App Store Freebies

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How does one unwind after a long day of packing? Raid the App Store freebies of course.

In honor of the App Store’s graduation to Kindergarten, Apple has marked down some of their most popular apps. Here’s a few I scored last night:

Gabi— social media
Typesetter— photography {for those like me who are graphically-impared}. I played with this app at 5am this morning and this is what I came up with…

Typesetter test image

Impressed? Don’t be. This is now my 3rd ice cream reference in a week. It’s bad, folks.

Mechanical Pomodoro— productivity
Barefoot Atlas— to satisfy my son’s obsession with all things maps.

And here’s a few more that looked interesting but I didn’t have enough memory space…

How to Cook Everythingobviously for those interested in pursuing paragliding
The CIA World Factbook— for tracking Edward Snowden
23,000 Great Quotes— for more impressive status updates
Groceries— for groceries

Run… hurry… hit up the App Store while they’re still feeling generous. Comment back here with your favorite downloads.

One Final Deep Breath

movingi truck

I am taking one final deep breath this weekend before the chaos of moving week begins. If my posts next week are filled with tears and typos, you will understand why. Moving is never easy, but I’ve arranged for little-people care, and I have my podcast line-up and Pandora stations cued up to keep me company while I pack. Oh, and having moved 4 times in 3 years, this ought to be a snap thanks to Martha Stewart’s moving checklist. Since I don’t have to officially start thinking about  boxing and labeling until Monday, here are some fun links that have been a welcomed distraction this week:

A clever gender reveal

A lodging option for my next extended vaca

The Starbs barista said I look like her. Hey, I’ll take it!

According to this map, I am not proud to be a Floridian

Little ones feed Le Tour de Fr-enzy

Guts-y but beautiful

This Sesame Street project hits home

Have a great weekend!

{image via Haynes Photography}

Ready For the Weekend

indulgy

It’s date night, and I am still glistening with sunscreen from this morning’s pool party with the kiddos. I see pub food and casual conversation in our near future. What are you doing this weekend? Here’s a few links that made me click twice this week.

He with the most Facebook friends wins apparently.

Nicole Kidman– the early years

Clark and Mia dead ringers

My kids new favorite book

Invite for my next At-Home Date Night

Butter in coffee?

Good advice for summertime runners

The Happy Movie just made my instant queue

Well, that’s all for now….I hope you enjoy the official first weekend of summer!

{Image via Indulgy}

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Balboa Island

What are you doing this Memorial Day Weekend? The pool opens {yeah!}. Figure we better use it while we still live in this ‘hood. {Hopefully, I will have an update on how Beasley House Hunters: Powder Springs is going for you soon– Lord, please let it be soon}. I figure a dip in the pool with dozens of my closest friends and neighbors will be just what I need after a 10-mile trail race on Saturday morning. I have never run a trail race before, and after all of this rain, the race report is that a section of the trail is actually UNDER WATER. The good news is that I’ve never heard of anyone drowning in a trail race before. Wish me luck!

And now for some random inspiration…

Emily Henderson’s senior citizen studio Before and After

Fun photo app for wedding guests…

My kids’ favorite book right now…

Before you judge Angelina

Not your everyday vacation spots

Some friends of mine were on Leno {38:00-ish}!

What Beyonce and Queen Elizabeth have in common

My first half-marathon

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

{Image via urbandorothy’s instagram}

Weekend Musings

Peter Hall bicycle

And now, for some random web-finds for your weekend pinning pleasure…

Did you happen to celebrate National Bike to Work Week?

I want these coasters.

Do American parents have it backwards?

I’ve got brass on the brain.

These men know how it feels to give birth.

How one mother dressed her boy for a day at the beach

I just read this book to Mia for the first time.

I’m pretty sure Julia Sweeney and I could be friends.

Have a great weekend!!

Some Closing Captions

Clark is out of town {returning today}. Typically, when he is gone I can’t sleep. So, I stay up way too late wandering the internet in places I really don’t belong. For instance, last night I was scrolling the New Yorker cartoon archives that probably weren’t all that funny, but since I was already up late and all by myself, and I have been with the kids for three days straight ALL BY MYSELF, I thought they were freaking hilarious. Literally, I was *guffawing so loudly, I woke up one of the kids.

