Thursday, July 28, 2016

They Grow Up Before We're Ready

Jack will be 5 this fall, so he is hardly grown up, but part of the process of growing up is the reaching new milestones (him) and letting go (me). Some of those milestones are unexpected and catch me off guard.

I mean, I was sad to drop him off on his first day of preschool, but that experience was expected. I was prepared, even if it made me feel weepy. But a hot summer day at the carousel was not a time I expected to encounter a milestone. It threw me.

We arrived at Coolidge Park ready to take a spin on the old carousel and splash in the fountain. We walked up to the ticket counter to a sign that said "Cash Only" and I had a sinking feeling that I might not have cash with me. I checked my wallet as I remembered that I used my cash up to visit St. George Island in Florida...

I explained to Jack that we wouldn't be able to take a ride and he looked so heart broken that I checked my wallet again. I had exactly 7 quarters which meant one ticket to ride (it costs $1). I told Jack he could ride but that it would be alone since I didn't have enough for two tickets (and the attendant wasn't offering to let me step on with my boy).

Before climbing on to the merry-go-round, the attendant had Jack stand next to the height marker. He was exactly the right height. So he climbed up, looking both excited and a little anxious. Initially he sat in the sleigh, but I encouraged him to pick an animal to ride.

So up he climbed – on to a pig – while Isaac and I watched from the sidelines. Isaac desperately wanted to ride. Holding out his hands every time Jack spun past us. I had a lump in my throat while I watched. This was his first time to ride a carousel without me close by. It was not what I expected.

I'm both proud of him for being able to do it alone, but also a little sad that this is no longer something he needs me to do with him. Hopefully he will still want me to ride with him in the future.

On the way home he informed me that in the future he would remind me to make sure I had quarters. I told him that I couldn't have known that the credit card machine would be broken, and he said that he would just remind me to bring more quarters in case the machine was broken again. Then we discussed how many quarters make up a dollar and how many quarters would be needed for all of us to ride two times. Such is the life with a precocious preschooler.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar

Daniel and I are in a season of life where date nights are hard to come by... our last official date was in March, which is a far cry from the year we intentionally went on more than 52 dates. This is partially because we have not committed to finding a reliable babysitter, and partially due to Daniel's work schedule. 

I know there will come a time when we will date more consistently again, but for now we will continue to make due with family date nights and be grateful for the evenings we can slip away, just the two of us.

Thanks to Daniel's dad and his wife, Friday night we had the opportunity to go on an actual date. While our boys enjoyed pizza with grandparents we went to the Rock Creek Outlet to shop without distractions, and then grabbed a bite to eat across the street at the Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar.

We arrived around 6:30 and had a 20-minute wait. The first available table was on the porch overlooking the water. which was perfect for us. 

Porch fans and misters kept us cool even though it was a hot summer evening. We had a view of the Bluff District and North Shore with the sun dipping behind Signal Mountain in the background. 

Daniel tried the Trout Almandine while I had the Extra Large Grilled Shrimp (they were really huge!). Both were served with a side of olive fries (fried in olive oil) and a cabbage slaw in sesame oil. 

We finished up by sharing a slice of decadent Key Lime Pie. It was all delicious. 

With good food and a lovely view we didn't want to leave, but we had two little boys waiting at home.

We love our boys, but every once in awhile it's nice to enjoy a meal without having to discuss things like Paw Patrol...

Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Signal Mountain Playhouse: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

This past Friday night we were whisked into Ian Flemming and Roald Dahl's world of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Having grown up watching Dick Van Dyke play Caractacus Potts in the 1968 movie,  I was both excited and curious as to how a children's theater would handle a story about a car that not only drives, but floats and flies as well.

Overall the theater group handled the story very well, singing so many of my favorite songs and providing lots of comic relief in the form of the Vulgarian spies in the first act (they were hilarious!).

