June 27, 2008

just a little housekeeping

While I was away, I had time to really think about my blog. I missed it... desperately. When we walked into the lobby in the hotel, my heart soared to see a computer... and then fell when I saw the "out of order" sign attached. I love this way of expressing myself... it is freeing... it is honest... and it has awakened something in me that I forgot existed- this urge to write. And while I began it just for me, it has become something else. Or maybe I have become someone else. I don't want to stop sharing... sometimes I think I live to share... but along the way, I lost something. I lost the reason for my writing. And guess what? Mom really does know best. She told me that she wasn't going to comment on what I wrote- because she didn't want me to focus on what she, or anyone, thought. Hmmm. My dear, forever friend put it best when she wrote, "I found myself rushing to my blog each day, not to share, inspire or create...but to be filled up...to seek reassurance that I’m okay...that I must be good enough." After a heartfelt phone call about just this, I feel I must follow in her footsteps. For now, I'm going to turn off the comments. I need to... just for me. While I was away, I was happy with just my notepad and paper... but I still want to share... because life is so full of grace... and my heart still feels the need to reach out and overflow and maybe help someone else find their way beyond grace. But if I have touched something in you, and you want to share, please... send me a note... e-mail me... let me know. Thank you for understanding.

On another note, I was able to post a few tidbits during our stay in Daytona... but now I have gone back and added the photos that were intended to accompany the words. Scroll back a little if you want to catch up!

just to see you smile

Sometimes it is just the little things in life that mean the most... moments in time that make your heart smile...

our own private spot at aquatica
laughing in the cool, raging rapids
peace, love & pelicans
203 steps to the top
perfecting the art of the boogie board
chasing six shoes floating away in the tide
flecks of copper in the sand
dribbling sand down the sides of a castle
riding a wave all the way to the shore
a computer in the lobby
making a friend in the surf
skipping the waves and swimming in the pool
a shady spot, thanks to Rodney
just enjoying the Atlantic
eating froot loops by color
not having to search for a smile
all the #88 gear you could dream of
knowing there's still time before either child can learn to drive
finally playing miniature golf
free chocolate samples
a rainbow
watching dolphins play in the crashing waves
reading more books than you brought
home sweet home.

washed by the water

I love to watch the ocean waves roll in... wave after wave. I love to watch each soft gentle swell rise up to a peak, then crash around in a turbulent swirl of foam and bubbles. Sometimes the wind catches it just right, and the finest mist of salty spray is tossed up into the breeze. And then the bubbling foam turns back into a gentle current that gracefully laps the seashore and lazily washes the sand of any imperfections that we have created... castles built tall and sure; words carved deep into the packed sand; even our trailing footprints. Time after time the mighty ocean sweeps in and smooths out all of the rough edges and leaves the beach just as it was meant to be- natural and untouched. I have been witness to many ferocious storms and ocean waves so dark and destructive- waves that have splintered homes and washed away dreams in a single tide. The power of the ocean always amazes me... good or bad.. and once the storm has passed, a new day lights upon us and the ocean has once again been calmed by God's mighty hand... and the waves are once again gentle. In our lives, days pass swiftly... calm, gentle days, and mighty, ferocious days... and yet, each day is as blessed as the next. Each day God comes in and washes away the imperfections that we have scattered in the sand. He takes the harshness and the horrible out into the raging tide and, in His time, sends it back to us, tumbled by the waves, washed in His love and grace, so that the edges are no longer rough... and we can tuck it away in our pocket, as a remembrance... a lesson. The sandy beach... the dark days... everyday... me...washed by the water- by His water... clean and new.

