February 19, 2019

party crashers

She was so excited to finally be having a party!
She told me it had been a year since the last one, and I know it is one my Mom's favorite things to do. We {family} are not often on the guest list, which is always fine... but I got to thinking crazy thoughts.

This weekend my parents would celebrate 35 years of marriage. I love their love, and every day, I am thankful. Thankful that she opened her heart again. Thankful that he saved us. Mom and Bob are absolutely two of the best people I know.  We're lucky and we know it.
34 Years!
But what do you do for the people you love most, who don't need or want for anything? I thought about taking them out for lunch... but Bob would probably insist on paying. Plus, it was getting to be last minute.  My thinking cap was working overtime, and when I came up with a plan too crazy for words... I spoke them anyway. And Eric? He shook his head slightly, and took it in stride, the way he usually does when my eyes grow bright with hope. The next call was... my sister. Are you free tonight? I'll pick you up at 8pm.

We gathered up the last anniversary balloons in town, and drove across town, giddy. I felt like the prize patrol from Publisher's Clearinghouse!

It's getting late... I hope they are still there.
She won't be mad, will she?
Have you ever crashed a party before?
If I move the balloons this way, can you still breathe?
Peeking through the door, we could see that the party was in full force. We took one more photo before we threw open the door and started shouting Happy Anniversary! I could see Bob, who looked up, but hardly missed a beat in his conversation. The party guests looked a little confused, and Mom was around the corner and it seemed like she had to climb over a few people to see what was going on. But then there she was, almost teary, and in disbelief that we were there shouting and carrying on... celebrating them.
It was so much fun. 
But... not only did we crash the party... we broke it! Within a half hour every single guest had said their goodbyes and the house was empty.  But we stayed a little longer, gathered around the table, and played a game. And it felt... kind of perfect.

February 14, 2019

life lately...

Just one day late... but it was a busy week with lots of fun!

1. Fun at the zoo day... we're making a second huge paper mache ball. 
The smell of it reminds me of my Miss Piggy paper mache mask in 4th grade.

2. Blue sky. Is there a more beautiful blue? I don't think so.

3. Zoo lights... more fun at the zoo for Zoobilee! Our great night even included dancing!

4. Writing down our Saturday morning sightings.

5. Opa! I love when this guy shows up! It means Greek festival and baklava.

6. For our Valentine's celebration we went to a painting party.
Ours turned out pretty good!

7. Soup & salad... it's what was for dinner!

8. There's something about the way the evening sun makes the trees glitter gold after a rainstorm.

9. This kitty... she is the only way I can get my kids to text me back,
so I try to catch her looking cute for them!


happy valentine's day!

Wishing you a day that has you feeling loved!
Happy Valentine's Day!

February 11, 2019

working towards me

I've been starting my days early... four-thirty early.
When you know yourself, you have to find ways to win against the games. I know that I will make any excuse not to exercise after work, and thinking of excuses can be exhausting. So... I refuse to let myself have the chance to think.

Wake up.
Get dressed.
Workout. No time to think up an excuse!

Someone shared this with me the other day... and while I had heard the first part, what followed was new to me.

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal
A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan.
A plan backed by action becomes reality

And so... I continue to set my alarm to win against myself.

February 10, 2019

sunday splash...

I see skies of blue and clouds of white. 
Bright blessed days and dark sacred night. 
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

-Louis Armstrong

thinking of ann today....


February 06, 2019

life lately...

Happy Wednesday!
I thought it might need to be a second "short" version week... but it turned out that I had captured just enough fun this week!
1. Saturday we had a 2-for-1 walk.
We walked the Corkscrew Swamp boardwalk and then
couldn't help ourselves... we traveled safari road for a short add-on.
This leaf just caught my eye... after the rain.

2. Bingo at the brewery. I love/hate it. I don't ever win, but I get SO CLOSE!

3. Did you have SUPER SuperBowl snacks? Our friend outdid himself!

4. Great is my Faithfulness.
We are getting back into our Sunday routine and I have need it!

5. A walk around our block...snow?! I'm sure it's just bubbles.
It's been cool here, but certainly never cool enough for snow!

6. Traffic was tough on my way home from picking up Laura...

7. I knew exactly where these came from (extra from his Do the Right Thing ceremony!)
but any day someone brings you flowers is a great day! And they came with no less love...

8. A couple of laps around the arena before the game started got me where I needed to be!

9. Catching a glimpse of my son, who is half-way around the world,
is always a GREAT way to begin my day. I think he looks happy!

And now... I'm off to the zoo!


February 03, 2019

sunday splash... the groundhog edition

Once upon a time, Groundhog Day was my favorite holiday.
Why? Who knows. But I did write a little article for our High School Paper (The Scituation) entitled Shadows of Spring in honor of that feisty groundhog, Phil.

So in the spirit of the {yester}day...


January 31, 2019

the birthdays...

I love the way it feels when my birthday is approaching... that sense of excitement that grows inside when you know something good is just around the bend. After all these forty-something birthdays you'd think it would get old. But for me... it never does. Maybe it is the joy and flurry of December strung around the days until my birthday that makes me smile, or perhaps it is that I still have not quite grown up. I love my birthday and the gathering of family and friends that make me me.
Of course, just ten days later, I have the joy of celebrating this fantastic young man and his love of adventure!  Twenty-two seems almost impossible, and yet he has really filled those years with some fantastic experiences, with a couple more just on his horizon.
ice cream cake with twenty-two candles, and his 2nd favorite penguin wrapping paper
And if it was not enough for my baby to be turning twenty-two... our beautiful girl celebrated twenty-five just two weeks later. I was so thankful to celebrate with her this year! She enjoyed her quiet day off doing something she loves - reading two books in her hammock - and we sang to her over a delicious birthday cheesecake. Twenty-five... and a whole new adventure ahead of her. I truly hope this is her very best year yet!
brownie turtle cheesecake, polar bear plates, and her traditional birthday wrapping paper
The morning after Laura's birthday, Eric said to me Finally! A clear path to my {July} birthday! I laughed loudly,,, and figure that he and I are indeed a perfect pair.


