Sand In The Shoes…and the Empty Bedroom

Winter seems to prefer the days to go by like molasses on a cold, winter day….whereas Summer, well, it seems she prefers the days to go by so fast you can barely get the lid off of the sunscreen.  I’m not a fan of this time deal they have apparently worked out without my permission….but that’s a topic that probably needs to be left on the shelf…as Thumper’s Momma told him..if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.

I seriously must be one blessed gal this summer though…I mean..TWO trips to my favorite spot in the entire Universe-the beaches of South Walton.  I’ve got sand in my shoes! Y’all know the first trip was with my two favorite guys, but I just returned from the second trip after my favorite middle sis offered me a bed on their beach vacation!  (Y’all know this gesture puts her in the sister hall of fame..right?  I mean, seriously, that’s like telling a house dog they can go roll in whatever the choose to without any consequences…hearts a leapin’ for joy!!!)  Getting to hang out with my sis, her spouse and my most beautiful niece in the entire world…well…as the Discover commercial says…Awesomesauce!

South Walton Beach....I love you!

South Walton Beach….I love you!

I did nothing while on the beach…seriously…I have perfected the beach pose.  Sunscreen on, towel placed strategically on the chair so that it won’t inch down or fall off, sunglasses perched perfectly on the bridge of the nose, water bottle secured in the sand, sit…extend extremities, chair in the next to the lowest head position….and exhale.  Toss in the occasional fifteen step adventure mid-calf into the ocean…and well…that’s heaven on earth folks.  (Mid-Calf is my line in the sand where the ocean is concerned…I love her, I could watch her for hours…but y’all, one foot in and we become part of the food chain and I kinda like all my fingers and toes. Those of you who venture out deeper…hats off to your bravery!)  Once again, SWB did not disappoint.  Beautiful emerald green water, soft white sand, the sounds of the waves coming ashore…aaaahhhhhh…..BUT…..SWB….I did not care for the PURPLE flag on our last full day….nope…didn’t care for it…and folks, why is that TINY flag placed in a spot no veteran beach goer will even look?  I mean seriously….you have your tote on one arm….you are scouting out where your beach set-up is….and the ocean is calling your name over and over…and you are expected to look the opposite way towards the back of the beach for the flags for that day??  Nope..ain’t happening.  May I suggest folks walking the beach passing out flyers?  We could have died from a jellyfish!  A no brain creature of the sea…could have taken us all out!  Kinda hard to prevent certain calamity if the first time you see the flag is when you are packing up for the day!  Flyers people…or all those crazy planes and helicopters that fly across the shore could carry a banner reading, “DEATH UPON ENTERING WATER…DANGER.”  Really…cause how many of us are going to avoid the water with the wording “Dangerous Marine Life?”  You are so sitting there right now saying, “I laugh in the face of danger.”  My point exactly!

Before your eyes could blink, the beach was over…time to pack the bags and leave.  I do believe I enter a clinical state of depression each time I leave the beach.  Hmm…wonder if BCBS would pay for monthly beach trips if I could convince them that it was the only “drug” that would work to lift my mood? I do breathe better…..Hmm…..another blog for another day.  Anyhow….a trip over to Seaside/Watercolor/Seagrove to get a few t-shirts…..and..well….maybe a Lily Pulitzer dress…..hey..it was on sale…it fit..who am I to tell a dress she can’t come home with me when she’s so adorable???  And it was over….bye Florida….iPhone in hand on my Home-Away app seeing what the prices were for October.  Ok, maybe I have a problem.  Maybe I need an intervention…BUT…have you see that water?  Walked on that sand?

So, I land in Chicago..all depressed and all because I’m told you can’t live in a tent on the beach forever….walk up to my baggage claim and look up…NO JOKE…a sign for 30A and the Beaches of South Walton….I felt like Charlie Brown as Lucy pulled the football from him once again….clearly God was sending me a sign that I should just hop a plane and go right back.  Right?  That sign was for me….right?  Or was Chicago taunting me with my love, because I had been talking so poorly at her pitiful attempt at summer????  We may never know.

