January 28, 2016

his day of fun...

Camden has never really been a sports guy - playing or watching, unless we went up to the local hockey game. Sometime last year he started being really interested in the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey, and when we checked their home schedule, we saw that there was a game right on his birthday. The perfect gift, and if we could make it a surprise, all the better!
We invited our family over for a birthday breakfast, and celebrated around the table with waffles, omelets, bacon, and donuts. It was a loud, fun morning, complete with laughter and ice cream. And while there may have been a glitch in the surprise department, he was thrilled when he found out which hockey game we were going to!

There was excitement even before the game started...
and once we got inside, even more. I love to watch my kids having fun together, and it is even better when the fun is with us.


I can hardly believe he is nineteen, but in the same breath, I can see how much he has grown... even since August. He loves school, and several times he mentioned going back home. As much as my heart wants this to be home, I am thankful he feels home both here and there. There is not much more than a Mom could want.

And so it goes...
He has filled another year with joy, dreams, and life... and I am so happy to celebrate it all, right by his side.
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January 26, 2016

birthday lessons...

My birthday is five days before Christmas, and his is five days after. Truly, I have the better deal. Once Christmas has been celebrated, the world is weary, and even the things on the must-do list fall by the wayside. The year Camden turned two, I was especially tired, and I could barely make his birthday happen. I bought a cake, and then I felt guilty that I bought a cake, so I frosted over the existing decorations so it would look homemade. I wasn't trying to impress anyone, it was only the four of us at the table, so I did it for... me. I remember being in tears over it, and Eric thinking I had lost my mind.
I know it sounds ridiculous. Even to me, now. But then?
Then I didn't know that the cake was just a cake... and the centerpiece of the celebration was the people and the love around the table. I wasn't comfortable enough in my motherhood to take what I considered the easy route... and I certainly didn't realize that some people always buy the cake. I didn't yet know that the mess of motherhood can be beautiful.

This year?
I piled up some donuts on a plate, stuck a broken sugar "happy birthday" on the top, and called it his birthday cake. He thought it was the best idea ever, and he was thrilled.

I have come a long way in these seventeen years, learning to find the joy in the mess, and accepting grace when I don't live up what I thought I would be. I have learned I don't have to try to be perfect... that their idea of the perfect Mom is the one they have.

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January 25, 2016

birthday bliss...

I wrote this the morning after my birthday, and when I tried to add pictures, the computer said no. So... I went on with my day, and these words have been gathering dust. Today, I declare this as birthday week!  We celebrated mine, and two others... and maybe this is where I start from.
: :
Yesterday was beautiful.
I woke up knowing that my house was full. Four.
As I sat in the dark, the room lit only by the Christmas tree's twinkling lights, I felt joy, contentment. The coffee was hot and sweet, I was cozy in the chill of the morning, and my heart was light. My day was just beginning, but I had already celebrated it twice...

In church, as the acolyte came forward and lit all four Advent candles, I somehow felt that all was right with the world... or at least my world. It is funny how being surrounded by the ones you love, with a special day before you, can mask any problems lurking in the shadows... if you are willing to just let them go.

We wandered the zoo for a few hours. The sky was my favorite blue, and the breeze laughed around us, making us feel free and giddy. Cam being home makes it all just right... Laura is happier, Eric is sillier, and I am just enjoying every minute.
Tacos for dinner, with my family. Messages from friends. A phone call from my Dad. Every piece of the day was beautiful. And as I sat in front of my birthday cake, all a-glow with flickering light, I had that moment, that catch in my throat. Love. Overwhelmed by it.

Hello, Forty-four. We have things to do, people to love, gifts to be thankful for.

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January 21, 2016

life lately...

I made a commitment to myself that this is the year I am getting back into writing... for real. I decided that I needed to set aside time for myself... to just write. It hasn't happened quite yet, so in the meantime, here is a little bit of life lately...

1. Having the four of us back together for three weeks at Christmas was glorious. Even if we weren't all in the same room every minute, just being under the same roof made my heart content. 

2. Cam decided he needed to bring a little bit of Florida back to Iowa, so we made
it a point to see a sunset & collect a few shells. 

3. We also made time for a nature walk. Only one picture of an alligator for his Iowa friends. 

4. We went to our first real NHL hockey game to see the Tampa Bay Lightning. We sat in the penthouse seats... {*ahem*... not as in "the best" but as in... there was no one up higher than us!}

5. I am having a hard time believing it is 2016. I hope your new year is off to a great start!

6. It has been years since we have braved the 9* temperatures of the Gaylord Palms
Convention Center to see ICE! The theme this year was
'Twas the Night Before Christmas. It was spectacular, as always.

7. We camped for two nights right after New Years. It was perfect weather... not too hot, not too cold. When we were packing up to head home, this little creature stopped by to say hello!

8. These two... oh my heart.
They enjoyed each so much while Camden was home, and it was not easy to say goodbye. 

9. Last weekend I emptied out my closet, organized and made it pretty... just in time to hunker
down IN the closet for the tornado warning that swept through Sunday morning at 5:30!
{Don't worry... all is well and we did not have any damage.}


Here's hoping that in 2016 I can set some time aside to let me heart speak...
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