Tuesday, June 24, 2008

can't stop smiling

this vacation has already exceeded my expectations...really...i tried not to have any expectations at all when packing the truck...just promised myself to remember to live in each moment...to joyously welcome each situation as it presented itself...and decided to embrace everything...and more importantly...everyone...and it worked!!! here are just a few peeks into the moments that have made my cheeks hurt these past few weeks...again and again.

an explanation

Just prior to leaving town for our summer vacation I found myself in a quandary...which caused me to take a step back in order to better situate my thoughts.
Let me begin with this...I love blogging...absolutely love the way in which I’m able to express my innermost self and the manner is which my blog inspires me to create moments in time that I can’t wait to share with those closest to my heart. But most of all I utilize this medium to purge my soul...to unshackle my heart...to release my burdens...and I’ve lost sight of that.
I was becoming what I most dislike...I was attempting to seek validation in the worst way...I was disguising my truest self...and I needed to do something about it...before I didn’t recognize myself.
When I found myself rushing to my blog each day, not to share, inspire or create...but to be filled up...to seek reassurance that I’m okay...that I must be good enough...I found myself blogging without the same passion...felt that I was betraying myself somehow. I’m not sure if this will make sense to anyone...but I just needed to explain. In light of this, I will be removing the ability to comment...for a while at least...and responding to other blogs via a private email or through a personal note...but I will continue to blog my heart out...unfettered.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Yes! Four of the last five days I have ridden my bike. Today I rode for over an hour and my rear end wasn't screaming the entire time...I mean check out the size of that seat...because it's ridiculous! Regardless, I love everything about cycling...prepping my bike, putting on the silly outfit, even the nerdy helmet! But, to be honest, I have been feeling a twinge of wistfulness each time I clip into my pedals when I realize my longtime riding buddy isn't by my side. Although I'm absolutely ecstatic to be back into a rhythm with my riding, I really, really miss my riding partner more than she knows! I sure hope the doctors can get that knee better soon, Laura, because I miss our rides so much!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Father's Day Photoshoot????

Okay...so I stole a really great idea...for father's day. Dressed my girls up. And played photographer. I built a background out of kitchen stools and a brown blanket. Even thought the makeshift background kept falling...we pressed on. Kinsey was first. After drawing the "tatoo" she sat her down on the floor and I started snapping away. Then it was Alissa's turn. Another "tatoo" was created. More pictures! Finally, both girls sat down together. We didn't do too bad...if I do say so myself! I can't wait to frame these up and see their daddy's reaction!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

do you have your mother's eyes?

i don't. my eyes are hazel. my mom's are a magnificent blue...like the color of a cloudless sky...the same soft shade of a newborn boy's blanket...or a robin's egg safe in it's nest. they have a unique tranquility to them...and they are stunning. i was so thrilled and proud when my daughter inherited mom's blue eyes.

last week mom received some shocking and scary news...about her eyes. she had noticed some slight changes in her vision and it worried her enough to go in for an exam. while being evaluated it became clear there was a problem. after being rushed to a specialist it was determined that she has acute closed angular glaucoma and was extremely close to blindness. too close. after emergency eye surgery...she and her beautiful baby blues are recovering. it seems that her eyes might not be exactly the same as they used once were, at least in terms of her visual acuity, but only time will tell for sure. to me...they are and will always be...perfect.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

You gotta love Paula!

On Friday my girls, along with a collection of their much younger cousins, headed over to my mother-in-law Paula's for a little together time and fun. As is always her way, Paula was eagerly expecting the children's arrival and had prepped accordingly. She had dozens of hot dogs, a bucket (I'm not exaggerating) of tuna salad, piles of fresh fruit, homemade mac 'n cheese, and a double-batch of rice krispie treats along with several newly purchased toys (via QVC) for each of the kids.

After ensuring that each child was adequately stuffed, Paula successfully herded the children out to the pool deck for some outdoor fun. From our vantage point inside the house (the mommies were indoors working on a special digital scrapbooking project for gramps' ninetieth b-day), it was clear the kiddos were having an absolute blast...shooting Paula with the hose(that she provided)...playing with the myriad of floating and squirting pool toys...just generally goofing around together and causing a rucus.

After completing as much of the project as possible (Photoshop is tough!), the gals and I headed outside as well. When I stepped outside, Jenn and Heidi were already outdoors engaged in an animated conversation...seemingly oblivious to my mother-in-law and the kids. I literally burst out laughing when it dawned on me...Paula was in the pool with the kids...and she was fully clothed...I'm talking long sleeved shirt and black dress pants...like it was something she does every day...what's funnier to me is that Jenn and Heidi didn't even flinch when they saw her! Only Paula. Boy, do I love that woman!

finding connections...

to myself...
losing myself in order to find myself...practicing meditative prayers with my best friend on a Friday night...discovering it doesn't matter what faith you observe...knowing your spirit and the voice of God are always with you...ready to be awakened...
simply connect and listen with stillness

to others...

riding alongside on my bike while my daughter runs sprints...sitting side by side in our blue slingback chairs...enjoying the sounds of the rushing waves and feel of the soft sunshine...until the pounding rains come and chase us away...stopping for a lemon cookie and delectible strawberry creme...
simply connect and experience the present

to nature...

wandering the neighborhood with two energetic dogs...noticing the frozen bunnies on nearly every yard...reminding me of the boundless beauty of nature nearby...witnessing the swaying of each perfect palm frond...
simply connect and watch with gratitude

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hip, Hip, Hurray!