January 30, 2019

life lately... the short edition

When I scroll back through the photos on my phone, I am often surprised...at what is there, and what isn't. Sometimes it is a glimpse of a few days ago, and I've already forgotten the moment. Or... I wonder where the last week has gone, and why I haven't captured anything. And so we have... the short edition...

1. I saw these over the weekend in Target. I've been dreaming about them ever since.
I love the dark toasty burnt ones the very best... I did not buy them, and won't.
Because one sitting and I'd be on the hunt for a second box. 

2. Sometimes you have to bend and look from a different perspective.
This is a favorite from the weekend walk.

3. I am not a neat painter... especially at the zoo.
But these layers of color and the how it happened made me smile. 

4. This ray of sunshine is still blooming
and giving us a glimpse of brightness, even under a gray sky.
And the quote? It's a favorite.

...and I'm hoping this lack of beautiful moments will remind me to work harder to see the beauty in the daily ordinary, and choose to snap the shutter and save it.


January 28, 2019

a weekend soaking...

Two days of rain is hardly something to complain about... it's just unusual for the weekend to be soaked so deeply. Thankfully, we managed a beautiful dry walk through the swamp Saturday before the deluge.
Our afternoon plans were not so lucky...
We watched the forecast and the clock, came up with a few different plans, and then decided there is no place like home. We didn't completely abandon the annual Sunshine State Steak Cook Off, we just decided the grab-and-go method would be best this  year.
 Armed with raincoats, umbrellas, hot tea, and a attitude of fun, we drove out to Ave Maria, walked the loop, waited in line, and then when the serving line opened at 5pm, we bee-lined through as quickly as we could. Then we made our way to our favorite steak grill, secured our dinners in the car, and headed home... at 5:09.
We enjoyed our great steak dinner with friends and laughter, as dry and warm as could be.
Who won the Steak Off? It doesn't matter...Cowboy Steak is always our favorite.
I know the rain is cold my dear, but dance in it a little while you wait for the sun,


January 27, 2019

sunday splash...

I love the rain.
I love how it softens the outlines of things.

The world becomes softly blurred, 
and I feel like I could melt right into it. 

-Hanamoto Hagumi


January 25, 2019

the january days of florida...

We have been enjoying a long string of beautiful days. Blue skies, crisp air - the kind of days that beckon you out into the sunshine. Some days I'm content to be inside with the windows open, letting the breeze billow through, but other days find me needing an outdoor adventure - even for just a few hours.

So we've walked...
  we've zipped...

we've let our hair be tangled by the wind.
One day I even threw caution to the wind and walked the beach in my dress pants. 

And on Monday, after a two day organizing spree, we drove just a few miles north to the strawberry field...

...which led to the sunflower field.
I'm making the most of every beautiful day... the summer heat will be here before we know. it.

The sun will rise and set regardless. 

What we choose to do with the light while it's
here is up to us. Journey wisely.

-Alexandra Elle


January 24, 2019

life lately...last week's edition

Just when I think I'm on a roll... I fall. But this is me, picking up where I left off. I was going to say story of my life but the truth is, it's not too unusual that I just let something lie. So here's to a new me, for however long I can hold her.

{okay...this might be tough on my heart... just seeing the photos of Cam HOME, and now he's halfway across the world.}

1. This is me making a dream come true - a glass blowing session! What did I actually make? Coming soon to a blog near you!

2. Three pieces of my heart during a beautiful family outing - we met Winter the Dolphin!

3. If you know me at all, you know that ice cream is a huge part of my life... I didn't have one {ouch} but enjoyed watching Camden enjoy this banana split {my Mom's favorite thing to make...EVER.}

4. Me and my nephew... we were at a hockey game and there he was a few rows over!

5. I love finding a sand dollar...ever just a piece. Beautifully broken.

6. Even at twenty-two he needs to climb... up on the hurricane debris, not the railing!

7. This beautiful photo mysteriously appeared on my phone...

8. Catching up with a friend after a year and a half as if no time has passed?! THE BEST!

9. I love my zoo enrichment days... especially if we can see the lions tear it apart.


January 14, 2019

a most treasured gift...

Can you guess which one said it? 
It really doesn't matter... I think they both agree.

It is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received... that these two share such a love and friendship. How have I accomplished such a feat? I believe I have just prayed it into existence. I always let them know that our home was a safe place, one where the people inside it loved each other without exception... and I know that God has taken it from there.

Their chatter in the next room is one of my favorite things. Add some laughter, a shout of joy... I can barely think the words without my eyes starting to tear up. I know that such a relationship is rare, and as much as I am thankful for it for me, I am thankful for it for them. Growing up they probably didn't think much about it, but even now, they know that the other is the one they can rely on in all situations, with every breath. They celebrate, stand up for, and even fight for each other.

To have someone know all of you is a beautiful thing.
And to be their Mom is certainly beyond grace.


January 13, 2019

sunday splash...

We have been created to love and to be loved.
-Mother Theresa