Tag Archives: issues of a mommy

Acts of Kindness and Lessons in Faith

I woke up Saturday morning with an activity list of things to do.

1. Although I find lists extremely helpful, making them overwhelms me.
2. If I get a list made, I become overwhelmed with trying to cross everything off.

It was a fairly simple list….

1. Return stuff at store
2. Aidan soccer game
3. Food shopping
4. Pick pumpkins at the Alpaca Farm
5. Admire and possibly pet said Alpacas
6. Come home and eat lunch
7. Put Autumn down for nap
8. Have boys paint and decorate pumpkins

Aidan’s game was at 10 and I somehow managed to get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door by 9:15. Plenty of time to run to the store.

That is, if your car will start.

The thought of telling Lincoln to close the car door the previous day comes to mind as the car is making funny clicking sounds and the RPM and speedometer hands are having seizures. He mustn’t have closed it completely, which left the cabin light on. All night.

I ran next door to see if the neighbor had jumper cables. Her mother-in-law did. AWESOME!
She drove her car down to mine and I hooked everything up.

Attempt 1 to jump my car failed. By attempt 2 I noticed the cables were beginning to smoke.

FUCK. Me.

Let me just tell you, smoking jumper cables are fucking HOT.
I burned myself. Nothing awful, but it hurt. A lot.

I forgot to mention that my mom and sister were in Boston at a college open house, so I was flying solo.

No car means no anything when you’re living in the sticks.

At 9:50 I tried calling the coach. The thought being maybe he had cables, or someone there had them and could give us a hand. He didn’t answer. So I left a message, explained the situation, and let him know we weren’t making it.

Aidan was upset. I was upset. Lincoln didn’t like the sun in his eyes. And Autumn was as cool as a cucumber.

I had a “thinking moment” and remembered that my mom’s best friends (we’ll call them Aunt J and Uncle P) were coming to Aidan’s game. I gave them a call. Within moments they were parked beside me.

You’re thinking cables, right?

Nope. No cables.

They took Aidan to his game.

I was upset. Lincoln was upset. Autumn didn’t notice a thing.

It was at this point that I remembered why I hated lists.
It was also at this point that I realized we weren’t going to be able to do any of the things we planned. More specifically… pick, paint, and decorate pumpkins (aka the highlighted activity for the day… aka the thing we spent days preparing for and talking about)
And it was at this point that I lost it and became a heap of tears.

Tears? Over pumpkins?

Yes and not necessarily.
Like I said, it was our highly activity for the day. One that we spent days discussing what the boys wanted to make. And days discussing the plans to turn their visions into reality.
I LOVE it! Pumpkin decorating is one of my all time favorite things to do.

 

It’s amazing how some things have a way of working out….
Aunt J must have known how much this day meant to me. She must have known how much I needed it because this is how the rest of the day went…

Aidan got back from his game and the story I’m told is that the team was down a point or two when he arrived. By the end of the game, Aidan had scored 5 or 6 goals. Aunt J and Uncle P lost count. According to Aidan, he score 80.

Aunt J called AAA while I was making lunch. They got here shortly after we finished eating and jumped my car.

Autumn had gone down for a nap so Aunt J offered to stay at the house so I could take the boys for their pumpkins.

We got back and the boys played outside for a while.

By the time the boys were done playing, Autumn had woken up (I don’t think she ever fell asleep).

Pumpkins were painted and decorated.

…and it went this way because of her. And even though I hugged and thanked you before you left on Saturday, I want you to know that your small act of kindness made a HUGE difference in my day.

 

And, without further adieu, I present the pictures….

 

Pumpkin picking at Plain View Farm

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The chosen pumpkins…

 

 

Alpacas...what the heck are they? An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.

Alpacas…what the heck are they?
An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.
Alpacas are bred for their fibers (aka hair), which are used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool.

 

 

Really wishing he could pet an alpaca...

Really wishing he could pet an alpaca…

 

 

Really, really, really wishing he could pet an alpaca...turns out they don't like sudden movements or loud noises.

Really, really, really wishing he could pet an alpaca…turns out they don’t like sudden movements or loud noises.

