We are home.  Back from vacation and diving in to real life.  It feels good to be back on a schedule and in our own beds.  These last couple of weeks were good.  We have a new perspective on our every day and are thankful for the opportunity to explore new environments.  Our trip was far from picture perfect.  There were so many bumps in the road I would need a chapter to explain them all.  That brings me to something I have been struggling with as a writer.  First off saying the word writer gives me a twinge in my spine because me, the daughter of an english teacher has always been far from an expert in writing, spelling or any type of word structure.  Is there even anything called “word structure”?  Seeing myself as a writer is the first battle.  I recently asked to join a writing group and at the 5th hour I jumped out.  Scared I would embarrass myself and worried that I wouldn’t have anything important enough to write about.  Which leads me into something else I have been struggling with.  Writing the truth.  The real deal, you know the nitty gritty.  Do you really want to know about all of that?

As a blogger or writer or what ever I might call myself I believe we all struggle with truths.  I question whether people really want to know about the bumps and bruises that we incur in life.  Pictures always capture only the beauty and thank goodness there is no sound.  If there was we would cover that up with music, right?  I guess these 2 thoughts have consumed me.  As I continue to put myself and my family out there I think about perceptions and don’t want to lead people down a path that is not real but I also don’t want to look back over my blog in years to come and see the mishaps instead of the growth.  I want my children to be able to read about the good times and not the noisy frustration that comes along with being a big family.

As an example we took a trip to the Naples Botanical Garden this past week with my Dad and his friend Maria.  Let me start by saying the place is beautiful and it has been on my list to visit.  The opportunities to really take in the beauty that grows in Naples is everywhere.  Being a flower lover myself it is pretty much a slice of heaven.  It is peaceful and calm, that is, before we showed up.  We were there for probably 2 hours and during that time there was arguing, pouting, crying and a whole lot of “I am board”, “I want to eat” and “when are we leaving?”  I am not even kidding, throughout the whole walk.  There are 8 of us and it is really not realistic for 8 people to be on the same page at any given time.  You won’t see this in the pictures but I will tell you because my Dad told me.  It was not calm and peaceful.  It was anything but.

When you are knee deep in raising a family you don’t even notice people are not having a good time at any given moment.  You do your best to keep them on track and you search for a little personal enjoyment in the process.  So sometimes I don’t even think it is purposeful the non truth telling because as a parent you try and forget about the frustration or the unhappy tears and savor the good.  So here is the truth.  Our trip was hard, there was a sick child every single day and I am not talking sniffles…..I am talking about full blown flu.  They kids were board some days and exhausted others.  We stayed with Grandparents who literally stopped their lives for us and we are grateful.  My husband tried diligently to organize us all daily and I worked to keep up with Changing the Face of Beauty every time I had a free moment.  BUT we managed a whole lot of beautiful memories too.

In the evenings when everything calmed down we spent time on the patio or in a outdoor restaurant with great conversation.  The time stopped every night as we looked at our kids and realized they were no longer babies.  We made it to beaches and the boys climbed trees.  We saw good friends and shared a big sister for a sunset.  We were reminded of how lucky we are to have parents who care about us enough to stop their lives and spend time with all 8 of us.  And we appreciated the beauty of the sunshine and warm weather.

It was time to come home but I am grateful for the memories and look forward to next year.  As for writing I hope to cut myself some slack.  When I look back on this vacation I will not remember the late nights and sick kids or the frustrating conversations and complaints.  I will remember the night on the patio at my Dads gold club where we stayed through the sunset talking and eating all the way to desert.  I will remember the car rides with the kids when the ocean flanked each side of the road and we sang as loud as we could to the radio.

Here is just a snippet of the good.

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Hide and seek in the airport.

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Afternoons at the beach.

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Florida has some of the BEST climbing trees.


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Lazy mornings.

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Bulk candy stores.

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New beach friends.

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Happy Spring all…..here is to new beginnings, the good and the bad.

OXOX Katie