June 26, 2008

expanding my horizons

My summer reading stack has dwindled... and I'm down to one. And it's a big one. I have laughed and giggled and gasped and cried my way through fiction fluff- and loved every second of it. And now... I have no excuses. Becky gave me a book to read... one that she was shocked I had never read, or even seen the movie of! Gone With The Wind. The thickness of the book does not bother me... I don't think. I'm not really sure what has been stopping me though. It's more than just my typical fiction fluff... my easy reading, that I know for sure. Is it a classic? I do not know any of the classic old movies... I just don't think I was ever exposed to them... and I suppose I just have pushed all thoughts of them aside. I have plenty of other things I should be doing anyway, right? But lately, I have been wanting to go back and read some of the books I read in high school... or books that I should have read, and just skimmed through to finish. Maybe I will... after I tackle this one. I started it yesterday, and I think I might just like it!


Our hotel room is on the fourth floor... and the elevator is slow... so I have decided to take the steps. It's not a bad trek- and most of the time, my family will join me. Steps do not bother me... as long as I'm not vacuuming them (how I hated, yes hated, that job when I was a kid!) Ever since our honeymoon cruise, I have looked at steps differently... as my friends, actually! What is the one piece of advice people give you when you are going on a cruise? Skip the elevator, take the steps, and then you can pretty much eat all you want... and probably break even! Yesterday we climbed to the top of a lighthouse. 203 steps to the top! The only other lighthouse I've ever climbed is the Statue of Liberty... and we took those steps slowly- about 1 every ten minutes! There was no line at the Ponce Inlet, but I still figured that the steps would be a cinch. I was wrong. The climb was tough, and shorter legs raced ahead of me, and waited for me while I was catching my breath. Once we arrived at the top, the reward was great... a brisk breeze and a breathtaking view (okay, to be honest, there wasn't much breath left to take!) The lesson, of course, is pretty easy- sometimes the hard work we do along the way makes the reward so much sweeter. My question is this... Now that I've climbed more than my fair share of steps, how many hot, sweet Krispy Kremes can I eat to just "break even?"

June 25, 2008


Our big vacation day... one big hurrah and then off to start our lazy beach trip. Of course, Aquatica is not Disney... so, from the road, when I saw the ugly scaffolding holding up the water slides, I immediately wondered- it is actually possible that beyond the road and the tree line will lie a lush tropical oasis? Skepticism really isn't my thing, but when it comes to vacation and something special, I have high expectations... will they be met? Upon entering the park we were swept away with beauty. The landscape was lush and green... dotted with pink and red hibiscus... the slides were bright golds, pinks, and aquas... everywhere you looked was just a little more... fun. And the entire day was a treat. But what made it really special? Rolling along the rapids with the ones I love... seeing the joy shining through colored goggles... hearing the laughter bubble up from just beneath the surface of the water... the last glimpse of toes as my little fishes dove under the waves... screaming with joy and laughter and exhilaration as we sped through a dark tunnel, and hanging on so tightly to my children, lest they be thrown from the raft! These are the moments that made the day shine. And so when I was dry, and my darling daughter, soaked to the bone, approached me and asked me if I wanted a hug, I smiled at her quiet smirking face and said... yes.

June 22, 2008


Okay... I love to laugh with my hubby! Yesterday I saw the perfect tee,
that fits "us" to a "T!"
It said...
"I'm Grumpy because you're Dopey."
Think Seven Dwarves... I love it!

June 21, 2008

missing you?

For the most part, I am not a Mom who worries. God has blessed me with a gift of great faith, and that has helped me to learn to really put all of my worries and cares into His hands. And so, sending Cam off to camp for a week is not a big deal. He and Laura have been away for longer... visiting Gramma & Grampa... or traveling with Gran & Grandad. People ask me if I miss them while they are away... and it makes me sound like a bad Mom, but...no. I think it is so good for everyone, this time we all have away from each other. When they are away I'm always just so excited for them and the new experiences and opportunities they are lucky enough to enjoy. That being said, I loved getting a letter in the mail from my son while he was at camp... it didn't say much- but a letter is a letter... and it did say "I love you!" Maybe I didn't miss him while he was away... but I did think about him, and wondered what he was up to... and it sure felt great to put my arms around him today when we picked him up. And when I asked him if he missed me, he gave me this puzzled look, as if to say, "Really, Mom?" I think he was far to busy having too much fun to even think about missing us... and that is just the way it should be.

