Moments of Gratitude

thankful

Do you ever have those moments of gratefulness overcome you? Moments when you think, is this really happening? Am I really this lucky? I love those moments. I get hit by them randomly, like when I grocery shop. Sometimes, I reach for something stupidly overpriced like organic kale or look at my full cart of food that I chose in the checkout line and am immediately overwhelmed at how fortunate I am. There are so many people in our world who will never get to do something as simple as grocery shop and get everything that they need.

I get lost in these moments. It hits me at all different times, when Luna laughs, when the dog fits perfectly in the nook behind my knees and sleeps with her head on my thighs, when Husband reads to Luna or makes me coffee or when I sit in a hot bath reading my Nook. All of a sudden I realize I have so much to be grateful for and I try to take a mental picture of that moment and file it under the “don’t forget this!” tab in my brain. I need these memories saved and easily accessed for those rainy days when I think life is one big pile of stink.

I had one of these moments of gratitude while riding bikes during our recent trip to Hilton Head. We were almost done with a 16 mile bike ride and I began thinking about a trip we took to Target just two weeks after having Luna. I was so weak and sick from the blood pressure issues and the drugs the doctors had me taking that I had to use one of those motorized wheelchairs to get around the store, and even that was a struggle. I remember getting tears in my eyes because I couldn’t help, but think “will this ever get any better”. Logically, I knew that I would/should, but under the influence of hormones, anxiety and feeling like crap I really wasn’t sure I’d ever be back to myself again.

hhi

Fast forward 6 months and I’m on a beach in Hilton Head with lots of family, doing yoga in the morning, taking a 16 mile bike ride in the afternoon, swimming in between and feeling healthy and extremely happy. I realized how much has changed in 6 months and thought I cannot forget this feeling.

bike ride

Then, I look at my Dad.

He was on bicycle in front of me. He had brain surgery to remove a tumor just 4 months ago. He is not only enjoying the beach with me, but he is also on this long bike ride. The realization of where we are and the strides we have made brought tears to my eyes. We are very very fortunate.

group

I hope to never forget that grateful feeling I felt on the bicycle ride. I hope I’m able to remember it next time I wonder if things will ever get any better because they do. Things get better. They won’t always be the same… the truth is I’ll never be the same I was before I had Luna. No, I’ve definitely changed, but for the better. In fact, since having Luna I have many more moments of gratitude. I’m more aware of what I have to lose and what really matters, which is just making life more pleasant. Today, I am thankful.

Thankful Luna got to spend so much quality time with her PawPaw
Thankful Luna got to spend so much quality time with her PawPaw

Cheers.

The Perfect Vacation

Look who finally came back from Costa Rica!

Husband and I love traveling more than anything, and as I keep mentioning, we always travel to a new place so that we will one day reach our goal of traveling to every country in the world. These trips are so adventurous and fun, but are rarely relaxing. As much as we enjoy hopping around the globe, our favorite destination (yes, even more than Disney…well maybe….) is a place we visit every summer…Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Hilton Head is an actual vacation for us. Husband’s family has taken an annual summer trip to Hilton Head since the beginning of time. For the last 400 years (give or take a few) the entire extended family has rented one huge house together, and done basically the same exact things they do each summer. It’s a beautiful tradition.

 

This years annual group picture

 

Each Hilton Head morning I wake up early, not because I have to, but because I want to get up. I am so well rested and so excited to start the day. A few mornings I actually woke early enough to take a walk on the beach before dawn, watch the sunrise, and search for turtle tracks. I wasn’t lucky enough to find baby turtles making their way to the ocean, but it was still fun to walk around the nests in hopes of seeing them.

 

 

Then, by the time I return to the house the coffee fairy has made a fresh pot of coffee, just waiting for me. It’s magical. For breakfast I have the option of walking about two blocks to pick up fresh croissants from “The French Kiss” bakery with Grandma, or making myself some eggs and toast. I spend the next hour reading and drinking my coffee in the comfy living room, wrapped in cozy blanket, (I just love central air conditioning!) waiting for everyone else to get up.

Around 8:30am a group of us normally want Starbucks and we often take about a mile bike ride to the closest Starbucks together, because one coffee at 6am is certainly not enough.

By the time we get back with our coffees and 3 copies of the New York Times, the rest of the family is up and it’s time to hit the beach. Our beach routine goes like this: swim, see how long we can volley the ball to each other (I think the record was 42…we aren’t the most athletic family), get out and either build a giant sand castle or play a crazy Scandinavian game.

 

 

Our Finnish family/friend lady introduced us to a really fun game that is similar to bowling called Molkky, which we’ve played for years now. Last summer, while visiting other friends in Sweden we were taught to play another game called Kub, which is unlike any game I’ve ever played.

 

 

Lots of us are really competitive and these games become very intense. We scream, argue with each other, makeup team names, cheer for our teammates, attract a crowd of strangers, finish by saying “We can’t play this stupid game anymore!”, but always play again the next day.

After everyone is sunburnt and starving we head back to the house to cool off in the pool and make enormous sandwiches with potato bread for everyone. (Hilton Head is the one time of year where everyone forgets the healthy 100% whole grain bread, and indulges in the yellow soft potato bread.)

 

 

The afternoon is spent either going on a very long bike ride through the shady tree-lined sidewalks decorated with tons of Spanish moss, reading by the pool, or more swimming. Also, the coffee fairy shows up again each afternoon and makes large glasses of vanilla flavored iced coffee! It miraculously appears next to me as I sunbathe in a beach chair with a book in my hands. What could be better?

 

 

Each night we wash all the saltwater, sand, in chlorine off to pretty ourselves up for a nice dinner in town, or sometimes a homemade dinner at home. Once everyone is stuffed and maybe a little tipsy, we force the whole family to play games together.

 

 

Our favorite games are charades and Scattegories, and we introduced half the family to “murder” this year. These games are all played in a similar fashion to the games played on the beach, but no one takes the yelling or competition too seriously, just serious enough to loudly announce your score, jump up and down, and dub yourself the “Scattergories queen”.

And, the whole day ends so perfectly… each night I lay in my comfy large bed with the AC turned way low, the fan on high, and the cable TV on E! Coming from our hot loft, window-unit AC, non-cable Television, teeny-weeny apartment, I feel like I’m in the lap of luxury and fall asleep to the sound of the Kardashian’s planning their next family trip. Perfect.

 

 

The only downside to Hilton Head is that Husband and I are sad that it has to end. I’m on the way home now, typing away as my ears pop on the plane, and already looking forward to Hilton Head next year.

*I had every intention of keeping up the blog while on vacation, but it somehow kept slipping my mind. Damn coffee fairy, I blame her for distracting me. Hope you all had a great week!

Cheers!