the bearable lightness of happy

I am back.

And not just a “I am back on my own blog after spending five days in Nashville” kind of way.

No, *I* am back. The girl I like taking places and introducing to people. The girl that likes to hang out with her friends, make new ones and dance.

Oh how I love to dance.

I’ve cried no less than three (maybe four?) times because when I look in the mirror ever single part of me is happy. It is burning like an ember from inside my heart and can be felt to the tip of every hair on my head. The voices in my head love me, they tell me I am good enough, I am smart enough and that I do good things in this life. Ahead of me I see dreams that are attainable and possible because I never gave up.

The most horrible photo was taken of me last night. Let’s just say that when taking photos of people dancing, attempt to catch them in the air rather than coming down, gravity is a cruel mistress when a dancing soul arrives to the ground again.

I laughed so hard at it I stopped breathing, I went into that sort of breathless squeal that happens when you’re all out of breath but your body still begs to laugh. I laugh because it was a horrible photo, but also because in my head I looked like a fly girl out there dancing. Despite seeing a dozen photos that proved I am far more dowdy than diva, I don’t care, because last night I danced on a stage with a hundred girls who speak to my heart to a song that is a good memory in and of itself.

Everything inside of me is so happy and healthy that the outside is glowing in an indescribable way. It’s an amazing feeling, to realize you’re living a dream you never even knew you had.

I have more dreams…wild and crazy dreams that began as quiet tappings in my heart and I sit here with the insane knowledge that someday, maybe even someday soon, my dreams are going to become reality. I can see myself in the future connecting back with the feeling I have today of utter contentment and joy…it’s going to be an amazing moment.

I am back. And I’m better than I have ever been.

Unfortunately that means I had to be tossed, thrown, beaten, bruised and stomped on by life to become better…but I made it.

I have dreams to look forward to and for the first time I don’t live in fear of the darkness overtaking me.

Now is the time I turn around and look back at all of you being thrown, tossed and beaten by life.

I will stand here screaming, cheering and yelling at you to keep going.

I will scream until I’m hoarse and cheer for you until I collapse.

Today I picture God in heaven smiling at me – I can hear Him whispering to my heart that this is what He prepared me for.

*This* being a level of happiness, gratitude and contentment that could never be savored by an undamaged soul.

“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.” -Jean Genet

 

the seventh seven days

sunday.

nope. not going to touch it. no way.

building sandcastles

Watching the beach 20 floors below.

monday.

sunrise on the gulf.

swimming addie

bathing beauty

sandcastle builder

nope. not touching it. NO WAY.

baby buried in the sand.

tuesday.

addie

addie

sunset

wednesday.

if you lean, she leans.

babywearing daddy

vivi

babywearing cody

addie

thursday. (st. andrews state park)

babywearing cody

Addie.

My ladies and me.

friday. (seaside, florida)

Seaside, Florida

Doggie Water Station

Seaside, Florida Ice Cream Truck

My ladies and me.

Seaside, Florida

saturday.

Here’s the thing about Saturday. We left Florida at about 10pm so we could get a majority of the drive out of the way while the littles were sleeping.

Addie’s CVS acted up at 3am in Pelham, Alabama. She somehow ended up with vomit in seven different directions I didn’t even realize existed.

A room was rented at a very questionable hotel (seriously, so questionable) where Addie got into the shower fully clothed because I couldn’t bring myself to pull her clothes up over her head. Cody used an entire roll of paper towels to clean out the car, her car seat was thrown into a dumpster, a new one was purchased along with air fresheners at 4 am and we made it home around 3 pm.

I got into bed around 5 pm and DIED.

So…no pictures from Saturday, only vomit scented nightmares.

**********************

The week was wonderful in every way imaginable (I’m choosing to ignore Saturday.) I’m so thankful I was able to spend so much time with my little family in such a beautiful place.

