One More Reason to Celebrate Life

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can."

-- Neil Gaiman

There were plenty of reasons to celebrate this week!  First, it was my birthday!  Second, my sweetheart, my handsome hubby and I turned another page as a married couple!  21 years, to be exact!  We married the day after my birthday.  I hit a gold mine when I said "I will" to my guy!  He's my rock.  He's my world.  I only hope and pray that my girls find life partners that are half as wonderful as their daddy (and Chelsea's step-dad) is.  One can hope.  He scared me so much that it took him 3 times to propose to me before I finally said "yes!"  By scared, I mean in truly the best of ways.  I had been down the matrimony path once prior, and, well, it left much to the imagination - those fairy tale books were way wrong!  Prince Charming isn't always so "charming" and after a year of marriage I made my escape plan, and implemented it.  I didn't trust many people after that experience.  It opened my naive, girlish eyes to the world. I know my own girls will make much wiser choices in life, especially since they have a loving father that cherishes them and a mother that loves them fiercely.  A strong foundation of love is key, in my opinion, in making lasting, healthy life choices.  True love conquers all!    

We had a snowstorm (a nor'easter) just in time for my birthday on Wednesday!  Oh boy!!  Quite a difference from last year's birthday celebrations in Florida!  Mother Nature left us snowbound for the day, and ANOTHER day off from school!  My beloveds treated me like a Queen!  There was breakfast in bed, handmade cards and singing!  It was all pretty fabulous until "Lucy," our cat, decided she wanted in on the fun and sprang onto the bed and landed squarely on the breakfast tray, sending the fresh, hot coffee flying in all directions!  Never a dull moment, I tell you.  Never.  

The girls and I enjoyed a lazy day together.  I kept the fire going in the wood stove just in case we lost our power, which is commonplace in our neck of the woods; and I did coffee-soaked laundry.  Later that night, once Kurt was home from work, we had a Chinese feast complete with all our favorite delicacies and hot tea (no champagne for me - I'm coming up on 4 years of sobriety).  
There was time for us all to enjoy sparklers on the deck in the backyard!  I think a new birthday tradition was born!  Of course, I had to bring my ol' trusty, Sony a99, along to capture the light!  The family also obliged me in my request to play a round of Harry Potter Clue!  Seriously, I love playing board games with my beloveds.  They make it so fun and their personalities shine forth!  Our Emilia won the game!  There were shouts of joy!!  

A birthday wouldn't be complete without cake + ice cream and it was scrumptious!!!  We wrapped up our quiet family evening together -- bellies full, hearts full, ready to take on another year!  Birthdays, I've found, are a roller coaster of emotions for me (you too?), but with my family's steadfast love; wonderful, generous hugs and kisses; and thoughtful encouragement -- I am able, I am strong, I am loved deeply.  And that, my friends, is the best gift I could ever receive.          

Onward bound!!!  :)

The First Twenty

The first twenty years are in our "The Story of Us" book and we are now onto our next twenty, or more with a stroke of luck and a prayer!  Kurt and I have built a life together, and if I told you it was easy, I'd most certainly be lying.  Our life has had many setbacks, disappointments, struggles - deeply personal ones that we've had to work through.  That's the great thing about marriage though!  Once you work through the messy stuff together and you come out the other end, you can high-five one another, and say, "Hey! Look! We made it!"  It strengthens the marriage bond.  

People will always tell you how hard marriage is, that it takes constant effort, constant attention, constant compromise, and a constant, everyday devotion to one another.  I absolutely would agree with that.  But... I'd also add laughter and fun.  Each day it's important to make one another laugh.  I think that's what my guy and I have perfected.  He can make me laugh like nobody else, and I'd say it goes both ways.  We know how to laugh through life's ups and downs.  So, when we knew this monumental occasion was coming up and being that our young girls are at a perfect age to enjoy Disneyworld, well, the plan unfolded.  I mean, what better way to celebrate your 20th wedding anniversary than at the happiest place on earth?!  

We started the Orlando segment of our vacation at Epcot complete with amazing rides, aquarium enchantment, beautiful flower garden festival and dinner in France!  Oui, oui!!    

A favorite ride at Epcot includes Spaceship Earth - with a journey through time highlighting how story-telling has evolved and helped to form our culture, our very existence.  It's quite astounding to think we have evolved as a human species from documenting our lives on cave walls to now -- blogging with internet connections around the globe in a matter of seconds.  umm... wow.  I wonder what the future will bring for our grandchildren.    

Another favorite ride of ours was Soarin.'  I couldn't get any photos on that one, but if you get an opportunity to visit Epcot, do yourself a favor and take the Soarin' experience!!  Really neat!!  It was like flying through the world:  great mountain tops to lush valleys to castles in the sky to polar bears roaming the arctic!!  Truly magical. 

The Seas with Nemo & Friends was our girls most favorite!  (funny, I think it was Alanna's favorite the last time we visited - she was 3).  It is a sweet ride that tells the Nemo story.  Afterwards, there's a terrific aquarium (tanks full of all sorts of fish, some manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and more!) to tickle your sea-loving spirit.  The dolphins put on a show for us!  We loved it! 

silliness ensues as the girls pretend to be swallowed by "Bruce" the shark. ;) 

We made dinner reservations at Les Chefs de France months ago - thankfully!  The lines were long and if you didn't have a reservation, you weren't getting a table.  We were ready for dinner made to French expertise.  And the desserts!!  Heaven.  Pure heaven.  The food was delicious and the service was très chic!  I asked our server many questions just so I could hear her beautiful French accent.  :)   The evening was divine.  

bon appétit!

Afterwards, there were fireworks over the tree line that we caught glimpses of, and purchases of french berets and tiny Eiffel towers.  We had a super early morning the next day so we made our way to our hotel to settle in for the night.  All in all, a marvelous, magical day for an anniversary.  

Thanks so much for stopping by to view my Epcot images and hearing about our day's events.  I'd love to hear from you.  Have you visited Epcot?  What was your favorite ride?  Do you have any marital advice for my guy and I?  And if you are married, how many years for you?  I'm thinking a cruise for our 25th!  ;)  Thanks again, friends!  And Cheers to all the happily married couples out there making magic happen through the years!  Keep on high-fiving each other!!  xoxo  L'amour est le plus grand!