Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Break Fun

Summer break in our house means water time.  Often it's Nana and Papa's pool (which is always open for business, free of charge, and even includes food sometimes, if Nana happens to be around, yay!), but sometimes it's as simple as the slip n slide in the backyard.  While summer is not my favorite season, it has it's good points, especially when it's still new and exciting.  Elinor is terrified of the slip n slide after a few too many falls, so now when she gets on it, it's only on her belly.  Luckily, she's got a little watery birthday present of her own coming up next month.  The three younger girls (and the boys, if they happen to be around) also love to play with barbies in the water - so sweet! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A "Love" Letter

Dear Dad,
I hear this often on the radio, and I think of you, Dad (and Mom too, of course).  Especially with the Isaiah 40 reference.  You know, Dad, it's been a long road for the two of us.  I never doubted your love for me, ever.  But sometimes I doubted that you "liked" me.  I'd imagine I might have given you the same thought (eh, the teen years, what can I say?).  It's taken me almost 34 years to even start to grasp the extent of the impact you've had on the woman I am today.  Although we didn't have the "daddy"-daughter relationship modern culture seems to favor, at the core of our relationship was the very things that matter most.  To this day (and forever, I'm sure), you are my definition of integrity.  It was a word I didn't understand fully until many, many years after I'd moved out of your house and into my adult life.  I think that might have been why I didn't appreciate you fully.  I knew that you possessed integrity, but I only had the vaguest sense of what that word meant.  Well, I'm not so arrogant to think that I understand it fully now, but certainly I know much better what it means.  For me, I think it's the greatest quality any one human can possess (perhaps love gives it a run for its money, but I don't think of love as a quality, but more as an action).  It is a rare quality, I think.  Entirely too rare.  For me, in it's fullest, most complete sense, it is a uniquely Christian value.  It means security and trust for all who are fortunate enough to interact with you.  When you say something, you mean it.  When you promise something, you will deliver.  I'm not there yet.  I'm a work-in-progress.  But someday, by the grace of God, I hope my own grown children will say the same of James and I.  I love you Dad.  
Forever your daughter,

Colin's Day

I believe the next order of business is Colin's 5th birthday.  Five both sounds little and big at the same time, if that's possible.  Big because it means he's starting kindergarten, but still, five really isn't old at all if you think about it.  The years have flown by, because Colin was the start of the "second half" of our family - the last three kids - and they happened in such quick progression.  He was very proud to be five (although he insisted his birthday wasn't on June 6th, but instead was on the following Sunday, party day).  After a lot of waffling he finally settled on having an Angry Birds party (in all honesty that should probably be MY birthday party theme - I'm always happy to be left in the car with James' phone so that I can hone my mad Angry Bird skills).  We enjoyed a barbeque (brats for the sophisticated, hot dogs for the plebes), an absolutely gorgeous afternoon of relaxing in the backyard, and some cake and fellowship with family.  Late spring birthday parties are so easy, I have to say. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The First Half

Of June that is has absolutely flown by. I can't believe it (except for the fact that this happens every summer now). On June 2nd James and I attended Allegra's ballet recital. She was so excited to show off her "stuff" for us and we were glad to be able to be there for her. That girl loves to dance!

Other than that the summer has been full of fun and adventurous (to us, anyways) lunches, including this sushi recipe that was a dud with Ian, Allegra, me, and the little girls, but that James, Hero, and especially Colin enjoyed.  The nori is just so "fishy" smelling that I was about on my knees by the time I got done making the rolls, considering how much I despise fish.

And then a gratuitous picture of Elinor, just because I can and she's my (ginormous) baby. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

All's Quiet (For the Moment)

God's been whispering to me lately, and that's tough.  My life is so busy and loud that when God decides to whisper instead of speak loudly, it's hard for me to remember to listen sometimes.  I know He does this purposely, so that I will be still.  But it's still hard.  James and I, in our bible study, are in our first gospel this year - Mark.  In light of how I'm feeling I powerfully felt these verses inside the Parable of the Sower:

     Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.  Mark 4:18-19

I don't want to be that seed.  I want to be the fruitful seed.  But it is good to know where your weaknesses are, and this is one of mine - a tendency to get to immersed in this life.  Especially with all the crazy summer plans we are making.  Our June budget is high, very high, due to car maintenance/replacement stuff that has to happen before our August roadtrip, which means work, work, and more work for both James and I.  James will be working five nights a week at his second job and I've got crazy numbers to hit in sales for my store.  But I don't want to find myself sitting at the computer for hours a day while the kids have nothing to do, so I've decided to become a more scheduled mom.  It's a necessity this year.  Hero has swim team practice every week day morning for the next two months.  That's tough, but I think it's excellent for her (Allegra, Ian, and Colin will do two weeks' worth of swim lessons in July).  The rest of the kids need stuff to do and I need to get off my bum more too, so I'm instituting Monday through Thursday activity morning.  Twice a week we will pack up our uber healthy bento lunches and head off to Nana's and Papa's house for a full two hours of swimming (and I'm going to be right in there, being active too) and lunch, and the other two days a week we will spend an hour and a half including lunch at our subdivision playground (again, no sitting and reading for me, I'm going to be in there chasing Elinor around).  Although it sounds a bit petty, I will definitely need to pray to follow through with my plan.  I'm great at planning, but not so great at keeping it going through the long haul.  My plan is to to invest some money in bento boxes and new clothes in a smaller size for me, so I HAVE to keep up with it.  Also, and I've thought long and hard about putting this out there, because once I do, I'm making myself accountable to the public, but here goes - I'm going to quit soda.  Indeed it's even stronger than that:  God's been telling me all year that I've got to let it go, but I've been trying to ignore Him.  Maybe I'm the only crazy one out there that God would actually have to get so specific to about Diet Coke, but there you have it.  I'm a serious addict, and the amount I'm drinking is escalating.  It's got to to stop.  It's going to stop.  I have four more cans in the house.  And then that's it.  No more.  I'm not 100% sure if I need to go full-on cold turkey.  If we're at a restaurant can I order it, or is it okay for a party?  Or is it like alcohol - if you have a problem should you abstain completely?  I know some of you out there are recovered Diet Coke-aholics, so let me know what worked for you, pretty please.  Monday's going to be quit day.  Yikes!