Merry Christmas, Scout!

Because I’m neurotic, Scout’s Christmas loot is already chosen, purchased, shipped and wrapped—like I said, neurotic. I know she’s just a wee little thing, but I feel like we already have to start making decisions about how we want to do things, what sort of holiday precedents we want to set. I’m of the “less is more” philosophy, so here’s the plan: gift from parents, gift from Santa, stocking stuffer, Christmas Eve book and Christmas Eve PJs. Cut and print. It doesn’t sound very minimalist when I blurt it all out like that, but I’m striving for minimalism, always striving.

Gift from Parents: Our weekend in Florida last month was inspiration for this one. It’s a shade shelter, perfect for the beach, among other things. We’re planning a trip to Outer Banks, NC sometime next year, so this will come in handy then and hopefully on many more lazy days in the great outdoors. Plus Trent is a sucker for anything that resembles camping gear.

Gift from Santa: Tambourine. Trent’s idea. Since slapping things is dainty Scarlett’s favorite pastime, I think it’ll be a hit. (The pun was a happy accident.)

Stocking Stuffer: Balls for babies. Seems straightforward enough, but I managed to spend a good hour reading reviews. (When I said “neurotic,” I meant it.) I’m confident these are the best.

Christmas Eve Book: She won’t be able to read this one for years, but I couldn’t resist. I want her to know these stories and learn from these women. When I was a little girl, I hardly knew they existed.

Christmas Eve PJs: These sweet little long john bottoms will go with a little red henley onesie I got on clearance. Simple, classic and cute—oh, so cute.

In My Old Age


In my mind, 30 is the age when you have to have your crap together. I’m sure I read that in a girly magazine years ago—inception. Since then the idea has taken root and taken over. It’s become my excuse for everything. The fact that I am not yet 30 years old explains my impulsive hair dying, my unvacuumed car, my lingering social anxiety, my undisciplined sleep schedule and the bewildered look that overwhelms my face whenever I set foot in a kitchen. It’s the reason I still put chocolate syrup in milk before I drink it and the reason I’ve never read “War and Peace” or “Anna Karenina” or used the word “platitudes” in a casual conversation.

My 30-year-old self, the one I picture, is often described as “put together”—it’s the highest and most honorable phrase maturity has to offer. She has a earthy, elegant, understated style. She cooks simple, healthy, delicious meals. She’s well-read and well-traveled and exudes quiet confidence, mysteriousness, kindness and depth. She’s entrepreneurial and maternal and sexy. And to quote a Jennifer Garner rom-com, which a 30-year-old would just never do, she’s “thirty, flirty and thriving.”

Today, I turn 27. Thank heavens I have more time.

In all seriousness, there are a lot of things about myself I want to improve, a lot of bad habits I want to break, a lot of living I want to get in before life goes and passes me by. But this past year, I’ve come pretty far and it needs to be acknowledged. As a 26-year-old woman, I experienced so much change—upheaval, really—body, mind and spirit. And if I could grow and progress as much each year as I did in this last one, I’d be content. Oh, so content. And that’s better than being put-together—my, what a mature thing to say.

Listening to: Jose Gonzalez, “Stay Alive”



Leaves“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ―W.B. Yeats

Day of the Dress-Up


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Happy Halloween, Little Red.

May your days be merry scary and bright.



IMG_3847Two of my college roommates live within a few hours of me. They came last week for a whirlwind visit with their daughters. Getting three little girls to sleep in a two-bedroom apartment was dicey. Scout ended up on a quilt in the bathtub. But amidst the madness, we talked. Oh, how we talked—about life and motherhood and feminism and faith. The next day, a friend from middle school came to town and stayed with us for the weekend. And then last night, I got on a monthly roommate video chat and talked to all my other former roommates who live far away.

This easy access to old friends is taking the edge off being in a new place and having only tepid, fledgling relationships here. It’s making me feel content with my limited social energy. It’s making me feel tempted to not branch out. Why branch out? I’ve got all the friends I need, and so on. But I’m trying to tell myself that no, those old friends are a safe place to go back to when branching out gets tiring, but not a crutch, never a crutch.

Do you have good relationships with old friends? How do you stay close? How do you balance old friends and new?

Darden Check-In


RMHScout and I have been helping cook dinners at the Ronald McDonald House with the Darden Partners Association. And by “cooking” what I really mean is bringing groceries and looking cute, cause neither Scout nor I are much use in a kitchen. She just sits in a high chair and makes eyes at everyone while I inefficiently chop things. But there are worse ways to spend your free time, no?

In other news, we finally have something to do for Halloween this year, something more than dressing up and “Skype trick-or-treating” family and friends. I invented Skype-treating and just now coined that term, and I’m very serious about copyright infringement, so … On second thought, Skype-treating sounds kinda dirty. I digress. This year, we have cooler things to do, some of which are thanks to Darden. And considering that I love Halloween so much I have a five-year plan for costumes, be warned that I will spam you with pictures in the next few days, either here or on Instagram.