Today, I wake up in Chicagoland….to what I have put off for a week….the empty bedroom.  See, smart Kim was able to somehow go on a trip the same day her baby boy left for the Aspen Music Festival…not to be seen again until move in day at college….and not to be seen in Chicagoland until Thanksgiving.  I feel like Eeyore.  Left the beach….empty room…ugh.  Empty-nest joy obviously is just for birds…..cause I am not feeling it.  Don’t get me wrong..I am thrilled my baby boy has wings….thrilled…but I could have used another eighteen or so  years…just saying.  Our five week summer was not long enough…and well..next summer is the big “move to grad school” summer…and I’m just not wanting any part of this whole party.  I think I went wrong that day I let him take his first step…see…what are we thinking????  We teach them to walk and talk and be all independent and that’s what they go and do…and poof….they are off into the world.  Empty room.  I keep thinking I will change it out to my long dreamed about floral shabby chic oasis….but I wonder if that would be an obstacle to get him to return for visits????  Would a shabby chic room be enough of a reason for him to say..”Umm…I think I’m hanging at campus this break?”  He reads this blog, so I must insert the I LOVE YOU to the moon and back and I am so proud of you at this time.

My J with David from the CSO and one of J's teachers this summer....cool kid.

My J with David from the CSO and one of J’s teachers this summer….cool kid.

Life marches on……….now excuse me while I go look at Florida condo rates for well….can I leave today?  (PS…I love you Leebo and you know I can’t control myself where the beach is concerned.)

Mimi Adventures and Unexpected Gifts

Summer is awesome!  Something about it just beckons you to take to the road for adventures!  Thankful today for the ability to take to the road, the stops along the way and the unexpected gifts from a whirlwind week.

Josh and I took to the road nine days ago for what would be a six state, three stop adventure!  First stop…seeing my baby girl and her babies!  Going back to Northwest Arkansas is still so strange, but this was the second trip back and I am finding while I still miss the people greatly…..I’m less tied to the area with each visit.  We were not a Wal-Mart associate or vendor family, so it can be a tough area for a man if you don’t fit in one of those niches.  Anyhoo (Thanks to Sheldon.).

I scored an awesome Hilton points plus cash deal at the Rogers Embassy, so we were able to enjoy hotel life and that wonderful feeling of tossing the towels on the floor.  (You know you do it too!)  We got in a tad late, so the first night we didn’t see anyone…but we did….oh yes, we did….enjoy Slim’s Chicken.  Oh, how I have missed real chicken tenders and fried pickle slices.

Ella wants Slims!

Walking into my baby girl’s house the next morning and having those precious kiddos so eager to see their Mimi-priceless.  Those kiddos make you feel as if you are twenty years younger!  After great debate on the plans for the day, we opted to go spend some time at the Bentonville square.  A little time at the park followed by a great lunch at Station Cafe.  Soon, the kiddos were not happy with the heat of the day, so we decided to make a trek to Chick-Fil-A for a snack and then to Target for swimwear!  Then it was back to the square for time at the Splash Park!

Are they not the cutest kiddos in the entire world?

Are they not the cutest kiddos in the entire world?

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While at the splash park, I got to have a quick visit with my special friend, Shelley.  We have known each other ever since Josh was about three years old!

Dear Friends

Josh and I were worn out from chasing the two kiddos all around the park!  They had a super time and while it took them a bit to warm up to the squirting water, before you blinked, Blane was in full boy mode!  Ella, well, Ella is still unsure of what to think..but she sure does like other kiddos juice boxes!  Gross-out boy moment..Blane finding an empty water bottle (PS-people toss your trash!)…and we looked up and he was filling it with the Splash Park water and DRINKING IT!  Eww!!!!

Tired kiddos and hungry adults made for a trip to dinner then we sent the kiddos and their Mom on their way to rest for the next day! Josh and I then were able to drop in on the Magees and see my dear friend Karilea.  We have known each other since our oldest were in early elementary school!!!

Day Two began with Mimi walking in the door of our baby girl’s house and being greeted by two kiddos with arms open wide.  BE STILL MY HEART!  Mom had some shopping errands to run, so we took on the Promenade.  The kiddos played at the cute little playground they have and well…..someone (had to be a non-parent person) has placed those quarter eating rides next to the playground….anyone wanna guess how long the playground pleased the kiddos?  Fun day…and who can resist a kiddo going “Choo-Choo” or “All Aboard!”

Quarter RidesIMG_2268

After playtime, we were all hungry and who could turn down another opportunity to eat at Slim’s!!!! Not me!!!  The day had really warmed up and outside play was just not appealing after lunch.  So, we took a chance and went to Little Giggles in Bentonville.  This place is so wonderful!!!!!  If you have a child under the age of five…take them!!!!  Make sure child and adults have socks!  They sell them, but you can save a little money by bringing your own.  Snacks and drinks are also offered for sale.  It is SUPER clean and the kiddos LOVED IT!!!  Mommy was able to leave for a bit and get her nails done while Mimi and Josh held down the fort.

