Thursday, May 31, 2012

Learning a new language

"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them."  ~Acts 2:4

Buddy Bear is so excited to talk to us.  For the past month he has been a very conversational babbler.  He has picked up a few hand signs, such as clapping at us during meals to indicate that he wants "more" or waving his hands together when he is "all done."  He is speaking a pretty convincing "Hi!" when we wake him up from naps, he waves predictably when we say hello and good-bye to others, and he is saying "Daddaddadaa" when I ask him if he wants to go find T.

In light of Buddy Bear's recent accomplishments, I listened intently to the readings about Pentecost last Sunday.  I realized what a gift it was for the Holy Spirit to enable the Apostles' linguistic facility on that amazing day.  Learning or communicating in a new language is hard.  I remember struggling to learn and understand Italian in college.  G-Bear really enjoyed her preschool Spanish class this year, but despite her enthusiasm she always reminds me, "I have trouble remembering the words, Mom."  Then there is Buddy Bear, who is trying with all his might to both understand and be understood by his own family!

Everyday, we need help as we encounter the "foreign languages" all around us.  We struggle to understanding people from other countries, people with different backgrounds and viewpoints, even our friends and neighbors.  In our own families, where we expect to be known and understood most clearly, miscommunication and misunderstanding can be very painful and divisive.  Everyday, I need to learn more of the yet unspoken language of my son.  I need to tune my ears to the language of my husband's & children's emotions and needs.  These are just the varying languages within the walls of my home, to say nothing of understanding and communicating with the neighbors and strangers I meet on a daily basis.

The ability to communicate well with others is a real gift, a true blessing; it heals differences, fosters peace and paves the way for the good news of the Gospel.  I need the power of the Spirit  to help me accomplish it.  I need the fruits of the spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control--to look past differences and meet others on their terms.  I need the Spirit to intercede for me when I encounter needs for myself or others but don't know how to pray.  I need the Spirit's prompting to remind me to be sensitive to the needs and differences of others when their languages don't come easily to me.

So, as Buddy Bear's vocabulary blooms and we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit,
I am praying for an extra measure of grace 
to embrace the foreign languages of my daily life 
and blaze a path of understanding and love.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pentecost and Memorial Day Memories

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Our Pentecost flame decorations

What a special weekend to get to celebrate both Pentecost and Memorial Day!   The gift of the Spirit and the gift of our country's freedom are so worthy of our grateful hearts and reflections.  

On Sunday, our Easter decorations were conspicuously absent (I'll admit it, I dismantled our 'He Is Risen' banner a bit begrudgingly.  I love the Easter season).  Instead, our table was decorated for a special Pentecost Sunday Breakfast.  To celebrate the "Birthday of the Church," we enjoyed Holy Spirit whole wheat pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles (every good birthday breakfast requires whipped cream and sprinkles).  We lit candles on our pancakes, read the story of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost, and then blew out our candles to make our own mighty wind :).    

Our "Holy Spirit pancakes"

It is always interesting to see what the kids pick up on when we celebrate holidays.  E-Bear was excited to point out that our priest was wearing bright red robes at Mass, "the same color as our table decorations at breakfast, mom!"  On Sunday night, as we celebrated with a cookout at the home of some friends,  G-Bear was asked what we had celebrated earlier that day.  She couldn't quite remember the name of the day or exactly who we were celebrating, but she was sure that we celebrated "the church's birthday!"  

T and I commemorated Memorial Day by watching a Band of Brother's episode.  We gave thanks for our freedom and the military service of our family members and friends.  We both miss being up at the Cabin on weekends like this.  Instead of enjoying pancakes in the kitchen at the lake, I set up our griddle on the porch and finished up our pancake batter (it was too hot to cook the pancakes in our kitchen today!).  It allllmost felt like breakfast Clear Lake :)  

In true cabin style, we lounged around until 1pm in our pjs, coloring pictures and playing with toys.

We finished off our weekend with a steamy afternoon bike ride (each Bear riding their own bike!) and a long, leisurely dinner at Chick-fil-A.  What a treat of a weekend!  We are spoiled silly with blessing around here.  May our hearts overflow with gratefulness for our family, our freedom, our friends and our faith.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Making space for the Spirit

"Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
~James 4:7

Tomorrow is Pentecost.