June 15, 2008

a sunday drive

Two Moms... two sons... and a roadtrip.
Up early, and off we go... starting our 4 1/2 hour trip to camp...
And taking a few photos to document the journey.

First stop... breakfast for boys...
Egg McMuffin and apple pie...
Round 1 drinks... Diet coke and coke (as long as it's fountain coke.)

Boys in the back... getting their fill of video games...
Sharing laughter and excitement about their upcoming week...
Moms waiting to find the right road to turn onto... losing only 15 minutes.

Happy boys settled into camp and already having fun...
No kleenex needed for Moms...
Starting our 4 1/2 hour trip home...

Trying to figure out how to read the directions backwards...
Only having to turn around once...
And stopping at the stop sign long enough for eye drops.

Stopping for fuel...
For the car & for us... diet coke and pepsi...
Finding a new route home.

Two phone calls...
Wishing two fathers a happy day...
And incoming calls from our hubbies... wondering where we were.

Last beverages...same McDonalds...
Iced coffee and fountain coke...
Sipping them slowly... no more places to stop.

Sandhill cranes along the way...
Just one of the fifteen we saw today...
The lady in the white car is probably still wondering why we passed her, then pulled over to stop.

Home again, home again...
Jiggety jig...
It's been quite a day.

Thankful for a safe trip...
Thankful for laughter and fun along the way...
Thankful for a big hug from my angel when we got home.

June 14, 2008

daughter of three

It is tradition, at a wedding, that the father gives the bride away... I suppose it is a tradition that is waning, and even traditional me, didn't follow through with the custom. It was too hard... to make the choice. Well, not to make the choice, but to live with the knowledge that I made the wrong choice... or made the right choice and hurt feelings. All in all, my choice to have my Mom walk me down the aisle was the right choice... the most fitting. Because I am a daughter of three. Yes, three fathers.

My Heavenly Father has loved me always... and will love me into eternity. Of this, I am sure... He has been with me every step of the way... even when I did not know Him like I know Him today. I am so thankful for His love and His mercy- His love is perfect... and He has carried me through many a teary night...

My Dad loves me... I know he does. Do I feel his love? No. Do I see it in my life? No. But I know he does, in his own way... and I have come to accept it. When I think back to memories of me & my Dad, the most vivid picture is from when I was 10... and he woke me up early to say goodbye. Goodbye family... goodbye old life... goodbye. Parents tell us that divorce has nothing to do with they way they love us, the children... but is it true? The choices my Dad made told me a lot about how much he loved our family... not quite enough, I guess. I do have a few happy memories tucked away... playing with my dollhouse, and peeking through the window to see him peeking in the other side... going to the zoo and to the fair... being in the "shop" with him, the sweet smell of sawdust all around us... selling him thin mints- by the cookie, not the box. Yes, there are a few good memories... I will send a Father's Day card. Because when he walked out, another door opened...

Bob loves me, too... He's my step-father, but he's more than a girl could ever wish for in a Dad... he's the man who married my Mom, and showed me how good a marriage could be... how the pieces can be picked us and sorted back into a reality worth holding on to. I know without a doubt that my life would be so very different if Bob had not come into our lives. He loved my Mom, and Tina & me... just loved us... and showed us a side of live we never knew. The side of life that seemed out of reach. There was always laughter... fun... just plain silliness. He showed me what a father could be... and I am always so thankful. He brought us to our first circus... took us to the top of Mount Washington... showed us Quincy Market... made up stories about Wilbur... ran up and down the street pushing a garden cart full of giggling girls. I do believe that Bob is a miracle in our life... a man who gives and laughs and works and loves. His loves never stops...

