Coffee, Conga, & Hawks!

You know you’re doing the parenting thing right when your twelve-year-old is looking at you with a combination of doubt and amusement. At least, that’s the way I figure it. So the other morning, my beloved dog woke me up at 4:30 as she paced back and forth down the halls and up and down the old wooden staircase of our house over and over. I finally convinced myself to give up on the tossing and turning bit and groggily ventured downstairs and to my fuel, ahem, coffee maker at 5:58. As I was pressing start on my favorite kitchen appliance, the electricity went out. Noooooooooo!

The first five minutes of the power outage I was optimistic. I lit some candles, chatted with my ten-year-old, (who was so excited to be using her new flashlight in the dark), and I decided to start my Bible study. But all I could think about was that coffee. So when the power came on about forty minutes later and I had the first cup of deliciousness in my hand, I was dancing across my kitchen. Now, some people know that kitchen dancing is kind of my thing, but this morning I got lost in the moment. All I know is that I glanced up mid-one-woman-conga-line to see that look I mentioned a minute ago coming at me from my 12-year-old. I was singing the Conga beat, (da-da-da-da-da-da), coffee in hand, my favorite cozy robe on, dancing across the kitchen and in place of shouting “Con-ga! Con-ga!” I was singing, “Cof-fee! Cof-fee!” What can I say? I like my coffee.

A little while after my earlier than usual kitchen dance party, I had just finished my yoga and was at the sink, when I spotted a hawk on my neighbor’s fence. I got excited. I always do when I see hawks. I think they’re so cool I had to include them in my teen fantasy book series, HARMONY RUN. I showed my daughters, who both thought the bird of prey was neat, and enthusiastically alerted my husband. Meanwhile, the hawk flew to another tree. By the time Charles got to the window all he could see was, “something black.” Based off his description, I gathered he didn’t quite seem convinced his dream woman had seen a hawk. (Maybe her overactive imagination had gotten carried away again?) To be honest, I think he was only on his first cup of coffee, so maybe he wasn’t as alert as yours truly. Still, in my ongoing quest to prove to Charles I’m holding onto a bit of sanity, I tugged my boots on, grabbed my camera and a winter coat to go with my yoga pants, and headed out into 23-degree weather.

The hawk moved from branch to branch despite my stealth-like approach, (snow boots snapping every twig and crunching every leaf in my yard), but I kept praying that I could just get one picture to show that man. And voilà. I got one, and only one, picture. But thank you, Lord- that’s all I needed!

When I went back inside, my 12-year-old was laughing, the doubt still lingering on her beautiful face. She nodded towards my yoga Capri pants and shook her head. “Cold, Mom?” she asked. “Yes, but I got the evidence I needed for your dad,” I declared triumphantly. The girls were impressed with the photo. And Charles…well, he took one look at the photo and said, “Oh…wow!” surprise evident in his expression, and that made my dash into the cold worth every freezing moment.

I may be a coffee-chugging-one-woman-Conga-line, but I’m not seeing things. Well, not all of the time, anyway. 😉 Don’t forget to look out your window, friends. You never know what you may see. And the next time your morning cup of coffee brings a smile to your face, why not consider doing the kitchen Conga line? I promise I won’t judge. I’m too busy amusing my children.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Hey there, beautiful hawk! 🙂

Chasing birds…(and pirates!)

Osprey in flight

I’ve been away from my blog for a bit, and let me tell you I’ve got some excuses. 😉  I’ve been in ‘book promotion land’ for about one month now, heavily promoting my books on Kindle as the three of them are on sale.  I’ve been writing, which means at any given time, I’m having a “conversation” with one to five extra voices in my head if you know what I mean.  But mainly, I’ve been keeping up with my darling pirate children.  (I am a chef’s wife, so keeping up with children is different for me than for some moms out there.  No offense intended for anyone.  If you need further clarification regarding this issue, simply Google the words ‘chef’s wife’ and a plethora of reading material with everything from the blog ‘Desperate Chefs’ Wives’ to  support groups for them will come up.  There is even the site called the ‘Chef’s Widow,’ which to clarify is not referring to a woman married to a man who has passed away.  You get the picture.   And our children…well, let’s just say you’ve got to keep an eye, or twenty, on them.

