Monday, June 29, 2009

let the celebrations begin

she's loved. and yesterday it was obvious in the way in which her family joined together to celebrate her first sixteen years. her momma cried. her daddy smiled proudly. her sister bopped her in the head with a balloon. her bagga told the story of her first day. her auntie di pulled off the most creative present ever. her cousins hand decorated her card. her aunt jenn read her mind by selecting the perfect gift. her uncle teased and tried to steal her garlic bread. her grandma fussed and hovered. it was sheer magnificence. and boy is she loved.

(more later.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just do it!

Dragging myself out of my cozy bed this morning was pure torture. The quiet of the house was so welcoming, begging me to return to my slumber. But, the puppy was whining to be released from her doggie prison forcing me to stay up. Yet, after letting the pups out for their morning business, I still wasn't convinced that it was the best morning for a was pretty darned humid and the wind was picking up. At that moment I heard a little whisper encouraging me to just go...jump in the saddle for just a few miles. So, I listened. And like every single time that I climb on that darned bike, I am in heaven. Thirty-five miles later I felt emotionally recharged, happily fatigued and ready to really face the day!

"Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world." ~Grant Petersen

"Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia." ~H.G. Wells

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." ~Ernest Hemingway

"Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling." ~James E. Starrs

"The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets." ~Christopher Morley

Saturday, June 27, 2009

...and there were flamingos

There's a bird that is synonymous with Florida. But, alas, other than when visiting Busch Gardens these bubble gum pink birdies are difficult, if not impossible, to spot. I'm not even sure Florida is their habitat...because I've never, ever seen one anywhere! And I've looked!

Late one night not so long ago, there was a mysterious ring of the doorbell at 11 p.m. After briefly arguing over who was going to answer the summons to the door, Steven (he lost the argument) discovered our yard, trees and bushes littered with these crazy characters. Later we found out we had been "flocked" in an effort to raise funds for young life's summer camp program. They can flock us anytime!

"Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he's carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he's carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you're drunk." ~ Jack Handey

Friday, June 26, 2009

on music

i love all music. seriously. even banjo music. i think my playlists reflect that fact. i know it has a lot to do with my dad. growing up in my home the turntable was always spinning something. the clash. warren zevon. queen. the cars. elvis costello. the rolling stones. b.b. king. squeeze. lou reed. stuff that was popular. stuff that was obscure. stuff that was bizzare. stuff that was interesting. if i close my eyes i can still see those huge black speakers in each corner of our living room. when i think back to those moments i can still feel the floor pulsate from the bass. and it was magic. and he was sooooo cool.


Throughout our lives we are faced with a multitude of choices. So many of these choices are completed in the blink of an eye without a great deal of thought or consideration. Such as...should I have my oat bran cereal with strawberries or bananas for breakfast? I going to wear a my favorite Mackinac Island hat today or take the trouble to blow dry my hair?

While other choices require significant contemplation and reflection. Such I share with my mother-in-law my differing views about the upcoming family fourth of July celebration or do I simply let it go, give in to her suggestions, and suffer in silence? I divulge my darkest secrets to my daughters with the hope that the information will enlighten them, or is it a burden too painful for a young girl which shouldn't be imposed regardless of the intent?

However challenging or simple, I'm grateful for choices. Without them I wouldn't be able to make meaningful mistakes that force me to grow. And...I might always eat bananas on my cereal.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Inside and Out

While perusing my memory card for pictures to use in a project for Alissa's sweet sixteen, I stumbled across this one. Taken a few months ago at the National Honor Society induction, I remember the feelings that tugged at my heart that evening...gut-wrenching pride, unabashed wonder, and limitless love...just to quickly name a few. Putting into words the honor I feel being her mother and witnessing her growth into young womanhood conjures up within me such strong feelings that I often feel both raw and exposed. This's mind-numbing. Somehow, this magical almost woman can express it far better than I. Here are a some carefully selected words from a poem she wrote me on mom's day...

"You are my anchor in this world
and in these rough and crazy seas.
Where hearts and hopes
go down like ships,
You keep me held onto my dreams."

She's simply beautiful...inside and out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

There was huge period of time in which Kinsey would eat only three things. And I'm not exaggerating here. Of course, these three items were not conducive to good physical health. As a result, I felt like I was failing her. I was sure her arteries would be clogged with cheese, salt and fat. What's more, I was convinced that somehow it was my fault. Maybe all of that feta cheese during my pregnancy had damaged her somehow!

So, for years, I bought every cookbook I could find that might allow me to prepare "kid-friendly", yet healthy dishes. I subscribed to Family Fun and attempted to get my finicky gal to expand her food selections. Steven and I were stunned when Kinsey refused to even try the ants on a log so lovingly created just for her (she hates both chocolate and peanut butter...absolute staples to ANY normal child's diet!!!!)...and forget about her opinions on celery. Steven would spend countless hours making adorable little finger sandwiches using cookie cutters to make them more enticing...all to no avail. Time and time again, our efforts failed.

After these numerous failed food attempts, Steven became convinced that when she became hungry enough...she would eat the good stuff...the healthy stuff. She would start reaching for the stalks of broccoli, snap peas and carrot sticks....all on her own. Of course...that simply didn't happen!

"Smother it all in cheese!" was my mother-in-law's suggestion. After dousing meal after meal in Velveeta, Kinsey simply didn't fall for it. She knew those carrots were only disguised and would lick the cheese off without nibbling the carrot itself.

After years of being worn down by her stubborn palate, we were frustrated, perplexed and worried! But, together, we settled on a new strategy...just try one new thing a day. And it stuck. (I'll be honest...there were some tears from time to time...especially with the zucchini!) Around this time we discovered another useful technique...bribery! I'm not ashamed to admit it either! We would order her pizza (obviously one of her three favorite foods!) from Aurelio's, and she was allowed to indulge after eating all of her greens.

Now, it's become a birthday tradition. And she even eats her salad now without being coerced...although we have to bring her special ginger dressing from Publix along with us!


Historicially, June is always, always, always crazy around here...a good kinda crazy...but completely insane nevertheless. When I started filling in my day timer several months prior to June the first, I knew that I would be logging numerous hours in the car transporting kids to their various camps, driver's education, volleyball practices, beach outings and the like...but add to those committments a trip to Sea World, three birthdays (Kinsey turned 13, Steven got older, and Alissa is 16 next week), Father's day and I have to say...I'm ready for some downtime and quiet.

(Secretly, I love the crazy.)