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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bold Steps

I took a bold step this week.  A step I've been contemplating since earlier this year and finally decided to make.  I resigned from my job.

We are starting a new chapter in our life pursuing a lifelong dream.  That of owning our own business and continuing to build a future that we are dreaming of together.  Leaving my full time job was a huge step in the right direction!

It feels like just yesterday hubby and I stepped off a plane from South Africa;  for the first time setting foot on American soil.  I've been thinking about all the little milestones we've accomplished since then and the huge and exciting adventure lying ahead.

This year is a year filled with major changes;  all of which entail huge sacrifices, but all holding the promise of huge payoffs.

My daughter brought me a picture this morning and on it was written :  "Follow your heart!"   I thought it so appropriate, because that is exactly what we are doing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


This summer the kids learned to ride the waves with bodyboards and although they can swim, to maintain our sanity with two kids who cannot go deep enough into the ocean quickly enough, we insisted they wear life jackets whenever on their bodyboards.

Good thing we did.

The third day at the beach the girls ran ahead and got into the ocean even before we've put our bags down.   I was keeping an eye on them and saw them lying on their boards, but became a little worried when none of the waves were carrying them back out to the beach.

Hubby saw it too and by the time they were behind the deep wave line we realized there was a rip current pulling them into the deep sea.  This all happened within 10 to 15 seconds!

Hubby and one other man standing around in the waves sped off and they got hold of them just before they were pulled into seriously deep waters!  They were holding onto their boards totally oblivious to the danger they were in.

Caramel arrived back on the beach in a huff though, because the bodyboard was under house arrest the rest of the morning.  I sat down beside her and told her in what great danger she was and suggested she be grateful and happy and enjoy whatever else the beach had to offer swimming in the more shallow waters.  It took awhile but she came around.

By nature I deliberately stand back when they want to try adventurous, daring things even when I'm apprehensive, because I want them to grow up into confident girls, willing to take risks, not afraid to question the status quo!  But I realize being a parent means saying "No" sometimes.  Your kids might not like it and not understand it;  even after you explained it to them as best you can, but as parents we are blessed with a bigger perspective and deeper understanding of what's going on.  Deciding where exactly to set the boundaries though will be a lifelong wrestling match between letting go and pulling back, just like the waves relentlessly racing onto the beach. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Summer Beach Vacation

There are so many stories to share about our trip to the beach it is hard to decide what to write down and what to leave out and I hate reading hour by hour renditions of anything - yawn.   This was the most perfect beach vacation we could ever imagine for our family.

From the most amazing beach cottage nestled between the sea pines right on the beach;

to the warm, azure waters of the Emerald coast lapping onto brilliantly white, soft sands;

to the trendy seaside boutiques and corner cafes serving the most divine food I've enjoyed in a long time in picture perfect surroundings.

And the sunsets?  To die for!

We finally found our little summer hideaway.  You know that place where you go each summer as a family to bond, recoup and reflect before returning to a hectic life.

We cannot wait to go back again!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Montgomery Alabama

Saturday we pulled out of our home's driveway.  We were off to enjoy a week long summer break at the beach!  A sort of final hooray before seasons change hands.  Woo-hoo!!  Our first stopover on the way to the beach was Montgomery Alabama.

Hubby and I visited this town a long time ago when we did not have little girls traveling with us.  This time we stayed at the Renaissance smack bam in the middle of the historic downtown area.  We arrived in the early afternoon and decided to explore the riverfront area watching rowers compete vehemently for a win on the Alabama River.

We enjoyed dinner in “The Alley”;  a lovely little spot just off the waterfront with several restaurants to pick from.  As we crossed Commerce street all seemed well, but by the time we took the elevator to the 8th floor and peered out the windows it was raining cats and dogs and people were darting all over Tallapoosa street like little ants looking for an escape. 

After breakfast at Shashy's we explored Dexter Street starting with the slave markets two blocks over from the riverfront.  My daughters were ecstatic to actually stand at the bus stop where Rosa Parks refused to stand up for a white passenger boarding the bus almost 60 years ago, which of course kicked off a year long boycott of the public transportation system that resulted in the dismantling of law undermining African-Americans' rights.

We walked all the way up Dexter stopping at every building and plaque learning more until we finally came to the very top of the Capitol building’s steps and stood on the star where the president of the confederate states, Jefferson Davis, was sworn in, in 1886.  Then we walked over to the Alabama Department of Archives and History.  Once you step inside you might not feel this is an appropriate escape from the heat for young children with it's gleaming white marble floors and walls adorned with bronze breast plates and beautiful ornate ceilings.  But you would be very wrong.  

On the second floor there is a special area just for them where they can make their own quilts, color murals on the walls, dress up in clothes from the old days and pretend play on old type writers and cash registers.  Here is also where you will find the heart wrenching photography telling the story about Martin Luther King and thousands of other people peacefully marching from Selma to Montgomery demanding the basic right to vote.  

Coming from a country with it's own history segregating whole communities based on the color of their skin, it was a special moment to share with my children and to teach them more about the importance of this event and this town in the heart of Alabama.

Finally we were on our way to the beach!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Impromptu Picnics

Last week Friday we headed out for our weekly nature walk, but on our way there I changed my mind and opted for an impromptu picnic before we start our nature walk.  This is the wonderful thing about homeschooling.  You can do what you want when you want and I have every intention of taking full advantage of this all year long!

While sitting out under the huge umbrellas; shooing bees hellbent on sharing in the deliciousness; munching on some sandwiches, we marveled at the beautiful flowers and the odd looking paddle boarders gliding by shouting instructions at each other seemingly oblivious to the audience gawking at them from the picnic grounds.

Once we were finished with our lunch we got our sketch pads out and set off for the woods.  There were so many amazing flowers,insects, butterflies (they are too pretty to be lumped together with other insects) and wild berries to study up close.

At the pier we met up with two fishermen.  When I looked at them I thought the only things missing from this scene were a hook on one arm and a sword in another and someone jumping out at us shouting "Arrrrrrrrrr mateys!".  They gruffly offered to show us their catch kept underwater in a fisherman's net.  But I could not help feeling like we've been lured away by the witch in Hansel and Gretel to eat from the house made of delicious sweets.  Once we snapped a few pictures of the fish I quickly cajoled the kids off the pier to investigate "new" frontiers.

Once we were done studying the woods it did not take much any cajoling to go play on the play set.  By the time I switched on my camera they were halfway up the gravel path.  Hanging, climbing and swinging to their hearts content I watched them intently; searing these moments into my memory banks for a long time from now.  Childhood goes by so quickly.  Just look how quickly just six years went past.

My wish for them is to build the most magical childhood memories and even when they are all grown up, to still have that sense of wonder about them and the world around them.  It does not matter if it is staring out over the ocean thinking when to catch the next wave on a surf board, or if it is painting the next piece of artwork, or designing a new high rise.  I will be there all the way to cheer them on.