Saturday, July 31, 2010


There is something altogether comforting about the idea of a picnic to me. Spreading a blanket on a bed of grass or moseying up to the side of a worn old table. Pulling food out of a wicker basket or fun bag. I just love how it's something out of the ordinary, a change in scenery, a breath of fresh air.

Since becoming a parent, though, there is a new dimension to a picnic's beauty.

No crumbs to be swept up and no dishes piled in the sink.

Hold on, let me get a tissue. That last description really moved me. :)

This past weekend we pic-a-nicked with the best of them. Friday and Sunday were in honor of two families, one moving from our area and another who stopped by enroute to a move. Grilled hot dogs and bbq chicken, watermelon, cold salads, chips and salsa. Best of all, there was sweet fellowship-- which next to my first attempt at homemade peach pie, is by far the best kind of dessert.

Saturday was a day for family, though, and a day that I realized I needed even more than usual. So we packed up the girls and attempted our town's free outdoor movie night.

Oh, we jumped or waited on the jumpers depending on which girl you happened to be...

We got our sweaty, little faces painted...

We took full advantage of the free food, while wearing a beloved $2.98 Dora shirt that could very well walk on its own from the constant wear...

We danced barefoot in the grass, even showing off Daddy and Hope's classic move entitled "Angel Fall"...

And we forgot that we can never actually make it to the movie part because it takes so long for it to get dark. So about 8:45 pm we packed up our stuff and our two out of three worn out babies and headed home with the promise of a rain check on the movie part for Hope.

Which got me to thinking... wouldn't it be fun to rig up some sort of outdoor showing of "Mary Poppins" one day soon on our own turf?

Ooh, better yet... "Mary Poppins" with another side of picnic.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Afternoons

Man, oh man, has it been hot 'round these parts lately! Tennessee summers are quite humid. I've been thankful for a steady supply of popsicles, ice cold water bottles, a great affordable summer membership to our small town childrens' museum, and air conditioning.

Oh blessed air conditioning, how we love thee.

We simply find that we have no choice, you see...

No choice except to close the curtains on the bright sunshine and constant feeling of busy, kick off our shoes, and enjoy afternoons just like these.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BUGGIN' Out and TURNIN' Two!

This past weekend another little girl in our house moved up in the world. She didn't even ask our permission or anything, just went on ahead and turned two.

Also went on ahead and looked it while she was at it.
When dreaming up her second birthday party we knew it had to be at the park, weather permitting. Maddie is our climber, jumper, twirler, runner, dancer girl. Add in a little sunshine and some swings and she's pretty much good to go for as long as you'll let her be.

Her and her bare feet.
We also thought up the buggy theme not only because it's cute and easy to work with, but believe it or not, Maddie loves to look at bugs. Though she's an on-the-move kind of girl these days, she's also got this careful nature about her... always has. In learning to walk I can hardly remember many stumbles. So she is with little critters... caterpillars, ladybugs, beetles. Bonus is that she thinks they're sooo funny.

Maddie tends to think a lot of things are funny, which is bonus indeed.

And so we had a morning at the park with a bunch of her little friends. It was an overcast morning and breezy, which was an unexpected gift. I was a little bummed that there was a big ball tournament going on next door because I envisioned a quiet, almost sleepy like environment... but that's okay. We turned up our Seeds' family worship CD, played on the playground, ate buggy basket snacks, went on a bug hunt, and dug into "dirt" cups for dessert.

Best of all, our middle flutterbye had a blast and we hope her friends did too!

After all the thoughtful guests left, we stayed on for a while just the five of us. Alysse was still sleeping from an early morning wake-up, Hope read and counted bugs and chatted with Daddy, and I got the chance to slow down and talk with Maddie while she swung. We talked about the original day of her birth, about all the details I hope she noticed from the day, about what we liked best. Then she started singing and I video-taped what we named her "Birthday Song."

