Thursday, June 16, 2011


We've packed it in for the last few weeks. Impromptu, quick texts fired off for days on end.... to roast hot dogs over one last bonfire, to hit up the local pool, to gather in someone else's backyard for a playdate, to play among our favorite patches and playgrounds and kiddy spots, to join us in a "pantry party." You know, to help us eat up everything we're not taking with us. Even now, as the movers are about to arrive, we look forward to a last slumber party in the playroom. Eight children, four and under, camping out among the boxes that hold our life and memories in their contents.

Hardly seems possible.
Several weeks ago some great friends here took me for a last "Mom's Night Out" to a favorite Mexican dive. When one friend tried to quietly pay for my bill, the waiter thought it was my birthday. Moments later I got the sombrero treatment, which lead to lots of confusion and laughter. I gave these mothers copies of the CD my family made me for Mother's Day and tried to write a little something that would convey how much they mean to me.
Best birthday party in May I've ever had.

Then last Sunday, we had a luau. Two of my dear friends and their families put it on, and they left no thoughtful detail untouched. These women have been my answered prayer, my strength, and a ton of fun. We love each other's kids as our own, and my girls are going to miss them terribly too.
From the twinkling lights to the pineapple+pictures centerpieces, from the photos strung across the canopies to the paper lanterns draped from up above, from the tasty food to the blast of a kids' area, from the opening prayer to the last tear filled sharing of memories and well-wishes and big embraces...

Hope is seriously a budding photographer. I didn't take but maybe one photo all night. She's pretty good, eh? Cannot wait on your many pics, Daphne!

My wonderful husband tried to reciprocate at the end, but for once in his life he was speechless. It's an amazing thing how God works, even when circumstances are difficult and even when you feel like you are floundering a little. He sees to your heart and, if you listen closely and love anyway, others see to your heart too.

The result is a village. One we could not have done without and who, in turn it seems, feel like we did something pretty special by them too.

The real count down is now on. I've pulled out clothes and supplies to last us our journey, organized, showed the house for the final time, and hugged the necks of people who I cannot wait to see one of these days. Whether that be for coming reunions here or in an eternity where there is no room for goodbye tears ever again.
I am so thankful that "aloha" indeed means both hello and goodbye because that's the only way I can say it:

Some favorite little spots around our home.

Aloha, sweet Middle Tennessee...

Until we meet again,

Monday, June 6, 2011


It is fitting that Memorial Day weekend is about remembering, about stopping to thank those who so selflessly and proudly put their lives on the lines so we can make...

memories of us.

One last CityFest, even if we missed most of the free food. All of us scavenging through our cars to come up with snacks, learning lessons about waiting in line for the littlest among us, playing hard with friends, and making it nearly a quarter the way through the movie that began at dusk because one of the best lessons I've learned is... try to leave while everyone is still having fun. Otherwise, you may be the proud owner of three worn out, crying babies who were practically just fine about thirty minutes ago.

One last cook-out with neighborhood friends who are just a bike ride down the road. Eating way too much good food, finding out they intended this celebration as a sweet send-off for us, and gathering around a big bonfire to the tune of sticky s'mores and laughter over the best roasting contraption. Ignoring the rule above, but knowing the short commute will pretty well compensate.

One of the last times to enjoy our backyard, a place that we have loved over the last three years. Breaking out a slip and slide I'd been saving, watching the girls get braver with each new running start down the slippery plastic, and getting to be great big kids ourselves. Some afternoon errands kept us from getting to enjoy another round of s'mores with friends, so we decided that a late evening trip to Sonic would have to do.

Sisters chasing each other after a coveted item. Maddie getting a riot out of Hope's outrage. Oh yes, classic backyard memory for sure.

Alysse could only get tiny tastes of that strawberry milkshake, but you could never tell from her delighted squeals.

Thank you to all of those who have risked their lives to give my family and I this chance to enjoy the beautiful country we live in, this chance to fill our tank full of more memories. Though it hardly seems adequate enough, we stopped that weekend to do something important...

to remember you.