Hitting the Road

My Little Bit made his grand entrance into this world 11 years ago today. Although I loved a lot of things before his arrival, seeing him for the very first time sparked an all encompassing sort of love.

There is nothing in this world like motherhood. Trust me, on this one. 5 years of infertility and loss, pretty much cemented in how truly amazing holding your own baby is. Since the day this kiddo was born, he has been loved beyond words and celebrated even on days not his birthday.

I have to pinch myself when I think about how the moments, hours, and days flash by. One minute a baby, blink, blink, blink, and the next, a kiddo reading chapter books and seeking a bit of independence.

Most of these 11 years have been spent seeing the world via maps, gravel roads, and highways. A good chunk of our memories so far, include cruising our local countryside, taking pictures, and savoring the views.

Just last night, on the last night of age 10, we drove around town looking at Christmas lights, then took the backroads home. On some ol’ bridge, we rolled down our windows in 20 degree weather, and were greeted with a zillion-ish stars.

In a few hours, we are heading south for our weeklong birthday “party.” The beach is, once again, calling our names.

We let Little Bit pick out where we’ll stay and he chose a beautiful condo with a pool, boardwalk, and a Gulf of Mexico view.

Talk about excited, this momma’s birthday wishes are coming true and thanks to my wonderful husband who was able to get a week off work in December, we are hitting the road.

Filled With Wonder

It’s deer season in our neck of the woods. Normally around here that means stores have Christmas open houses so wives can shop while husbands hunt.

My husband loves the smell of fall, going to the cabin, and spending the days milling about the trees and hills. While he’s gone, Little Bit and get some play time.

To kick it off, we went to the Wonders of Wildlife Museum a few towns over.

What a glorious place! On the outside it just looks like an ordinary building. Inside, it’s where ocean meets land, and everything in between. Extraordinary is the only thought that comes to mind to describe it. It’s part aquarium, part history museum.

You wouldn’t believe all the animals are in there. We saw tropical fish, seahorses, beavers, alligators, an octopus, sharks, fresh water fish, owls, and more.

It is absolutely breathtaking and amazing. There are jellyfish, sea rays, and grouper 4 feet long. We learned that iguana eat bananas. We had so much fun.

Day turned to evening and after we stopped and ate supper, we went home to play our new Shark Monopoly game we got at the gift shop.

What an awesome day. I am so thankful for the memories we made and the simple reminder that life really is filled with wonder.

Dolphins

We are on vacation and it’s our third time to this island. Usually, we rent a big beach house on the western end and come in the early spring. 

This time our trip was a quick, last minute decision and the summer rates had already kicked in. What exactly does that mean? The beach-type houses we usually rent are pretty expensive right now. 

So, instead of spending all our money on a big house rental, we opted for a ‘fish camp.’ Here, a fish camp is set of small multicolored houses in a gated community near the bridge. 

They are so nice. There are boat docks, a pool, a fishing dock complete with fish cleaning station, and even a boardwalk that winds down by the water. 

I’m so happy that we chose this place! It’s clean and comfy, has a Mississippi Sound view, and Little Bit and I just saw took a walk and saw dolphins. 

Weathered Gray

Although we didn’t have as bad a winter as they’d called for, I’ll sure be glad if spring ever stakes its claim. 

Right now we seem stuck between the two seasons: wearing shorts one day, long underwear the next. 

And, the recurrent theme right now? 

No sun. 

The color of the days falls somewhere in the midst of charcoal smeared with a smidgen of white. 

Yuck. That gets old. 

Something really cool happened a few days ago. We found a place that is the perfect cross between where black and white feel quite at home.

About forty miles from here is a seed farm that is bathed in old fashioned. As soon as our truck door opened, we stepped back into the 1800’s. 

The “town” consists of a blacksmith shop, apothecary, seed store, barn, and a restaurant. 

While bits of color were sprinkled here and there, I was reminded that there is an absolute beauty in weathered gray. 

Days Gone By

We live in an area that’s rich in history. A lot of pioneers settled in these hills in the 1800’s and Laura and Almanzo Wilder were among them. 

Yesterday we went to see Rocky Ridge, the home where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her Little House books. 

We’ve been there before a few times, but this year there is a new visitors center, gift shop, and museum, so that was quite a treat. 

There’s something comforting about being on their land. It’s kind of a cross between feeling completely “at home” at a grandmother’s house, mixed with the nostalgia of stories that seem to come to life while looking around the property. 

Just being there, I can picture the scenes from the Rose Years books. Can you imagine Abe and Swiney traipsing through the woods and Alva and Effie living back in those hills? 

Right now their yard is blanketed in yellow and white wildflowers and there is a dogwood tree blooming. Spring is so beautiful in the Ozarks. 

After our tours, we stopped at a park that’s across the street from a bank that opened in 1892. 

It’s pretty neat to stand under those oak trees and imagine the wagons and train whistles of long ago, during those days gone by.