(Every photo taken with my 50mm f/1.4)

the sixth seven days

the fifth seven says

the fourth seven days

the third seven days.

the second seven days.

the first seven days.

st. andrews state park, florida

St. Andrews State Park

St. Andrews State Park

St. Andrews State Park

St. Andrews State Park

St. Andrews State Park Pier

St. Andrews State Park

St. Andrews State Park

Cody’s bummed we didn’t find any alligators, but about a dozen squirrels squirreling through the bushes made him jump clean out of his flip flops.

Shireen asked if we had the whole state to ourselves after seeing some of our photos from the week.

Short of Addie’s elderly snowbird friends at the pool we do have this place to ourselves, and it’s magical.

The best vacation we could have asked for.

the sixth seven days.

Sorry. This one is four days late and slightly scattered. I’ve been a tad busy lately. (Hi! How are you?)

Sunday.

Sunday Reading

Monday.

9 month well baby visit

Tuesday.

Wednesday. (Chicago)

tip top tap.

Thursday. (Chicago Auto Show)

porche

Friday. (Midnight feeding somewhere between Kentucky and Alabama, that is one tired, tired baby.)

Saturday. (Panama City Beach, Florida)

Proof that Florida and I are going to get along just fine.

Things have only improved since Saturday. YAY BEACH.

*************

the fifth seven says

the fourth seven days

the third seven days.

the second seven days.

the first seven days.

a sort of divine accident

baby in the beach air.

Cody and Addie

 

babywearing on the beach.

my little family on the beach

babywearing on the beach

“The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.” -Sir Hugh Walpole

Cody’s the best accident I’ve ever had.

bad news beach, good news everything.

The bad news is that it hasn’t gotten above 45 degrees since we got to Florida Saturday morning.

The good news is that after a Midwestern winter 45 feels like heaven and we get the entire beach to ourselves.

Perfectly fair trade off as long as there’s sunshine (of which there is plenty.)

I love this photo so much though I don't know why.Addie on the beachAddie on the beachAddie on the beachAddie on the beachAddie on the beachToes in the water.

connie, cars and loyalty.

In 2009 I met a man named Chris under a dirty freeway overpass in Chicago. I had just finished a test drive around the city in a brand new bright yellow Chevy Camaro.

“How’d you like it?” he asked

“My husband! The jealously he will experience when he finds out I drove his dream car! THAT CAR IS AMAZING!”

“So your husband likes Camaros?”

“Loves them, grew up with them. Life list to drive one.”

“Let’s make it happen.”

Several months later a yellow Camaro showed up in our driveway and it didn’t leave for a week.

Best week ever.

camaros make all the minivans at church jealous.

(neener neener minivans!)

I stayed in contact with Chris and when my Aunt Cheryl passed away, he and his fellow associate Connie along with Chevy took care of my family in a way I never would have thought a company, let alone an automotive company, would.

When I found out I was pregnant a month later Cody and I had the “I think we’re going to need a new car that starts every time you ask it to.” discussion.

Both of us grew up in homes where cars were never bought new. You bought used and you drove it until it died. We wouldn’t be getting a new car.

“I wish we could buy a Chevy, they’ve been so good to us.” I mumbled one night.

“Me too.” said Cody.

Connie had jokingly offered up her employee discount to Cody when I told her how sad Cody was to give back the Camaro. I wrote her and told her that we were actually considering a new Chevy but we didn’t know if we wanted to go with a Traverse or a Acadia and that we were nervous to make such a huge investment into such uncharted territory.

“Why don’t I send you one for a week and you can see how it fits into your life?”

We drove an Acadia for a week and knew that the Traverse was for us. Through other connections we met up with a local dealership and salesman (Brian Eybel at Hare Chevy, tell him Casey sent you) and he found us the exact car we wanted with the exact features and sold it to us through an employee referral program.

To say I love my car would be a gross understatement.

I *LOVE* my car.

Several months later Cody’s dad was coming into town for the Indy 500 and Mecum Auto Auction. He has two old Camaros of his own that get the prime garage real estate, I asked if it would be possible to have a Camaro for him when he got here. The man works harder and loves fiercer than almost anyone I know and he loves Camaros.