We were so fortunate this school year...partly because we were blessed with the most awesome classroom volunteers...women who were willing each and every week to put up with our craziness...and last minute changes...always offering their help and expertise with absolutely no expectations in return...and we wanted to show them our tremendous gratitude.

Laura, of course, blew them all away with her fabulous photography and techie skills when she created the best dvd ever (which took her over three weeks and countless hours and many a sleepless night)...showing her love and appreciation the best way she knows how!

I wanted to throw the gals a breakfast. Not my area of expertise. In fact, I depend on my hubby to take charge in all cooking situations...he plans the menu...I shop for supplies. I make sure the house ready...he does ALL of the food prep and cooking. Not this time. It was all me! He offered...I refused. I wanted to show my love and sincere thanks all by myself. In fact, Steven left to go out of town so I couldn't even ask for his help!

Well, I'm thrilled to report that I only forgot only one ingredient (butter...is that important?)in my p.b. & j. muffins...but happily the blueberry coffee cake was truly divine! I really never thought I would get so much pleasure myself out of this little shindig.

By the way...check out our cute little volunteer gifts from etsy.com...scrabble tiles turned into adorable pendants!!! So darling!!!

"Cooking is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all." ~Harriet Van Horne

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Introducing Joe...our baby blackbird!

Pulling up the driveway this afternoon, the girls and I noticed a large group of blackbirds circling around a clump in the grass...as if they were having a party. My curious Kinsey sprinted from the car to the grassy clump and discovered a very young baby bird. The poor little guy must have fallen from his nest in the palm tree in our front yard. Clearly, he's a fighter...the tree is easily over twenty feet tall!

Following the advice of the staff from the Nature Conservancy we constructed a nest from a plastic bowl and a soft rag...which we hung from a nearby tree. Believe it or not, momma blackbird has already returned to feed her dear little Joe! Obviously, he's destined for bird greatness!

Monday, June 2, 2008


“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” ~Joseph Fort Newton

the sky bridge is magnificent. it reminds me that i need work hard to keep building.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

clearwater beach

“A mere forty years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that's what freedom is all about.” ~Newt Gingrich

a gorgeous day...
spent on silky sand...
feeling the tickle of a breeze...
hearing the waves crest and crash...
watching my girl play a game in which she finds passion...
in which she truly experiences freedom...
is a mother's dream...


On the other end of the phone, a simple question was posed by Laura, "What did you do today?" Simple question...right? Not yesterday!

The day began like any other...with breakfast at Skillet's for my favorite strawberry waffles, a few necessary errands around town (we needed a new beach pass and mulch), and a quick trip to pick up an awesome and expensive luggage rack from Steven's buddy for our upcoming Michigan road trip.

Shortly after accomplishing these Saturday morning tasks, I was summoned to the beach to retrieve my oldest daughter...she had been watching an EVP volleyball tournament with friends. Waving goodbye to my husband, who was busily spreading mulch, I quickly arrived at the beach turnabout, picked up Alissa and once again proceeded homeward.

As we entered our subdivision, the sky began to darken in anticipation of a heavy rain. Not wanting to get caught in the storm, I popped the button for the garage door and crept forward into my normal spot. All of a sudden, we heard a grinding and crunching noise from above! I had completely forgotten about the luggage rack!

Not knowing what to do next, I asked Alissa to run for her father while I stayed put. Waiting for his arrival took what seemed like hours...I knew he was going to freak-out! But he didn't. He opened the door from the house to the garage and found me with the luggage rack wedged in place...and became silent. Uh-oh. Silence is bad...very bad. Picture in your mind what he was looking at...the truck is completely stuck...the rack is actually touching the lifted garage door...the back end of the rack is totally wedged between the door frame and the ceiling...leaving me virtually unable to move forward or backward. All the while he's trying not to look at me as I smile at him sheepishly.

After examining the car for about ten minutes (I attempted to run for the camera to take pictures at this point...but he stopped me, with just a glare...yet another stupid move on my part) he came up with a plan. Since the rack was completely wedged and couldn't be removed by driving the truck either forward or backward...he instructed me to completely let the air out of the back tires. I wasn't sure how to do this...but knew I better learn fast...I worked on the left tire and he worked on the right. (By the way, while we were doing this, he was grumbling under his breath the whole time because he just had our tires filled with nitrogen at $50 a pop...on the bright side...at least he was no longer silent!)

So, with all of the air finally out of both rear tires the rack broke free...and took out a huge chunk of the framing around the garage in the process! More not so nice words out of my lovely husband's mouth who was definitely not finding any humor in the newest aspects of the situation...at all. He then climbed into the driver's seat, slammed the door shut, and backed out so we could survey the damage...to both the garage and the rack. To me...the rack didn't look too bad. To Steven...it looked horrifying. I thought the huge streaks of paint down the entire top looked kind of like racing stripes. I made the mistake of telling him so. Not smart.

He gently (too little, too late) removed the rack from the top of the truck and laid it out on the garage floor to examine more closely. Then, using a greenie (those little scrubbies you use on dishes) and some elbow grease...the residue of paint and gunk came off...and left behind huge blank streaks where the protective wax coating had been!

Two more hours later...and one tube of scratching compound...followed by a hand waxing...it was almost as good as new. He still thinks I'm a complete idiot but he's finally starting to see the humor in yesterday...although he surely won't tell me that...but I overheard him telling of my Saturday adventure to his sister...and he actually laughed! Trust me, it's so much better than his silence!!!