The play took place at the Signal Mountain Playhouse – an outdoor amphitheater where a different play takes place every summer during the month of July. This was our first time to attend, but last year they did Peter Pan and the year before that was The King and I.

With two little ones under the age of five, we weren't sure how the night would go. But since we had had success with staying up for July 4th fireworks, we thought we would give it a chance. The boys did pretty well. Jack got a little antsy during the second act (it helped that he was already familiar with the movie), and we just kept giving Isaac snacks so he wouldn't be fussy.

Jack enjoyed the show, but was not a fan of the Child Catcher. All week he has told me how much he did not like the bad guy who took children. My favorite parts of this version of the story were the two spies in the first act and the "Doll on the Music Box" scene from the second act.

If you are interested in attending a play at the Signal Mountain Playhouse, here are some logistics you should be aware of:

The play is only on Friday and Saturday nights during the month of July and tickets cost $15 for adults and $5 for kids. Tickets go on sale at 6pm the night of the show. Daniel got in line at 5:30pm and said that the place was about 3/4 full by the time he left. When you buy your tickets, you also set up your camp chair in your desired spot (we had center seats with a great view).

The show doesn't start until 8pm, so we were able to eat dinner between the time of purchasing our tickets and the start of the show. You can bring food and drinks into the amphitheater – you could even bring a picnic while you wait for the play to start. There is also a snack bar – popcorn only costs $1.

We did not get back to our car until about 10:30pm, so if you take little ones, be aware that it is a very late night for them!

We had a lot of fun and I look forward to attending future shows. After restraining myself from singing along during the play, I've been singing my favorite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang songs all week!

Monday, July 18, 2016

On My Mind: Words Matter, but so does Perspective

My blog has been a place to document my life for almost 10 years now! Sometimes it includes reviews, sometimes it is just me rambling about various topics. Often it is an open journal of my life, which heavily involves my family. I also try to touch on important current events, especially when they hit close to home. I think I do this because I want my kids to be able to look back and have an understanding of the world we live in, and what was transpiring during their lifetime. Right now I feel like our world is more broken than it has been in a long time, and the brokenness is showing up closer and closer to home. So here is some of what has been on my mind lately...

When Daniel and I were first married, like most newlyweds, we experienced a crash course in communication. About two years into our young marriage we decided to purchase our first home. We intentionally picked a fixer upper, that we immediately gutted and spent five years rebuilding together. Several people told us we would get divorced over this project...

Obviously we are not divorced, but that house did not come without trials. Truthfully we fought a lot about decisions in that home. We like to joke that this was the house that taught us how to fight. And also how to let things go, and agree to disagree.

The moment I remember most vividly had to do with our basement renovation. We would have long discussions where we would dream together about what we would do to our basement. We were very specific in our discussions. Very specific. And then the time came to actually do the work.

We walked downstairs and had one of the biggest fights of our marriage. We were on the same page after all, having talked in great detail. BUT. It turned out that when I was talking about a south wall, Daniel was talking about a north wall. Our visions were completely opposite. And while we had talked it out and AGREED on what we were doing, we weren't even remotely close to being on the same page.

It was a valuable lesson.

Once we figured out how off our "agreement" was, we sat down and literally drew out our ideas on paper and discussed (fought) and discussed some more until we came to a real agreement. A true agreement, where we were both not only heard but actually understood the other person.

These days if we are working on something and our words don't seem to be getting through, sometimes we go back to the drawing board. Literally. We have to be on the same page and know that we have the same vision in an effort to move forward.

In my opinion, so many things that are happening in our country right now can be traced back to a similar type of problem (whether political or pertaining to race relations in our communities). We may be talking about the same issues, and even hearing what is being said. But sometimes there is a complete lack of understanding because we don't have the same perspective

I recently read an article (Race, Truth and Our Two Realities) that gives incite into how the correspondence theory of truth impacts race discussions in America. We are at a crossroads where discussions are happening, but it is like the people taking part in the discussions are standing with their backs to each other, looking in opposite directions. The past, along with one's personal experiences and expectations about the future, all define one's perspective, and if those things are different (which they inevitably are), a conversation might not actually yield any kind of change.