 

 

The kids had the task of finding their perfect pumpkin for $5-.  Their 3 pumpkins came in at $7- total, leaving them with enough money to purchase 3 finger puppets (1 for each of them)

The kids were given $5- each to find their perfect pumpkin.
Their pumpkins came in at $7- total, leaving them with enough money to purchase 3 handmade finger puppets (1 for each of them)

 

 

Onto painting and decorating…

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Lincoln working hard on covering his pumpkin in black paint.

 

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And Aidan worked with the white...

Aidan working with the white…

 

 

The peanut right as she started painting...

The peanut right as she started painting…

 

And The Peanut right before we cleaned up.

And The Peanut right before we cleaned up.

 

Autumn really enjoyed the activity. So much so that she painted for 45 minutes.

Autumn really enjoyed the activity. So much so that she painted for 45 minutes.

 

This is how she felt about cleaning up.

This is how she felt about cleaning up.

 

The Final Products…

Aidan needed some kind of a scoring system, so this is what we came up with…

Aidan.

Scariest.

Bloody Mummy.

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Lincoln.

Spookiest.

Black Bat.

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Autumn.

Most Original.

Untitled.

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There have been a lot of challenges for me in Massachusetts. The biggest being having to function and carry on despite negative outside forces (i.e. dead car batteries).

There have also been a lot of lessons learned since moving up here; two that stand out.
1. I am strong and capable.
2. Sometimes you have to take a step back and have faith that everything will work out. Maybe not the way you would like it to, but anything is better than nothing at all.

Inhale. Hold. Exhale. Vent.

Before I have my vent, I just need to share a HUGE accomplishment of Aidan’s…

We went to our weekly Reading with Cooper session last night. Aidan read 20 pages of Dick and Jane. Yup, that’s right. 20!

I realize Dick and Jane doesn’t have much sustenance when it comes to comprehension and story flow. My intention wasn’t to test his comprehension of the story, but rather to teach Aidan to focus on the letters that make up the words. To take those letters and sound them out, combining the sounds until he is able to form the word.

This has been the highlight of my week. It’s what I’m holding onto to prevent myself from slipping into the abyss. That and the fact that we’re going to New Jersey from Friday until Monday. Translation, I’ll have a couple of days where I’m not raising 3 kids alone.

 

I was on the phone with the guidance counselor at Aidan’s school a total of 5 or 6 times this week. He’s still having some issues with one of his admirers. So much so that he had two meltdowns in two days, which is alarming because he hasn’t had a meltdown in quite some time.

Aidan is also having difficulty with his auditory processing. I have to repeat EVERYTHING. And I’m not talking one time. It’s more like 5.

I know it’s his auditory processing and not just him ignoring me. Don’t get me wrong, Aidan is capable and does ignore  me on occasion, but I know the difference between him choosing not to listen and not being able to.

His focus has also been lacking these past few weeks. He’s been very forgetful in certain areas, but hyper-focused in others.

Remembering to bring our sneakers inside so they don’t get rained on or inhabited by any kind of creature, lacking. Remembering mommy promised a special treat and reminding her every 2 seconds, not an issue.

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Leaving sneakers outside to get rained on creates more work for mom. It also means we have to base all of our outfits around brown sneakers until the black ones are dry.

 

Lincoln has had his share in causing frustration and stress.

He’s been lying. And is really good at it. Maybe not good as in me believing him. but good in the respect that he doesn’t break. Easily. And his responses are short and consistent.

Did you fart? It smells awful.
No.
Lincoln, it’s just you and me in the room. And I didn’t fart.
I didn’t part too.
Lincoln, seriously. Did you fart? I’m not upset. I just want you to tell me the truth.
I didn’t part.
This conversation went on for about 5 minutes before he told me the truth.

Who colored the glass door with marker? Lincoln, did you do that?
No. I didn’t.
Please don’t lie to me. No one else is here. Aidan is at school and Autumn is taking a nap. Did you color the door?
No.
Lincoln. Do. Not. Lie. To. Me.
he shakes his head and then starts to nod.
Well, you need to clean it off.