Fun at Little Giggles IMG_2281 IMG_2284IMG_2305 IMG_2290 IMG_2299IMG_2300 IMG_2305Soon it was time to say good-bye and send the baby girl and her kiddos on their way.  Elizabeth wasn’t home this trip, so my heart was so sad that we didn’t get to spend time with her, but so joyful that we made so many sweet memories with the littles.

Later that day, I had planned a night out with two dear friends….Shelley and Robin.  We can’t get good Tex-Mex where we live now, so I was thrilled we were going to Chuy’s!  It was so yummy.  We always have such a good time…so much laughter! We didn’t want the night to end, so we may have shut down Tropical Smoothie after dinner. The Watermelon Mint Mojito is soo tasty!  With quick hugs, we went our separate ways much too soon.  I miss my people.  (Deepest apologies to those I could not see this trip!  I’ll be in town for a  much longer visit in August!)

Sweet Friends

The next morning, we packed our bags and began the second part of #mimiadventures.  We were headed to Nashville.  Given we go through Memphis on the way, I decided to make a slight detour and take Josh to Tupelo to see his grandmother.  We were able to spend some super time together over dinner and spent the night at her house.  This is Lee’s Mom and we don’t get to see her very often…especially Josh…so I know the time was special to her..and to us!

Josh and GrannySoon it was time to wake up and begin the next trek of #mimiadventures .  Off to Nashville!!!  We got into Nashville about late lunch time.  We tried to go to Loveless, but a TWO hour wait was not worth it…so I purchased my four jars of peach preserves and deferred to Joshua’s suggestion of Hattie B’s in Nashville.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!  This place is so legit!  The tenders, the pimento mac-n-cheese!!!  SO good!!!

Zero Calories at Hattie B's!

Next was the reason we came to Nashville….Josh headed to campus to practice for his Aspen trip to the Aspen Music Festival.  The next few days were spent with Josh practicing for the festival, me hanging with my awesome sister and niece and the rest of the Moore clan and the newest member, Mary.  We had pool time, fun meals together, nail time and I was also able to spend a lot of time with my Dad. I sure do miss him living close.  My sis and I were able to give him and early Father’s Day celebration and cheesecake was had!

It was time to head back to Chicagoland.  We are back for four days and then Josh is off to the Aspen Music Festival for the summer (We will see him again at college for move-in day.) and #mimiadventures part two begins again as I trek to Florida to hang with the sis and her family for a few days at the beach.  It’s much cooler here than what we have dealt with the past few days…and I am SO happy!!!!  Now for a fun few days with the three of us making the last minutes of our summer together count!

All total, I have gone about 2000 miles in eight days….and in those miles I got an unexpected gift!  I never realized how much fun this week would be with my baby boy!  We shared great laughs, serious conversations about life, politics, grad school options…great food, and I now have a week I will never forget!  Babies don’t keep-they grow much too quickly.

Make your summer count….there are unexpected gifts!

Time-looking forward, but missing today?

In this world that seems to have so little these days that is definite, concrete, “for sure”….time has not succumbed to the evolutionary sways of people.  Time is finite.  We wake up each day with a set number of minutes, hours, seconds….and each of us wakes each day with no knowledge if tomorrow will even come.  Time is finite.  It’s finite in how it is placed on our calendar that is on our phone, our computer, our desk….it’s certain.

As I look towards the balance of June and into the next two months of summer, I realize time is ticking much more quickly that I recall even five years ago.  June is full.  August is a milestone month, so July seems to be quietly hanging out for now.  Then the anticipation of the cooler breezes of September and all the activities that begin as school starts back and nature gently renews herself in her march towards her winter slumber.  Then we look up and it’s Christmas and the start of another year.  Where does time go?

Maybe, just maybe, time is marching by more quickly because I am knee-deep into adult.  Maybe it’s because I have become so focused on looking at what’s coming ahead, that I have lost focus on counting the seconds of today.  In all the seasons that make up a life…have we all become so used to watching for that next milestone or next event that we have missed today?  Just sat and enjoyed the finite time of today.

It’s summer….the perfect time to stop, just look at today’s date on the calendar and simply enjoy.  Tomorrow will come soon enough.