Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Extraordinary Loves

Today is one of those days that doesn't happen all the time. Literally. It's the 29th of February. Or...does it happen twice each year that doesn't have the date plugged into the calendar? Or is there any such thing as March 1st at all? And, if there's no March 1st, what does that do to the 2nd? Or the 3rd? Does this affect April? If it affects April, can it change July? And, if it changes July, can we skip my birthday this year and I get to be the same age for a little longer? I'm totally willing to give up July 14th so February 29th can have a more permanent place in each year. Though, the French might not be so stoked on giving up their independence celebrations. Hmmmm.
Yeah. These are things I think about sometimes.
Most of the time, though, I'm thinking about how lucky I am to have the family and friends that I do. They are, after all, what make my world go round, what help me through when times are tough, and what bring me happiness and laughter as each year happens by. And, though they are more commonplace than the 29th of February, they are far more extraordinary than a leap year.
I love you all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Real Winter Fun

At the start of February, we took the kids on their 2nd excursion into the beautiful, wild wonder that is Colorado. I made plans for a snow adventure prior to discovering that Wood Child #3 was on her way, so the intentions for me changed a bit, but, for my Ella and Summit, the party was on...or rather they were on the mountain.
To say that South Carolina has experienced a mild winter does no justice. It seems we skipped winter from a prolonged fall and went straight into the headwaters of spring. Missing some taste of cooler weather, we were excited to feel the world below 65 degrees, and the climate in the Rockies rightly cooperated. It's always amusing to see warmies experience true cold for the first time. Landing in Denver didn't really do much to affect the kids, but stepping out of the car in Breckenridge sure did. The temperature that night when we arrived was a blustery 6, and my southern bred babies were hit with a chilly sensation that simply didn't make sense. It was that kind of cold that takes the color out of things. And, their grass legs weren't prepared for streets covered in snowy ice. Did they, the almighty fountains of knowledge, believe their parents when we told them that a simple tank/t-shirt and a fleece would not be enough? Heavens no. Did they, the children of newfound knowledge, wish they had worn more on the walk across the street to the pizza joint? Of course they did. From then out, there was no argument about what to wear, and as a mama who constantly battles a 7-year-old girl about how to dress, this was a really nice reprieve from everyday drama.
The first morning that we woke up in Colorado was like revisiting Christmas. The snow was unbelievable to my babies' wide eyes, that, thanks to the time zone change, were up as early as they would be on Christmas morning. Ah well. Who doesn't heart a 5 a.m. wake-up call? I don't heart a 5 a.m. wake-up call. But, up we were, and wowed they were. I made Colorado's newest snow bunnies wait until the sun made an appearance and their daddy rolled out of bed before they could venture out of the condo...did you really think I would take that challenge that early? It was -18 degrees outside. By 7 they were bundled up in their snow gear and headed out the door. The first thing Summit did? Take one step and fall face-first in the snow. In his defense, it was up to his waist. He was as mobile as Ralphie's little brother in A Christmas Story. While I got our stuff ready to make the trip to Steamboat, the kids took turns playing and falling in the white blanketed world they'd just discovered.
Since we moved from Crested Butte, winter trips to CO usually involve snowboarding in Breck, but we decided to visit Matt's cousin, Laura, and her family in Steamboat for this rodeo. On the drive over Rabbit Ears Pass, we stopped at this amazing snowfield for the kids (and their parents) to play in. You'd have thought the moon had just been hung for them. It was beautiful and serene, and Ella and Summit's sweet, sweet laughter filled the mountain silence. Loved. It. Loved every minute of it. Even the part where I stepped in a snow drift up to my chest and had to have Matt pull my freezing cold, pregnant badonkadonk out of the snow. Even loved that.
On the other side of the pass was our skiing/snowboarding destination. Steamboat's a pretty chill (and not just because it's cold) town. Laura and AJ and baby Charlie were wonderful hosts, and they filled us in at the local level. We signed the kids up for a day of ski/boarding school, which was a great experience for both of them. Summit was a skier, and I have to say, it was hard dropping him off that morning. He was scared, and his big crocodile tears made me hug him tighter and get a little weepy right along with him. But, off he was whisked by the kids' school workers, and off we were to take Ella to her Rough Riders lesson. Luckily for her, she was the only one in a group to sign up that day, and her instructor, Frizz, had just returned from paternity leave with a brand new baby girl. Did that make him think that teaching a little girl to ride for the first time was pretty cool? Yes. Yes it did.