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He’s been aggressive towards his siblings, Autumn especially.

When you reprimand him, he laughs. I don’t know if it’s a nervous habit or a fuck you behavior.

 

Listening has not been one of his strengths lately.

I’ll just 1 instance.

I had to talk to the librarian after we finished reading with Cooper. Lincoln would not stay by me and was running around the library. I was soooooooooooo tempted to say that he if he didn’t stop, his running would wake up the troll that lived beneath the library. And that he would snatch him up as soon as we went outside and drag him underground and eat him for dinner.

Awful, right?

In this case the thought doesn’t count.

And I would never risk the chance of him having nightmares and being unable to sleep. NEVER. Because his sleep habits suck. Ass.

 

Oh, and you can pile the laundry and dishes and general keeping up of the house to all that.

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Stuff I found on the floor when “tidying” up. This is from 1 day.

 

Mix it all together and what you get?

My eyes will give it away EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

My eyes will give it away EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

 

 

 

 

 

I Just Want Apple Pie

We had “one of those days” yesterday, or at least I did. You know the one I’m talking about. The kind where you can see the day passing by and you have no control over what is happening. The kind where the harder you try, the worse things seem to get. And the only things I wanted to do was make an apple pie and eat it.

We started with coloring. I drew the first letter of Lincoln and Autumn’s name and had them color it in with the medium of their choice. They chose markers.

I told Lincoln to color in the circles. He colored several large, red circles. I had to show him what I meant. The circles he did color in were done so quite nicely.

I told Lincoln to color in the circles. He colored several large, red circles. I had to show him what I meant. The circles he did color in were done so quite nicely.

How awesome of a job did Autumn do?! Yes, she colored this all by herself.

How awesome of a job did Autumn do?! Yes, she colored this all by herself.

I should have only given them the option of crayons or colored pencils. After Lincoln finished his letter, he colored himself with the blue marker in an attempt to make himself a cheetah. Or was it a dragon? Or maybe it was a lion. Regardless, he colored himself with blue marker and then declared he needed a bath.  He was quite angry when I said no.
How could I deny him you ask? Aidan had soccer practice at 5:30 and Lincoln would be rolling around in the grass and leaves. I wasn’t giving him 2 baths in one day.

Then again, we have far fewer markers than crayons.

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Thank you Autumn for dumping out the entire bag of loose crayons.

 

Although she dumped them out, Autumn had no problem helping to clean them up. This is why she is my favorite when it comes to cleaning up.

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Lunch was a disaster. It didn’t happen. Lincoln and Autumn both had their bajillionith melt down of the morning AT THE SAME TIME. And instead of beating them or locking them in the basement, i simply put them down for naps.

Lincoln, who was not in the least bit happy with this move, destroyed his room.

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See the crumpled blue sleeping blanket? Lincoln’s under that. You can actually see his head if you look closely.

Apparently it's exhausting being exhausting.

Apparently it’s exhausting being exhausting.

I managed to get the apples cooked for our pie filling AND canned what was left over. Score for Momma!

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Lincoln is so cheeky. As much as it drives me nuts, I love it.

And then Aidan came home, but I still had this to deal with….

I got the apples cooking for our pie filling! The kitchen paid for it, though.

I may have gotten the apples cooked and jarred for our pie filling, but the kitchen paid for it.

 

The kids decided it best to build a trap.

What kind of a trap? The kind where you wrap ribbon on the kitchen cabinets and get it stuck on the handle of the dishwasher.

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My rule of putting your jacket away didn’t apply this day. If it did, Aidan’s jacket wouldn’t be on the kitchen floor in this picture.

Dinner was cooked and eaten. Aidan did homework and I managed to make the pie crust. It chilled in the fridge while we were at soccer practice, the idea being I would make it when they went to bed. But there was an issue with that plan. I wanted a piece of pie as soon as their heads hit the pillow and I closed their doors.

Now, if you know me you know I have a set bedtime routine for the kids and we hardly ever deviate. Guess what? I deviated. BIG TIME.