Humpback Rock


HikeFrom now on, every time I’m tempted to do something drastic to my hair, I’ll ask myself, “Is this really about some deep-seeded emotional issue?” and the answer will always be yes. For whatever reason, hair is my go-to scapegoat. But this post isn’t about hair; it’s about hiking. When I reach that awkward moment of self-incriminating enlightenment, I’ll substitute a reckless-abandon dye job with a hike. That’s my plan. Aerobic exercise, beautiful views, fresh air, trees—these are the makings of true emotional clarity. Yes, yes. That’s my plan.

Florida on the Fly


FloridaWe went to Florida last weekend. It was one of those by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of trips. We didn’t worry much about planning and because Orlando is … well, Orlando, we didn’t worry about finding local restaurants and off-the-beaten-path activities like we usually do. Orlando is kind of “Home of the Commercialized Beaten Path,” so to speak.

We kicked things off at Benihana. Since Trent has been there enough times to have the hibachi chef’s routine memorized, he commentated the whole thing for Scout. He continued to commentate at the BYU football game we went to at University of Central Florida that night. There were very few cougars in the crowd and none within spitting distance of little old us. As we walked in and took our seats in a sea of shifty-eyed UCF fans, I started to panic. I hate sporting event related conflict. Trent thrives on it, which of course made my anxiety worse. I was also a little skeptical about how Scout would handle the noise and the bedtime kickoff. But folks, I stand corrected on on fronts. All the UCF fans around us were the perfect amount of drunk for Trent’s humor to play well. He made friends quickly. Scout’s magnetic cuteness didn’t hurt. And while we’re on the subject—Life lesson for Scarlett Murphey: If a man has to assure you more than 20 times that he isn’t drunk, he’s drunk. She went from goofy smiles to lights out with no fussing in between and spent the fourth quarter sleeping peacefully despite the crazy yelling. I’d say it was a miracle, but really, she’s just her father’s daughter. Can’t tell you whether we won or lost. I was busy Instagramming. And guys, I’m really not kidding.

We spent the rest of the weekend at the beach, or mostly at the beach. We went for a walk at Blue Springs State Park before we caught our flight home, but it was too warm to spot any manatees. As for the beach, it was delightful. Again, Miss Scout shocked us with her cheeriness. The girl’s just plain jolly, folks. She was fascinated by the sand and didn’t mind the waves. She napped in the shade of her daddy’s crotch (we forgot an umbrella) and licked the saltwater off her lips over and over like a cute little cow, a cute little cow in a too tight two-piece, that is.

BeachBabyIt was fun to spend time with Trent, too. Except for one argument on the beach over my apparent inability to empty the camera’s memory card, we got along famously. It was a costly fight—I was too proud to ask him to sunscreen my back during the argument, so I got a little fried—but we resolved it in the end. And before we knew it we were back to snuggling in our luxurious Holiday Inn Express room, watching “Erin Brockovich” and drinking Grapefruit Perrier that, if you used all of the imagination you posessed, tasted faintly like grapefruit.

Scout had a meltdown on the flight home. She was a dream for her first 14 flights of life, but made up for it on this one. When we emerged from the jet bridge when it was all over, my overwhelming thought was, “I want my mommy.” So, there’s payback for all of our bragging, I guess.

I never know how to end posts like this and I’m getting much to tired to be clever. So, “over and out” will have to do.

Over and out and goodnight.

Daddy & The Birds


Greenbrier Trent is 29 today. It’s nuts.

When did this happen? When did we get so old? When Trent’s dad was 29, he had five kids. Life is weird—there’s your deep thought for the day.

My parents treated the birthday boy to a falconry lesson at the Greenbrier Resort to celebrate. It’s been a lifelong dream of his, a nerdy lifelong dream. Trent’s full-throttle nerdiness one of my favorite things about him. On the drive to West Virginia today he asked me, out of the blue and totally serious, “What’s your favorite deciduous tree?” I rest my case.

Trent had a great time in his lesson, hanging out with owls and hawks and such, watching them eat dead baby chicks. Shockingly, falconry isn’t really my thing. While Trent falconed, Scout and I walked around the hotel grounds, snuggled in a glamorous gazebo, had a very cold, very brief swing sesh, and changed her diaper on a fancy leather chaise lounge chair in the “Powder Room” of the tennis club. They gave me no other choice. “Let’s go find Daddy and the birds,” I said after an hour. “Daddy & The Birds—what an excellent band name.” Naming fictional bands is more in my wheelhouse than falconry.

