January 27, 2014

on strolling...

I mentioned last week that I am learning to stroll. Learning. I am a don't-be-late-let's-get-going-I-don't-want-to-miss-anything kind of girl.  I have been the go-go-go-why-are-you-so-slow kind of Mom.  And lately, I've been trying to keep that pace without bringing on a wheeze... and it does.not.work.   More than that though?  Eric keeps telling me to slow down, rest, take care... or you are staying home.  Oh. So this is where the learning to stroll comes in.

As we visited DisneyWorld this winter, I had to slow down, and breathe, if I wanted to stay.  Sometimes we even stopped to rest.  And once?  We got to the park after it opened.  I am learning.

Saturday was the annual Empty Bowls event {read about other years here!}  It is one of my most favorite events of the year, and for the past two years, due to Chalk Art {and this year} we have gone down to the park around 8am, and waited for the event to open... at 11am.  Last year I noticed that there were still a lot of bowls left at noon, and so this year, I decided I didn't need to be there until the {very long} line had gone through.  Strolling.

But when the line started moving and I was strolling the park?  I got nervous.  I started getting antsy.  And we decided that we better get at the tail end of the very long moving line.  There were actually still bowls left at 1pm. It is a process.  Suz's Coach told me that waiting is only half of patience... the other half is not worrying.  Oh.  I will work on that for next year!

My sweet friend, Southern Gal, asked for strolling lessons, but I am sure that she doesn't want the four months of bronchitis {and steroids!} that have come with mine.   I can say, though, that the actual strolling has been quite nice... and it just might be easier to stop and smell the roses when I don't have to come to a screeching halt!

Some roses from the week:
-a safari walk with my guys
-beautiful air to breathe and blue sky to go with it
-chilly days, and downright cold days!
-a great night for chili
-a few more minutes to stay under the covers
-the one baffles my mind with her knowledge about college, and all of the how-to's
-shopping for jeans for he boy who only wears shorts
-a great night with our youth group, and some crazy snowmen
-remembering he needed food for FCA, and that he is a part of this group
-a successful IEP, and all of the nice things his teachers said about him
-a few quick texts with my girl, who is studying hard!
-plans for ocala coming together!
-the three extra shifts he took this weekend, and the way he provides for us
-the friendship between cam & kassie
-spending the day with my forever friend and catching up on months worth of living
-a study that makes me think i could do one more year
-the sting of a little sun on my face, reminding me of a beautiful day
-a prepared lesson
-my husband being my neighbor {and this post}
-a sweet face and her wide blue eyes, just a few rows up
-the choir anthem, and being able to pick out his rich voice {that makes me melt}


January 22, 2014

mercies renewed

I could have slept in this morning, but I find myself wide awake, and now on my second cup of coffee... just because it tastes so good.  Also, it is a procrastination tool.  I am thinking of all the things I could be/should be doing with this extra hour and a half... and maybe one of them will happen.  Maybe not.

For now... this feels nice.
: :
The decision came with a glance out the window... low light, sun yet to break.  I have missed the gifts of the morning, the light.  Donning shoes with laces, I decided it was time.  All of those mornings I thought the sun was not rising?  I was wrong.  It was me, not rising to the occasion.  And so this morning, worship music in my ear, I watched the light come.

Gradually, reaching.  Golden sun, dressing dark leaves until they glittered green-gold, and streaking across the cold ground showing the way to full morning.  Yes, I have missed this, these lovely gifts, this coming alive.

January 21, 2014

feeling celebrated...

When Cam picked out his birthday plates & napkins last month, we let her choose a set, too.  Last week, we sent her a birthday-in-a-box {including a cake & candles} along with her birthday gifts... and those Frozen plates.  If we couldn't all be together, I wanted her to know that we were celebrating her anyway.  And that we wouldn't let her birthday pass like any other day.  I even posted birthday photos on facebook...

Saturday she expressed her joy and thankfulness... that so many would send her happy wishes.  She felt celebrated... and if I had one wish for her day, that would be it.  Because it feels so good.
: :
All I wanted was to see the Christmas decorations at Disney World... and December rushed by, as she likes to do, and there was only one weekend left.  He was supposed to work, but since it was my birthday and he had vacation time to burn, off we went.

