Friday, July 13, 2018

Growing Pains

She's almost 5, but I forget how little that really is and lately she's had a not-so-subtle way of reminding us.

Twice in the last couple of weeks we've had full out tantrums. The kind where we just sort of give up half way through and wait it out. The kind where we just hope that as we carry her kicking and screaming along with us that a stranger doesn't assume we are abducting her.

So we roll with it. We have long conversations, much longer than a nearly-5-year-old would be expected to endure, about better ways to vent frustrations, better ways to communicate, frankly better ways to be angry. Maybe it will be the fear of sitting through another one of these talks that will ultimately steer her in another direction!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Florida: Another One Joins the 40 Club

The Mister and I took a short weekend trip to Florida to celebrate a close friend's birthday.
The girls spent the weekend on the farm with Oma and we gave strict instructions for no fun to be had. I'm sure they listened...

The beaches where we stayed in Destin were beautiful. White soft sands that squeaked a bit as you walked on it. The water was a beautiful blue green that you could easily see through and it was warm enough that you could walk right in without pausing to acclimate.

Best of all though, wasn't the scenery, or the time away, it was the company.

Nearly 20 years now we've known one another. These are our people. And spending a weekend away to celebrate another of them joining the 40 club is soul satisfying in a non-quantifiable kind of way.

Happy Birthday Stu - we love you!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Oma's Fairy Garden

Oma's fairy garden is the best. Made out of an old bathtub, decorated with pebbles, and houses, and of course fairies. G loves it here under the shade tree perched on a stool that's just  the right size for her. She creates story lines and decorates the garden however she likes. 

This post seemed a bit like deja vu and I as looked back I found an almost identical picture and post. One year older, the same garden, a lot has changed but happily this hasn't happily. 

It really doesn't take much. For all the toys and games, and electronics out there.....there will always be a fairy garden trump card. 

Monday, June 11, 2018


We often hear in our day-to-day lives how unfair, how cruel, or how imperfect the world is. We hear people complain about their jobs, about their weight, about politics, about anything frankly that is outside of whatever unrealistic expectations that we have either consciously or unconsciously set for ourselves or those around us.

Yet here is a woman who put up with so much but still managed to be thankful for all she had. A woman of a "The Greatest Generation" who truly embodied the hard work, dedication, innovation and perseverance of the generation. Anyone who met Faye would easily agree she did not have an easy life. World War, Great Depression, a POW veteran husband, a child with special needs and the list goes on. She lost her only son just shortly after he turned 60 and she lost her husband shortly thereafter leaving her as the sole caregiver for Julie in a life that looked very different than I suspect she imagined. This is a woman who spent her entire life caring for others. Selfishness was not an option...not that she would have chosen it if it were. She was not dealt an easy hand. In fact I'm not sure she was even dealt a decent card let alone a hand. Yet in the 24 years that I've known Faye I've never once heard her complain about the life she had. She loved her family fiercely and was truly thankful for all that she had. Family meant the world to her, everything else was just noise.

I met Faye when I was 12. She was the grandparent I met last in my life, and in a weird twist of fate she is the grandparent I truly knew the best as an adult.  Our relationship grew out of an unconditional and mutual love for my own children. For great-grandchildren that mind you were not born of blood, but by marriage. Though, you would have never known that by the way she adored them. We celebrated every Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving together. We celebrated birthdays together, we watched Wheel of Fortune, and decorated for holidays, and all of these things I will miss. She filled a void that otherwise would have been left open as Troy and I between us have lost 4 parents and we’re running a bit low on the grandparent quota. She was elated to step into the role. And how lucky we were. I feel sorry for those who didn’t know her the way we did.

If you ask my children to describe this woman they have grown up knowing simply as "Grandma" you'll get a chorus of answers mostly having to do with chocolate and pies, and sometimes chocolate pies. Which in my mind is exactly what thoughts of Grandma should conjure up. If you ask me to do the same I would describe a smile that always seemed to have an undertone of orneriness. I would tell you how impossible she was to buy a gift for and more than once told me “socks”. Mostly I would describe someone who literally until the day she left this Earth made a point to ask me how I was, and take an interest in my life. I would tell of someone who was opinionated, but had the capacity to respect and appreciate people who had opinions different than her own. Something we could all strive to be better at.

