Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Weeki Wachee is totally Wack

So here is a photo of my daughter that I love. I promptly made it the home screen photo on my phone (did I tell you? I've finally entered the 21st century with a smart phone). This photo was taken at Weeki Wachee, a strange little tourist attraction in western Florida.

I remember that my parents took me there when I was about 10 years old. When one of our faerie anniversary friends mentioned it, I thought it would be a great way to get in some Florida fun on the last day of our vacation. Besides all that, the little one loves mermaids.

It was a totally bizarre experience, pretty much terrible especially when the performers took their mermaid tails off. And though the bubbles against the glass during the scene changes were fun, I do not recommend unless you go for some wack sentimental reason.

We have this strange photo of her grandfather sitting next to the mermaid taken over 35 years ago. She's never seen this photo (the grandparents don't remember the photo either) but I swear she enacted almost the same exact pose when seated next to the mermaid - sitting a little bit away from the mermaid and thinking "wtf."

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The KEY thing I learned

When the plane landed in Minnesota the temps were below zero. It was a surreal difference from Florida, the very sort of extreme that I like to experience. As much as I like those sorts of changes, there is one thing I want to keep, the one thing I learned from spending time on Cedar Key and that has to do with time. You see, time slowed down while we were on the key. It was truly magical yet I know it has everything to do with how I choose to spend my day. The thing I learned is how to slow down.

Back in our normal schedules, I can dread or rather, not savor the day. I sleep as long as I can, I crowd the day with activities and wait until the last minute to start dinner. I rush from preschool drop-off to morning meetings. I can change all that by simply getting up a little earlier and oddly enough, by scheduling relaxation. I can make it an intentional part of the day rather than just collapsing into a few moments of the day that happen to be open and free. I see a subtle yet important difference between these two ways of living out the week.

While our days on Cedar Key were about following our hearts to the next view and noses to the next bowl of clams, the day was in fact scheduled for relaxation. It was a "most enjoyable time*" that brought us two closer and taught us something we can carry with us for the rest of our lives.

[*Bud, the Vietnam Vet we met in the Island Hotel said this to me numerous times. It was a curiously old way of expressing pleasure and I loved it! I loved his language and his sentiments. I really hope I get a chance to meet him again.]

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

The KEY to happiness

"We had it all...." We had award-winning clam chowder with our faerie anniversary friends and his brother is the one who made that song famous. So perfect for describing our weekend!

We went to Island Restaurant and bar after Tony's chowder - old Florida hotel, tiny little bar full of locals. Apparently if you stay a couple of days, the bathrooms are across the hall. We sat with on old Vietnam vet/sniper (who spoke Vietnamese) who made us laugh so hard that my cheeks were aching. He got a kick out of hearing that my husband gave me an axe for Christmas.

So many wonderful things happened. I wish I could record it all. I'll have to settle with saying the one phrase that can do it....We had it all.....

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stairway to heaven.

We made our way to Cedar Key, Fl for our anniversary weekend, to celebrate 21 years, y'all. And we walked up the stairs to our Bloody Mary's and we ended up sitting at the bar next to a couple also celebrating a Valentines anniversary who proceeded to invite us to the best suite on the island. We drank wine, shared stories about our lives, and marveled at the view. We decided to meet later for dinner at the same bar where we all met and experienced together a lively band doing songs that got couples up and dancing after finishing bowls of clams.

Later Dave and I talked and talked about our ongoing luck in meeting nice couples at random bars - all good people. We decided that means we are good people, too. Like recognizes like, I suppose. But we readily admit that the entire bar was full of good people because the smiles were everywhere. We found an island of happy people which is just our kind of people. And the best way to celebrate love.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

From MN to summer!

She said she wanted summer for her birthday and so we did the best we could. Let's not talk about the fact that the temps barely hit 60 degrees today. It was just nice not to be in winter boots and winter coats. We were sitting outside eating fresh seafood and enjoying the damp of the gulf air. Summertime at its best even if a bit chilly.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

magical life

Dear, sweet girl.

This morning you climbed into bed right in between me and your daddy. And I was reminded of when we first brought you home. We would put your little baby body on a pillow between us while we slept. It was a sweet time for which I have only fleeting, shifting memories likely due to the shock of your existence and sleep deprivation.

