Hello? Concierge?

Good Morning, Mrs. Simone. How can we serve you?

Umm…I really like your hotel, the sheets are about a trillion thread count and those slippers you lay out for me each night – such a great touch…But I am thinking of heading out into Boston…which way should I go?

Okay, so you don’t think I’ll stick out carrying this little map? And wow, thanks so much for circling the Marshalls on it for me. Do I have a certain look?

Oh and Concierge? Can you give me a route which guarantees that I walk directly into the film set for Ryan Reynolds’s newest movie R.I.P.D?

And when I repeatedly ask, can you  assure me that it is in fact Mr. Reynolds, not his stunt double? I’m just not sure and The Girls On the Way To Yoga got annoyed with my questions pretty quickly…

But other than that…I’m not picky. I always enjoy a nice waterfront…

and well maintained local history (site of Boston Massacre)

But Conceirge? Can you just steer me away from those things that I can find at home…


I seem to experience a magnetic pull towards the familiar…and it defeats the purpose of getting away…

Hello? Concierge?

Good Evening Mrs. Simone. How can we serve you?

Oh nothing. I just really like hearing you say that.

We had a great weekend at the Langham Boston celebrating Jeff and Ashly’s wedding! The service was impeccable, the accents romantic. It’s going to be hard to go back to our Holiday Inn Express Lifestyle… but the cinnamon rolls should help…Oh and please weigh in – is it The Real Ryan Reynolds or his stunt double? (The guy on the bike, not the Revolutionary Soldier)

From Living History…to Natural History (and Beyond)

Young Child: Mother Are the Dinosaurs as Old as Colonial Williamsburg?

Wise Mother: Even older, my child. Even older.

Young Child: How old are the Dinosaurs, Mother?

Tense Pause

Wise Mother: Eh…Dear Child, ask your Father.

A couple of weeks ago, we took a last minute adventure to Washington DC. Somewhere in the last five years I forgot how close DC is…and the marvels that await. I am very thankful to be married to someone with a sense of adventure. I love the idea of adventure, reading about it, talking about it…but without a push, I have the tendency to fade into the loud, floral pattern of my couch (no small feat.)

(Don’t think that I haven’t already submitted this picture to the church website.)

The girls were jealous that a Butterfly camped out on Travis. I was not. I like my wildlife enclosed or encased. Even snorkeling gets  a little too 3D for me. The Butterfly exhibit is definitely interactive (and more so if you happen to be wearing blue.) But it was a huge hit for this group…

We also did a little bit of this…

and this…

(Side note: great playground at Nationals Park, right behind Center Field…)

And this little one had a great time too…though this is the only smile that was captured on film. She’s just a bit more camera shy than the rest of her family. This may not be a bad thing…

We made some great memories in August…let the catching up begin.

Where [my]children sleep…

sets them apart from most of the world…

Documentary photographer James Mollison just published a book entitled,”Where Children Sleep.”In it he showcases images of where children are spending the night all over the globe. Mollison describes a child’s room as their “personal kingdom” and believes so much about the child can be discovered by simply looking around.

According to the article I read on MSN, Mollison’s photos include sleep spaces in Brazil, China, Senegal, Scotland, Nepal, Kentucky, Kenya, New York, Japan, and the West Bank.

Most of the spaces do not look like my pictures above. And based on these pictures, much of the world does not grapple with the issues of consigning, purging, storage, and what to do with large plastic bins…

Perspective is heavy. Perspective is freeing.

Awake

Sophia and I have been watching “Sleeping Beauty” in the afternoons. Previously, she had seen it once, skipping all the scary parts. 60% of this movie is pretty dark, so the version we originally watched was 12 minutes long.

This week she wanted to be brave and see what she had previously missed, prompting interesting discussions about real vs. fantasy, and the triumph of good over evil.

Saturday, as we watched it, I read the news of the shootings in Norway.

And, unlike my four year old, I did not wish to be brave and unafraid of the dark.