On their first morning here a cherry red Camaro with black racing stripes showed up in our driveway, the exact same color of his vintage Camaro back home.

The look on his face when I opened the front door to his surprise was better than a kid at Christmas and Disneyworld combined. The grin didn’t leave his face for four straight days. He and Cody (his only son) hung out in the Camaro, doing whatever it is dads and sons do.

I grew up in an all Toyota household.

My girls will grow up in a Chevy household.

I spent the day at the Chicago Auto Show as a guest of GM today. I sat in Audis, Porches, VWs, Hondas and I even took a ride in a Dodge truck with the most adorable man from Texas you’ve ever seen or heard.

acadia

When the day was over I went back to the Chevy display and sat in the 2012 Traverse.

It felt right. It felt like home.

The only thing that felt as good was a 2012 Camaro. Dang sexy cars those things are.

I. love. my. car.

I realize not everyone can have the experiences I’ve been fortunate to have, but I can promise you that all that stuff Chevy talks about with American traditions and keeping it all in the family? It’s true, everyone I’ve ever met who works for the GM brand believe every word of it. Did you ever see the commercial where the sons find the dad’s old car that he sold so they could go to college? Watch it and feel your cold icy heart melt.

I asked the woman working at the Volkswagen display what their twitter handle was.

“Twitter? I know we’re on facebook, but I don’t know about twitter.” (They are, they’re @vw)

RED ONE! *punch*

If you had a company, wouldn’t you want to know what people were saying about you? (RED ONE! *punch*)

*******

Someone made a comment that they didn’t understand why they brought a bunch of moms that blog to an auto show.

By inviting us, Chevy acknowledged us as invaluable consumers. Invaluable decision makers.

It’s not just about the reporters, the car enthusiasts and the guys who get glassy eyed around sports cars.

It’s about being involved with families who are going to be putting their babies into their cars every single day.

***********

A special thanks to GM for letting us borrow so many cool cars, selling us one and providing me with a car to drive up to Chicago and a fancy place to lay my head last night. If you are looking into buying a new car? Buy a Chevy¬† (GMC, Buick or Cadillac.) (And nope, I wasn’t asked to say anything or paid anything to love them. I just do.)

 

wherein my cats eat like kings. very rich and spoiled kings.

Riddle me this.

Clearance kitty with bonus toes, one eye and a lopped off ear has had absolutely no problems adjusting to life in our house. Aside from inching closer and closer to Cody’s face in the middle of the night as he sleeps, clearance kitty has been a rescue kitty dream come true, well, he’s kind of whiny and likes food more than he likes air and sunshine combined…but other than that? Super cool cat.

wink, my handsome kitty.

Full price kitty with no apparent problems at the time of adoption ends up being allergic to…get this…food.

percy cleaning his pits.

Cody’s exact text reply to this discovery was “Well, nice knowing you Percy.”

He’s started on a hypoallergenic elimination diet after two rounds of antibiotics and steroid shots for feline eosinophilic granuloma complex.

Translation: Kitty now eats a gluten free, near raw food diet at $40 a bag after two enormous wounds, two $40 antibiotic shots, two $50 steroid shots and two $70 vet visits.

Seriously, his food is made from duck, turkey, fish, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, and cranberries.

He’s one pumpkin pie short of Thanksgiving dinner twice a day, everyday.

Since we’re not entirely sure what it is he’s allergic to (most likely the grain) clearance kitty has to eat the same food as full price kitty so full price kitty doesn’t get some of clearance kitty’s grain infused food.

As of right now the cats and the baby eat better than the rest of us, but that’s mostly because the rest of us like Oreos so much.

***********************

Want to know what I love besides my ridiculous cats with their ridiculous quirks and Oreos?

These two.

Sunday Reading

I mean, seriously. You could dip yourself in syrup and roll around in sugar and still not beat the sweetness.

(Besides, my cat would probably be allergic to you anyway.)