Sunday, April 28, 2013

True Gifts

Five years. Where the heck does that time go?
My little guy turns five on Monday, so we had his fifth birthday party yesterday. When it was time to start planning, I asked him what kind of party he wanted. I figured he would say Toy Story because that was his favorite at that time, but he surprised me with the fact that he wanted a pirate party. A pirate party? Awesome!!
So I started planning, and thanks to Pinterest, I got a little silly and theme oriented. I tried not to go too overboard, but I did have some fun!
First up, some themed decor. Black tablecloth, pirate banner, and the little guy's Jake and the Neverland Pirates toys as backdrop!
Then, of course, there has to be pirate food! That's probably where, if I went overboard at all, I went overboard the most. Why? Because everything had a pirate-themed name. And I labeled it. Yes, I did. And I had so much fun figuring out what to call everything! From the "Yo Ho Hoagies" to the "Scurvy Dogs" to the "Quicksand Dip" and "Polly's Crackers"! Tee hee!!
Fit for a buccaneer!
And then the cake. A cake decorator, I am not. The translation from my brain to the actual cake never quite turns out...But the little guy loved it and helped me decorate it. So in the end, I was thrilled.
Captain Hook searches for treasure
On your mark...Get set...
BLOW! (I hope every one of his wishes is granted.)
The most important aspect of the day? Not the theme or the food or the cake.
We are so very blessed to have such a strong and loving family. There is no better gift that I can give the little guy. To have that foundation of love, those examples of love and strength. It is all so very important. All that love will carry him through whatever life throws at him. From his family he will learn to love, to care, to support, to lean, to laugh.
What more can I give him?
A strong foundation: Over fifty years of love
Grandparents who still hold hands
A Gram who isn't afraid to be silly
Sibling solidarity
Aunts and Uncles who get down on the floor to play
A sweet cousin to be his forever friend
Seriously goofy parents
In the end, more than toys and parties and themed foods, what more can I give him? Family and love are the most important gifts in his life.
And he is very blessed with those gifts.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

On the Hunt...for Inspiration

Before you start reading, I must apologize. This is really just a long brainstorming session in which I try to figure some things out. But feel free, in the comments, to give me your opinion, your guidance, or your thumbs-up!
Last night I went through a bunch of my old blog entries, ones from two years ago. What I discovered by doing this is that 1) I used to write much more, 2) I was more diverse in what I wrote about, and 3) I really miss writing.
Amidst the snippets of my life were little bits of creative writing that I had done either in the moment or as the result of a writing prompt. And some of them were, I think, pretty good. And the ones that were pretty good made me want to write more.
I hadn't realized until last night how much I truly miss the practice of writing. And I probably wouldn't have been thinking about it if not for something that happened the other day.
My favorite movie, Stranger than Fiction, was on TV. I love, love, love this movie. If you've never seen it, you should. Part of the movie focuses on a writer and watching it makes me want to write, fervently and desperately. There's this press of ideas within me, full sentences and paragraphs that explode in the periphery of my mind, and I want so very badly to allow them out into the world.
So, watching the movie the other night, these words just came into my head. Over and over. Finally, I just listened (sometimes the hardest thing to do), and I wrote:
                The day that Lizzie O’Rierdon died was exceptionally sunny in the way that only the perfect Spring day can be. The sky was a perfect azure; the clouds were creamy swirls of white; the breeze was crisp but not too cool. Had it not been for the fact that it was the last day of Lizzie’s life, it would have been, for her, the most perfect day of her life. As it stood, it was still a wonderfully amazing day with the mere exception of the final four minutes and thirty-seven seconds. That said, of course, the minutes immediately thereafter were quite phenomenal in her estimation, though it is not that part of the story with which we shall start.
                We shall, instead, start at the beginning. Not at the beginning of Lizzie’s life, but at the beginning of a series of events that would bring it to its untimely but poetically necessary end.
I have no idea where these words came from. I know that sounds strange, but it was like they were dictated to me. The problem is that the dictation stopped. I have no idea where these words are going. I don't know what the story is. The voice went silent.
And I think that's because the rest is solely up to me. Crap.
So this morning, I started scrolling through my photographs, looking for inspiration. What will Lizzie O'Rierdon's story be about? I still don't know the answer to that, but I know that the following pictures play into it somehow...

I don't know. I don't know if I'm any closer to figuring out Lizzie O'Rierdon's story. But I feel like somewhere in these pictures, I can find some answers.
What do you think?


Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Trip to the Farm

It doesn't happen often or all the time, but my husband occasionally has to travel for his job. Granted, he has many weeknights where he attends one musical function or another, but once in a while he has to go on extended trips away to escort talented students to big festivals. This year, he had a student make it to an all-East festival in Connecticut and two students make it to a state festival in Erie, PA.
All that traveling is hard on him. He loves to be at home. He hates to be away from us. And I hate to have him away. But as the song says, "Loving a music man ain't always what it's supposed to be..."
Rather than sit around and mope, though, I packed up the little guy and my camera and headed into the middle of farm country to visit my parents. It was so nice to spend time with them. It was so nice to grab my camera and head outside to explore the farm. I didn't take a ton of pictures because we were so busy doing other things, but I did get some great shots that I'd like to share with you!
"C'mon, Mommy! Let's go!!"
Far Off Places
The End of Winter
Looking Forward to Looking Back
Morning on the Horizon
Off to the Barn
On the Cusp
"Are we done yet?"
It is rare, very rare, but on this occasion, I actually out-paced my little guy. I have a couple other pictures processed, but I'm saving those for later as they are a part of a larger series. And I have several more from our explorations to process, as well. I'm trying not to process them all at once, however; I don't know when my next photo safari will take place!!