We got home at 6:30 (which is when we are typically reading books) and we made pie. The kids helped me roll out the crust, place it in the pie stone, fill it, place the top layer of crust, and put it in the oven.

By the time I got them bathed and in bed, it was 7:30. Autumn is never an issue going down. It’s Lincoln (you can check out his sleep issues here). I made myself perfectly clear as I was closing the boys’ bedroom door… “You will not get a single piece of pie tomorrow if you get of your bed. I promise.”

Guess who stayed in bed? Oh, the power of pie.

I made my way down stairs and took the pie out of the oven. I salivated. I’m not going to lie. It looked that good.

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And then I cut myself a very healthy slice.

And then another. And I ate it even though my stomach was telling my brain it was full. My brain told my stomach to shut up or fuck off. I deserved a second helping.

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And because the kids stayed in bed, like the angels I know they can be, and because they did such an awesome job making that pie…. they were rewarded with pie for breakfast.

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And I won the “Best Momma in the World” award this morning.

Thank you (insert bow here), thank you (insert bow here).

Oh, and the pie is gone…

Lincoln and Autumn are fighting over the last piece, which went to Nana.

Lincoln and Autumn are fighting over the last piece, which went to Nana.

…it was that good.

Go the F*ck to Sleep

When I think of Lincoln and bedtime, I almost immediately think of Adam Mansbach’s book Go the FUCK to Sleep. It’s hilarious and one of the reasons I haven’t stuck pencils in my ears and forks in my eyes.

Moving to Massachusetts was kind of an adjustment for Lincoln and me (Aidan and Autumn slid right into country life). Me, because I now had to care for three children by myself with nothing within walking distance. And Lincoln? Where do I begin? Ah, sleep.
Lincoln as a baby was an awful sleeper. When we did get him to fall asleep (this involved buckling him into his car seat, my husband standing in the doorway, and swinging him. He eventually had to stop because Lincoln was so big and my husband was beginning to tear his shoulder muscle) he didn’t sleep for more than an hour, two if we were lucky. After hours of crying it out, at 11 months Lincoln was able to fall asleep on his own and sleep through the night. AWESOME! Fast forward to this past August when we moved and Lincoln all of sudden refuses to sleep, but he had reasons. There were reasons, according to Lincoln, as to why he couldn’t sleep. They were all valid and an absolute test to my commitment of being his mother.

 

Here are some of the reasons why Lincoln couldn’t sleep, according to him:

1. The “frickets” are too loud.

If you don’t know what a “fricket” is, replace the “f” with a “c”. Uh huh. Yup. The crickets were too loud.
We came from the city, where our house was 2 away from a major bridge, the Bayonne Bridge to be exact, so our white noise was cars and trucks driving by. NOT crickets. I personally prefer the latter. Lincoln, not so much.

I solved this problem two ways…

1 – We read Eric Carle’s The Very Quiet Cricket. He LOVED it and had me read it two more times before his nap. We learned that only the male crickets chirp, the females are silent. Despite his love for the book, he still had zero tolerance for the “frickets”

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2 – We found a “fricket”, which was really a grasshopper but it didn’t matter because Lincoln didn’t know the difference, and we asked him if he and his “fricket” friends could please be quiet.

 

2. He didn’t like his room.

Uh, his room is awesome. I made sure the kids’ rooms were done within days of us moving up here. I worked by butt off during nap time and after they went to bed.

What the heck do you mean you don’t like your room?
It’s not BLUE.

Fuck me. Hard. I’m NOT painting the room over again. His next room can be blue. Promise.

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He INSISTS on having his letter canvas upside down. “It’s perfect THIS way, Momma”

 

3. EVERYTHING hurt.

His head, his stomach, his back. He was tired all day and just wanted to “rest”. After a couple of days of worrying that something was seriously wrong, I realized it was all psychosomatic (thank you college). Translation, his stress from the move was presenting itself as physical ailments. Heartbreaking. I know.

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His “Blue-Blankie” and “Puppy-Doo” are never far from his side. Also new behavior since the move.

 

4. He didn’t like his bed. It wasn’t comfortable.

Solution, and this was his idea…

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He slept on the floor for about a week and a half.

