It started with a trip to Orlando with some of my best girlfriends from our years in Buffalo. Tiffany schemed up the idea to go to Harry Potter World, and there was no way I could pass that one up. If you read my last post about my mom, you know that I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan. I had a Harry Potter party for my 19th birthday, shortly before my mom passed away, and my whole family dressed up in character.
I know it sounds crazy, but Harry Potter was my "escape" during those very difficult months when my mom was so sick. I think I read the second, third, and fourth books that year, and it was just a mindless, magical escape. The following year, I was reading the newly released fifth book while walking across my college campus, and I walked into an open manhole because I was so engrossed. Yes, this happened. Fortunately, the manhole wasn't very deep, and my backpack caught on the edge of it and held me up, so after a helpful person walking by assisted me in untangling myself, I walked away with scraped shins and no permanent damage. (Only Rachel Nielson, right? That needs to be its own hashtag.)
Anyway, I found a great deal on airline tickets to Orlando, and we made a weekend of it. We were just a little bit excited. ;)
Harry Potter World did not disappoint. It was so elaborate--every detail perfectly rendered. I felt like I was actually stepping into Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, and yes, Tiffany and I even busted out our cool kids Gryffindor robes and drank too much butterbeer while we were there. I love my friends.
On Sunday, Natalie and I went to church, walked around the Orlando temple grounds, and then went and sat on the beach. Yep, I'd say that's a perfect Sunday right there.
The next weekend was the annual Power of Moms Board Meeting and Retreat in Park City, Utah. As always, I learned so much and came back with tons of ideas for being a more deliberate, present mother. I love this organization, and I'm honored to work with them. I recently wrote an article for them about isolating the perfect moments in motherhood in the midst of the crazy/hard moments. Here it is if you are interested: Anchored by Beautiful Moments.
|Power of Moms Board Members|
Before I headed back to Idaho, I spent one evening at my Dad's house and got to see him and my grandparents and my older sister. Sarah and I went to breakfast and shopping the next day, and I loved it. Nothing fills me up more than spending time with my sisters.
And oh no, the fun is not over yet. My little sister Laura decided to come visit me for Memorial Day Weekend! Ryan was at a Conference in Seattle, so it was awesome to have Laura's company and help with the kids--as well as someone to snuggle with in my bed. I love me a good SSO (Sister SleepOver). We hiked a little, shopped a little, ate a lot, and laughed a lot. We also took the kids to the hot springs one day, and Laura and Sal were twinning in their polka dots.
Ridiculously, my actual birthday hadn't arrived quite yet, so the day before, Ryan took me and Noah to pick out new bikes. (Noah learned how to ride a two-wheeler a few months ago, so we wanted to be able to take family bike rides this summer.) We then met up with his family in the Snake River Canyon and went canoeing and later had a BBQ at our house. Funnest!
On the day of my birthday, we didn't do much. Ryan felt bad about it and apologized for not making my birthday more special. Ummm, are you kidding me?? I am the most spoiled rotten girl in this world. Granted, most of the fun in May was not technically for my birthday month, but I wasn't about to stomp my foot and demand more!! It was a perfect month from start to finish. I am so grateful that I have such wonderful friends who invite me to do fun things with them, and I am so grateful that I have such a wonderful husband who encourages me to go and adventure and connect with other women and who is 100% capable of taking care of the kids while I am away. I love him, and I love how sweet he is with our kids.
Ryan snapped a few photos of me and the kiddos as we rushed off to church on my 31st birthday. When I look at these pictures, I can see the happiness in my face, and I don't think it's just because I'd had an exessively fun and relaxing month. I have had an amazing 31 years, and my favorite part of it all is the incredible people in it--my friends, my dad, my grandparents, my sisters, my in-laws, my husband, my kids--I can't believe that I got to spend time with all of them during the month of May. Happy birthday to me!!