right here. right now.

When I was twenty (land, that was nearly twenty years ago!), I was off on the grand adventure of being twenty and traveling the world. I spent six months studying and wandering (but, who am I kidding, I was mostly wandering and not studying, which included a LOT of time at the pub and the beach. . . assigned tasks for the Australian Cultural Studies course I took, I promise!) in New Zealand and Australia. During that time, I made one of those lifelong friends that you only get a certain allotment of in one life. You know the sort of friend: the drop-everything-and-fly-across-the-country-because-you-had-a-baby friend. The friend you can call after not speaking to for a full-on year and it’s like no time has passed and you immediately fall back into the shorthand you always had in talking to each other so as to get as much information across to the other as quickly as possible. The sort of friend that will tell you that the dress you’re wearing isn’t right on you and you will absolutely not take offense, you will simply be grateful they told you and you can still change before going out.

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Shannon, myself and Uluru (Ayers rock if you’re being culturally insensitive. We were 20 and definitely NOT culturally insensitive. We hiked AROUND it instead of to the TOP of it) 1996.

Anyway, I made that sort of friend in Australia and we were inseparable for 6 whole months. There are a million stories from that short time in my life, but one always sticks out when I think back.
We found ourselves camping near a billabong in the Northern Territory with another friend. It was a night full of campfire, laughing, singing and general merriment. Much later, the three of us crashed out in a tiny tent with our heads sticking out the door to watch the stars. There were very deep twenty year old conversations. Imagining what we’d be like in midlife. Being mindful of all we’d learned while being away from home. Gratitude for the experience. Someone asked the others, “If you could be anywhere at all in the whole world and at any time in history, where would you be?” Unanimously, we all wanted to be “right here. right now.”
For the last 18 years, I’ve used that quick statement for explaining that I am in the exact place and time I want to be in. Things feel warm and content when I say this out loud. In my marriage and now with Abby too, it’s a confirmation that we’re on the right track. We’ve made good choices and have landed on our feet in this moment. I’ve talked about this sense of YES! right now! here on the blog before.

I’ve often said that “wild horses couldn’t tear me away” from this small town of ours. Tonight, the dinner dishes are done. The kid is rainbow looming in the other room. My man is off working and I’m expecting a group of women to come over for a meeting soon. The Rolling Stones are playing and I had the “right here. right now.” feeling wash over me. What a life this is, yes? Simple and wonderful. Full of beauty and raw joy. right here. right now.

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Twelve 15ths :: April

The 15th of April isn’t just tax day to me. It is also the birthday of one of my dearest friends that I consider family. So. . . not such a dreaded day at Chez Sanford. I only wish we could celebrate in person with her.

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At our house, the biggest news in the last month was getting our floors refinished!!! They are so pretty. We had to be out of the house for almost a week. So, we borrowed a beautiful home from friends here in town and then went to Seattle for a lot of walking and doing the urban scene. Free Museum Thursday was a huge hit with the kid. We got to three different museums before totally crashing out.

I had my first “Peninsula Kitchen” column published in my local paper on Sunday (no link. I’ll share the recipe etc once I figure out when that’s okay). I’ll be doing one a month. I had lots of fun putting it together and found it to be an interesting learning process in terms of how newspaper editing and headline assignment works!

I’m training for a half marathon on June first and the last month’s runs pushed me over the threshold into running farther and farther than ever before. I am finally in that place of trying to figure the mind-game out because I’m pretty sure this body will go 13.1 miles if my head can stay in the game. This is 100% beyond anything I ever thought I could do. But, isn’t that always the case?
impossibleThat’s it, really. I still owe the universe my Abby Letter from her 9th birthday two months ago, but I’m not in a rush. It’ll come together when the time and inspiration is right.

How is your spring coming along? Anything new to share?

*The 15th of every month has always been a little sweet for Tom and I and so this year, I’m taking a moment to post on or near each 15th.