After the lesson we ate lunch at the restaurant of Trent’s choice, which happened to be a little Mexican place with a higher Yelp rating than Subway and Burger King, but lower than Hardee’s and Pizza Hut, so … win? I’ve read a few books lately (“French Kids Eat Everything” and “Real Food for Mother and Baby“) and our pediatrician endorsed the idea, so we’re kinda drinking the Kool-Aid on feeding the babe the same things we eat. At lunch Scout ate guacamole, refried beans, rice, shredded beef, the works. And Trent had the time of his life letting her try things.

He also had the time of his life tonight figuring out how to edit the GoPro footage from his lesson. We bought a GoPro this summer because, well, we’re livin’ such an adrenaline junkie lifestyle. Yep, that’s us. Edgy stuff here.

Happy Birthday, Murph. You’re a nerdy old man. But you’re our nerdy old man. Thank goodness for that.

Hello, Autumn.



Autumn, Scout. Scout, autumn. So glad you could meet.

Autumn—season of my birth. And Trent’s. Season of leather goods and chunky sweaters. Season of pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread and artificially-flavored pumpkin everything.

(In the autumns of recent years, the overblown commercialized autumns, has the world begun to taste like a big, fat Yankee Candle smells? Or is that just me?)

Season of “Explosions in the Sky” albums I adore and football games I pay no mind. Season of learning and walking and living in awe. Season that makes everyone believe without noticing that death and decay are beautiful things.

And they are. Oh, they are.

What’s Supposed to Be


I remember being busy in college with my hand in a million things and my nose in a million more and thinking, “I can’t wait until I have time to actually clean my apartment.” I used to fantasize about having enough free time to do my dishes and vacuum my floors, time to exercise regularly and make myself breakfast and have some semblance of a normal, functional daily life.

Tonight I’m sitting in a bed that hasn’t been made in six months. There’s a table littered with dishes in the next room, still dirty from the last time I made dinner (or anything), which was Sunday. There are piles of things in the hallway—”Put Away Later” piles and “Find a Place For This” piles and “Throw Away” piles. I haven’t even gotten around to throwing stuff away. A few days ago, my house was clean. And now this.

I had free time tonight after I put Scout to bed. I finished off “West Wing” and worked on a few on-going games of “Words With Friends” and thumbed through Maya Angelou. I didn’t spend it cleaning. I didn’t spend my time tinkering away at the life I thought I wanted. I tinkered, but not at that.

Sometimes I feel sad when I think about that life, like I’m disappointing myself by not living the future I wanted now that it’s actually attainable. Here I am in a phase of life where I could conceivably live in a spotless apartment with healthy home-cooked meals on my table and abs of lifeless steel. But I don’t care. Or I don’t care enough, rather, not enough to make it happen. Sometimes I think about that fantasy and grieve for all that was supposed to be.

And then I sit up in my unmade bed and look around at my piles and my people and realize I’m mourning the wrong thing. I should be mourning all those busy years I spent longing for a different life. The present is messy and nice.

Listening to: Shovel & Rope, “Bad Luck”

Weekend Update


Lots of Darden-related living as of late. Our weekend was chock-full of Darden events, starting with the first athletic competition of the Darden Cup. Trent played, despite his recent ACL surgery and the fact that the only time he has ever played soccer in his life is when he was, and I quote, “a wee little fat kid.” I think he’s suffering from some PTSD there. But it didn’t stop him from showing up as goalie for his section’s B team. Scout and I watched from the sideline. Our presence apparently earned Trent’s section additional fan support points. “Are Instagram support points a thing?” I asked. “Because I’d be all over that.”

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Both games ended in shoot-outs, which made for back-to-back cardiac episodes for poor Trent. He let one past him in the first shoot-out, but defended his goal like a champ in the second.

Saturday we took advantage of Smithsonian Museum Day and enjoyed free admission to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and the Stonewall Jackson House. It was a gorgeous drive and a good time and I went home feeling like I know nothing about American History. Par for the course. Our rosy-cheeked baby loved being held through two tours. She also loved shrieking louder (happy shrieks, mind you) every time we shushed her.

Stonewall We stopped at Foothill Momma’s BBQ on the way home. (Order the onion rings!) We didn’t want to wait for a table, so we braved the bar with a baby. Scout did great, and by that I mean she snagged fistfuls of chopped pork whenever we we stopped paying attention to her.


Sunday night we were back at Darden, this time for the famed International Food Festival. It was my favorite Darden event yet. We got stuffed on cuisine made by students from around the world. The Turkish baklava was particularly fantastic, as was the white BBQ sauce from the “Nation of Alabama.” There were lots of international music and dance performances and lots of people to fawn over Scout, which she takes to kindly.



Also over the weekend we finally finished the saga of hooking up our washer and dryer and we came to a compromise about Dallas. I’ll move there happily if it comes to that, just as long as we get a dog when we do. There’s a box-a-shar puppy on the table, and I gotta say, the future looks bright.

Happy Monday!

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