Sunday, July 24, 2011

You Are My Sunshine

Boy am I wrapped around his cute little finger. As if it isn't bad enough, he is now singing to me each day. It's so hard to get this little man to lay down for naps or for night time. So he likes to prolong the process by asking me to come 'nuggle' him. Yes, he wants some snuggles. While lying down next to him, he gives me his prized possession, his monkey, and then he begins to kiss my arm, my shoulder, my hand, and my cheek. I usually like to sing to him and he has finally started singing back to me. He now sings "you are my sunshine" right back to me. Wow! totally breaks my heart and locks in that already strong bond. At night time he sits as his door and sings aloud to me, hoping I will come get him out of bed. It doesn't work but it sure does sound cute! He sings like me, off key and loud!

There is just something special about a mommas love with her son. I guess this is the same bond that Paul has with our daughters. It's so special and most certainly eternal. Sometimes you meet a mother who has lost her child. She lost more than the child, she has lost a part of herself. It's impossible to lose a child and remain completely whole, in my inexperienced opinion. I look at these kids of mine and just want to hold on so tight and keep them from ever leaving, getting hurt, getting lost, or even growing up sometimes. I just wanna hug on their necks and never let go. Of course, that would be completely selfish, debilitating, and incredibly cruel. I have to let go each and everyday. They are gifts to me from up above. I thank my God for each day I have with them. and the song ends with "...and please don't take my sunshine away..." Lincoln keeps saying, "I not taking your sunshine away, mommy."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Family Camp!

Have you ever heard of Family Camp? Yep, the entire family went to camp this year. Before we even left, Kennedy said to me "Mom, when will Mia and I go without our parents?" Oh my, I"m thinking "we haven't even left yet and you want to know when you can offload your parents?!!". That's my independent child for ya! Thanks to some very dear and incredibly generous friends, we were able to go for free. We never would have been able to scrape it up this year. Family Camp in Forest Home, CA is an ingenious idea!! Kids went to VBS like classes in the morning while we went to a session. Then we met up for lunch and spent the next 6 hours swimming, kayaking, hiking, playing in the creek, fishing, traveling the ropes course, rock climbing, drinking coffee..........whatever we wanted to as a family!! Evening time was nice for us to go to another session or just hang while kids were cared for by a CCA (child care assistant). The camp provides one for each family.

I watched Kennedy come alive in the outdoors. The girls have been complaining for years, as we make them hike every year. But it is finally growing on them and all Kennedy wanted to do was hike and explore the woods. Mia made it clear that "she doesn't do fishing!" I had to laugh. But she sure did take the plunge and zoomed down the crazy high slide into the lake first! Kennedy soon followed with great hesitation and then Linc took the dare. Kennedy rock climbed for the 1st time and loved it. She enjoyed doing a ropes course. In fact, all 5 of us were up in the air walking on ropes and ladders. My stomach was all in knots due to my fear of heights but how could I tell a 7 year old how scared I was?!! She was so brave!

Getting away, turning off the phones, putting DVDs away, and just enjoying the outdoors was exactly what we needed. We are beginning to readdress our family goals and start updating them. I'm getting ready to read a book called Raising A Trailblazer. We we would like to become more intentional with rites of passages in our kids' lives. (ages 10, 13, 16, 18). Each year will allow us to teach our children some key character traits and leadership qualities that lie within them. We want to challenge them to use them for His glory!! Well, that's a whole other blog!!

Packing and Unpacking......15 Years!

Almost impossible to believe that we've been married for 15 years. And what have we packed in during this time?? Well let's see: Missions trips to Africa 3x, Ecuador 3x, Venezuela, Peru, and Guatemala. Celebrations in Mexico....twice. Worked at 6 wonderful churches, birthed 3 children, parented 4 different dogs, bought and sold 4 houses, no broken bones, 1 car accident, 16 speeding tickets, and a few other adventures. We sure do have some incredible stories: jumping off 40 foot cliffs into the river, rock climbing in Arkansas, sailing in the swimmers side with the McGinnis family, stealing the 300lb Shanahan stone pig, and moving across the country 2x in one year!
So how do I feel after 15 years of being married to the same person? Well, I'm certainly not bored, not disappointed and most of all I'm not 'just surviving it.' We promised one another that we wouldn't be THAT couple that merely SURVIVES their marriage just to say that they are 'still married' after one thousand years. We want to LIVE in our marriage. Because we are both 1st borns who do not settle for 2nd and do not give in has presented some very fun and noisy battles. But in the midst of it all, we have enjoyed being on the 'same team' and coming along side one another, especially in difficult times.