I was changing the sheets one day and Lincoln pointed out that HIS bed (mattress) was on Aidan’s bed. Oops. Sorry. I had those mattresses switched faster than Charlie Sheen can say winning after 3 lines of coke. He slept in his bed for a minute a few hours. At around 11 o’clock, just as I’m about to go to sleep myself, Lincoln is standing at the top of the stairs hysterically crying (I was sleeping on the couch downstairs at this point b/c there aren’t enough bedrooms to accommodate us and it was important to me that the kids have their own space rather than me sharing a room with any of them). I put him back down. He was up 2 hours later, crying at the top of the stairs. Each time this happened, he would beg to sleep on the couch with me and I would say no, but lay with him in his bed and stroke his hair until he fell back asleep, which was never really long. After a few nights of this, the last being when he woke up Autumn and the two of them were in hysterics in the middle of the night, I finally agreed to let him sleep on the adjacent couch. He slept the rest of the night. The next few nights he went to bed in his room and, like clock work, would come downstairs between 10 and 11 o’clock. I would tuck him in on “his” couch, tuck myself in on mine, and we would fall asleep.

There were a few issues with this plan. 1- He wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep. 2- I wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep. 3- I didn’t like him walking down the stairs in the middle of the night. 4- My mother and sister wake up before 5 to get ready for work and school. Us being in the living room put pressure on them to not make a lot of noise as well as to keep as many lights off as possible. It didn’t work.

Issue number 4 meant that Lincoln was waking up when my mother and sister came downstairs. At 5 o’clock in the morning. Um, I can’t function before 6/6:30. After discussing all possible solutions to this god awful problem with my mother, I finally conceded to sleeping in the room with the boys. Yup, I am sleeping in a bunk bed (Lincoln is on a mattress on the floor that we store under the bed during the day). It’s like I’m 8 years old again and sharing a room with my brother.

Lincoln, most often than not, no longer wakes up in the middle of the night (if he does, I’m right there to hold his hand). And he’s no longer waking up the entire house before the crack the dawn, just me. At 5:30/6 o’clock every morning, he wakes up whimpering that he has to go to the bathroom (he hasn’t figured out that he can just walk to the bathroom by himself and go…we’re working on it). And then he’s up. For the day. Or at least until nap.

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Lincoln watches Daniel’s Tiger Neighborhood or Dragon Tails or some other educationally acceptable program so I can close my eyes 30 minutes and pretend like I haven’t been forced awake before my alarm clock goes off.

Needless to say, I’m exhausted…

hello-my-name-is EXHAUSTED

and would really just like for him to go the f*ck to sleep, by himself.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in Your Pockets?

As I’m sure you know, things get pretty chaotic during the day. There’s a boat load to do and hardly any time to get it done. I’m not talking about taking care of the kids. That’s a constant. I’m talking about everything that comes in between taking care of the kids… dishes, laundry, food shopping, pick-up/drop-off for school (Aidan take the bus), making sure there isn’t anything on the floor that anyone can put in their mouth and choke on (aka tidying up), etc., etc., etc. Taking care of the kids is easy. It’s everything else that’s exhausting, specifically the tidying up.

I don’t have a moment pee alone, never mind putting everything little thing I find on the floor away in its proper place. That’s where my pockets come in handy. I’m always wearing my modern day version of a house coat (it’s really just a jersey cotton cardigan) and by the end of the day, the pockets almost always have something in them.

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I have 2 (this one and a gray one) and the sleeves are usually rolled.

As I was emptying my pockets at the end of the day I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of some of the items…i.e. a pair of Lincoln’s underwear that I took off of Autumn’s head and 2 unused tampons that Autumn thought were food (they’re the small tampax ones…perfect for keeping in the diaper bag). This got me curious. I wonder what and how much stuff I pocket throughout the week. So I did what any normal person would do and I started a “Pocket Jar” and emptied the contents of my pockets into this jar. Sometimes I looked, sometimes I didn’t (like when Lincoln was coming out of bed for the bajillioninth time…separate post). I did this for a week and this was what my jar looked like by today…

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And here’s exactly what is looks like laid out…

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There are 40 pieces of random stuff. Yea, 40. They include soap, 5 broken toy pieces, 2 marbles, 2 caps, 2 baby wipes (Lincoln took a nap with these. They are clean. Why he wanted to take a nap with, I don’t know nor do I care. All I care about is that he took a nap), a bunch of lego pieces, and the rest I honestly don’t care to name.

