Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall in Under Forty


Okay, so remember how we did the whole "In Season" thing over the summer? That was pretty fun, I thought. Maybe it gave you an idea or two? Maybe it was something semi-enjoyable to read?

Maybe you shouldn't tell me about it, if not? :)

Anyway, since Fall is one of those seasons I get positively giddy over, I thought it might be fun to try and do the season in under forty with a whole lot of bang for those bucks.

Here goes!

First up, the Mid-South Steamers... FREE at a local park (the "BIG PAWK!" as Hope calls it because of its castle theme). We got there by 9:30 am and eliminated most of the waiting, which also meant we got to ride the mini trains twice. Besides for an excited wiggling Maddie, it was a relaxing and enjoyable trek over the tracks.

Afterwards, along with some neighbor friends, we hit up the covered shed for a picnic. FREE because I packed what we had on hand... quick wheat quesidillas, chips and salsa, raisins, and water. Maddie and Hope BOTH slipping on a patch of water also FREE of charge... argh! Thankfully, neither really got hurt and my heart rate returned to normal at some point in the afternoon.

Since we avoided the hospital and all, we headed next to a friend's barn where she boards Beauty the Horse. The kids had a ball feeding and grooming her (the horse, not the friend, that is!) Unfortunately, Maddie napped through that part. Next time, wiggly one!
Returning home for the longest afternoon nap in history... another FREEBIE that I considered a big, fat BONUS!

Here's to some hopeful inspiration in enjoying the season to its fullest!

Friday, September 25, 2009

To Write

I enjoy blogging for a number of reasons. It's a great way to catch up with family and friends (and even some new friends!:) It allows the release of some of the creativity I enjoy with a few people who are over two. Hopefully portions encourage even just one soul from time to time. Then there are these three words: pictures and stories. Beautiful things, I believe.

But there's more.

A couple weeks ago Joe sent me an e-mail that basically thanked me for capturing our family's memories and stories. It was sweet and heartfelt, took me by surprise, and really meant a lot to me. You see, writing and making memories have always been close to my heart.

That's when it hit me. In addition to the hats of teacher, nurse, chef, chauffeur, etc. that I put on every day, I also can add the title of "family historian." The big things in life are worth capturing, for sure. I mean, we don't want to forget the moves we've made or the births of each of our children.

But there's more.

I don't want to forget the little things that are sure to become foggy as moments and days turn into years and decades. I want Hope to know that she has always loved to twirl for Jesus and for Madison to be reassured that her grin has always lit up the room . I want Joe to remember being silly and spending time with his daughters has made all the difference. I want to know that my children challenged me to be a better person and that the little things were some of the biggest after all.

For now I am grateful for this little place to record the moments that I can. I hope that someday my family will read these words and fully understand my heart toward each of them:

It is my honor and joy to be this gateway to the moments that have helped to define you. I pray that when you read the words and see the pictures here you will know that this was done to glorify the Lord and, thereby, to strengthen you.

I hope that someday, Joe, we will be old and grey sitting on a front porch somewhere together. That we will read portions of this to one another in awe of where God has taken our family. That we will share all these memories with grandchildren who just won't believe, "what mommy did when she was my age!"

I hope that someday, girls, you will sit down and pour over the pages that tell bits and pieces of your life's story. That you will cry and laugh and be glad you can "remember" in this way. That you will know, in our triumphs and in our utter failures, you are loved. You have a history. You have an irreplaceable role in this family.

You have an irreplaceable role and calling in this world.

My being given this front seat to each of your lives is indeed a joy and honor. I write because I love you down to the very details that time can make blurry. I write because I want to remember you the way you are now, forever and for always. I write because I know that you are headed to do great things, and I don't want to miss out on all the signs along the way.

I write because I am not even close to perfect and neither is our family, but He allows me to see the glory of the every day when I sit down to reflect. I write to remember for myself, not just in the years to come, but for the gift of today.

Do you know what I mean?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Singing in the Rain

We're still here.

I think.

Yes, yes... we are definitely still here. With all this rain and traveling and working and just life in general, it can be kinda tricky to tell. Then again, I know a lot of you out there know just exactly what I mean.

So last week we took off for PopPop and Nana's place with all the best intentions for resting and relaxing, while Daddy stayed behind to catch up on a boatload of work.

It started off better than according to plan. When you arrive to a triple-decker ice-cream cake made to Hope's most specific requests, how can it look like anything but blue skies?

