We recently started re-watching The Walking Dead with the kids. Oh I KNOW. Don’t even bother twisting your face into that disapproving “…Huh” expression. There were a handful of kids in Riley’s classroom last year who told me they watched The Walking Dead and I was like, “Oh my gosh, really? It isn’t too scary for you?” while secretly I was kind of a tiny bit totally judging their parents. I don’t know why I drew some arbitrary line between, say, Dylan’s all-time favorite movie (Predator) and a bunch of zombies, but anyway, I’m officially out of Smugtown because our wholesome evening family together-time now revolves solidly around watching people being torn apart or shot or skewered or in Lori’s case, generally sucking all the oxygen from the apocalypse. (Upon second viewing, it’s a real toss-up for who is the actual worst during those early seasons: Carl, for being constantly unsupervised and doing dipshit things that endanger others, or Lori, for being Lori).

After we allowed TWD, I felt like it was a little silly to hesitate about taking Riley to some of the grown-up action movies he wanted to see, so he’s been my theater buddy lately. We recently saw Logan (so good, and super sad), and Life (not great, but if there is a movie where people are getting killed in space I will pretty much always Fandango that shit), and I don’t know, it’s really neat being able to connect in that way.

It’s so cool to have older kids who like the same things you do, and at the same time I feel like the needle on the life-stage spectrum has edged its way back into the You-Have-No-Life-Outside-Parenthood Zone. Like, the more things we can do with the kids, the less we do on our own, or with friends, or even as a couple. Does that make any kind of sense? It’s not the all-consuming hands-on madness of the younger years, and thank goodness for that, but it’s like the more we level up as a family unit the less attention we pay to our individual selves.

Orrrrrrrr maybe that’s just how I’m feeling, these days. Like it’s easier and more enjoyable to feel as though I’m part of a larger entity, because it takes some of the focus off myself.

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We spent last week in Kauai doing pretty much the exact same things we did last year, except this time I insisted we visit the puka dog stand, and my GOD. Have you had one of these things? Think gooey, soft, sweet and spicy wad of greasy, sausagey heaven — only even better than that.

Vacation highlights:

The helicopter tour we took around the island. Taking off was so overwhelmingly thrilling and beautiful I got weepy when my senses went into a sort of TILT state, and the entire hourlong flight was gorgeous. My favorite part was when Riley (somewhat nervously) pointed out another helicopter that was flying nearby, and the pilot, without missing a beat, said, “Yup, too close for missiles … we’ll have to switch to guns.” I mean, come on. I could try my whole life and never say anything that cool, ever.

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riley copter

as if the view wasn't awesome enough, BAM: rainbow

Swimming with turtles. I call this a highlight only because it was so memorable but truth be told every time I found myself inches from a turtle in the water I about had a heart attack. It’s not that I was scared they were going to go rogue and flipper-slap me to death, it’s that surprise-touching a massive living underwater thing is the actual worst.

I know I'm technically invading your living room but let's just keep a two-foot personal space rule mmmkay

Boogie boarding. There’s a little beach close to where we stay that’s perfect for boogie boarding, and this year we spent a lot of time there. The kids had a lot of fun (after some initial freaking out when they got REKT BRO by an ill-timed wave) and I really enjoyed sitting on the sidelines watching the action.

later they delighted in all the sand they found in their butt cracks

I did try the board myself a few times but quickly learned that I brought either the wrong kind of swimsuit or the wrong kind of breasts for that particular activity.

Food, delicious food. Poke. Puka. Shave ice. Pineapple. Macadamia nut everything. Bubba Burgers where John accidentally asked for the “cowie burger” and the rest of us were like BAHAHAHAAAAA YOU MEAN KAUAI BURGER and we haven’t let it go since and probably never will. (John, 20 years from now: “Please pass the salt.” Me, snickering: “Sure you don’t want a COWIE BURGER?”)

that cowie joint

ice cream literally every night? yes please

this was the SMALL size

he ordered the mac and cheese, natch

Family time. Let’s be real, a week of solid family togetherness is going to have its ups and downs, but overall it was just such a great vacation. I’m super grateful for another chance to visit this beautiful island and spend time with my three favorite people.

holy crap we got so sunburnt

"ANOTHER PHOTO? UGGGGH"

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