At 42, I have learned how to mosey through a theme park {those who have traveled with me are now gasping and picking themselves off of the floor!}  We picked our favorites and the things we had never experienced, and strolled... and it was lovely.  My favorite?  Watching the Osborn Spectacle of Dancing Lights turn on in Hollywood Studios.  Dusk turned into a rainbow of sparkling lights, and I gasped with delight.  And when those lights started dancing?  A squeal could not be contained!  The woman standing in front of me turned and looked at me... and I admitted to acting like a five-year-old.  {Forty-two?  Five? They are really close, right?}  Later we walked through again... and I found a spot to sit and enjoy.  I could have watched them the whole night.  And when the soap-snow fell from the angel-filled sky, I was filled with pure joy.

All those lights, and a free birthday cupcake?  I was giddy.  Absolutely giddy. And oh-so-celebrated.

January 20, 2014

after the weekend...

At last, winter has come to southwest Florida.  Cool, crisp, sunshiney days that are breath to my soul.  And while our winters are not icy cold, it was just below freezing this morning {while I slept snug in my bed} before it warmed to a beautiful 65 degrees.  A marked difference from last Saturday when I was comparing the humidity to an August day.  Ugh.

Today, as the sun is starting its descent and turning my backyard glittery-gold, I am counting blessings...
-a long overdue, lively chat with my December friend
-eating Chipotle with Suz (always a blessing!}
-enjoying Laura's birthday celebration from afar
-the way a Mom saves homemade (or school-made) treasures

one mine, one my sisters... both made in 7th grade wood lab {a million years ago!}
-catching up on some sleep
-his offers of assistance
-seeing where their new home will be
-and riding the boat out where their neighborhood will be

-seeing three bald eagles... two juvenile, and a grown-up {this one while I was getting gas!}
-that he has energy after a 12 hour shift
-a generous gift of time from a friend... and my photos, saved.
-dinner for six
-an excitement filled email from that same December friend, because she knew I would "get it."

-that he enjoys the math competitions, even when the tests are hard and the results are less than stellar
-games with loved ones, two days in a row {upwords? a loss. qwirkle? win!}
-knowing you made a good decision
-love, sweet love.


January 17, 2014

friday letters...

Dear Laura,
Twenty.  Wow.
Even though we aren't together today, I am enjoying your birthday... sending messages, posting pictures, remembering.  You are one special girl... you made me a Mommy and you have taught me so much about faith.  You are my sunshine, my Tweety Bird, my angel-girl.  I love you.  Happy Birthday!

Dear Cold Weather,
Hooray!  I'm thrilled that it will be cold {for Florida!} for a whole week!  After that?  I'd be happy for you to stick around, or at least keep the hot weather away.

You made me laugh today!  Having to wear jeans is one thing, but a jacket?!  You?!  But the part that made me laugh... is when you didn't realize you needed to put on your jacket before your backpack.  It does make a difference!

Dear Eric,
Thank you!!!!  I'm so happy you refilled the bird feeder... the painted buntings are back!

And yesterday?  Thank you for understanding that I didn't understand... and for just holding me instead of making me try to explain.  Your arms are my safe place...


January 14, 2014

memories & reflections...

I don't know if I have ever done a yearly recap... but as I was {finally} taking some {of the 6,973} photos off of my phone, there were some moments that made me smile, snapshots of love that reminded me that there were sweet days mixed in with the sick last year.  I couldn't help but pick and choose some to share...

evenings at the beach, working hard to get her to smile at me, and a driver's license for my youngest.
all very big deals.  
a month of love... 
candy and really great, beautiful chocolate, and a birthday celebration that was really fun to pull off 

a full day of pi {and pie} with camden, the county fair- which was ann's favorite, and a trip back to the cheesecake factory in honor of ann's birthday {and they took "our" favorite off the menu!}

April...getting our girl ready to fly, reflecting on a tragedy,
and finally sharing {and loving} the balloon festival with my mom! {i need to check the 2014 dates!}
a fiesta farewell, moving her in, and cam getting his big chance at his bass drum dream

the best salad i have ever eaten, celebrating a sister at the beach, and a 50th anniversary at disney!

taking camden to the nyg in san antonio, celebrating my husband, enjoying the sunset

setting the table for tea, wondering how 21 years have flown by...
and how cam could possibly be beginning his junior year!

homecoming carts instead of floats, celebrating the arrival of macie kate!
and cam's celebration of the arrival of ghost peeps.

marching season {again!}, the buddy walk with suz & for them, halloween

meeting macie kate {i have so much to share!}, packing shoeboxes,
and having our girl home for thanksgiving!

a birthday, advent on the street corner, and gifts given in love. 