I recently listened to a Heritage Radio broadcast that discussed how American society is moving away from expressing it’s individuality with words and instead projecting their identity through visual media {i.e. Pinterest and Instagram, etc.}. If this is true, I thought I would meet you half-way and tie up this month’s healthy living conversation with a few of my favorite late night cartoon captions.

NY down internet
{For my mother who will inevitably ask for the large print edition of this blog post:}
“HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO COOK? THE INTERNET IS DOWN”

NY healthcare card
“CONGRATULATIONS”/”GOOD LUCK WITH THE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM”/”GET WELL”Demitri Martin 2
Mom, is that big enough?

NY Improv night NY not exercise Demetri Martin 1

For real though… that last one had me un. done. Comment on your favorite. {Er don’t, because apparently our generation doesn’t like to talk anymore}.
Okay then. Pin-stagram your fave.

{All hysterical images via The New Yorker and Demetri Martin}

{*guffawing via thesaurus.com… seriously, who says that?}

Interview with a Recovering Blond

Part of me wishes I could gather together all of the doctors and specialists that have something to say about my son. I would then throw them in a ring together so they can duke out his diagnosis. They all have something different to say. Part of me, if I’m honest, has been hoping to hear just one of them say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him and all the other opinions are bogus and he is brilliant and gifted and bound to be a smashing success in life. Unfortunately, the one thing they can agree on is that he is a blond. Here’s the thing about blonds– or should I say, those who are on the “blond spectrum”. They may be platinum blond, dirty blond, strawberry blond, sandy blond, bottle-job blond, verbal, non-verbal, savant, sensory challenged, antisocial, repetitive and so forth. No matter how you classify it, they are all blond. I brought my little blond-headed kid to Macon today to meet with an ASD specialist (who is named Dr. Duke ironically enough). She had one thing going for her for sure that has set her apart from anyone else I’ve talked to about Salem’s mystery condition. She has a son with Asperger’s syndrome. Three hours into our visit, I took the greatest comfort in knowing that she knows more from first-hand experience about what I am dealing with on a daily basis with my son than anyone I have consulted in the medical community thus far. Somehow, that gave her more authority to speak into our situation. She seemed very confident that Salem is an Asperger-blond, which nobody has come right out and said. For eight months now we’ve been circling the same spectrum. For crying out loud, will somebody please land the plane? Forgive me, but I would like to know just what shade of blond my son is sporting. When he was first born I studied all of the creases in his chubby fingers, and I knew that his foot was exactly the length of my pointer finger. If I look deep enough into his piercing blue eyes, his right iris bears a speck of hazel at 4 o’clock that identifies part of him, even if it is only a small part of him, with me. So while medical science is now more sophisticated than ever with all of its advanced diagnostics and complex protocols, a broad-stroke ASD consensus just isn’t good enough for me. Dr. Duke used a lot of confusing medical terms that left me nodding my head like I knew what she was talking about, but really I had no idea. I sort of tuned out most of the medical jargon and just fixed myself on this particular word she kept using… this word, “recovery”. In context, she said that she “recovered her son from Asperger’s”. He is now 17, and in mainstream education/gifted classes. He’s on Facebook, and he participates in study groups. Perhaps it was the fact that she looked identical to Christy Nockels, but she was/is completely gorgeous and hardly resembles the mother of a 17-year-old boy, much less one with a complicated neurobehavioral disorder. One thing I have noticed in my limited experience with other parents who are raising children with special needs, no matter if it is physical or of the less-apparent-to-the-naked-eye variety, we all just look sort of…weathered. We can all agree that parenting in general is exhausting, but there’s a big difference in looking tired and a looking weathered. Tired parents need a nap. Weathered parents need hope. Tired parents are training their kids to say please and thank you, to aim for the toilet, and to color in the lines. Weathered parents need hope that their kids will one day be able to dress themselves, to sit through Thanksgiving dinner without having a sensory meltdown, or that they will beat the odds of other special needs children who don’t typically grow up and get married and have children of their own. But this doctor, or should I say this mother didn’t look tired or weathered. She looked like somebody that I would enjoy having a laugh with over a glass of Cabernet. She looked like someone who had managed to rise above all of the statistics and not only recover her son but recover herself in the process. It reminded me that being a parent is hard enough, but when you’re the parent of a child with special needs, maintaining your own sense of self is without a doubt the first thing prone to falling by the wayside. I feel the tug to let myself go every single day. When you have a child that can’t stand the sound of loud laughter and covers his ears and starts screaming when you sing or even hum, you begin to naturally avoid things that you once found amusing. You wait until he is sleeping to play music around the house so you won’t be tempted to sing-along. Little pieces of yourself start to erode until you can’t recognize what formerly made you come alive. While you are so determined to provide every opportunity for that child to thrive, one can easily forget what it is like to thrive themselves. Dr. Duke gave me hope. Hope that Salem really could rise above this hand he has been dealt. Hope that the four of us Beasleys will learn how to live together under one roof in peace and harmony. Hope that when he is 17, I will be able to remember who I was before his diagnosis. So, our Macon voyage was successful today in the sense that I am returning home with a sleeping son in the backseat who is clutching his oversized stuffed bunny, and I now have a little bit better understanding of his blond-ness. But also I have a picture of hope that the future with a child with Asperger’s can hold some recovery. And I will take all the hope I can get right now.

