Monthly Archive for October, 2010

A Halloween Costume fit for an Everyday Princess

So, what does one wear for Halloween when a tiara is your everyday attire?

Jessie, the Cowgirl (from Toy Story) to the rescue!

Yee haw!

If you can’t tell Princess Claire is disguised as Jessie, and Rosie, the horse, is playing the part of Bullseye.  😉

Snorkeling in the Sea of Unexpected Panic

One of the things I couldn’t wait to do while in Hawaii was go snorkeling. I’ve never gone before, and it sounded like so much fun!

Because the name of the game was Relaxation, we were pretty chill about when we were going to rent gear. The first full day in Hawaii was going to be used to acclimate us to the island, and we’d rent gear the next day.

I love the ocean. I was really looking forward to snorkeling. In the meantime, we were going to frolic on the beach. This was going to be perfect!

My husband went into the ocean and beckoned for me to join him. I happily follow. The warm tide comes in and gently pulls at my legs and waist, and all of a sudden it hits me.

A huge panic attack grips my body. I scramble for a solid footing in the sand. Tears instantly fill my eyes. I’m gasping for air, but I can’t breathe.

It’s no longer 2010. I’m no longer playing in the gentle waves of Kaanapali Beach. It’s 1993, and I’m in Cancun. I’ve just been pulled under the water by a rip-tide none of us expected. I can’t tell which way is up. I’m being tossed around and pulled out to sea. I’m a strong swimmer, but this lack of control has taken me off guard. I’m frantic. I panic. I’m holding my breath, but there’s no sight of the surface.

A friend pulls me to safety.  He’s figured out which way is up. He holds me close as I cry.

My husband now does the same.

To say this was an unexpected turn of events is an understatement. I’ve never had such a big panic attack, and the reason it was so shocking was that it didn’t even occur to me that I hadn’t fully processed the events of that fateful day so long ago.

I love the ocean. I love playing on the beach. Since Cancun, the waters in which I’ve played have been so cold that I’ve never gone in past my knees. Who knew that this demon was lurking?

This panic attack was so strong that my logic and rationale were useless against it. I didn’t even want to try snorkeling. I couldn’t!

My husband reminded me that I’d wanted to take a little snorkel class, and that it would help me. The thought of having this involuntary panic attack in front of a stranger made me sick. I refused the class. I felt horrible disappointing him, but I saw no way around this. This was bigger than me.

I tried to push this out of my head and relax, but I kept turning it over and over in the back of my mind. The next morning (at a decent hour on the mainland), I texted my sister. She’d gone to Hawaii last year and had loved snorkeling. This is the same sister who has issues with deep water, so I wanted to see how she had done it.

I told her what had happened. She told me that as soon as her brain figured out that her body could breathe underwater, she was fine. She told me it would be worth it.

It took every fiber of my being to agree to go snorkeling, but I did it. I told my husband that I’d try. I told him that I couldn’t be held responsible for my reaction, but I’d give it all I had.  He promised to be patient with me.

We rent gear. They tell us a great place to go, which is literally steps from our hotel room. We go down to the beach. As I’m putting my mask and snorkel tube on, I’m strong. I can do this! I get in the water. As I’m getting my flippers on, I panic. The feeling of the waves tugging on my body is just too much.  The jostling knocks loose the anxiety, but I press on. He pulls me out with him, and I put my face in the water.

The prescription lenses of my face mask are a perfect match, and I can see clearly. The tropical fish dart in and out around me, oblivious to the panic in my heart. The colors are amazing! Just below me is a sea turtle. He’s huge. We’re estimating he’s nearly 200 years old, based on his size. He’s obviously come down to the beach to see people. I wonder how many people he’s seen over the years, and how many of them are only pretending to be calm. I physically try to slow my breathing. I try to unclench my jaw.

A calmness washes over me with the next wave. Snorkeling is the coolest thing ever, and I’m instantly hooked.

We brought our new fancy-schmancy underwater camera on this trip, and we had a ton of fun playing with it! I’ll spare you the hundreds of snorkeling photos and videos. You’re welcome.

The fear is still there, but by the end of our trip, it was merely a blip. I still panic when I get in and out of the water, but once I’m out there, I’m free.

The Secret Beach Near Kilauea Lighthouse

Click on the photo to see more detail.

Well, we’re back!

We had a fantastic time. We were *this close* to sending for Claire and the kitties and just staying. No, I’m not kidding.

