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Enjoying the Small Things

I have laryngitis. Really bad. To the point where I open my mouth to speak and, despite all my laborious efforts to will some sound–any sound–to disperse, nothing comes out but for a weak, breathy whisper.

And I love to talk…I savor my words. So, it has been quite an experience these past couple days to sit quietly, saving the very few bursts of audible screeches I still have energy to emit for only the most important of communication opportunities…like ordering a beer. Or, okay… saying I love you to the babies. But a good experience because, when you cannot, for obvious reasons, spend energy on outputting, you instead enjoy the ride of input. Taking in the sounds around me and expressing myself through other senses–and a few breathy whispers–rather than the occasionally obnoxious loud-ish-ness my character renders itself to.

And the challenge has presented itself beautifully with managing a two-year-old as I am finding it alternately rewarding at the presentation of fits and such to just go hold her…pick her up and squish her close…distract her with hugs and tickles and purposeful silence as opposed to the verbal onslaught that so often follows. So, the lack of voice has been a bit of a blessing, I suppose…and that’s not just some far-fetched attempt to make lemonade of vocacally-challenged lemons. Promise.

So with all that said (but not really because I have no voice to say)…
a good, old-fashioned, it’s-about-time “Enjoying the Small Things” post. For new readers, it is a post dedicated to the spontaneous proclamation of love for random happies, based on my fifteen-year-old tattered copy of this book:

Enjoying…

* The Welcome Home worthy of a perfect, Olympic 10. I saw the imaginary score cards. I heard the clapping. In fact, it wasn’t so imaginary as the poster we made and the little cutie holding it gathered a small crowd of onlookers who I think assumed the daddy was a returning soldier. I’m sure they were disappointed when they saw a suit rather than the camo they were expecting.

We, however, were not disappointed but tearfully enthused rather at the reminder that we love this man very much and his presence in our family is essential ( :o) for our functioning.

Their bond is, in a word…magic, and I am beginning to wonder if perhaps this girl has a bit of extra chromosome too…one with all sorts of magnetic daddy genes.

I breathe a bit differently when he’s here…relief for the little missing piece in my puzzle that has been found.

And I know it’s a bit cliche to write *big sigh* in a blog post, but… *big sigh.*

Enjoying…

* Our Neighborhood Lemonade Stand this weekend. The one Heidi and I stayed up until one in the morning to prepare for. The one we thought our kids would never forget. The one we tied a hundred gingham ribbons to homemade scones and brownies and cookies for…to reap…less than desirable expectations. Because our community garage sale turned out to be a surprising bomb this year. And our kids wandered away from the few customers they had just to dig through garage sale crap that used to be theirs and cry because they didn’t want it sold. And the ice melted and bees got trapped in the lemonade (thanks to the customer that pointed that out) and we gave away more than we sold.

We may not have raised a ton of money for Haiti (okay $60, but I think my dad gave $30 of it), but we did find a lot of really old food encrusted in a high chair we embarassingly sold to some lady.

And despite the fact that we were more prepared for the lemonade stand and less prepared for the garage sale, thus probably the neighborhood joke as we, last-minute, dragged a bunch of meaningless junk out to the driveway and slapped price stickers on it as people were arriving, we did use the garage sale as a great opportunity to sit in the driveway with friends, sip coffee, kiss babies, and laugh while we, um…ignored customers.

Enjoying…

* Watching the daddy love his babies. When I was introduced to Brett for the first time six or so years ago, the first thing I saw was how he loved his boys. And I knew it then. I was smitten.

The man is simply the most amazing father ever. Enough said.

Enjoying…

* Our perfectly wonderful Sunday morning.

Arriving early to the beach and meandering along shell paths, chasing sandpipers and seagulls, tracing shadows, collecting shells, and digging our toes into cold sand on the first warm and sunny morning in quite some time. And completing our Sunday beach stroll with coffee and donuts at DD with Papa and Gary.

(all collage pics taken with phone!)


(and Lainey would have been in this photo had she not been completely distraught over sandy pantlegs)

And finally, Enjoying…

* The Return of Isle of Capri.

It was almost surreal arriving there today. A bit strange and healing all at once. How many times I’ve walked this beach all big-bellied, collecting shells for the baby, dreaming of my girls on this shore. And there we sat today, Nella burrowed under thin blankets and Lainey, all grins and bikinied ruffles piling pails of sand into castle heaps. I panicked for a moment, thinking I’d have to think of something to say as our friends at the Fish House came to adore our new one. And came they did, but then I remembered I have laryngitis. Screw it…I couldn’t tell them if I wanted to. So I smiled…and took in the congratulations.