And, like any preschooler, I cling to the Story, but each new day struggle to trust if this time Light will overcome darkness.

And, though I choose to be certain of that which we do not see, I kind of wish we could, like King Stefan’s kingdom, go to sleep for one hundred years to miss all of the heartbreak.

But I’m learning it is vital to stay awake. And be brave enough to see the darkness. Worlds away, these people are my neighbors.  Who is not?

And the temptation to sleep instead of keep watch is not a new one.

Destination…Beautiful

Last weekend I exchanged this scene…

for this one:

I attended the wedding of a college friend at the Chatooga Club in Cashiers, North Carolina. It was a breathtaking event – perfection in every single detail.

 Beyond that, as a guest, I have never felt so thoughtfully cared for. Recognizing that most of us traveled to this unfamiliar location for the weekend, the bride and groom were so intentional about making us comfortable and introducing us to this charming mountain town.

Adorable Breakfast Bags in every hotel room and a very helpful weekend program that steered us to great sites…

like the sliding rock…

An amazing wedding day brunch – that fed our physical and social appetites more than sufficiently…

(I was actually trying to get a picture of the incredible dessert spread behind Ruthie and Ann but that woman stepped at just the wrong moment. RuthA – love the baubles.)

The “Wedding Tree” was one of my favorite parts. Each category of guests was on a different branch. A fold out was provided for each guest in the breakfast bags, but they had a beautiful version framed at the reception. Loved it. And how incredible is that frame?

This was our dinner backdrop:

These were our seats. Gorgeous.

As always a Destination Wedding guarantees quality time with old friends and new…this time on some dark, winding mountain roads…

But most importantly, this event reminded me of the sweet significance of being a wedding guest. I can’t make it to all of them. Life gets in the way. Even as I write this, I am sadly missing an out of town wedding tonight.

But when you can do it. When you can figure out where to send the kids, and who will drive, and where you will stay, and actually just get in the car and go. It’s so special.

There are friends that have passed through my life during certain seasons, sharing circumstances, and cities, and even states we may never share again, to whom, because of that brief time when our lives intersected,  I will always feel deeply connected.

And this time, a 9 hour drive from home, in what, due to its perfect climate, felt like a different hemisphere, I felt so honored to be there.

I was thrilled even just to be in the back of the church ready to catch their eye, to say with a glance, “I’m here! I’m here to support you in the craziest of all life decisions. I’m here to stand with you and say that this is good and right and beautiful. ..Just like you stood with us.”

Because with all that we have shared…sharing this is such joy.

What do you love about being a wedding guest?

Matt and Mary Flynn, Congratulations and THANK YOU for an incredible weekend. Brace yourselves, we are coming to visit you in NYC, and we may not be leaving the girls behind this time…

I Heart Jet Noise…

or at least I am remembering to try to.

Growing up here, roaring sounds and shaking window panes were ingrained into the lifestyle. I remember being on the phone with Erin in high school, instinctively pausing our conversation when the jet flew over my house, and then pausing again, as it went over hers…

Then I grew up and moved away and when I come back, I find it jolting. I catch myself wanting to exclaim, “How do you people live this way?!”

This is the normal here. My parents live a few miles from Oceana Naval Air Station – home to 300 strikefighter jets, of which I don’t know much about except their volume. This area of the state is heavily defined by military presence – navy, army, national guard.

 Yet, lately I’ve been learning the even the smallest geographic corners of this country overflow with massive military presence – families giving and sacrificing, and waiting, celebrating and mourning.

At least, right here, all day long, our ears won’t let us forget places very far away, those called to them, and the families who graciously send them…

…even while we are at the water park.

(… visiting La Familia in Virginia Beach…soaking up more sun, sand, and chlorine than we even thought possible…)

Storybook Story…

(photo courtesy of BBC)

Loved it. Loved the dress, the hats, the boys choir, the carriage, the titles, the lack of last name…Most of all loved the fervent celebration. We are a people hungry to celebrate something beautiful and full of promise, are we not?