This past weekend, I was lucky enough to have my children and their spouses in town to celebrate Rex’s 60th birthday. Of course, that meant that my sweet little E was there, too! The last time she was at our house was last Thanksgiving, or half a lifetime ago for her. You can imagine that this visit was quite different – last year, she was still in the rug rat stage. No climbing up and down the stairs, no playing with ‘pretties’, and small enough to fit in the kitchen sink for bathtime. This year, she’s into everything and learning new words and noticing the world around her.
In preparation for her arrival, I moved breakables up to higher window sills (my kids call my house ‘the Glass House’) but I didn’t go buy forty eleven outlet covers (or even one…). I already had a stash of kid-friendly toys, including a collection of really life-like puppets – an octopus, a stingray, a hermit crab, a scallop, a fish, and more – perfect for a waterfront house like ours, some books, crayons and paper, stickers (hmmm, I may FINALLY get rid of them!), and what proved to be the favorite – a bag of squishy, tickly, brightly-colored balls. Miss E loved the scallop’s googly eyes and the way he could ‘eat’ her hand. She liked the eyes and eyelids on the side of the stingray’s head and the way the octopus could sit on top of her head with its eight legs dangling down. She made fish faces at the fish and tried to find the hermit crab when he disappeared in his shell. She would color for hours, if only we had let her. And oh, those BALLs!! She took them out of the bag, one at a time, and passed them out to each of us. Then she collected them all, one by one, and put them back in the bag. Then she passed them out again, and put them away. And again! Ditto for the stairs. Up, up, up we went. Down, down, down we came. I taught her how to come down one step at a time on her bottom – BUMP BUMP BUMP. Might not have been a good trick, since my stairs are carpeted and hers at home are not….
The two big favorites, though, were lovable Mr Bear and the puddles on our back deck that were left after a Friday morning shower. Watching my little sweet and Mr Bear interact was priceless! She could not stay away from him, but she would not go see him without an escort. And said escort couldn’t just hold her hand and walk her over there – she had to be held high enough to be eye to eye with him. She was so fascinated with this furry animal who was much more inanimate than her two DAWGS. She would gingerly touch his nose, then show us his ICE, his EARSS, his CLOSE (claws), his BEBO (belly button), and his piggy TOZE. A few times, I attempted to let Mr Bear ‘hold’ her, but she wasn’t having it! We changed Mr Bear’s clothes and hat and put things in his pockets, but not once did she venture over to him on her own. He’s really not a very scary bear, but I guess when you’re a little bit, he’s pretty big!
It rained before we woke up on Friday morning, and there were a few puddles (lots of puddles!) on our deck. At first, Elliot avoided them and was more captivated by nearby seagulls and grackles, but before long, she was delightedly splashing in them and getting soaked! I think one thing I love most about being “Happy” is getting able to experience everyday things in a new way, through innocent eyes. Those eyes got as round as saucers when a giant blue heron landed on the dock across the canal from our house. We watched him patiently wait for fish to swim by and then WHOOSH! He was on them in a flash! The fish in our bay jump a lot, too. I sit outside and can hear the water splash and know there are fish just throwing themselves out of the water and into the air as if they could escape. Some go up high, just once, and others look like giant rocks being skipped – one, two, three jumps. One night, we turned the fish lights on and watched little crabs swim along. The heron was perched on one of the channel markers, wishing we would turn off the lights and go inside so he could sleep.
Even though autumn is slowly making its way south, it was still warm enough for us to get in the pool. Oh, how this little girl loves the water! She MUST be related to me! She didn’t like it much when her Daddy and her aunt and I dove under water and swam, popping up right next to her with water streaming off of our hair and faces, but she was putting her own face in the water and blowing BUBBOS in no time. She loved it when her daddy threw her up high in the air and when I swung her around in circles in the water. Even when her teeth were chattering and her lips were turning slightly purple, she did not want to get out! She splashed and splashed until it was just too cold to stay in – and then after she dried off and warmed up, she wanted back in!
On Saturday evening, we had a special birthday cruise for Rex. I had purchased a yacht cruise around Galveston harbor, complete with dinner and drinks for 20 people, at an auction last fall. We had thought we would use it as part of Kim’s wedding festivities, but when we couldn’t make that happen, we decided to invite friends to celebrate Rex’s milestone birthday. Oh, the luxury! The Lady Diana is 86 feet long, and lavishly appointed. Elliot had to stay inside for the whole cruise, but that was no punishment! It had four staterooms (two with king-size beds!) a full galley, couches, several TVs (good for football watching!), a very cool room up where Captain Mike was steering the boat with his feet (!), and plenty of decks for outdoor viewing. We couldn’t have chosen a more perfect weekend, weather-wise – it was spectacular! The cruise began at 6:30, so we were treated to a sunset and a great view of Galveston after dark, from the harbor. We are all ready for our next yacht trip!
And now the celebration continues, at least for Rex and me. As I write, we are at the gate at Bush Intercontinental Airport, waiting for a noon flight bound for Milan, Italy. We will be spending a week in the Asti area of the Piedmonte of Italy, on a wine and cooking tour with two friends (that’s the whole tour group – the four of us!) and minus our tour guide, who fell ill last week. We are ready for our next adventure – you can be sure it will be one – so I will sign off for now!
I’ll leave you with a couple of pages of Elliot and the invitation from Rex’s party. I love it that I can make pages so quickly and invitations that are unique! And I think these two kits may have been made just for me!
Content used: Orange Cream Cabanas Bundled Collection by Jumpstart Designs; Fonts: KG Second Chances Sketch, KG When Oceans Rise; Blueprint: p2PSpiceMarketBP
Content used on invitation: Tidewater Kit by Katie Pertiet; Font: KG Sweet & Sassy; Technique: p2POntheLakeS2F
Ciao for now!