We finally headed back home and everyone rested, while I slowly unloaded the car and set up Maddie's presents (that we always tell folks not to worry about bringing!) When the stirring began, Joe took the big girls and some coupons to get our favorite pizzas from Papa Murphys... spinach and pepperoni for the girls, chicken bacon artichoke for us... while I curled up to nurse Alysse. Upon their return home Hope had fallen asleep in the car, so we let Maddie open her gifts at her own slow pace without big sister to-- ahem-- help her along. Alysse was awake for this part and she gave us a couple of showstopping grins as a reminder that she likes parties too.

We soon woke Hope up, ate our pizza, and then went for an evening walk (that got a little too ambitious, I might add). It mattered not because we trucked it back with the promise of homemade watermelon lime popsicles.

We make good on such promises every time.

Why all these last details? I suppose it's because we love parties, the weeks of searching to make the frugal hoopla, the excitement of friends gathering to blow out candles and play and have a grand 'ole time.

But we also love sweet family time. Sure sometimes there are dirty diapers, time-outs, whining, and sharing ordeals during this sacred time. But so much more often,especially in afternoons and evenings such as these, this magical spell is cast. There is rich laughter, hugs, conversation.

There is family.

This one just wouldn't be the same without you, Madison Elise. Happy birthday, our fun-loving girl! You're as sensitive as you are spunky, as athletic as you are girly, as smart as you are silly, and sweeter than you are stubborn (though two has given you a surprising new outlook on stubborn, we must say). :)

We love you so.
~Daddy and Mama

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Morning Poetry

A blueberry morning...
A sun beaming down, a warm babe strapped to your chest kind of morning...
Precious friends sharing in the harvest, sharing in the fun...
Water bottles gulped, beads of sweat rolling down tiny foreheads...
Chubby little fingers picking, small voices asking, "Is this one blue enough?"...
Blueberry mornings.

A peach morning...
An almost didn't happen, but so glad it did kind of morning...
Rain pouring down, rain letting up, lulling littlest sister to sleep...
Small, sticky palms holding on tight...
Shouts of, "It's 'licious, Mama, it's 'licious!," just making us giggle more...
Learning that puddles are for jumping...
And memories are for the keeping...
Peach mornings.

Sweet, sweet mornings are these.

Friday, July 9, 2010

On the Fourth of July

My Mom and I love some Fourth of July. Always have. It's like a party planning dream come true... the colors, the traditions, the food, the excitement, the chance to remember our nation for what it was founded on. Another happy byproduct of B and A's wedding is that my parents could be in town to celebrate with us this year.

Alysse's first Independence Day had all the right ingredients for an easy, at home, recovering from the hoopla time. Judging by the number of morning meltdowns, boy did we need to recover. :) By evening, though, grilled avocado burgers, fried squash from the garden,red potato salad, melons, patriotic punch with blue twirly straws, and a basket of dollar aisle excitement had us all back in good spirits. Except those almost seven year-old sparklers, that is. Those would be from mine and Joe's wedding day.
I believe we got to it all except the water balloons, but our 97 degree days of late shouldn't make those too hard to experiment with soon enough. The biggest hit was the little popper ma-jigs... oh, how the girls giggled at their pop-popping sounds and our cheering them on.
Especially as they threw them in Daddy's jumping-out-of-his-skin direction.
Our driveway became the perfect grandstand for seeing fireworks off in the distance as they lit up the night sky. The raspberry on top was a bit of my Mom's leftover, homemade rehearsal dinner poundcake with a flickering blue candle... an early celebration of Maddie's upcoming second birthday since the grandparents won't be able to make it back in. The dress up gift case was nothing short of right up this almost two year-olds alley!

Our family so appreciates the men and women who serve us, who keep us safe so that days like this are possible. For memories like this to be made.

I hope we can love many more Fourth of July's in the years to come!

ps... The leftover, we danced till midnight and were still too tired to take it down the next day, hair-do on Hope... simply a holiday bonus! :)