Stay At Home Birthday

My son’s 11th birthday party was last night; during the stay at home order by our governor in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. At 11, he dreams of outings for his birthday with lots of friends. The stay at home kind of birthday is an adjustment. It was the way it is this year. I have a few gifts for him, he got a couple very hoped for gift cards, and cash. His 15-year-old sister stole the show, though, with her coupons for time and experiences for her brother to use with her when he wants time with her. It’s a very big deal, because at their ages his sister isn’t always game for his requests on his schedule. This will change that some and I’m proud of her to bringing it in this way. All in all? She gave him more than six hours of time for activities. Some are specific such as jumping on the trampoline and playing catch with a football to laser tag or anything...

Pandemic: Time At Home

This has been an unusual opportunity for an unexpected helpful slow down of sorts to focus on what matters – the health and well-being of human beings. This shift has me spending more direct time with my kids since school is cancelled for the time being and we’re waiting for next steps. I’ve started on some home organization projects I’ve been wanting to get done (for too long). One involves my 15-year-old daughter sitting with me to go through storage totes of her old stuff from when she was four and five. I didn’t expect it to be fun, but it was a hoot. We laughed so much pulling out various funny memories and useless junk from the boxes. There were things I assumed she’d remember from childhood she had no clue about and there were things she remembered that stunned me. Unexpected bonding opportunity. Plus, it was satisfying to have emptied two boxes tonight after supper...

Chimayo On A Whim

Walking onto Chimayo Mission ground on a whim – Adrian having never been there and my having been there with my mom and sisters a couple years prior – I thought maybe he’d like to experience it. It was special and impactful – not for a second expecting that versus the sightseeing detour I assumed it’d be. We walked into the start of an outdoor Mass able to experience that as we entered. Just moments before – getting out of the car and beginning to walk – I noted a tiny heart shaped natural stone on the ground – less than an inch square. I quietly reached down to pick it up and kept walking holding it between my fingers thinking about that unusual moment. Once the service was over – beautiful as it was framed by the mountains behind under a canopy of trees and sun shades – we walked up to the church itself. The legend has to do...

Flowers: Bouquets of Joy

First farmers market of the season this year for us was the Downtown Peoria, IL Riverfront Farmers Market. I think we stopped by the second week when flooding was still an issue pushing it over a few blocks to higher ground. It’s one of my favorites for a few years and I’ve been to more than 50 in that time. I simply love farmers markets. One day I’ll write an entry with my top 10 favorite reasons to love farmers markets. This one has a great variety which are my favorite. I’m not a produce purist – only wanting produce at my farmers markets – as many people prefer. I love it all. I love the sense of community, creativity everywhere from outright plants to jewelry, and different cultural influences that equal new foods to try. Here’s a brand new reason to love this Peoria Riverfront Farmers Market. It is captured in this image of my 10-year-old...

Family Travel Adventures

“And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.” – Shanti “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures” – Lewis Carroll  “To travel is to live” – Hans Christian Anderson  “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” – Aristotle La Vina Winery near Old Mesilla – Mesilla, New Mexico When are you heading out? Adventure...

Lessons in Drums & Punishment

This might seem messed up to some people, but it was a punishment incredibly useful to me in the long run. I used to get punished with drum rolls. One of my brothers was an excellent drummer when I was growing up and he still is now. He was 14 when I was born. I started drumming on a trap set at age five and he was my teacher. I’d practice 30–60 minutes a day with him. By the time I was 9–10 years old, I was drumming for stage productions. When he was in college, he’d babysit me sometimes. If I didn’t follow his rules, specifically argue with my little sister (two years younger than me), he’d put me on the drum set and tell me to practice my drum rolls until they sounded decent as my punishment. I remember sitting on the drum throne for what felt like long periods of time in the music room next to our living room calling out to him, “Is that smooth enough yet, Mick?” “Does that sound...