She was a wonderful Mother, Aunt, Sister, Wife, Grandmother and Great Grandmother. I’m confident she will be dearly missed and I'm extremely thankful for the time we had together.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Last Stop: Paris

I can't even begin to describe how amazing these last ten days have been. A trip of a lifetime for sure and many times over the course of the time we've spent here I've stopped to make sure that I fully appreciate the opportunity for what it is.

Our last stop was Paris where the three of us would be able to explore the city with no agenda, and no schedule. We gave the alarm clocks, woke up when we felt like it, and picked a direction as we walked out the door in the morning.

One day we mapped our way to a small bakery that claims to have the best croissants in France. I have no reason to argue. Coffee, croissants and people watching while sitting outside a storefront make for a pretty wonderful way to start the day. The same evening we made reservations at a cabaret club for a fun night out followed by what turned into a way over the top restaurant that was inside of a museum. Turns out we're not such gracious guests after

Another day our girlfriend talked us into a bike tour and admittedly I was a bit reluctant, but ended up really enjoying it. It was a nice way to see parts of the city that we never would have covered while walking, and we learned some really interesting facts from our guide.

Three days with nothing to do but meander crooked streets,  sit outside at itty bitty tables sipping prossecco and coffee while we talk about life. I feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to head home. I miss my girls, I miss my best friend. I miss home, but this has been incredible adventure.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Israel: Tel Aviv

Our last adventure in Israel was a day spent in Tel Aviv. We kept hearing how amazing it was and how much different it seemed than the rest of Israel. Flanked by palm trees, beaches and a vibrant crowd of LGBT groups in Tel Aviv for an event it certainly had a youthful and liberal feel.

We parked, and paid way too much for parking (rookie tourists) where one of us had to crawl out the other side of the car because we had parked to close to open the door, and walked through the Tel Aviv flea market admiring all of the colors, the handmade jewelry, and honing in on our bargaining skills. Spoiler alert: we have none.

From there we walked to the Port of Jaffa. We had lunch at an outdoor café near the bell tower and stopped in a small artist studio in one of the narrow passages along the way. It was hot, but the breeze was wonderful and the view of the beach was beautiful.

Tired, and hot we made our way back to the overpriced parking lot and drove to the public pool on the coast of Tel Aviv. An Olympic size pool with multiple different areas sectioned off for whatever you'd want. Turns out though that the water was freezing. After sitting on the side I finally built up enough courage to swim the width of the pool straight to the ladder and climb back out. So. Cold.

From there, as the sun was starting to set we started our drive back to Benyamina. We had a couple more hours before we needed to worry about packing up for our night flight so we stopped for sushi then made a 30 minute detour to a small town nearby for what our girlfriend claimed had "the best falafel". And turns out a gelato place right next door.

Next stop: Paris

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Israel: Beach Days

Israel is one of those places that I'm not sure I'll make it back to. I knew going into this trip it was a once in a lifetime kind of trip. Life is too short and in this case, the travel is too far, to revisit the same place twice. Though we do have some pretty great friends there so never say never! But given this,  there were certain things that I wanted to make sure I crossed off the bucket list. Mainly: Masada, Dead Sea, Jerusalem.

But just as important, given this was in fact a vacation and one without kids was a bit of R&R. So we made sure to sprinkle in some beach days with no agenda along the way.

These were taken on a couple of different days in Israel in between travel and tourist destinations. For a trip that started with no agenda at all I don't think I'd change a thing looking back. It was the perfect. Wish we could take credit for planning.

First few photos were taken at Banana Beach, a 20 minute drive from where we were staying, and easy enough to find with Google maps on our own. We went once on a weekend day, and once more during the week where we had the beach practically to our selves.

Beautiful beaches here. Really glad we were able to take advantage of them.