Happy Monday – A Moment of Gratitude!

Hello and happy Monday! I am getting this out late because I spent the morning nursing my garden. I say nursing because in addition to the funky weather this summer, our vacation getaways and my less than enthusiastic maintenance this last month and a half; my poor garden has suffered. So this morning after dropping off Nick, I decided to go salvage and care for my plants. My girlfriend, Ashley is one of my big inspirations and usually this time of year, I am sitting around a bountiful veggie garden and explosion of blooms and texting her about my daily happenings in the garden. But this year has to go down as one of much neglect when it came to the garden. So in the midst of my pity party, I put on my garden shoes and headed out to water and make adjustments, but I realized that despite the lack of care, there were so many things to be grateful for in my garden. Above is a Phlox that my former neighbor gave me before she moved. I just had to stop and smile at this delicate beauty.This lovely yellow rose bush was ripped out of the grown when we had some major plumbing work done in June and I was so afraid that it wouldn’t last after being transplanted to another area in my garden. But today, to my surprise I peeked behind my echinacea and there this single beautiful bloom greeted me.
I don’t know if you can see what’s happening in this photo but I had my sprinkler on my side lawn and went inside my house to talk with my son while I waited to move the sprinklers. I had set a timer on my phone to remind me to go out and turn off the water. When I came to the door to come outside, I saw between 6 – 8 birds (mostly Robins) running in and out to the sprinkler and washing off. It was the cutest thing to see. So the total bird-lover in me decided to let the water run a few more minutes to let them cool off and play.
I wanted to share these photos because I wanted to show how small miracles are happening around us all every day and all we have to do is slow down and be open to receive them. I could have stood out there and grumped about the veggies that didn’t come or the excess leaves that are already falling from the trees but I chose to look at the beauty that exists when I open my eyes. I am grateful for the nature that I can come into contact with right in my yard every day and I do not take it for granted.I know Monday can be stressful with all of our ambitious to-do lists but just make sure you pause for a few minutes in nature today and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised.

Belinda

Learning Something New

I still like to read the summer reading requirements along with the boys each year and this year, Nick’s selections have stepped up. Our first book we read was “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. Now, I actually had purchased the e-book over a year ago so I was thrilled it was on the list (no new purchases necessary!). The book was fantastic and throughout he and I talked about the various topics it raised.

When we went to choose our second book, I picked one but after reading a few chapters felt the content was a bit too much for him so we went back to the list. I jumped for joy when I saw “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. I own and read it a few years back and then saw the movie adaptation. So we chose this as our second selection and although I don’t read books more than once (simply because my TBR is too long) I have to say, I am still loving this book. We even found the overdrive audiobook version and have been taking turns, he reads, I read, we listen to the amazing voice talents read. So while they read, I have been learning how to create botanical line drawings. I really love using my hands and like learning new skills so I ordered this book and have been giving it a try.

It’s funny how you forget what it’s like to be a beginner and then you try to learn something new and you find yourself revisiting those old feelings of insecurity. But I know I have been growing over the years because I didn’t beat myself up for not drawing them perfectly like the examples. I just let myself have fun trying and when one came out pretty good, I would smile.  Another reason I know that I’ve grown is that in the past, I would never have shared a picture of my attempts online. So progress is happening over here.

Nick’s first day of school went well yesterday and I pray he has an amazing year.  I hope you are all enjoying the last few weeks of summer.

Have a blessed day!

Belinda

Happy Monday: Our Boston Comic Con Recap!

Well hello!  Today is my oldest’s first day of school. It’s so early. My youngest doesn’t start until the 29th so it seems strange that I can’t fully lean into the ‘back to school’ thing. Which also means I can’t return to work fully until they are both off to school. But I am doing some administrative stuff which isn’t always my favorite but it needs to be done.My oldest loves comics and this year he saved his money so that he could have his photo taken with none other than Stan Lee at this year’s Boston Comic Con! We took his money he saved and bought the ticket for him. So we headed out early yesterday. Nick dressed as Sam Wilson the latest Captain America and I dressed up as Lionheart, Riri Williams (the new female Ironman).  Instead of proper planning, I literally cut out some shimmery paper on my Silhouette and used double sided tape to attach it to my shirt right before we left. I didn’t have an ironman mask to carry which would make it obvious who I was but that was fine because we wanted to arrive early.When we arrived we had to go stand in line with the others that purchased tickets for the Stan Lee event and let’s just say it was quite a long wait. We stood for over an hour but I tell you the look on Nick’s face when we entered the room with Stan Lee was priceless. It lasted all of a few minutes and then we were ushered off to pick up his photo. I wanted to share it with you but Nick, as you know, has reached that age that he does not like me to use photos of him on the blog. 
We had fun walking around seeing all of the amazing cosplay. I had to jump in and take a photo with Darth Vadar! Many people even made their costumes themselves.In the photo above there is a 16-year-old girl in that robot and she built this entire costume including the stilts she walks on.  Can you believe it? Another great reason to attend these conferences is that you get to discover new artists and authors. I met Marcus Williams, the illustrator, and co-creator of a new comic called, “Tuskegee Heirs” comic book series and got his autograph. It’s a new sci-fi action-adventure comic book series set 80 years into the future that follows a squadron of young, gifted aviators, who are forced to become Earth’s last line of defense against a menacing race of artificially intelligent villains bent on destroying civilization. I can’t wait to sit down with this beauty.  I even bought a print from him. We all had a good time and can’t wait to attend next year.