Today, we had granola for breakfast on our porch.  The sun was coming up.  And the kids and I danced to this song.  With a little poetic license, it is a great song for today.

And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
'Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn.

Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, whoa!
Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, whoa!
and it's hard to dance with the devil on your back,
so shake him out!

And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back,
and given half the chance I would give any of it back,
It's a fine romance, but its left me all undone,
It's always darkest before the dawn.
~from "Shake It Out" by Florence and the Machine

Tomorrow is Pentecost.  Jesus' gift of the Holy Spirit reminds us that darkness has no place in our lives.  The Spirit comes in power!  So today, let's make space for Him and get ready to work.  Shake it out!  He has work that He wants to do, in us and through us.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Last Day of School, 2012!

Who can believe that it is time for our preschool year to end?!

Remember these two on their first day?

Well, yesterday we finished our year at our special NC preschool.

G-Bear and E-Bear in front of the playground they love.

 E-Bear and G-Bear have enjoyed a great year with great teachers and sweet friends.
G-Bear is feeling confident and ready for kindergarden after her year with her pre-k teachers.
She is cutting with scissors, writing her name, sounding out words and excited about crafts and playtime with her friends!
G-Bear and her teachers.

E-Bear has especially transformed over the course of his first school year.  He is confident and excited to go to school.  He loves the crafts, music and playtime he enjoyed with his classmates.  We have to thank his lead teacher, Mrs. Perkins for so much.  As E-Bear told me a few days ago, "Mom, Mrs. Perkins has LOTS of good ideas."

E-Bear and his teachers.

Tomorrow, we'll enjoy a special all-school picnic lunch with all the teachers and classmates.  Then, let summer begin!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Suffering, death and courage from the Spirit

"Make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart."
~Psalm 90:12

There are times in life when, through encounters with suffering or the sufferings of others, we are tempted  to fear and doubt.  There is real uncertainty and tragedy in life.  Despite our best efforts, our lives will certainly be touched by both at one point or another.  Today my heart aches from it.   I am anxious about mortality that I can not cure, and saddened by the death of people I love.

In our encounters with suffering and death, we may be tempted to disbelieve the claims that a loving God exists.   Even if we are believers in the God who is Love, we may be tempted to doubt His loving plan and our security in it.

This week we are between the Ascension and Pentecost.  During these days, so many centuries ago, the disciples must have felt a sense of loss, uncertainty and a fear of suffering ahead.  They had seen Jesus depart from them, but they were yet unaided by the help and confidence of the Holy Spirit.  After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, their lives were marked by a strength of faith and confidence that was astounding.

The Spirit's power is breathtaking:

"You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, Father!  The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him."  ~Romans 8:15-17

Today, I want to be renewed in the confidence and courage of faith that only the Spirit can provide.  This is the prayer that I am praying today:

When we are beset with fear and doubt,
Our life is in your hands; deliver us.
When we are indifferent to your call to discipleship,
Our life is in your hands; deliver us.
When we are troubled by the specter of death,
Our life is in your hands; deliver us.
-Magnificat, May 2005, Vol.7 No.3, pg. 128

And here is how the Sprit reminded me to have faith in the purposes of our Loving God:

"If you would be convinced that in all he allows and in all that happens to you God has no other end in view but your real advantage and your eternal happiness, reflect a moment on all he has done for you; you are now suffering, but remember that the author of this suffering is he who chose to spend his life suffering to save you from everlasting suffering, whose angel is always at your side guarding your body and soul by his order....who comes lovingly to you in the Holy Eucharist and whose greatest pleasure is to be united to you.  We must be very ungrateful to  mistrust him after he has shown such proofs of his love, and to imagine that he can intend us harm. 'But,' you will say, 'this blow is a cruel one, he strikes too hard.'  What have you to fear from a hand that was pierced and nailed to the cross for you? 'The path I have to tread is full of thorns.'  If there is no other to reach heaven by, do you prefer to perish forever rather than to suffer for a time?  Is it not the same path he trod before you out of love for you?  Is there a thorn in it that he has not reddened with his own blood?  The chalice he offers you is a bitter one.  But remember that it is your Redeemer who offers it.  Loving you as he does, could he bring himself to treat you so severely if the need were not urgent, the gain not worthwhile?  Can we dare to refuse the chalice he has prepared for us himself?  Reflect well on this.  It should be enough to make us accept and love whatever trials he intends we should suffer.  Moreover it is the certain means of securing our happiness in this life quite apart from the next."
~Saint Claude de la Colombiere 
Magnificat, May 2005, Vol. 7, No.3, pg. 125