Claire also had a great time with the grandparents.  They are leaving today, so tomorrow will be the official end to our wonderful vacation.

As we get adjusted to the cold harshness of reality, I’ll share more photos and stories of our adventures. The photo above was taken by my husband at Secret Beach, just below the Kilauea Lighthouse on Kauai. I didn’t even know he took it of me until I was organizing the photos.

Today, as the rainy, brisk winds blow, I’ll be thinking of the moment he captured.  I can feel the sand in my toes and hear the crashing of the waves.  Memories of the warm sun will warm my heart…

…and I’ll smile.

I Heart Travel

I find it only fitting that I bring up the Travel Category while we’re on another trip.

Back in 2004, my husband and I took two weeks to travel around Europe. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. He has gone back since for work, and we know we’ll go again in the future.

There are other Travel-related Categories, too, but this post will focus on our Europe adventures.

Here is a look into those stories.

It’s a paycheck

Did you know I used to have a “real” job?

It’s true!

This Category is a fun look back at when I didn’t have time to sit around and eat bon-bons all day. 😉

Check it out: It’s a paycheck Category

Are you bleeding?

This week, while we’re in Hawaii, I’m pulling some fun categories to the surface. One of my favorites is “Are you bleeding?,” not only because it’s an interesting category, but it’s the first triage question I usually ask.

I can’t help it. It’s how I was raised.

“Are you bleeding?” No? Carry on, then.

There is a whole other set of questions to ask from there if the answer is “yes.”

Check out the “Are you bleeding?” Category for some “fun” stories!


I’ve always been fascinated with language, and having a child is a crash-course in not only teaching a language but learning one as well.

Over the years, I’ve been careful to record the “Claire-isms,” the words and phrases that Claire makes up. As I looked back through these, what I feared is true! I’d already forgotten some of them.

It’s a good thing I’d written them down when I had a chance!

Check it out: Claire-isms!


Well, it’s finally here! In honor of our 10-year wedding anniversary next month (almost 14 years together…can you believe it!?) my husband and I are escaping to Hawaii for two glorious weeks of play. The grandparents have arrived for two weeks of play as well, but they’ll have their work cut out for them, too.

Play is hard work when a preschooler is involved.

I’ve got some things set to auto-post these two weeks. For your reading pleasure, I’m pulling up some categories, dusting them off, and providing links to them. I love reading back through our stories. It’s one (if not the main) reason I love writing here at The Casual Perfectionist.

So, sit back, relax and start reading.

Hey! That’s on my To Do List for the next couple of weeks, too!


If I was feeling sassy, I’d tell her to ask them.

Well, we have done what we have done, and we’ve almost got put back what we don’t have done. In other words, the kitchen is almost usable for our guests!

When we get back from Hawaii, we’ll tackle the remaining cabinet doors and get the floor installation scheduled.

This trip is a little different for us. In the past, we’ve had trips that were mostly adventure with a little bit of relaxation thrown in. This trip is mostly relaxation with a little bit of adventure thrown in.

I can’t wait!

I mean, when I hear myself say, “I’m going to try really hard to relax!” it means that I really need it.

This is also the longest I’ve been away from Claire. In March, we did a small trial run of this, and there were hardly any tears. Oh, and Claire handled it well, too. 😉

This trip is a little different also in the fact that the grandparents will be staying in our room instead of the guest room. This way, getting up and getting ready for school will be easier, and things should run smoothly.

When told about these new arrangements, Claire had a question: “Momma?” she asked. “Will Grandma and PaPa be sleeping in your bed?”

“Yes!” I said.

“Will they roll around and hug each other like you and Daddy do?”



Painting, Painting, Painting, and More Painting

Posting will be light this week, as I’m painting. (If you can’t tell by the title…) 😉

In fact, I painted for 8.5 hours yesterday. (Yes, for real.)

That does not count the hour break I took to eat lunch and go get more paint. This does not count the time I spent painting the cabinet doors on Friday and Saturday or the hours we spent painting on Sunday. Yesterday, I was all alone in the painting arena, but I had help on Sunday.

She did a great job!

Well, my allotted break-time is over.  I’m such a meticulous slow painter that there is no time to stand around here!

In fact, if you stand still long enough around here, you’re likely to be painted with primer, two coats of white and then however many coats of “Baked Brie” it takes to make you look nice on the outside. 🙂