Hope you all are having a blessed day!

Belinda

I’m Back!!! Let’s Start with a Mini Visual Recap of Disney

Three years ago we took our boys on a surprise trip to Disney World. They loved it and from the time we came home, they have asked when we would return. Before going, I never understood how people would take their kids there multiple times. But after going as a child and then going with my own children, I finally understand. So we decided this year would be the year we would return to Disney.We headed off a day after school let out to see if Disney could still feel magical on our second visit. One of my favorite pictures is the one above of Apollo and Mickey waving. It captures all the excitement and magic in one photo. We stood there with all of those people and when Mickey appeared the energy shot up like nobody’s business. Priceless.

At night we slept like pirates in our ships and in the day we sought out adventures in the different theme parks. I was still amazed how wonderful the service is and the boys were still captivated by all to see and of course their magic bands.  Oh and before I go further, I do have pictures of Nick on this vacation but he has reached the age where he does not like for me to put him up on the blog. So I am respecting his wishes.With Disney, it can be overwhelming but we learned so much from our first trip and we knew the higher heat would challenge us. We didn’t rush. I am a planner and I had everything planned and scheduled before we left our home for Disney. But I found myself in the position where I had to let go of the control.  Initially, I resisted and then I let go and set back and enjoyed each moment with my family. I remember someone telling me before my wedding to make sure that I pause throughout the wedding to take it all in or else it would be a blur and I would miss the beauty. I took that advice for both my wedding and on our vacations with the boys this summer. Each night I reflected on all the blessings we witnessed each day. It truly makes a difference. I didn’t want it to be like me checking off items on a list, I wanted it to be an experience where we truly immersed ourselves. I wanted the experience to create life-long memories for the boys that they could reminisce on into adulthood and I believe we achieved that.

Of course, we had to do a safari at the Animal Kingdom and I took way too many photos but there is something about it that makes me go photo crazy. I spared you all the photos and just included two.
The time of day dictates how many and which animals we were to see but this one below was a bit intimidating because yes, he was that close.If you have seen the movie Avatar, then you must go see this entire world they have created at the park called Pandora – The World of Avatar. It’s unbelievable and it occupies a large area of the Animal Kingdom. You can walk around and see really incredible creations. I would love to see the making of this attaction.They had two new rides that opened only a few weeks prior to our arrival that was inspired by the movie and somehow I scored a fast pass for us to ride one – Avatar Flight of Passage. We got to fly on the back of a mountain banshee during a 3D experience that is out of this world!  Hands down, this was my favorite ride. It felt so real I had to close my eyes a few times. On our first visit, I assumed the boys would not be so interested in Epcot but boy was I wrong so we had to make sure we returned on this trip. I love seeing all of the different architecture for the different countries. Morocco once again stole my heart and the meal we ate there was my favorite from the entire trip.We had so much fun roaming around our resort and we ended up eating most of our breakfasts there as well as swimming in one of their beautiful pools on a few days. The boys liked to beat us back to our room after breakfast by taking different routes around the resort and using their magic bands to enter the room first. Truly they did not get their good sense of direction from me.Once again we took my friend Joan’s advice and made sure the photographers took pictures of us with the kids but also just of us. Now if we could only get the people out of the background like the guy looking over Leao’s shoulder!!On the last day, the boys surprised me again and asked when we will return and I told them we will see. We have so many other places we would like to take them so, for now, we will have to wait. But I have no regrets returning to such an amazing place.

I am slowly getting my office in order as we prepare for Nick to return to school on the 14th and Apollo the 29th so I will resume a new posting schedule very soon. So come back so we can catch up!

Belinda

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