What are they like?  Do you remember that eighties flick, GREMLINS, where you can’t get them wet or feed them after midnight or they’ll turn from cute little fuzzy creatures into monsters?  😉  Yeah, the main difference is that mine ‘change’ earlier in the evening.  When we’re at the grocery store, strangers typically say something like:  “They sure have lots of energy.”  Yes.  Yes, they do.  And they hate the idea of their mother sleeping.  The eldest thinks she needs to stay up two hours past her bedtime with me every single night. “Sleep is the worst thing in the world!” she says as she turns cartwheels beside my desk.  The youngest thinks that between 2 and 4:30 a.m. is a grand time to wake-up.  “Mommy, it’s morning!” she says.  While technically, she is correct, I can’t handle that hour and oh so sweetly tell her to go back to bed.  But like clockwork, she’s there, between 2:30 and 4:30.

The youngest pirate’s three favorite items in our house are my black PERMANENT Sharpie marker, a roll of packing tape, and glue.  She also claims she is an artist, (at five I have to admire her for already having this figured out), and as you can imagine with the Sharpie, in particular being the first thing she finds in the morning, I never know what creation of hers I am going to discover.  Or how long it is going to take me to remove it from the wall.  Recently, she took empty paper towel rolls and decorated them as Santa Claus miniatures and hung them with glue and string to the bedroom wall.  I’m still trying to figure out where she got the string from or what shirt of mine is missing that could have produced said string.

My sister quite regularly asks me over the phone, “What is happening at your house?” because the noise is so loud.  The other day I had to lock myself in the closest so I could take a phone call.  I’m sorry, but I hadn’t talked to my friend who called me in over three months, and I wasn’t letting anything get in the way of our conversation.  A few days later, the youngest was chanting.  Yep, there really isn’t another way to describe it.  She was repeating some strange sound over and over as I combed her hair and though I asked her to quiet down a little, the louder she got until I exclaimed, “I feel like I’m in the crazy house!”  This was immediately followed by a voice, (my eldest- at least I’m hoping it was her) in the other room announcing, “You ARE in the crazy house!”

A few days ago my five-year-old called from behind me in the hallway, “Wow, Mommy your butt is SO big.”  If you ever visited my old blog site, you might realize these are the same words that my seven-year-old said to me when she was four, which prompted the launch of “My Name is Sarah,” my first blog.  As the words of my second born registered, a million thoughts flashed through my already heavily trafficked mind.  Now, the second one is saying this?  Thank the Lord we stopped at two.  I slowly turned around, calculating my response and how I was going to handle her latest observation only to discover she was peering at me through a magnifying glass.

Anywho, that’s what I’ve been doing…  Welcome to my life. 🙂

Do I have any other excuses for my extended absence?  What else have I been up to?  Oh, you want wildlife photos? No more glimpses into mommy world?  Okay, fine.  Thanks for listening. 😉  Well, this brings me to today’s photos…  Recently, I attended a Book Festival in Matlacha Park, in Matlacha, a tiny island on the way to Pine Island, Florida.  I told myself I would wait until the day was over before going after any wildlife photos, but…well…that just didn’t work out for me.  I was one of sixty Florida authors in attendance but probably the only one who abandoned my table over and over to take photographs of birds.  I’m cool like that.  A rebel without a cause.  Probably where the pirates get it from.  It was a windy, unusually chilly Florida day, but I sold some books, met some amazing authors and readers, Chef Charles took the morning off to watch the pirates, and I got to chase birds. (Finally, some photos for my lonely, ol’ neglected blog.)   🙂

Osprey

Osprey

Am I getting a dirty look? ;)
Am I getting a dirty look? 😉

Osprey

Osprey with fish

Osprey

Osprey

bird

Osprey

Book Festival