I don't have answers. I find that difficult subjects are best talked out in person, with maybe a drawing board to get you where you need to go. Shouting on the internet, or in forums where you can't really be heard does not solve anything. 

I hope that at the very least we are raising our boys to be respectful and loving to everyone they meet. And to also understand that every single person in this world has experiences that determine how they perceive the world and live out their lives. Period. That is just reality and we need to be willing to listen with an effort to try to understand one other if there is ever to be any kind of change or reconciliation.

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10

Friday, July 15, 2016

Cousin's Trip to Florida

Ever since school let out, Jack has been asking when we were going to visit Izzy and Levi (his cousins), so last week, my kids and I made a quick trip to see my sister and her family in Florida.

My brother and two of my cousins from Nashville decided to tag along, and we had a fantastic time

I decided we should drive at night to shorten the trip, and leaving after dinner really made a difference in travel time. Jack kept us entertained, with his chattering and constantly asking, "When will we get there?" 

My standard answer is, "We will get there when we get there." To which Jack replies, "That is not a real answer, how many miles is it?" This conversation was repeated about every 20 minutes, until he fell asleep.

We arrived about 2am and thankfully the kids transferred to their beds without any issues (I already had them in their jammies). And we all slept in until 8am. I was a tired mommy, but the kids were excited to see their cousins.

Thursday we spent the day playing and being lazy and then swimming at a neighbors house. Izzy and Levi were brave and learned how to chicken fight (sorry Angela, you may regret them learning this game later!) and Jack was brave and tried a water slide. He was proud of himself for doing it but it kind of scared him.

That night we got half-priced ice cream from Sonic (yay National Ice Cream Day!) and stayed up to watch Zootopia.

Friday morning we got up and packed for a day at the beach. We moved carseats around so that Jack and Levi could ride together and then drove over to St. George Island for the day (about a two hour drive).

The weather was perfect and since it was a Friday, the beach wasn't too crowded. The big kids had a blast jumping in the waves and building sand castles. 

Isaac was content to just hang out in the tent, eating snacks and watching seagulls. That boy will go along with any activity as long as he has a snack.

We packed up our stuff and headed to The Blue Parrot for lunch (it was less than 10 minutes away from where we were swimming) and Jack fell asleep on the way. He was just so tired. 

After a delicious seafood dinner, we headed to get ice cream at Aunt Ebby's before making our way home. We visited this same beach and ice cream shop last year so I guess it's becoming a tradition.

Saturday was another low-key day for us. Everyone but me and Isaac went to the movies in the afternoon (they saw Finding Dory) and that night my brother got the kids to do a little talent show. 

This is such a typical Mark thing and we love that he is carrying it on with a new generation of kids.

Izzy was our emcee, Levi demonstrated cup stacking skills, Jack told jokes, and Isaac practiced walking for us. Mark and Izzy also sang. It was a great show. 

After the "Amasing Tallint Show" the kids jumped on the trampoline and then lit sparklers. It was hot and sticky, but such a great way to end our trip together.

I come from a fairly large extended family – my mom is one of five siblings, my siblings and I are a part of 16 cousins and between all of these cousins, we have an additional 12 kids. 

We kind of joke that there is a northern Lock Flock and a southern Lock Flock. My siblings, cousins from Nashville and our parents and families make up the southern extension of this group. 

This was the first time we have gotten together, just the southern cousins and our kids. While we missed our parents (and Daniel), we had a really good visit, though it is kind of strange that we are all adults now! The last time my cousins, Andrew and Moriah, took a road trip with me was about 10 years ago and they were still kids!

Can't wait til next time!

 The cousins "Amasing Tallint Show" in Tallahassee

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...