'Do not be afraid,' He says. (Matthew 10:31)  
Christ's love is unfathomable.  
May His love live is us and drive out all fear.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Grocery Bag

I may not be blogging much these days, but we still have to eat ;).  Sometimes the happenings of life just aren't post-able.  I'll be back at it before I know it.  For now, here are our dinner plans for the week.

Day One
We love our new easy Indian cookbook.
Photo from The Airy Way

Day Two
Our favorite "mac'roni & cheese"
with green salad and strawberries
This is my favorite way to make weeknight mac & cheese.  
Nothing fancy, but oh so good.

Day Three
Beef and asparagus curry from Everyday Food Magazine
with basmati rice
We have some great farmer's market meat that will taste great in this curry.

Photo and recipe from

Day Four
Cauliflower and cheddar soup from Everyday Food Magazine
with glazed thyme carrots and sister schubert rolls
Photo and recipe from

Day Five
Simple split chickpea curry from The Indian Slowcooker
with basmati rice and watermelon
This is an awesome lentil recipe that all of us love.  
A perfect slow cooker way to round out our week.
Photo from

Blessings on your kitchen this week.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Daybook for May 2012

Tonight, it is time for me to catch up on reflections and daily happenings, which means it is the perfect evening for a Daybook entry.  As always, thanks to the Simple Woman's Daybook for providing the inspiration.

Outside my window...we have created a porch garden!  Our latest acquisitions prove that I am pretending to have a green thumb and in denial about moving at the end of the summer.  Last weekend at the farmer's market we were so in awe of the flowering trees, shrubs, plants and vegetables that I couldn't resist bringing some home.  We have potted our own hanging herb garden, an ascending jasmine vine, a window box of lettuces, a rosemary bush and two baby pumpkin plants from E-Bear's preschool class.  The jasmine smells amazing.  As I told T yesterday, the lettuces make me so happy.  I love to walk out and pick my own salad and herbs for lunch.  Now, let's just hope these plants are able to survive living with me; I am not known for my gardening prowess.   

I am thinking...about our Hilton Head vacation in my daydreams on a daily basis.  We had so much fun.  I especially loved parking the car and not using it for several days in a row.  Oh, how amazing it would be if during our daily life we could bike to the grocery store, to church, to the park, really anywhere, like we did while we were on vacation.  Instead, we have been taking the kids on nightly bike rides around our neighborhood.  G-Bear and E-Bear are each pedaling by themselves, and Buddy Bear is riding on the trike.  Pretty impressive!  Thank goodness for the Hilton Head inspiration.

I am thankful...for the fifty days of Easter.  Happy Feast of the Ascension!  Today the kids and I talked about Jesus' Great Commission and his ascension into heaven.  We'll celebrate at church on Sunday, and then it is only one week until Pentecost.  It is hard to believe the Easter season is coming to an end.  I'll be sad to take down our "He Is RISEN" banner in our living room.....

In the kitchen...I have a whole gallon of strawberries from the strawberry patch.  We had the freshest shortcake for dessert tonight!  The kids and I went strawberry picking today.  I spent $5 for the gallon we gathered, and our car smelled amazing on the way home.  E-Bear and G-Bear were strawberry-picking pros.  "How did you pick strawberries, E-Bear?" asked T when we got home.  "I just looked for the ones with no ewwie spots," replied E-Bear, "and don't pick the green ones, because those are not ready yet."  The kids really did do a great job.  