Here are the previous entries:
March
February
January

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Twelve 15ths :: March

Here we are again. I feel like I blink and it’s already been another month!*

20140315-145743.jpgWe started up work on our home updates again. We’ve been mostly moved out of our living room and office. Together, those two rooms comprise about half of our main floor. We’re a tiny bit cramped together, us Sanfords, but nothing we haven’t adapted to. Tom is a painting work horse, I mostly cook food and am constantly putting things away or trying to find things. Abby is working on video tutorials for her rainbow loom youtube channel (it doesn’t exist yet. . . I’m not keen on her having an email address at age 9 and we’ve yet to discuss the implications of  her actually publicly publishing the tutorials as a family. For now, just making them for herself is enough), continues archery and started taking dive lessons this month.
I spilled about 20 ounces of water on our laptop a few days ago and shoooooeeee, I did NOT sleep for two nights while we waiting for it to fully dry out before I finally dared turn it on. Luckily, all is well. . . except the “C” key isn’t super reliable. So, apologies for the times I sign my name “arrie” on emails in the future!
Pretty much the only other deal is that I’m forcing us to work through the steps to Get our Shit Together on this website. So far we’ve gotten our will done (which meant finally designating guardians for Abby if we were both to die!!!) and life insurance. Next up is dealing with advanced medial directives and durable power of attorney. Phew. It’s not super fun work, but I already sleep better at night knowing we’ve covered two of the biggies. Getting sleep at night is a big theme for me right now. I’m fully IN midlife right now and trying to get it together so I can feel like the grown-ass woman I truly am now.
My girl, Juliana posted this on facebook last night and I fully sat up in bed when I saw it, because it so fully describes a lot of my stress right now. I’m working to let some of the stresses go and moving toward the passions.
tumblr_n288yp4lPT1rme27xo1_500What about you out there? Any passion work calling to you right now? I need inspiration

*The 15th of every month has always been a little sweet for Tom and I and so this year, I’m taking a moment to post on or near each 15th.

Here are the previous entries:
February
January

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Brave Birthday Party

For many months leading up to Abby’s 8th birthday, she obsessed about a Fairy themed party.

I, in turn, also obsessed and pinned all things fairy on pinterest. Then I went and let her flip through the cake book in the bakery at Safeway. Forehead-desk. Duh. She immediately fell in love with the Disney Brave cake and all Fairy themed ideas were tossed aside for Merida and arrows and wisps!
Brave cake

I have proudly made every one of Abby’s cakes. Every one but this one. That’s not actually her cake, but it’s the picture in the catalog at Safeway that pulled her heart strings and it’s the cake we ordered for her. GULP!
Sadly, the great “iCloud debacle of 2013″ ate every last one of my pictures from this party (totally my own fault. . . I still ache from losing those), but I had stashed a few on instagram and was able to recover a lot of the bits leading up to the day.

Abby's 8th B-day Party Invite with edits

I took a huge amount of inspiration from an invite I found online and made this on picmonkey. We emailed it to her buddies and they all took the school bus to our house.
The after school party was a brainstorm I’d had the year before for her rainbow party. It is the perfect amount of time (2:30-4:30) and allowed me to have the whole school day to prep the house and get the food ready etc.
When they came in, I had snacks prepared (nothing fancy, though I wish I’d pulled off the idea I had to create targets out of ritz, cheese and pimentos. A savory version of this).

I can’t remember the order of events, but we strung simple pony bead necklaces with bear claw beads Abby and I made out of fimo (after I’d  hunted until my head hurt to find reasonably priced bear claw beads, I finally gave up and realized it would be easy enough to make them. It totally was and was SOOOOOO much cheaper than buying and shipping something else!).
379323_4888671327903_78740783_nWe ran out of time to make all of the tiny craft stick/dental floss/q-tip bow and arrow sets ahead of time, so we made kits for the kids to take home with instructions for THEIR parents to make them. Directions here.
308087_4900322099165_1851367063_nI’m fairly certain we played a few games with blue balloons. . . like, Keep the Wisps in the Air and tosstheballoonaroundthecircleasfastasyoucanwithoutdroppingit.
The pinnacle of the party though, was when it was time for cake. OH NO! The evil witch stole the cake! The kids had to follow a treasure hunt all over the neighborhood to find it. I thought it would take them at LEAST 30 minutes, but they barreled upstairs to the closet off our bathroom within 8 minutes to find the cake. Phew!
538284_4917676013002_2037723494_nThe closet is dark and was lit by wisps. Each kid took one home.
556332_4898855902511_1220873940_nWe made the wisps with dollar store tea lights (battery operated) and sheer fabric with ribbon to tie the tops. It likely would have worked better with blue cellophane, but I didn’t find that in time.
In all, it was a great party. The kids talked about that darn 8 minute treasure hunt for an entire year. So, I made sure to make the 9th birthday party hunt MUCH harder.