But, just like the consistent downpour our region has been under, we woke up to viral infections that turned the forecast grey.

Between all the crankiness and cabin fever, we did manage to do quite a bit of this and that...

With some indoor pumpkin craziness to keep us entertained...

Some brave aunties and family came to visit us even with our scratchy throats. Then just before we left, we got to spend the afternoon at Uncle Billy's cheering on our VOLS.

May not have gone according to plan... then again, that is a pretty consistent forecast for this season of life. We continue to learn it's all about whether or not we choose to sing.

Come rain or shine.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wanna Be, Wanna Be... Like Daddy

Remember that slogan for the famous, tongue hanging, hoop jamming MJ? We've got some of that going on around here too, but with our own household name... DJ. Minus the whole tongue and hoop thing, that is.

(Though, these days, he can play a mean Little Tikes hoop from three point range. Brings down the driveway every time. And, DJ... Daddy Joe. Yep. Delirious. It's been quite a week).

Anyway,we've been getting cracked up at the subtle bits of conversation Hope seems to remember, the way her childlike radar hones in on things, the way she wants to know every morning, "Whhhyyy do you hafta go to work???"

Just two days ago, in fact, they were having this exact-same-millionth-time conversation as Joe explained how he works so that he can provide for us, specifically mentioning so that we can have a home. That's when Hope chimed in, "I'll pay for the house Daddy!"

Mercy, that child.

Also recently, she discovered that Daddy really likes Calvin and Hobbes. So she carries a volume or two around with her practically all the time while giving me news flashes like, "Me and Daddy weally yike these. I'm vewy caweful since these are Daddy's. These make me and Daddy yaff!"

This would explain why I checked on her during naptime to find this:

They share special cartoon time on Saturday mornings, with the Looney Tunes Anniversary Collection, if I must let it all hang out. Then Hope asks him about all of his favorites, then makes him ask about all of hers. They have tickle weasels and cheetahs and heaven knows what elses as part of their bedtime routine. They are a park duo that cannot be matched, and it takes my breath away to watch them slow dance.

Perhaps most importantly to Daddy, though, was this little conversation not too long ago.

H: I need to grow up, Daddy.

J: Why's that, Hopey?

H: So I can watch Spiwder Man.

A child after his own heart.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

just to be certain...

ham really does mean h(ope) A(ND) m(addie), just about any given day of the week.

i needed a laugh today, how about you? :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor of Love

Some might say we were brave (crazy?) to do this with 1-two year old, 2-one year olds, and 1-six month old. Especially since the last time we went it was just the four of us twenty/thirty somethings, me six months pregnant with Hope.
But, just look at these sweet faces...

Too much to resist! Off we went, all last minute like, to try our hand at tent camping together. Overall the kids did rather beautifully as they played hard in the dirt, sand, water, and grass. They even went down pretty easily after S'mores.

In fact, it was mostly all fun and games until about the eleven o'clock hour. Either it was this earlier camp meeting where they must have pow wowed about staying up half the night...
Or the campground's ridiculous karaoke till midnight, in honor of Labor Day, that did us in.

Either way, eventually all the babes called it a night and we woke up the next morning to a new campfire, raisiny oatmeal and honey filled biscuits on a stick, and a sleepy but renewed sense of adventure.

The trip may not have felt completely labor (or mosquito!) free, but it sure had its fill of lovely.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Out of In Season

Joe's watching football with the guys. The girls are mostly sleeping, if you count Hope reading yet another Arthur book over and over again. And Tucker's around here somewhere dog napping. That leaves me to some things I need to be doing with this atypical silence.

Like putting in a little Pride and Prejudice, setting all my laundry before me, returning a few phone calls, and deciding to share a final in season post.

This one was extra fun thanks to the county fair. The girls led the way since, as you can see, it was just their size.

Apple picking and seed planting...

Tractor riding and cow milking (or cow gazing depending on your viewpoint)...

In the end they got to exchange all their hard work for a little play dough, which then bought them animal crackers. We threw in a few rides as a bonus. Our farmer-ettes thought this was a pretty sweet deal indeed.

Since I have no recipes this go 'round, with the produce not being edible and all, how about a few of my favorite shots from the fairgrounds?

Makes me smile... a little slice of America, you know?

Check in with three simple girls, though. In the next week I'll try to post some summer soups from our garden as we all transition into the glorious season of fall.

Speaking of glorious and our beloved country, hope your Labor Day weekend is something special!