I am wearing...what I am wearing is not nearly as interesting as what my kids are wearing these days.  E-Bear just got a new Batman shirt complete with velcro cape from MoMo.  He has asked to wear it everyday this week.  I have had to wash it daily since we got it a week ago.  Between his Superman shirt and now his Batman shirt, he always manages to be our caped superhero.  In my mind, he is a superhero even without his capes ;)

I am creating..."Learning Time" for my kids in the afternoon.  I can take no credit for the fact that they seem to love it. It is a lot of work for me, but we are getting so much more out of our afternoons together.  We start with playdough on the porch and then a counting game or handwriting, pouring exercise or letter game.  Even Buddy Bear joins in the mix with stacking cups or puzzle pieces.  E-Bear is practicing holding a pencil the correct way, and G-Bear is copying sentences.  This is really an experiment for me as we approach summer, as I hope to find constructive ways to enjoy learning and growing together.  As a result, I am on the lookout for good preschool/kindergarden learning games, activities, and resources.  I'll take all the help I can get!

I am going...actually, I did go to E-Bear's preschool music class on Wednesday.  All the parents were invited for a special music class with the kids.  It was impressive to see the twenty 2-3 year olds and parents all in one room!  The kids sang with jingle bells, shakie eggs, scarves, performed "Where is Thumbkin?" and "Elevator Operator" with impressive enthusiasm.  I love sneak peaks like this into E-Bear's preschool demeanor.  He was so delighted to show me his musical moves!  Such a sweet boy, he melts his proud mom's heart.

I am wondering....wait, now, with a move, a new job for T, housing, and schooling decisions on the horizon, the better question might be what am I NOT wondering about?  We probably won't have any answers to these burning questions and uncertainties for several more weeks.  So as I wonder, I am doing my best not to worry.  After making it through my residency decision, it is easier to not worry about our next step.  Hallelujah.  But I still have my moments.  

I am hoping...that G-Bear's five year old check-up next week goes well.  She will need to get vaccinations, and I am really dreading it.  This past Monday we took Buddy Bear for his check-up, and while he handled his vaccines quite well, G-Bear's face was truly pained as she watched him get his shots.  I remember hating my five year old vaccines and I don't enjoy re-living the experience with my sweet girl.  Lord, be gentle on us both.

I was looking forward to...having friends over for dinner tonight.  In our little apartment we have to be creative to fit everyone in, but it is always a treat to entertain, and we always manage to have a fun time.  Tonight we had five kids ages 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 playing dress-up in the kids room.  We ate dinner on the porch with homemade calzones for the adults and pizza for the kids.  The kids enjoyed a "pizza picnic" on a blanket while the adults ate at the table.  Such fun!  

I am to prune lettuce plants while keeping them alive.  Like I said, gardening is not my strongest talent.  I want these lettuces to hang around for many salads to come.

Around the house...we have created a costume corner for G-Bear and E-Bear.  Again, never mind the fact that we will be moving at the end of the summer, we just continue to make ourselves at home around here!  Our costume bag was overflowing to the point that I had to find a new solution to our wardrobe wonder.  A few nails in the wall later, we have almost a dozen costumes hanging on makeshift "hooks."  The upside?  Costumes are easier to see and get at for the older kids, and our basket is no longer stuffed and overflowing.  The downside?  Buddy Bear is going to have a blast pulling the costumes down from the hangers.

A favorite quote for today...
"Mom, I wish we had a strawberry patch at our house so that we could just go out and pick them 
and not have to buy them," G-Bear said as we picked berries today.
She's a girl after my own heart.  Me too, sweetie, me too.

One of my favorite things...Eating meals together and relaxing on our porch.  We look out on the parking lot and can greet our neighbors as they come home.  The jasmine vine smells amazing.  The mosquitos haven't hatched yet, and the birds are singing beautifully.  It's like our own little piece of paradise.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  We'll celebrate Dee this weekend, the Ascension on Sunday, and the last days of preschool next week.  Then, we are onto summer!  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Grocery Bag

This week for dinner we have a mix of minimal prep, long simmering dishes with quick and easy recipes.  We are enjoying the first of our farmer's market produce!   Have a wonderful week.

Day One
Smothered pork from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking
with cardamon rice and cabbage salad
This recipe doesn't require much active prep, but because it must simmer for about 1.5 hours, 
it is perfect to start in the late afternoon and let simmer until dinner time.  I really like Jaffrey's easy, flavorful recipes.