Tomorrow is Father's Day... and I am thankful for the Fathers in my life... their love has shaped me... made me who I am- whether by example or lesson learned. Their love has given me the tools to choose a path for my life... a path laid out by Father God... a path He set out before I was even born. He helped me get here... He helped me find my way. How important is a Father's love? It is everything.

June 13, 2008

black-eyes beauties

My love for pandas is no secret... in fact, it is anything but! Even the kids at school know that I am a panda fan. They have gotten a big kick out of the little panda trinkets I have by my computer... and once in a while, I'll even show off my panda purse... okay, one of my panda purses- I have two! I have other panda treasures- even a new panda necklace- and each little black-eyed token brings me back to a moment in time. These beautiful lumbering animals just stole my heart the first time I ever layed eyes on them... just like the man who introduced me to my very first panda couple. National Zoo, Washington DC... December 31st, 1991... the place and time my life tumbled head over heels with love and commitment. His special place... the pandas... became our special place, when he offered me... forever. I've been hooked on both ever since!

June 10, 2008

seeing things differently

Sometimes when we are driving along, we see palm trees in need of a good trim... under the lush, green palms hang the dried, dead layers of fronds. The trees look so pretty when they are trimmed just so- and the trimmings are out for trash pick-up. But, it is often said that "one man's trash is another man's treasure." On a whim, I signed the kids up for an art session at the public library. It was called "Zoo Fronds with Heidi." You brought your own frond and turned it into an animal. To be honest, my hopes for actual art were not high... but I thought the kids would have fun... and some of their friends were signed up too... and the results from this would certainly be better than jumping off a bridge! Turns out, I was wrong (not about the bridge!) We now have actual art... painted by my brilliant children, who surely take after their Gramma... and had inspiration from "Heidi."

Sometimes we just need a different perspective... we need to look for the possibilities instead of what is right in front of us. Sometimes we need to do more than just look... sometimes we have to see. We all had a chance to that today... and we will probably not look at another palm frond again without seeing what could be.

June 08, 2008

got a quarter?

I love juke boxes. Old... new... doesn't really matter. I just love them... the actual instrument, the 45's that spun inside, the oldies music... I think my first exposure to a juke box was at Papa Gino's... one of the pizza places where I grew up. Each table had their own mini jukebox- yes, right on the table! We would flip, flip, flip through the songs until we found the perfect one... G-8... or whatever other number/letter combo that would lead to our favorite song singing out through the tiny speakers. We had a juke box in our ice cream shop... I wish we had kept it. I remember going to pick up our "new" juke box- and being slightly disappointed that it wasn't what I imagined- rounded top, neon lights... but once we had it in the store, what it looked like didn't matter- I just loved it... felt special that we even had one. It got 3 plays for a quarter... and it was filled with oldies. We all had our favorites... our three songs that we would always play... and then there were others that we knew drove others crazy... and so we just had to mix those in once in a while! My top three? Only The Lonely, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, and Build Me Up Buttercup. And my "extra?" Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows. Some of these songs are still part of my every day... my cell phone ring tone is Build Me Up Buttercup... we used "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" on my sister's wedding shower favors- and when we get silly, Mom, Tina and I are likely to break out in song- Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows...everthing that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together... A lot of memories were built with that juke box. I saw one at Target the other day... a table top version- but no 45's... you plug your ipod into it. It's just not the same though. It seems like in a world that changes so quickly, there are just some things that conjure up memories of simpler times... and though it would be almost impossible to go back, (and I'm too young to have memories of the 50's, other than Happy Days) it would be nice, for a day, to go back in time, don a poodle skirt, drop a quarter in the juke box, and dance in my socks.

June 07, 2008

shall i draw you a bath?