Mothers Speak: What’s Your Fantasy?

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I became a mother when I was 28 years old. Still a baby myself in so many ways, I used to fantasize about things like traveling to exotic destinations, gracing international platforms, and being a background dancer in a Chris Brown music video. (You are entitled to your fantasies. I am entitled to mine.) Now that I have experienced that great feminine right of passage into motherhood, I fantasize about things like sleeping in until 830am, hiring a weekly housekeeper, and taking a shower without plastic bath toys swirling around my ankles. The breaking news ribbon scrolling through my head yesterday would have read, “unsupervised toddler takes red crayon to mother’s tread mill belt. Some disturbing images. News at 11.” This occurred to me last night in the middle of a quiet Thai dinner with some girlfriends which begged the appropriate adult response of, “… and another thing, I haven’t left the house all day”… whine whine whine… “and I haven’t showered since Tuesday”… whine whine whine. All the while I am stuffing my face with a Naan loaf and washing it down with yet another glass of Two Buck Chuck. The point is, the further I get into this Mom routine, the easier it is for me to lose sight of a great big world out there that has absolutely nothing to do with bathtub clutter and Crayola graffiti. Someone sent me this video two weeks ago, and I’ll admit, I just now found the 27 consecutive minutes to watch it from start to finish. You’ve probably already seen it, and if you have, you’ve probably taken more than one shower already this week too… just a wild guess. If you’ve followed this blog for more than 5 minutes you would know that I would never use this particular cyber platform to push any sort of political or religious agenda. My posts are generally an attempt to add a splash of humor and/or inspiration to the day and are meant to be enjoyed over cup of cold coffee in between diaper changes. But when I saw this today, it was the cold-water-to-the-face moment where I realized I had better wake up and rejoin the human race, or at least the part of it that was making a actual difference in the world. The film maker features his adorable All-American son as part of his attempt to explain the injustice in the world and his plans to stop it. I can especially appreciate this since these days I’m lucky to use words in conversation that contain more than two syllables. He breaks it down plain and simple so that those of us with an anemic intellect are able to understand. The film is artful and informative. The plan is brilliant. The cause is worthy. But the “Ah ha” moment for me came at the end of the film when the little boy says, “Dad, I want to be just like you when I grow up, and I want to go to Africa and fight bad guys.” Apart from making sure that my kids are fed, clothed, and sheltered from one day to the next, I hope to somehow inspire them to one day do something that matters in this world. I can’t picture my son saying, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to hit up Super Double Coupons Week at Harris Teeter just like you”… or Mia saying, “Mom, can you teach me how to accomplish the impossible at Angry Birds?” Seriously, I hold nothing against bargain shopping and brain cell shrinking entertainment, but it would behoove me every once in a while to take a bird’s eye look at the landscape of my priorities and consider where I ought to place a little more thought and effort toward that which is truly worthwhile.