Day Two
Pasta with Vietnamese pesto from Vegetarian Planet
with snap peas and fruit salad
This is a easy and tasty homemade pesto.  
We add cubed tofu and snap peas to the pasta as it cooks for a hearty, one pot pasta dish.
Photo from What Lauren Eats
Recipe online at

Day Three
Mexican spaghetti from
with green salad and oranges
One of our favorites for a quick pasta night. The leftovers are awesome.
Photo and recipes from

Day Four
Pork with ginger-maple sauce from Cooking Light Magazine
with orzo pilaf and steamed peas 
Photo and recipe from

Day Five
Pasta salad with broccoli and peanuts from Everyday Food Magazine
with strawberry spinach salad
A tasty, quick way to end the week.
Photo and recipe from

Blessings on your kitchen this week!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Six Years with My Love

He wooed me once,

he woos me still.

Thank you, T, for six years of bliss.  I love being your wife.  
I love learning more everyday what it means to love you and what it means for you to love me.  

I love you, T.

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

I love this recently aired commercial.  I am not grooming my kids for the olympics, but I am hoping that the ordinary moments of our daily routine will play a part in enabling them to cultivate lives that will offer something great to the world.  

MoMo, Nana, we appreciate you more and more everyday.  Thanks for all the small moments, for everything that you set aside to help us reach higher.  If we are able to boost G-Bear, E-Bear and Buddy Bear higher, it is because we learned from your example toward us.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Baptism Anniversary Day

Three years ago today, our G-Bear and E-Bear were baptized!

The day is special in our hearts for many reasons.
G-Bear inviting us to the alter on her baptism day.

Our children received the sacrament from our dear friend, Deacon Bill,

Deacon Bill baptizing E-Bear

surrounded by their grandparents.  

 It was also our last time together with T's father before he passed away.  
Like I said, it was a special day, well worth remembering.

This is the first year I have celebrating Baptism Day with the Bears.  

This morning, when they woke up, I had set the table with their baptism candles and crosses.

Our Baptism Day breakfast table

We had special "Baptism Breakfast Cereal," which was really a cereal with little white marshmallows that I found at the store this week. While we ate, we looked at the pictures from the baptism day, talking about what happened and who was there with us.  G-Bear wanted to wear a white dress to school to commemorate the day.  Thankfully, we had a new white dress hand-me-down from a friend, and after checking to make sure I had stain spray on hand,  I let her wear it to school.   This afternoon we colored baptism coloring pages, read the story of Jesus' baptism in our storybook Bible and talked about baptism while we "baptized" our Little People toys in a bowl of water.  We talked about how, just as John called the people to follow Jesus and listen to His teachings after Jesus' baptism, we are called to follow the Lord and His teachings after our baptism.  We're taking it one day at a time.  Thank goodness for God's grace!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Food for the journey

Today my kids and I attended our last Community Bible Study meeting.  This phenomenal group has become one of our favorite blessings during our time here in North Carolina.

The four of us arrived on the doorstep of CBS last fall at Nana's excellent recommendation.  Every Thursday for the past nine months, my kids have leapt out of bed and cheered that it was "Bible School Day!"  They have enjoyed a fantastic children's ministry, learning about God and His love from gifted teachers, and making wonderful friends.  Even Buddy Bear had his own class, where he was loved and had his own space to shine.

The Bears aren't the only ones who grew from CBS this year.   Last fall, as I wrestled with the loneliness of living in a new place, I was reminded in our study of Philippians that Christ is my reason to be content and rejoice in all of my circumstances.  In early winter, amidst exhaustion and challenges of the residency interview trail, I was encouraged in our study of Colossians to continue to live out my faith, rooted and built up in Jesus, strengthened in the faith as I have been taught, all the while overflowing with thankfulness (Col. 2:6-7).  In late winter, as I wrestled with my residency decisions, I was challenged in our study of 1&2 Thessalonians to have an more eternal perspective rather than a temporary one.  In our study of James I was prompted to consider my daily words and my actions, to be sure they reflect the faith I profess.  And this spring, as I am healing from one decision and many more lie ahead for us to make, I have rested in our study of 1 John; I am reassured that He who was in the beginning is the light for our life, and He will enable me to love others in my daily life.

Today, I was tearing up as we said goodbye.  CBS has been food for our journey this year.  We are so much stronger for it, ready for the journey ahead.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

To the woman in the parking lot

This morning, Buddy Bear and I were walking out of the grocery store. Buddy Bear was strapped to my back in the backpack carrier, I had a full bag of groceries over my shoulder.  We passed a woman wearing a gentle smile.