Then there are those wonderful memories from after you started sleeping in your room. In the morning, Daddy would wake up and change your diaper, then bring you to snuggle with me in bed before he started his shower. We would lay there and cuddle to the sound of the water running. We did that again this morning. Every time I looked at you, your eyes were shining and I think mine started to shine as well with tearful memories of what an easy baby you were.

Right now as I write this you are coloring with markers making pictures of your extended family. You are a little bit upset because it is snowing outside - light, fluffy magical snow - but you want summer for your birthday. Sorry, girl, that is something I can't do for you. BUT we are headed to Florida and so you will get a bit of summer before the week's done.

I love all the colorful brightness that you bring to our life and into our home. You are always singing, dancing, twirling, skipping! You are amazing and lovely and gorgeous and vibrant and most of all, smart. You are the love of my life and Daddy? Well, you are more than life to him, you are all that is good in life, all that makes life worth living.

I realize now that these party decorations are a great way to describe how you influence our lives. You inject stars and snowflakes, balloons and colorful poofs into our cloudy, gloomy lives. Not that I can actually remember the life we had before you. That life is lost in the gloom. Now it is all bright sunshine and rainbows. And unicorn farts that smell like strawberries.

How excited you were when after the party, I handed you a fork and let you dig right into the cake! And what you don't know right now is that's the just a tiny smidgeon of the all the fun that awaits you. 

I made some wishes for you while you were blowing out the candles. My wish for you is life full of magic; a rich learning environment; a community full of kindness; a great group of friends; days filled with urban fun; weekends full of woodland exploration; shelves full of great books; nimble fingers making music; art all around with fingertips constantly stained with paint; warm hugs and snuggles and of course, love.

Happy Birthday, my love. I can't type love enough times to express the intensity of love that me and daddy have for you!

Heres to wishing all your wishes come true,

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Monday, February 9, 2015

party prep

February is always a whirlwind of activity. First up was the little one's 5-year birthday party. I hesitate to say that I went overboard with party decorations. It only seems overboard because it all wrapped up yesterday but I do believe we can leave them up for a little while.

Here are ten things I learned from this year's experience:

1. If the decoration are good, no one else but me and the little one will notice them. Although there wasn't much spoken about them, the overall comfort and celebratory nature of the party tells me that the decorations helped create the atmosphere.

2. Parties with guests are the absolute best way to get all that house cleaning done. And to finally get those photos up on the wall. AND to finally getting that coffee table we've wanted for 15 years. To be honest, I'm glad we waited so long to find the right one because it's fits our home perfectly. Dave came home on Saturday with the craig's list purchase, a narrow but long coffee table made from old barn wood. 

3. Next year start decorating at the beginning of February so that the decorations can be up for a little while, like holiday decorations.

4. Craft punches are the best! Making stars and snowflakes out of glitter paper was a breeze.

5. Using a wet dishcloth is great for clearing dust - no need to get overly concerned about cleaners when just a cloth and water will do.

6. We only invited one other little girl to the little one's party. She's been wanting a play date in our house and she finally got that. Besides, having 12 little, drama-inclined girls at one party in a small house doesn't seem like a lot of fun.

7. Cater to the adults at the party.We had Bloody Marys and pizza. Everyone had a blast.

8. Expect the kids to entertain themselves. Of course, encourage any performance type things for the kids to present to the adults. In this case, we set up the microphone and let the kids "karaoke" for a while. Yep, that's right "Let It Go" was heard many, many times.

9. Wear something exceedingly comfortable. I didn't let my husband talk me out of the dress I chose and I regret that.

10. Make a point to go to the happy hour/Mama's night out even if it seems a impossible to step away from all the party prep that needs to be done.

Can't stop there. Here are a few more things I need to remember.

11. Get a big plastic contained to keep party paraphernalia for next year: plates, cups, napkins, candles, etc.

12. Don't sweat it if the plans don't turn out like you planned. I scrapped plans left and right and told myself that I was keeping it simple. In reality, the plans were great but just needed adjustment to suit our style.

13. Staying up until 2am each night of preparation seemed just right. I'm back to being a late-night person and I enjoyed having the time with Dave as we got everything ready punctuated with a little time wasting playing angry birds.

Now it is Monday after the party and I am a little deflated but only a little as I move into packing mode. Board meeting tonight, then off to Florida on Thursday. Somehow I must also remember that February is always crazy with activity. I wouldn't want it any other way as this totally makes the winter fly by faster!

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