Watch the Kony 2012 film. Comment. For crying out loud, get involved somehow ’cause this one’s a no-brainer. But beyond that, the next time I threaten to spill my Mommy woes to Charles Shaw at Thai Thursday, I give you full license to remind me that there are more important things that require my attention and my voice… even if it is a little whiny.

Just a Dent

I hit a brick wall with my van yesterday.

Clark saw the whole thing happen. I was backing into the driveway after a supermarket adventure with my 10-month-old and my pre-schooler, and I completely misjudged the distance and ran smack into the house. With the Civil Wars blaring {not to mention I’m partially deaf} of course I couldn’t hear my husband screaming for me to slow down. I hit it with such force that he later said I ought to have yelled “RAMMING SPEED” outside the driver’s window before I decided to play crash test dummies with our Odyssey. What did I do? Within a matter of seconds, I fell into a heap of tears. I married a wonderful man who calmly helped me out of the car and unloaded my groceries while saying, “Its ok, Sweetheart. Its just a dent.” Just a dent. It looks like I took a hacksaw to the bumper in a fit of PMS rage. I hereby do banish myself from operating any and all heavy machinery.

After my run-in with the house {no pun intended}, I took to a cold beer and some Pinterest perusing. I’m new to Pinterest, but it is a brilliant way to archive all of my virtual inspiration. My friend Jessica has the greatest sense of humor. Needless to say, her quote pins had me in hysterics and I soon forgot about my little bumper mishap. Here are a few just for kicks and giggles.

Pinned by Jessica Smith

Pinned by French By Design

Are you on Pinterest? You can follow my inspiration boards here. Leave a comment below and let’s be Pinterest friends!

Blog Spree

I am getting this week’s post in just under the wire. Blogging once on Sundays during Lent calls for one big “post binge”, wouldn’t you say? So here we go…

This was the scene around my house on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

While Clark and the kids were doing this….

I took the opportunity to whip up a quick project. Granted, after completing the community board for Center City Church, I didn’t want to look at another wine cork for weeks. But, the creativity bug, she did bite this weekend and, well, here you have it.

Wine cork magnets!! An exacto-knife, some wicked-strong glue and a magnet from your local hardware store and voila! I have some parties coming up, and I plan to send out invitations with these wine cork magnets. That way guests can keep the invite on their fridge and look forward to the upcoming event for weeks to come!

Crafty? Cheesy? You decide.

I ventured out to a local fabric warehouse this weekend just outside of Charlotte. I sent this pic to Clark via text with the caption, “I’m in heaven”.

I couldn’t even begin to look at all that Mary Jo’s fabrics had to offer. This is just one row of dozens in their upholstery department alone. I pulled a few samples, so just for fun, what do you say we play a round of “Which swatch would you pick?”

First, the dining room chairs.

Go on. You can say it. They’re hideous. Drab, sad, uninspiring, spiritless… feel free to insert your own descriptive here. I inherited them from my mother when Clark and I got our first apartment. While I am enormously grateful for free furniture, these cushions are about 15 years overdue for a re-cover.

Would you choose the bold, colorful, geometric pattern or the clean, timeless, and more “grown up” solid pear shade?

Wait, there’s more…

We’ve been living with these swatches against our celery sprig walls for the last couple of days. Don’t get me wrong. I like my neighbors, but the view from my kitchen looks directly into theirs. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed admiring her fresh flowers and her new dish towels, this is taking neighborly affection a tad bit too far, don’t you think? Hence, the cafe curtains. I’m pretty sure we’ve decided which pattern we like, but I am curious to know which one you would pick.

And of course, I’ve saved the best for last. What is a blog post from me without a good laugh at my own expense? Salem and I were a couple of groupies while Clark played in the band for his dad’s surprise 60th birthday bash in Mississippi last weekend. As you well know, Salem is my little Steve Jordan– he can turn just about anything into a drum. Table tops, trees, bushes, his sister…. but this, I must admit, is rather innovative even for a toddler. Watch closely. You won’t want to miss his crash hits.

Kid’s got talent. Interesting choice of percussive double, but, that’s boys for you. Its all fun and games until mom subs as a crash cymbal.

Until next weekend, I leave you with some interesting web finds:

Everything Important About London

Fun with coffee filters

Yet another way to wear a scarf

Now that’s what I call multi-tasking

 

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