And, oh…my firstborn. With no voice to distract me, I just took her in today…every bit of her happiness. I love everything about this little soul. Her independence and free spirit that is perfectly balanced with this need for love and security.

She loves her “Eye-oh-Cup-pea.” And I love my first-born. Very much.



Definitely, our beachy Sunday was a happy one indeed.

And finally, Enjoying…

* Her smiles. They are many and they are magic.

~k

Enjoying: Park Place Holiday

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I get up early in the morning–the kind of early that makes me question, as I’m lying there sorting out the last dream, if it’s my wake-up time or quite possibly 2 in the morning based on the silence and the darkness. I was waking up at 5:30 before Daylight Saving kicked in, but when we all turned our clocks back and my internal alarm didn’t adjust, I figured “To hell with it, I’ll just get more done.” That, of course, leaves my daily quota for energy dried up and depleted by the time the kids go to bed, so their bedtime is now my cue to follow suit. Or, as Brett likes to say as I’m slipping into pajamas and washing my face, “Goodnight, Grandma–don’t forget to take your Miralax.”

The thing is, I like waking up early and look forward to the recognition that sleep is over because there’s a prize inside that cereal box, and it’s called Alone Time. I can do whatever I want–which I always describe as “read,” “write in my journal” or “do yoga with candles” but sometimes looks like “look at my phone,” “online shop” or “research paint colors for a wall I’m never going to paint.” Tomato, tomahto. The important thing is that these things can be done in silence, without interruption and in the clarity of brain space that is not simultaneously wondering if the sound of water running in the bathroom is normal-post-bathroom-hand-washing running water or eight-Barbies-having-a-rager-in-the-sink-that-is-about-to-overflow running water. 4:30 a.m. is when I can sit on my couch with a cup of coffee that won’t get slopped and a book I can actually read, and a candle that will not be blown out by a 4-year-old pyro.

Let’s just say if Airbnb was renting out my living room sanctuary for early risers, the price would have tripled this past weekend, shifting into the “In Season” red-marked calendar dates.

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The tree is up, a red carpet roll-out on the invitation to wake up and sit in that space and just be.

“You know what we’re sliding into now?” I asked Heidi the other day. “If the year was a Monopoly Board, we’re entering Park Place/Boardwalk territory.”

Twinkle lights don’t remove the challenges or responsibilities of everyday life, of course (I mean, there is a Luxury Tax space between Park Place and Boardwalk, if you recall), and, in some ways, holidays can intensify demands and painful recognitions. But, there’s something about the tree and the lights and the celebration that softens it somehow and reminds us to come sit down.

Fire and annual tradition of watching Elf together
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Thanksgiving morning parade and fort-making
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So this might possibly be my favorite Enjoying post of the year, and–warning–it’s mega festive.

With no further ado, we’re enjoying…

Pulling out the winter village that gets a little more chipped up and broken every year (what is it with these villagers’ heads falling off?!) but never loses its charm.

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First night of holiday jams and checking off the holiday bucket list “roast marshmallows in the fireplace” activity.

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I love how Nella will roast a marshmallow, put it on a graham cracker, pull out a bar of chocolate…and then abandon the marshmallow/graham cracker altogether and walk away with the chocolate.

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Enjoying Thanksgiving morning lazies…

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…and our annual breakfast tradition with our neighbors.

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Enjoying little pie helpers this year…

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…and Nella’s Thankgiving plate of nothing but a heap of “mashed potatoes and grabies.”

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Enjoying sorting ornaments and memories and lingering over the story behind each one.

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The kids love this part. I hold up the little “Baby on the Way” cradles and “First Christmas” tiny spoons, tell them all about how they used to pull the ornaments off the tree or rip the wrapping paper open when I wasn’t looking, and while they don’t ask me to tell another story, you can totally tell by their big eyes and shy smiles that they want to hear more.

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And finally…enjoying Dash’s first holiday date.

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I take the girls to the Nutcracker every year (hopefully someday he’ll join us, but not his cup of tea right now), and this year Dash picked going to a movie with his buddy Thomas as his date. So we started a new tradition…Movie & Milkshakes.

