It’s been a week since I’ve caught up here. Starting this new year for me has been like starting a lawn mower that hasn’t been used in months. Four false starts. But that fifth pull, man. Whew. Celebration. We’re running good now.
We enjoyed a short trip to St. Petersburg with friends and returned home to unleash the new year’s motivation on our home as we’ve slowly packed up Christmas decorations and rearranged a few things. And with two little birthdays coming up and a lot of inspiration and enthusiasm about the new year swimming around, there’s more to come. Meanwhile, we’re catching up, sorting some ideas out and realizing there’s a big chunk of the States right now expecting tundra temps.
So a little sunshine to warm things up.
We had one day of beautiful weather and three cold days on our trip, so our photos look like two different vacations.
Hats and cocoa.
Sand and swimsuits.
We stayed on Treasure Island which hosts a strip of cute boutique hotels (not to be confused with boutique strip hotels), most privately owned with a nice retro flare. Treasure Island faves: the massive width of the beach and the paved path that runs alongside it, perfect for scooters and bikes and strollers.
A few St. Pete faves if you’re headed there anytime soon: The Bilmar Beach Resort (clean, family-friendly, right on the beach), VIP Mexican restaurant right on Gulf Boulevard (wet burrito!) and Gigi’s Italian Restaurant
A quiet morning alone with this one on the beach. The best part about early rising babies is the one-on-one time, made more magical by the first bits of sunlight and the promise of what the day holds. And coffee.
Sand sculpture gallery. Apparently, there was a big sand sculpture competition held right out front of our hotel earlier this month. And as tempting as it was to crawl under those ropes and further investigate, my kids thankfully held their distance.
Ringing in the New Year with beloved friends.
Hotel shenanigans. Like Beanie Boo baseball.
Beach cheer routines. Lainey taught Nella the moves to some of her cheer camp cheers. This one slays me.
And spending the first days of 2014 amid the wide open spaces of beach and ocean. So much possibility, so many different ways to explore–all leading to different, good things.
I thumbed through She Walks in Beauty in the car while we were traveling and found a little gem by St. Teresa of Avila–just what I needed to read at the beginning of a new year.
A few excerpts:
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith…
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given you…
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love…
With a world of infinite possibilities and so many different areas of interest and passion for me, sometimes I can feel overwhelmed, especially at definitive “Start Here” marks such as the beginning of a new year: Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? There’s so much of the world that I want to explore and not enough time. There’s two hundred billion ways to do this parenting/marriage/friendship/talents/sharing/planning/getting older thing–how do I know which one is the best? But those words up there are true. Use your gifts, pass on your love, settle into the confidence that we are exactly where we were meant to be. And most important: sing, dance, praise and love. I do well with focused lists, and “sing, dance, praise love” happen to be my specialties.
So this year, I will explore the beach and the wide open spaces and not worry that by exploring the east, I’m neglecting the west.
I will bring my little explorers with me.
I will balance the comfort of “you are exactly where you are meant to be” with the excitement and incentive of “the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.”
I love the idea of both. We can be content and restful and yet still be trailblazers, launching ideas and change and growth. We can be good moms, attentive to our children and families and still nurture our own needs and desires. We can enjoy quiet yet have voices that echo loudly. Be confident yet vulnerable and at times unsure. And occasionally teetering back and forth with balance in these areas is okay, normal, expected.
There’s a giant beach out there with so many opportunities to explore. We are choosing our own pace for this year–singing, dancing, praising, loving as we go.
And some beginning of the year catching up with off-site contributions if you’re interested in checking in:
Last week on BabyZone, I talked about teaching my kids the limitless power of love and how we’re explaining family and gay relationships to them with Our Five Grandpas.
And at All Parenting:
* Narrowing down overwhelming choices with kids: “This one or this one?”
* For some kids, big screen movies are just too big: “Reel Life Lessons”
* And some child entertainment ideas for snowed-in days: “Mom, I’m bored”
This one’s having a birthday soon. Stay tuned for another year of giving back later this week.