This new kitten of ours is fitting right in... driving us crazy... filling our hearts with happiness. Our "little Scout" has become a part of our family and we are all in love with her! When we come home, she meets us at the door. When she is ready for breakfast, she wakes me with an Eskimo kiss (she's a morning "person" too!)Tonight I was summoned to the bathroom by my daughter... and there was Scout, in the sink, happy as could be. Perhaps she enjoys the mint flavored toothpaste that is plastered to the bottom of the sink? Yesterday we came home to yards and yards of yarn, swirled around the living room floor in a delightful shade of green... I was just thankful she didn't get the other 5 skeins of yarn I picked up on sale the other day! The first week we had her, I thought she wasn't the typical over-active kitten... now, a month later, I'll tell you that I was wrong. It's a good thing she is so cute!

June 06, 2008

quiet house

Good morning Friday... It's been a good week, this first week of summer. There's been band camp, video games, tv, friends, reading, crafting... Yes, it's been nice. I have not accomplished much, but the mess will still be there when I am ready. Right now, I am enjoying this quiet house... while the rest of my family is still tucked into their sweet dreams, and the sun is just starting to peek up through the trees. I love this quiet time... just me, free to sit and do nothing but enjoy the start of this new day... with my coffee just within reach... and the possibilities of the day stretched out before me. I think it must be in the genes- to wake up early, whether there is someplace to be or not. I remember creeping softly down the stairs, in the early morning, when I was 12 or so... and seeing my Gramma playing solitaire on her bed. I knew she had already been up for hours. I think it is just us... the women in my family. On any given morning, I could probably call these women, before 6 am, and would not wake them. Gramma would still be playing cards... my Mom would be playing cards on her computer... my sister would be rushing out of the house to get to work, which is okay, since she probably didn't need her alarm to wake up. They could call me, too. I'd probably be up. If I was sleeping in, like this morning, they'd have to wait until 6:30. My friends know that I am a morning person... it's just part of who I am. And even though I have, on occasion, fallen asleep while baking cookies with them, playing cards, watching a movie or simply listening to a conversation, they still love me. They just shake their head and laugh. I wouldn't trade this time, though. Soon my quiet house will be awake and the scurrying of the day will begin. But if I'm lucky, one of those sweet children will find their way to the couch, sleep still in their eyes, and we'll have a chance to snuggle before the rest of the world wakes up...

June 05, 2008


We went to the library the other day... and I found a book on knitting that I have never picked up before. No, I wouldn't say I am knitter- you might have to finish more than a project or two to consider yourself a "knitter." Well, maybe if you put some of my half projects together, you could say... never mind. Let's just say I do know how to knit and once in a while, I am really in the mood- like when I pick up a new book from the library! I had fun flipping through the book, and decided on a small project that I thought I could handle, and that I had the yarn for. And then- I found this...
... a mess of tangles. I started casting on stitches, thinking that maybe the mess would just unravel itself. Of course that never happened, and I had to set aside my new project and dig into the mess. It took me over an hour to get through the twists and turns and knots... several times I was tempted to grab my ever-handy scissors and scrap the yarn... but I kept on. Sometimes I think, you just have to... keep on. Life is messy- sometimes messier than we think we can handle, and yet, we don't throw in the towel, we keep on. I thought about that as I unwound that lime green mess... I thought about how we think that we have found the right path, and sometimes have to backtrack. I thought about how sometimes you just have to grab life from one side and stretch it a bit so that you might better be able to see your next steps. I thought about how, once in a while the tangle, whether we have happened upon it or created it, seems so big that you'll never get through it, and then, all of a sudden, with that last ditch effort, the whole mess comes free. Free to wrap up in a nice tidy package, and move on... and make something of it. So, maybe, while life can be like a box of chocolates, it can also be yards and yards of brilliantly tinted yarn.