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We saw the movie The Star, followed by milkshakes at The Royal Scoop next door.

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And then they talked me into taking them to the park where the sun shined magic-like through the tree branches and did all sorts of cool flarey things with its light to make up for the fact that we don’t get snow. I get it, Florida. You’re pretty too.

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In a matter of weeks, we will be lamenting over the fact that this all flew by too quickly–that we can’t believe it’s over. We’ll be ready to take down trees, purge our closets and remove garlands in attempts to reset, minimize and clean spaces for new goals and adventures. We will Pass Go again, sliding into to the less-twinkly routines and responsibilities of St. Charles Place and Virginia Avenue, but we’ll find good motivation there and know that Free Parking celebrations will surprise us over and over throughout the year.

But for now, I’m setting up houses on Park Place and planting a nice little hotel right in the middle of Boardwalk. I will wake up early as as many times as I can this next month and sit with my coffee, my computer, my book, my body and my thanks…for all the little pleasures we get to enjoy right now in this season.

There’s room in my hotel…come on in.

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Happy Monday, friends. xo

Enjoying the Small Things: Home

Cartwheeling into this week with some Monday Enjoying the Small Things.  And so I don’t have to type Enjoying the Small Things so many times, I’ve created some alias phrases, categorized into different levels of enthusiasm so everyone finds their thang.

High
Ride a Unicorn
Throw Some Glitter On It
Find a Rainbow

Medium
Paint the Town Yellow
Kick a Skip in Your Step
Hum a Happy Ditty

Low
Smile

Lower
Frown with Kind Eyes

See, somethin’ for everyone.  Not every cloud shape needs to be perceived as Care Bears jumping rope.  Simply smiling is an option. 

Today, I’m enjoying:

The fact that Nella was walking around my bedroom this morning, rattling off her favorite words–Daddy, Lala, Latte.  I didn’t realize she had my phone until I heard Siri robotically reply, “I don’t know what you mean.  If you like, I can search the web for Daddy Lala K.”

Enjoying…

Ballet Class
Lainey wanted to play ballet class this weekend.  “I’m Miss Blair and Nella’s my student,” she said.  She insisted on “high high buns” for both of them–“with no bumps.”  And classical music.  And legwarmers.  And for Nella to do whatever she said.  The last one went well for a little while.

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There was a lot of instruction on the point, flex thing.  Sister is serious about her students getting it right.

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But then Sister started getting a ‘lil bossy.  And Nella has no time for bossy. 

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And when Nella doesn’t like bossy, she clearly lets you know “I’m not listening.”

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The response was disastrous.  Game over. 
It was precious while it lasted.

Pickle Party
Apparently they made up because twenty minutes after The Fall of Ballet Class, I found them in a box with a jar of pickles. Lainey: “We’re having a pickle party, Mom.”

Cool.

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Boys Who Smile in Their Sleep
Smiling would normally be categorized under “low” for Enjoying the Small Things, but while you’re sleeping?  That’s got to be a medium.  I’d love to know what he was dreaming about.

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Esther Williams in Training
Canon balls.  Lots of them this weekend.

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Little Music Maker
He figured out how to add to the music around here. 
Oh, and babies who shake maracas?  Pretty sure that’s a “high.” Okay medium, but if I catch his rhythm matches “Proud Mary,” I’m calling it a high.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.

 

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Sisters Holding Hands
Everywhere and always.  Except when things get bossy.

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Ice Cream Reflections
She was mesmorized.

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Babies in Sun Streaks
The perfect combination of warm and happy and peaceful.

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The Dog Whisperer
They get each other.

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And a favorite moment this weekend:

I was editing some photos while Lainey and Nella stood behind my desk watching. One of the ballet photos popped up, and Lainey said, “Mom, tell Nella what you tell me when you see a picture of me.”

For a second I forgot. “I don’t remember. What do you mean?” I asked.

“You know, that special thing you say about wishing I was yours. Do it for Nella.”

I smiled as I remembered. “Oh, you mean like this.” I put Nella on my lap and pointed to her little body on the screen. “Oh, look at that precious little girl!  I sure do wish I had a daughter just like her.”

Eager to respond, Lainey smiled and jumped in on cue. “You do, Mom. She is yours.”

“Really?  She is?!  Wow.  I feel so lucky.”

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Happy Monday. Paint the town yellow.