Tuesday, December 18, 2007

...rock the boat...

...the Balboa Boat Parade that is! ok, I know, I'm a dork...but it was sooo much fun! Saturday night we headed down to Balboa for a little pretty Christmas light action. Unfortunately, we got a later start than expected, and it took us over an hour to get down to Newport and find a parking spot. Lucky, we managed find a spot on the street that the truck squeezed into, however, it was about a 20 minute walk from the ferry. Even though it could not have been more than 50 degrees out, the walk was beautiful! The houses in all the neighborhoods, and along the water were festively strung with lights of all shapes and colors. Big, brightly lit, snowflakes hung from eaves, oversized red and white candy canes lined walkways, and perfectly decorated Christmas trees (adorned with sparkling stars on top, of course) sat in behind the curtains of beach side windows. There were parties galore, and children bundled against the cold in the arms of moms and dads. People sitting on their porches, private docks had the luxury of watching the passers-by. We even noticed a few older couples sitting in their big bay windows, in their respective chairs drinking coffee and reading by the glow of the Christmas lights and fireplaces. The warmth and cheeriness of the season was enough to stave off the bite of the cold air. We finally made it to the Fun-Zone, and realized neither one of us had eaten all day. With the throngs of people pushing us forward, we squeezed into a hole in the wall NY style pizza place. It was AMAZING! The slices were like 14 inches long each! Those are often the best places...and in all my years of going to Balboa, I had never been there! Definitely missed out on amazing pizza the last 21 years!!!

We took the ferry across to the island and walked past all the brightly lit homes, and the groups of carolers, and instruments, people selling light-up necklaces and Santa Hats. Past the parties with girls in skimpy santa outfits, and docks decorated to the nines. We stopped occasionally to admire a classy home, or children playing instruments for tips, or even the immaculately decorated boats passing by on the water. But eventually we found ourselves in Starbucks, ordering a coffee with white mocha (5 pumps in a venti) and then on to the ice cream shop ordering a Balboa Bar with Heath, the perfect dessert. As we sat on the bench out in front of the ice cream place (not Dad's/the one with the banana on top....the other place), we simply took a few minutes to just sit and observe. It's incredible what you see when you really open your eyes. We are all in such a hurry to get everything finished before Christmas. The presents need to be wrapped, there are cookies to bake, and meals to plan, there are details of Christmas Eve and Day to be finalized. There is cleaning to do for those unexpected visitors that might stop by, it's usually even a process to figure out which Candlelight service to attend as a family. Do we ever stop and just enjoy the beauty of the season? As I sat there, on that bench, sipping coffee and eating ice cream, I watched an abundance of small children and adults walk by. Some were in a hurry, trying to get the kids to bed, others were simply enjoying the cold night air, and the spirit of the holidays. Still others seemed to be somewhere in between those two mindsets, and were purely going through the motions of their routine. The people with the most impact on me were the children. As they passed, whether hand-in-hand with or in the arms of a parent, trailing behind their families with chocolate smeared on their rosy cheeks from a frozen banana, they showed a pure, unbridled joy. Oblivious to the frenzy around them, the kids, that night, were a small window into the way I would love to live my life. They were excited, and anxious for Christmas to come. As they headed home from an evening of Christmas Light-looking their anticipation was only heightened. Unlike the parents that held them tightly, these children did not have a list of "what I could be doing right now" running through their innocent minds. I know, at times, we all wish we could be as fortunate as the children and not have a thousand other things to do. Trust me, I completely wish the responsibilities of my life would melt away so I could enjoy the excitement of Christmas with a child-like innocence. Unfortunately, the older we get, the more we seem to take on around the holidays. I would like to encourage each of you to take a moment....and breathe. Put down the cookbooks and spatulas, halt the ribbon tying, and the ornament hanging. Take half an hour and walk around your block to enjoy the cold, wintery air. Make some hot cocoa, grab blankets, jump in the car, roll down the windows, and go check out the decor of near-by neighborhoods. Take a moment and be thankful that you are about to spend time with the people that you love most. Most importantly, be thankful that we are reminded each year at this time of the greatest gift ever given. Have a child-like attitude toward the season, if only for a moment, and perhaps it will help to clear your mind of the frustrations and anxieties, and replace those with an appreciation and heart-felt joy toward life this time of year.

I'm finished with the sermon :) Sorry! Here are just a few of the photos we caught of the nights excitement...










by the way...we even went on the Carousel!!! Zach's idea!!! :) We were the ONLY people on the ride, and I think the operator thought we were nuts....but it was so much fun! kinda hard to take pics when you're laughing, and moving so much!

1 comment:

KATIE said...

AWE!!! YESTH for the carousel!!! YIPPEEEE