We are adding one more adventure to our list this year. We head off to Hawaii in November to celebrate the big 15!! We cannot wait!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Unplanned Commotion Works Best

Sometimes I find myself getting caught up "planning" family fun and creating the perfect environments for vacations, making sure the destination is the most unimaginaeable petri dish for family fun! Resulting in paying way too much money, dealing with normal bloopers such as: tired/cranky children, flat tires, forgotten binkis, etc........The older I get the more I realize that just ceasing the moment with everyone home and jumping into a game of Monopoly, Uno Attack, pillow fights, swimming pools, or just camping in our own backyard like hillbillys can be triumphant in the memory making process. Today we had tons of errands to run. I started by taking 2 kids to run errands while Paul kept 1 kid to help him hook up the sound system and get truck detailed at car wash. I then returned and we traded kids. He took the other two kids to wash/detail the mini-van and I stayed home with Kennedy this time. She was jumping with glee cause she got mom all to herself. The first thing we did was warm up peanut butter and chocolate chips in microwave and eat it out of the bowl with a spoon. Next we headed out to the backyard to play Mermaids in the pool. She had to give me a crash course in that area! I taught her how to do a sommersault in the water and how to swim without taking breaths. Then we balanced on a circular inner-tube and see-sawed back and forth. It ended with me falling over and coming up out of water looking like George Washington with my seawead hair and floating sun glasses!

As the other returned, we all began the diving process and learning how to dive by jumping, head first into a inner tube! Paul decided to forget about finishing the details on the cars and dove into the water to help Lincoln swim. In a few hours we had taught Linc. how to swim, girls how to dive, and earned a pretty good tan! Today truly takes the cake! My day started with a 6mile run and pancakes........I had no idea that I'd be teaching Kennedy free style swim and then doing the rapids on an inner tube with my 7 year old. Tonight, Paul and I go out on our date for our 15th wedding anniversary. I couldn't have planned today. It has been perfect! I'm grateful for this much needed time together as a family. Ironically enough, this is one of the few summers that we haven't taken a vacation and yet being at home has been a blast!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks.........Fired...........and then Fireworks...........

Who would have imagined that as we chased dazzling firebugs, watched grown men jump for glee with Kroger brand mini-explosives, and exhaled through a sweaty game of freeze tag that the next 4th of July would be 6 states back over towards the West? This 4th of July was celebrated in Arizona with old friends, swimming, fried chicken, and sparklers. As we sat in the cool breeze (a storm was blowing in) and watched the grand finale of fireworks, I remembered that one year ago, we attended church together as a family for the 1st time in Atlanta. We then rushed home to begin our 4th with friends who drove down from Indiana. If you had stopped me and told me you were a prophet and that I'd be back in AZ for my next 4th of July, I would have sighed my disbelieving chuckle and retaliated with "dream on, I'm not moving again!!" And dreaming we are..........feels that way some days. I have to remind myself what exactly we have been through this year. The kids were a little out of whack the past few weeks and I couldn't figure out why on earth they were acting so peculiar. My girlfriend gently reminded me that we have moved twice in one year, changed schools twice (soon to be three x) and gone to Guatemala, and now here we are. Oh yeah, I guess I have just buldozed right through it and forgot how difficult it can be to keep transplanting.

However nuts this past year has been, it has also been one that has given abundantly. Before I opened my bible or my devotional today, I couldn't help but look around and see how wonderfully blessed our family is. I see three healthy kids, an amazing husband, a faithful church family, life-long friends, a pleasant home, filled cupboards and refrigerator, 2 cars in the garage, and most of all..........a daily relationship with the Creator. At the end of the day the kids could be sick, my husband could be lost, my house gone, no food, and no cars and yet still............I would have to give my Creator praise. Our praise is not dependent upon what He is doing for us now; but dependent upon Who He is and what he already "did". At least for us, we are trying to remain focused on Him and what He has already done for us on the cross; makes it really difficult to complain about the 'now'. Not saying we don't complain or even beg for reprieve but in the end.........feeling thankful.