"I can tell that you love being a mom," she said. 

I don't know what I was doing that inspired her comment, but what she said meant so much to me.  I swelled with happiness at the recognition.  I wanted to throw my hands in the air and cheer.

"Yes, I do, I really do," I replied.

I have received plenty of recognition and accolades in many areas of my life.  But I love being a mom more than anything else.  Paradoxically, motherhood is the area of my life where I find myself most insecure, most challenged, most uncertain and with the least amount of recognition, praise or affirmation.  So when a stranger is able to recognize my maternal joy and contentment in the midst of a routine grocery run, I declared the morning a victory.  Now, if only I could keep Buddy Bear from chewing on the power strip.  

May is a month for celebrating mothers and motherhood.  The church celebrates Jesus' mother, Mary, in a special way during May, and Mother's Day is this coming Sunday.  What a great opportunity to take time in the coming weeks to focus on the blessing of motherhood with my children, my family members and friends we meet.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Grocery Bag

Our hiatus from Grocery Bag last week and our weekend getaway gave me plenty of time to pick recipes for dinner this week.  T gave me a great cookbook for my birthday, Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking.  This week I'll be trying a few recipes and I can't wait.

Day One
Cheese lasagna from Martha Stewart Living Magazine
with spinach craisin salad

Photo and recipe from

Day Two
with basmati rice and cilantro mint lentils
 New recipes from my new birthday cookbook!
Photo and recipe from My Kitchen Table

Day Three
Chickpea flour dumpling curry from Lisa's Kitchen
with homemade bread

Photo and recipe from Lisa's Kitchen

Day Four
Pasta with red lentils and ginger from Vegetarian Planet
with spinach salad and kiwi fruit
This recipe is from my favorite vegetarian cookbook.
Recipe from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons
Photo from Mamatouille

Day Five
Yellow lentils from Indian as Apple Pie
with naan
These simple yellow lentils are delicious from the slowcooker.
Recipe by Anupy Singla at Indian As Apple Pie
Photo and cookbook review from Pure Sugar

Blessings on your kitchen!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Our impromptu trip to Hilton Head

There are many things I love about T.

One of the things I love about him is how he spoils me.  
He doesn't spoil me with things, 
he spoils me with himself and with things he knows we would enjoy doing together.

Next weekend we'll celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary and Mother's Day.
So to treat me, when this weekend suddenly freed up, we made a very impromptu trip to a spot we have hoped to visit since we moved to Carolina,

 Hilton Head!

Our weekend has felt like a little bit of heaven.

We have spent the weekend biking together,
When E-Bear and G-Bear weren't tearing up the road on their own bikes, they were riding in style together in the kiddie cart behind T's bike.  What fun they had!

(even Buddy Bear was along for the ride!)

Buddy Bear joined me on my bike.

climbing tree houses and playing at playgrounds,

Playing pirates, sailors and mermaids in Harbor Town.

picnicking on the beach,


 and afternooning in the pool.

We even enjoyed a special anniversary celebration lunch 
at the famous Salty Dog Cafe (thank you, Nana!).

Off season is a great time to visit Hilton Head.  The rates are fantastic, the weather perfect, 
and we walked right into the restaurant for lunch. 
Rumor has it that the average wait is 3 hours in the summer!  Not us, partner.

T has so many wonderful memories of visiting Hilton Head as a child with his family.  
It was really special for him to share this place with us.

"Papa would love this," said G-Bear as we rode the trolley.  "He loves trolley rides."
"You'll never forget it, Momma Bear," T said to me tonight.   

I hope I never forget.  

We were standing on the beach, watching our kids splash in the waves.  
Somewhere in my mind, a line from the 'Owl and the Pussy Cat' was playing,

"And hand-in-hand, by the edge of the sand,

they danced by the light of the moon, the moon,

they danced by the light of the moon.

Tonights view of the moon from the beach.

Last night was the fullest full moon of the year.  We watched it rise up out of the ocean from the beach.  What a way to celebrate six glorious year marriage, the kids that made me a mother, and the unbelievable blessings we have been given as a family.  Thank you, T, I love you.

Happily Ever,
Queen B