January 10, 2014

friday letters

Dear Panda Headphones,
You are just about the cutest things I have ever seen!  I don't know where Suz found you, but I may be sending you back if you continue to listen to my ipod while it is tucked away in my purse!  I was so looking forward to listening to some music while I worked, but it seems you used up just about all of the battery. Imagine my disappointment!   Good thing you are so cute...

Dear Golf Safari,
You are our favorite.  Always have been, always will be.  We may have tried the big, new and fancy-schmancy mini-golf, but it just doesn't have the same charm. Or the memories.  When we come, we retrace them... all the way back to Laura's 6th birthday.  Thank you for taking the expired coupon, and for sharing your safari animals with us.  {I won't even hold it against you that my only hole-in-one jumped right back OUT and no one would count it!}

Dear Camden,
I felt like a bad Mom... letting you walk up the path just a little bit more when I was too scared to go another inch!  It wasn't the gator on the side I was afraid of, but what might have been lurking unseen.  Your Mom is a big fraidy-cat.  I hope that you will never be too brave though, when it comes to wild creatures!
i promise, promise, promise this was taken with ZOOM!!! and he was not as huge as he looks here!

Dear Friends,
I hope your weekend is fantastic... and warm!

January 09, 2014

we're going to the zoo

Sweet. Thoughtful. Ours...

I had heard them whispering, and saw them quickly cover some notes when I came close. They pretended innocence, but I know the actions of the suspicious too well.  But with Christmas fast approaching, suspicious has to be acceptable...

Their gift ...a date to the zoo. For two.
Tickets, giraffe feeding, snacks, and a photo-booth-photo-shoot. All that's left is the going...

On Cam's birthday, we took a pre-trip...for three. Just me and my two. We went to see the animals, and Gramma, too.  

My mom may have fallen in love with zoo volunteering at the first mention, and once she was there, well, we can hardly tear her away.   What started out as marking time between Africa trips has become so much more.    She divides her time between the giraffes and creating animal enrichment.  On Cam's birthday?  It was both. 

I love watching her work... ushering in the giraffe feeders a group at a time, reminding of how to hold the lettuce...come closer, hold it up.  And then he comes in with that long tongue, wraps it around the lettuce, and waits for the next leaf.  I could watch her and her giraffes all day long...

She built this contrapion for giraffe enrichment, which is always exercise for their spectacular tongue. Grain in the ball, water dripping from the jug. One approaches and then another. Spinning ensues as they each try to stand their ground, grappling for the fun.   

Watching them play is such a gift... one that reminds of of where we've been.

January 06, 2014

when the blustery weather is on its way...

It was a day too nice to sit inside, at least after a while.  The sunshine was calling us to play while the couch beckoned rest, but soon... the bright sky won out.  I wished it cool, but that never works, even when your northern friends would willing trade a few degrees of negative for anything resembling warm.  And so we went, and sweated a little, as we enjoyed the safari road and all she had to offer...

I even ventured a little further than usual {not without fear!}

On this Monday, when the blustery weather is on the horizon, and we get news that it might be 19 degrees in northern Florida, I want to remember to count the gifts, and thank God for them.
-being awake to ring in the new year
-watching the Rose Bowl Parade, twice
-watching her face light up because her friend was there for a visit
-being fascinated by the little black snake in the tree {only because I was in the car!}
-a movie date for four before she left
-a long overdue dinner with friends who are family
-eric making it in time to give Laura a hug goodbye
-her safe trip back
-laughing at Cam when he said she's sleeping late today... even though we both knew she wasn't home
-a few more days of Christmas vacation
-mini golf and all the fun. and him pretending he was almost-falling to be funny
-a new calendar, ready to fill
-the engagement news from a friend!
-help putting away the Christmas ornaments {precious treasure!}

-a maybe last morning of the twinkling lights on the tree {but maybe not!}
-giggling over her name tag being wrong again.  but in a whole new way!
-a good day at work.  full. and busy.
-the clock ticking towards home.
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