With the kids in their designated areas and Matt snowboarding his mountain-loving heart out, I was left to my own devices, and rather than shopping or something, I couldn't pull myself away from watching my Ella and Summit learn how to board and ski. So, I just stood the base of the freezing cold, windy, morning, Colorado weather...and cried. What? Yes. I cried. I was so proud. So proud and so happy and so fortunate to get to see my little loves experiencing these things for the first time. My heart was full. And, so I cried. Not the tears that Summit had earlier, though I was nervous for them, but tears of gratitude and love for them. I know that I'm one lucky mama.

By three in the afternoon, Ella and Summit had learned a bunch. Ella had ridden the big chair lift with Frizz, and Summit had figured out his groove with the tiny bunny hill. And, they were D.O.N.E. done. We met up with AJ and Laura and Charlie, and headed to Steamboat Hot Springs, another first for E and S, and they loved the chance to swim outside in 5 degree weather. I did not love the journey from the locker room into the pool, and even less the one on the way out, but it was nice while we were in the warm water. Summit did not love the fact that he was too short to take the crazy big slide into the water, but his sister sure enjoyed that ride. At day's end, AJ and Laura fed us some good-for-the-soul food, and we were done.

We enjoyed a few more days in the Rockies before we had to mosey on back to the South. The kids and Matt got to spend some more time on the mountain. Ella would have loved to have had the chance to ride with Frizz, who was cooler than cool by this Matt's slight was cute. And we visited with our friends and family. While it didn't snow AT ALL in the mountains, Denver got dumped on, and by the time we made it to Carol and Steve's place, they had feet of snow waiting for us to play in before we got on the plane back home. How cool is that? What a send off!

There's something special and down-to-earth and completely relaxing about being in Colorado, something that makes you appreciate how big the world is and what a great thing it is to be able to play in the earth's adventures. I always try to relish the moments that we have there, and this was no exception.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Schmalentine's Day

Since the moment I woke up today, I've been bombarded by messages of lovey-doveyness. On the Facebook, in the news, all over the paper. Proclamations of he-loves-me-this and she-loves-me-that and roses and balloons and candy and enough sweetness to exorcise the demons out of Regan MacNeil. Everywhere. In the State, there was a story of a husband who sends his wife flowers on the same day every month, and he's done this for more than a decade. Are you kidding me? On the Today Show, Hoda Kotb was bragging all about how her boyfriend had a concert violinist playing tear-jerking music just for her as she left for work at 5 in the morning. Barf. I mean, it's my parents' freaking anniversary for the love of God. Can it get anymore in your face than that?

Valentine's Day Schmalentine's Day is what I say. I mean, is it really necessary? All around the world...or wherever the hell it's celebrated...women, married or single, have these amazing ideas of grandeur about this day. They imagine what could happen... and if you're me, you imagine AMAZINGNESS. We dream about what our significant others will do to show us love and romance and appreciation. Will there be candy or flowers or sweet messages or lovely dinners or blingy jewelry? We dream. And I underscore dream. I can tell you this right now, some men know how to bring it, and they bring it every year. However, I would venture to guess that many fellas don't, and when they don't bring it right away... Well, those dreams turn into moments of anticipation. Moments of anticipation into hours of waiting, and with each passing hour, disappointment builds up like an freezing cold wall of icy bricks. Freezing cold.

It goes without saying that today hasn't been one for bringing it for everyone, and because I fail miserably at pretending, it ain't exactly been brought for me. Thanks to the honesty of some special best friends, I know that I'm not alone in wanting to throw up everytime I hear how incredibly sweet and thoughtful and forward-thinking and better some other person's person is. (So we're clear, my person is awesome, and I'm very lucky that he's mine, and I love him very much.)

So, here's to February 15th. I love it already because I know it won't be wrought with all of the Hallmarkable crap that this one is. Oh, February 15th, won't you be mine? May the thaw begin.

P.S. Happy anniversary to my Mom and Dad! 38 years ain't too shabby!