I’m sure I’m not the only out there who pockets the random shit found scattered about the floors, tables, couches, etc. of their house (I thought about whether or not I wanted to use the word “shit”, but if we’re calling a spade a spade then this stuff is shit. It’s random shit). If you are like me, I’d love to see what you pocket (even if it’s just in a day). You can post your picture to my Facebook page or on Instagram (just use #dap_inmypockets and tag me @dragonsandpeanuts). I can’t wait to see what you pocket.

Shhh…I Have a Favorite.

I’m the oldest of 4, below me is a brother 15 months younger, and two sisters (8 and 10 years younger). Growing up, we all thought my middle sister was the favorite. If ever we brought this up with my mother, her response was always the same, “You’re all wrong, I don’t like any of you.” She’d laugh and we’d call her a liar and continue to believe that Victoria was in fact the favorite.

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Victoria is on the left, and I no longer believe she is the favorite.

If you ask my husband who his favorite is, he’ll say Autumn with no hesitation. Having a family has been my husband’s life long dream since he was 10. He had his daughter’s name picked out since he was 14. Before you start hating him for not loving his children equally, stop. He would take his own life if it meant ensuring the safety of any of  his children. It’s just that the sun rises and sets on Autumn, end of discussion.

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Whenever I was asked  my immediate response was always, “How can I possibly have a favorite?”

Well, I changed my mind. I do in fact have a favorite. Actually, I have several….

 Favorite Sleeper:

Aidan

Aidan sleeping

From day 3 of life, Aidan has been a champion sleeper. In fact, he has always been my favorite when it comes to falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up at a reasonable hour in the morning. This kid falls asleep within minutes of his head hitting the pillow and then sleeps like a rock.

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Favorite Going to Bed:

Autumn

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I don’t know if it’s because she has her own room, which means she can’t engage in mischievous behavior with anyone but herself (i.e. – screaming matches, toy tosses, etc.), or if it’s because she still a “baby”, but I put Autumn down and she goes to bed.

Aidan comes in 2nd. He’s usually pretty good about getting into bed and not getting out, but he’s got Lincoln beneath him (they have bunk beds) and Lincoln likes to instigate and make noise.

Lincoln doesn’t even place (there’s a post coming about Lincoln and sleepless nights)

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Favorite Displayer of Affection:

This is a close one, but it goes to Lincoln

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Oh my goodness, can Lincoln give a kiss. And his hugs are just as good. I’ll be sitting on the floor (lord knows why) and Lincoln will just come over and give me a hug and kiss. He will also stroke my hair and say, “You look so beautiful, Mommy. Like a princess.” Ugh, melt my heart and boost my self confidence.

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Favorite Helper/Cleaner-Upper:

Autumn, no questions asked

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This girl willingly helps me clean-up. I don’t ever ask, she just does.

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Favorite Back Scratcher:

Aidan

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He’s awesome. It’s like he can read my mind. He knows exactly when and where I need a good scratch. Doing dishes is so much more pleasant when someone is scratching your back, wouldn’t you agree?

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Favorite Cheerleader Cheerer-ONer:

Lincoln

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Whether it’s for me cleaning “Go MOMMA! You can DO it!” or at Aidan’s soccer games “GO TIGERS! GO AIDAN!” or for a mini Autumn accomplishment “YAY, Autumn!”, it seems like Lincoln has a cheer for everyone no matter what they are doing. There really is nothing better than having your own personal  “cheerleader” while cleaning the bathroom.

The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t actually have an overall favorite child. I love each my children with every fiber of my being. I try to focus on each of their strengths. By doing so, I’m able to forget about the things that drive me crazy (short temper, poor listener, terrible sleeper).

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