well. Hello Fifty.