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

January 10, 2019

all the pretty things...

Pretty paper and pretty pens... it's been an all-my-life love affair. And as I gather together my life, they are actual valid tools! These pens were a lovely gift... but not quite as lovely as knowing the person who gave them to me truly believes these sentiments. I hope that you have a special someone who sees you from the inside out and will remind you of these truths when you are wandering through the beautiful mess of life.


January 09, 2019

life lately... the christmas edition

Today I'm skipping back a few weeks to Christmas, and the season around it. I haven't done too much about the rest of the decorations... they are still providing some festive atmosphere! And before I tuck them away, I thought I'd revisit some of the beauty {and the crazy!}

1. On a rainy Saturday in Iowa, we went to the Amana Colonies
and found refuge from the storm in a barn full of beautiful Christmas trees!

2. Every year, our zoo puts on "Winterfest" and the animals all get special
Christmas enrichment. This year  we painted many special boxes and paper mache
balls for the animals to receive their treats in!

3. Our favorite hockey night... Teddy Bear Toss! Almost the whole family went this year.

4. Our friends treated us to a Christmas concert as a thank you.
See that guy in the background? Paul Todd. He is an amazing musician with the
most unique hair I've ever seen. It was a night of laughter, singing and jazz hands. 

5. Shop-With-A-Cop is probably his favorite event of the year... and extra special
because he has the opportunity to choose several children from
his elementary school to participate.
It's bound to be a beautiful Christmas if there is a pink unicorn involved!

6. Oh my Suz... her annual Christmas party is always fun, and she lets me
be as silly as I want, with hardly any disapproving looks! 

7. Christmas Eve at Gramma and Grampa's house and the Great Saran Ball.
It takes us about an hour to unwrap it, and then trade around our special goodies
{like sardines, sharpies, and candy.} It's the most fun! 

8. My Mom never asks for anything for Christmas, but this year... she did have one request.
It took me some time to find it, but I was able to replace her favorite tee shirt.

9. Matching jammies and wiggling toes
under the twinkling lights on Christmas morning. 

It was a beautiful season.


January 07, 2019

rest stop...

Two hours from home, we stopped where we always do... at the base of the Skyway Bridge. The sky was a gorgeous blue, and the wind had the flags spread out with crisp corners. We noticed people walking along the water, and I'm not sure I had ever seen as much beach here... or if I had, I surely didn't know it was accessible. But when I came out of the restroom, I spotted Camden at the water's edge.

I made my way over the rocky barrier, and was happy that the ground felt solid rather than the squishy I had anticipated. I was surprised that Laura was next over the rocks, and filled with a sense of beach day joy. It didn't take long for them to be running out their energy, as if they were seven or eight... they are the silliest.
When I asked for a photo of the two of them, they couldn't hold it together. I finally did get a desk-worthy shot, but I'm not sure it is my favorite.

I'm not sure I could choose a favorite from this windblown slice of joy...

January 06, 2019

sunday splash...

God is always seeking you.
Every sunset, every clear blue sky, every ocean wave, the starry host of night.
He blankets each day with the invitation, "I am here."

Louie Giglio


January 05, 2019

a quiet luxury...

One more cup of coffee this morning is a quiet luxury.
I've already checked a few things off my list. Workout {check}, breakfast within an hour of waking up {check}, a whole lot of water sipped {check}... and now that I'm back from dropping Laura at work, I have a few more minutes to decided what to do with this beautiful day that lays before me.

I'm not usually so motivated in January. I feel like I typically am not quite ready for fresh and new, and I'd rather drag my December feet until Valentine's Day. Or, the night before Valentine's Day! That is when I would always swing into high gear, crafting up some fun and fabulous cards with my kids for school... the next day. But these days, there are no kid crafts to create, and the only school projects that come my way are at the request of my favorite school deputy. If I'm really honest, I would say that I thought I would miss those days desperately... but I don't. I loved the journey of Laura and Camden growing up, and of course, just like "they" said, it went way too quickly. But on the other side, there is a whole lot of wonderful.

It is a very nice feeling to sit and contemplate, watching the palms sway in the breeze, and have a breath of contentment wrap around you.