June 25, 2016

Steampunk Beach, Navarre 2016

This year our annual trip to Navarre Beach was a bit different: noisy,surreal, and steampunk. There were big machines, dredge boats, and a large rusty pipe running through the middle of the beach...all part of a Sisyphean task to enlarge this sliver of a barrier island. As a result, the water was murkier, the walk to the water was much further, there were lights and machine noises throughout the night, and there were periodic leaks from the pipe. Strangely, with all of that going on we had more Black Skimmers than usual swooping along the edge of the water and a huge Blue Heron who hung around our house each morning. 

June 21, 2016

A Return

Pierce and Camille, evening dune walk, Navarre Beach, June 2016

There are well established rituals that happen every year when our family flocks back to Navarre Beach for our sandy week-long gathering. The sunset walks in the dunes, the late nights of card playing/drinking/storytelling/puzzlemaking, early morning shell hunting, the assigned meal nights, the competition for outdoor shower time with hot water, and the eventual fight that always breaks out on Thursday after spending too much time together and having the air conditioner freeze up. 

And then there is the Florida Book, which is actually comprised of several well-worn volumes of spiral bound notebooks. Aunt Carol, the keeper of the Florida Book, always places them on the coffee table in the main house and over the course of the week funny snippets of conversations are recorded, interesting beach discoveries or adventures or documented, drawings and bad jokes are collected. And every year at some point in the week, entries from the previous years are read aloud and brought back to life with laughter and embellished reminiscing. Family beach stories document generational shifts/additions/losses, hurricanes, Family Olympics (every four years) and weeks ripe with jellyfish and seaweed muck. 

There is something so primal about this ritual of ours, this need to document and re-share stories of annual family beach gatherings. I am so glad we do it. And it is actually prompting me to return to this dormant blog of mine. It's been over a year since I posted anything here and I really wasn't sure if I would ever re-vive it, but I have missed it and I realize that it is serves a purpose similar to the Florida book. It documents bits and pieces of our life and stores them for future moments for when we might want to do a bit of time traveling/reminiscing. So here I am again. Hoping to return to this space on a more regular basis. Hoping to put together a meaningful collection of thoughts, memories, images. Hoping to return to the process of sifting and sorting/ writing and photographing.

February 7, 2015

Emee and Camille

Taken on the morning of my sister's return to Louisiana, before the tears began to flow and the reality of her departure hit. We have loved having my sister in the DC area for the past few years and will really miss having her so close. 

January 28, 2015

The Storybook Village

When we built our storybook village back in 2011, I had no idea it would grow to become one of our favorite winter traditions. Camille was 4 or 5 at the time and it was a fun way to create spaces those characters who dominated her imagination and lived in books that had to be read again and again. Each year we pull out the village and Camille adds new elements...new literary neighbors, snow men, trees, etc. This year's new additions included an extra large house for the BFG and a clock tower for Hugo Cabret. Not only is it a lovely way to decorate during December and January, it is also a nostalgic and colorful trip down the lane of her favorite childhood books. Not sure how long she will continue to add to the village over the coming years, but it is certainly something we will all treasure for a long time.

January 16, 2015

Ryan and Noah

This silly little song made me cry tonight: 

I'm very glad I got my puppy
Because yesterday it turned into a bulldozer.
And when I was riding it, it turned back into a puppy.
It kicked me away.
The very next day it turned into a grape and I ate it.
It wasn't very yummy . 
It exploded in my tummy and I had to get surgery.
It wasn't very nice. 
They forgot to give me rice.
So I asked a chicken for its egg, and it said yes.
When I was holding it in my hand it, went
P-O-O-F, P-O-O-F, P-O-O-F 
People Order Our French fries.

Written by a couple of second grade boys, this looney little tune became their anthem. They sang it, chanted it, yelled it and taught it to everyone around them. And tonight, five years later, that little song popped up on Noah's phone and made me cry. 

Ryan, who has been Noah's best friend since we lived in Sicily, sent it tonight to Noah via text message along with a little note that said "Remember this?". Yep. We all remember it and what's even more amazing and tear-inducing for me is that their friendship is still going strong despite living on two different coasts, despite entering middle school and changing voices, and despite long gaps of time between visits. These two military kids have managed to maintain their connection and that just makes me choke up. It really does. 

Three years ago when we boarded the plane to leave Sicily, we weren't alone. We flew on a military flight surrounded by other military families moving back to the States and amazingly Ryan's family was also assigned to the same flight. This meant the boys were able to hang out together aka gorge themselves on movies and DS games for the entirety of overnight flight, but it also meant that they were able to extend their time together before we all said our good-byes at the pancake house and headed for our new stateside duty stations. We promised to stay in touch and talked about far fetched plans to get together, but to be honest , I just wasn't sure when or how our paths would cross again. 

And then the harsh reality of adjusting to Stateside life began. Both boys struggled to adjust to new schools. Both boys had to work hard to make new friends and figure out how to navigate a very different world far from the security and familiarity of a small overseas military base. There were phone calls and in November of that first year, Noah boarded a plane by himself and headed to California. It was a much needed boost for both of them. We all vowed to keep the boys in touch. And we did.

Last year Ryan flew to Arizona to spend time with us. The boys text and face time on a fairly regular basis. And tomorrow Noah will board another plane headed to California for a long weekend with Ryan's family. Somehow despite all of the miles between them, these two military kids have maintained a bond that I hope will continue for a very long time. 

Scottsdale, Arizona 2013

January 10, 2015

Snow Day

 Earlier this week we had the first snow of this winter season. So funny to watch Hugo experiencing this winter phenomen for the first time. Similar to Camille's initial reaction to sand at the beach, he was, at first, pretty cautions,  but within short order he was romping, bouncing, and frolicking with glee.  School was canceled, snow ball fights ensued, and sledding occurred. It was a good first snow.

December 25, 2014