Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Life Lessons | Posted on 26-04-2017

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Exploring coral reefs amidst colorful fish and the ever-so-peaceful honu, the native Hawaiian green sea turtle, was how we began each day on recent Maui vacation.

Snorkeling is not something I do on a typical morning at home. More like drowning. Around here, mornings are stress filled: alarms, children, showers, breakfasts, lunches, out the door and off to school and work, go!

Hawaiians regard the sea turtle as a symbol of wisdom. They are graceful and calm and seem to know about life. They glide through the water. They go with the flow. They hypnotize you with their peaceful ways. We spotted at least two sea turtles each time we snorkeled. Each time was magical, dreamy, and meditative.

The honu is also a symbol of good luck. The sea turtle is a reptilian survivor from the age of dinosaurs and can be traced back 150 million years. Good luck indeed.

I. Want. To. Be. A. Sea. Turtle.

At home, I am not sea turtle-like. I am a worrier. A multitasker. A planner.

Vacation. It’s a wonderful thing. You take a break from real life, then you return. I have returned home with amazing family memories, a quickly-fading tan, a cute pineapple purse, and a bit more calm. More honu.

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Drinking the Disney Kool-Aid


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childhood, Children, Family, Travel | Posted on 22-10-2012

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I have been drinking the Disney Kool-Aid.

I do not own a Goofy t-shirt. I am not a wearer of Disney pins. My vehicle does not sport a sticker with our family members in Mickey Mouse ears.

Yet I know the songs to The Nightmare Before Christmas. I own the majority of Disney movies on DVD. Even Blu-ray. Watching Cinderella with with my daughter makes me happy. On Sunday nights as a child, I watched The Wonderful World of Disney, cuddled in my jammies. I rode It’s a Small World 30 years ago. And again last week.

See? I’ve been drinking the Disney Kool-Aid since I was a child.

How can you NOT? In our culture, it’s almost force-fed.

As an American family, you “go to Disneyland.” This part was sorta nagging at me since my two youngest kids, aged seven and 10, are the perfect age and we hadn’t been in five years. Down the line, my daughter may not want to go. Or, she may not want to go with me. The time was NOW.

It was my Mom duty to go to Disneyland.

So, I planned a surprise trip, with my husband’s stealth encouragement. The suspense of keeping this secret for two months! On my daughter’s 10th birthday, we sent her to school and promised we’d pick her up a little early to do “something fun.” Maybe a frozen yogurt treat? She’d like that. That’s the kind of girl she is.

On the way to the airport, I nearly peed my pants, I was so excited. Excited to head to sunny California for a few days. But mostly, excited to share the magic with my children. This video shows my daughter’s I-don’t-believe-you reaction, as we announced the Disneyland plans while pulling up curbside at the airport, with her bags secretly packed in the back. You can hear the giddiness (Kool-Aid) in my voice. I don’t think it quite sank in with her until we were actually walking through airport security. 🙂

And here we are spazzing out on the airplane. Giddy with excitement! I was extra giddy. I was about to be a kid again and see “the magic of Disney” through their child eyes.

And when the flight attendant asked what we would like to drink, we answered:

“Disney Kool-Aid.” Duh.

Trouble in Paradise


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Love, Memories | Posted on 09-10-2012

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I know a sweet family that traveled to Cancun, Mexico: a woman, her husband, and their two-year-old son. A perfect little trip to paradise where they encountered white sand, aqua water, and palapas (thatched umbrellas). Like a Corona commercial.

The family brought sand buckets, shovels, and plastic sharks to spend an afternoon under the palapa. Their son was busily enjoying an ice cream, as it quickly melted down his chin. The woman massaged her feet in the flour-like sand. Talking, smiling, laughing, relaxing. It was the perfect day.

The boy grew sleepy in the warm breeze and the couple made him a bed out of beach towels. Siesta time.

The aqua waters beckoned the woman. She looked at her sleeping toddler and made a bee-line for the waves. No problem, her husband would stay with the child while she played.

Ah. Warm water. She dunked her whole body in and jumped the waves. Like a child. Happy. Carefree.

Body surfing. It was blissful.

When she peeked at her husband and little boy, she realized she was further from the shore then she was comfortable with. So, she started to swim back in. Without warning, the waves increased their volume and force.

The magnet of a rip tide pulled her out.

She could no longer touch the bottom. The reassuring sandy bottom of the ocean floor.

She panicked.

Her head submerged, with the waves three feet over her head. The timing of her breathing was off. She inhaled salt water. Choking. Losing her breath. Sputtering. She wailed her arms frantically.

She was going under. Only 200 meters from the shore, she was drowning.

She could still see the palapa in the distance, but it was shrinking. She could barely make out the outline of her husband. Couldn’t he see her? She tried to signal him, but her head kept going under. He was watching their sleeping child.

Choking on salt water. Helpless. Trying to tread water, but powerless. She tried to yell for help, but her voice was a salt-filled whisper. She tried to swim, but she ran out of energy and the current was holding her back. Her worst fear: she was going to drown and never see her family again.

Then it happened. The parasailing crew spotted her and signaled the lifeguard. At that same moment, her husband looked up and saw her struggling. He sprinted–with sleeping toddler, rubber-like, in his arms–yelling frantically for help.

The lifeguard swam with intensity. The waves were still crashing over the helpless woman. He draped her arms around his shoulders and pulled her in, diagonally, to shore.

Her body was shaking. Her lungs were filled with salt water. She was bawling. But she was, oh, so grateful.

To the lifeguard, she was just another woman. But for the woman, he was an angel, who saved her paradise.

When I reflect on that near-drowning experience in Cancun more than a decade ago, I can still taste the salt water in my throat.

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Got Snowglobes?


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Family, Kids, Parenting, Travel | Posted on 21-02-2012

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Uh, no. I don’t. See, you can’t bring your kids home snowglobes–even 3 inch ones–when you go on vacation anymore. At least you can’t get through airport security with them.

So when your little guy is hoping for a snowglobe from New York City like in the movie Elf? He’s outta luck. Because the mean lady at airport security confiscated them and smashed them in the trash.

So he’ll have to settle for a Statue of Liberty you bought in Terminal B for $9.99.

Because, well, you can’t cry over smashed snowglobes.