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Yellow Submarine Birthday Party

When Abby turned six back in 2011, we had just arrived home after three months in New Zealand. We were really busy getting back into the swing of things and didn’t have a lot of time to plan a big ta doo for her. Since we had a lot of family coming to celebrate and several friends and their families coming, I decided to feed everyone with a giant sub sandwich and thus, the Yellow Submarine theme was born.
She begged me to bake her the honey cake from Apples and Jam when she saw it on Amanda’s blog. Totally unrelated to yellow submarines, but super yummy. I used rosemary flowers from the yard for that fun POP of purple.IMG_0532

IMG_0566 IMG_0546After I got going with the submarine ideas (this was BEFORE I’d discovered pinterest, people!) I found a great tutorial for making submarines from random recyclables and bits from around the house. You can see that just some yellow ribbon, some cups, straws, sharpies, pipe cleaners, stickers, bottles and tape inspired the kids to be so creative.
IMG_0544-1Yellow submarine print offs to decorate around the house and lots of yellow food: pirate’s booty and carrots to go with the sub sandwich!
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IMG_0554Pin the Beatle on the Submarine!!! HA! I had so much fun with this!
We passed out stickers and crayons and honestly, a bunch of random stuff from around the house that was vaguely yellow as favors and played The Beatles for background music.
When I looked into doing this theme, I couldn’t find ANYTHING for much inspiration. Now, of course, there are a hundred pins on pinterest related to Yellow Submarine Party! Ah well, I should have written this post back then! I was a trend setter.

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Twelve 15ths:: February

Well, that month sure blew by quickly! Tom and I had a great trip to Mexico. Abby turned nine on Thursday. We’re diving back into house updates this week. I’m training for a half-marathon. Phew!
Here’s us last night…actually on the 15th. We’re post birthday party, family visit snuggling.
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How’s YOUR month been?!
(I’m posting at least once a month on or near the 15th. More info here.)

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Twelve 15ths:: January

Sparkling Cider Toast on New Year's Eve

Sparkling Cider Toast on New Year’s Eve

The last streaks of a cherry smudged sunset are being wiped out of the mountains behind my house as a fog rolls in. It will be fully dark soon and the smallest full moon of 2014 will rise. The bare branches of the deciduous trees across the way are looking mighty spooky as the fog gathers in the lingering twilight.
I’ve left all of the ingredients for dinner on the counter.
The kid is off somewhere making rainbow loom bracelet tutorials and Tom is likely walking home from work with a podcast buzzing in his ears.

I have a brief and quiet moment to myself.

It is the 15th of January. The first 15th of this year and the first 15th I plan to post here.

15ths are a little special for us. Tom and I shared our first kiss on December 15th, 2000. We got married exactly 18 months later on June 15th, 2002.  My birthday is October 17th and Abby’s is February 13th and the average of 17 and 13 is. . . 15 (Yeah. . . I’m reaching on that one!). Point being, for the last 13 years, Tom and I have usually noticed when it’s the 15th of the month and share a look across the breakfast table, or a peck on the cheek and say “Happy 15th!” It’s a day each month that sticks out to me and I hope that “sticking out-ness” helps me remember to do a few things each of these twelve 15ths of 2014.

  • Take a family picture or make sure there’s been one since the last 15th. Even if it’s just a selfie on the iPhone. Too many holiday cards have no pictures of the three of us together because there ARE no pictures of the three of us together.
  • Weigh myself. . . and ONLY on the 15th.
  • Pull pictures from my phone, go through them and back them up.
  • Post something here.
  • Pause. Look around. Notice.
  • Kiss my husband. No. . . I mean KISS my husband.

That’s it. There may be more to it as the year rolls on, but I’ve got way too much on my plate to make blog promises much bigger than this.

So, Happy 15th to you! Make it sweet, friends.

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