June 03, 2008

babies don't keep

While I was starting my summer routine of weeding through my children's dressers, I came across too many shirts for one boy, perhaps even two, to wear. I have a hard time though, getting rid of some of the shirts... that bring memories to my mind. I found another stack of t-shirts in his closet... ones that are too small, but are also souvenirs of places he's been. So what to do? I know that there are children who would be happy to wear these tees second hand, but I just couldn't bear the thought of passing along these memories... and Lord knows, there are plenty of other shirts in that drawer I can pass along. So, I decided to do what I do best... proscrastinate. I stopped working on my "job of the day" and moved on to something fun... something that made my heart feel good. What is it I always say? Oh yes... my children (hopefully) won't remember how clean or dirty my floors were, but they will always remember and treasure the time I spent with them and the scrapbooks I have created for them, and hopefully, Cam will treasure this...made from his his old tees...

Oh, yes... it was worth pushing aside a task that can be saved for another day. My babies are no longer babies, and the time is ticking away.

"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow, for babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow; So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep! I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."

June 02, 2008

the new england in me

We have lived in Florida for 12 years... This is home to me now- not that I don't occasionally get a bit homesick for Scituate, but I think it is more the memories there that I long for. That said, there is one part of me that is still truly "New England." It is my skeptism with the weatherman. I don't usually even listen to the weather report, and if I do, I'm usually in denial. I remember all of those chances of snowstorms and hopes of a snow day that passed us by without a single snowflake... and it has made a bigger impact on me that I would've ever guessed. This is the reason that I groan when my husband excitedly lays out the newest hurricane safety brochure every year. Sometimes I think he lives for Hurricane Season- not the hurricanes, but the preparation. He loves to buy the batteries, the soup, the lanterns... all ahead of time, without the need of even a tropical depression in sight. Don't get me wrong, I will actually buy a few gallons of water and some soup myself... once the storm has passed by Cuba and is actually predicted to come our way. I don't mind the lines... that's just me... Last Minute Lucy, I guess. I love storms... the excitement, the anticipation... not the destruction and loss that the past few years have brought. I love the bunkering down in my safe haven... endless hours of playing games, napping, watching out the window- with no guilt of abandoning my to-do list. But because I love the storms so much, I am careful to reign in my excitement until the last minute, as not to feel the disappointment of a normal day in front of me. The first time my husband brought home hurricane supplies, I gave him a glaring look. Now... it has become a laughing matter between the two of us. He makes a big deal of presenting the hurricane brochure to me, knowing I will glare, and then laugh. I am thankful that he wants us to be prepared. I am thankful that he thinks it is important. I am thankful that we have never been hit hard and have never had to suffer the loss that so many have.

June 01, 2008

celebrating ten

One of my very special friends just turned ten... and I was fortunate enough to have the chance to celebrate with him! Ten years of love, laughter, joy and wonder... that's my buddy. Anyone who meets him knows... he'll melt your heart in two seconds flat- if not sooner. He just has a joy for life that goes beyond what I see from others, and I love him... Months before he was born, I cried with his Mom. I'll never forget that night when I felt something was just not right with her voice and she told me- her baby had Down's Syndrome... she had just found out. Our families were already quite connected, as our four year old daughters were inseparable, and so, I felt her pain deeply. As the time passed though, grief turned back to excitement, and when this red headed bundle arrived, there was only joy. These years have passed with so much laughter and learning- certainly, never expect the expected... just not going to happen. And even when you start to expect the unexpected, you'll be wrong. It's almost a guarantee. I don't think I could love him more if he was my own... he is just that special. When I talk about him to others, I hardly ever mention the Down's... because that is not who he is... it is just one small detail that is in his make up... it is not what I want people to know about him. I want them to know that he is funny... that he is quirky... that he is a video game pro... that there is nothing he cannot do, or won't try... that there are a few people he addresses as "best friend," and my husband is one of them. I want people to know that this little guy gives a great hug, and if you are lucky enough to be a recipient, you are lucky enough. And so, on this wonderful birthday, when he pulled me aside for a hug, had his picture taken with me, and played with my children, I felt God's smile all around us.