Category: best summer ever

these magic moments

I blinked and we had lived through 3 manic weeks:

– the church/my place of employment moving (right after I was away for a weekend and KK was sick), while having Vacation Bible School and Rod being gone for 5 long, insomnia-ridden days
– VACATION at our favorite place (Disney World FTW!) – a whole new experience with a pregnancy in tow, 100 degree heat, and car trouble.
– back-to-school. Up at 6 (insomnia or not), lunches to make, traffic to fight, and 2 little girls who know everyone and everything this year!

I have this whole timetable in my head of how the next few months should go. There is a lot to do! Our granddaughter (!!!) is due around the beginning of November, which ushers in family visits, our favorite week (Thanksgiving always falls around Randa’s birthday), and the holiday season. Sometime shortly after that,

Our son will be born.

It is still sinking in. Our son. My little man. Himself. Jack. Our baby, the one we never expected and so much wanted, is a boy! I can’t think of a more fitting way to complete our family. I can’t wait until January!

So, other than making plans, rearranging the house, consoling insomnia with many re-watches of Downton Abbey, starting to cook again, trying to workout again, kicking off Life Groups at church (including ours for blended families!), and hoping to make room for a special writing project, here are the random happy moments of late.

IMG_8418My view of the Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom whilst my own 4 dwarfs rode the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster.

IMG_8429The big girls… the twins… Oh my goodness, how alike they are!

IMG_8430I am happy in so many ways that New Baby is a boy,
but one of them is that KK gets to stay our baby girl :)

IMG_8481Sassafrass having a moment with Tinkerbell. Tink asked Randa how Jasmine and Aladdin get that magic carpet to fly. Randa was sure to ask them….

IMG_8499I am pleased to report to you that it’s all about Genie magic.
(RIP, Robin Williams)

IMG_8441 KK and I spent some quality time together while Rod, Paige, and Randa rode the “cool” rides. We visited the Walt Disney museum at Hollywood Studios. KK decided she wanted to pose like Mickey, and this may be my favorite picture of her ever.

 

IMG_8519Upon my return to work, some of my co-workers had made an awesome hashbrown bar for local teachers. The leftovers were indeed happy!

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I am thrilled that the first grader in the household still wants to hold my hand the love way.

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I don’t like to focus on the “Princess and the Tomboy” aspect of our girls. Fact is, they are both very balanced little creatures whose interests vary. Randa loves to get dirty or sandy; KK loves to play with baby dolls and put outfits together. But their fashion sense… it is what it is. This is random Sunday morning. They are exactly who they are meant to be, and we love them just as they are!

Plenty to be happy about. Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails notwithstanding.

onesies from Gramma and Papa

What’s on your happy list this week?

#100happydays

the end of an era, you might say

That’s what Monica called it, so it works for me…

This morning was likely the last we all woke up with Paige living under our roof.

p-kk

p-randa

It’s different than leaving for college. She’ll be going to college…but she left to start her life.

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

She left 2 years ago to do the college thing… the one she’d always talked about. That was much scarier and traumatic. We were so new in town. There was no one here to say goodbye. There was no one here to miss her like we do. There was no one to offer understanding and solace.

This time is so different. We are all older, wiser, and more familiar. Paige was sent off with dinners and cupcakes and even a concert at the beach last night (I mean, it wasn’t actually in her honor, but still….)

So today has basically been a hodge-podge of quieter emotions and some reflection… about how much Paige is like her daddy (almost stoic in the face of emotional circumstances), about how this feels like she’s never coming back (I predicted a pastorate over a cowboy church in Montana…we’ll see), about how neat it is to see her through the eyes of our mutual friends as they bid her farewell and offer her support in her ministry endeavors, about how our nest is now half-empty, and we have ways to go…

p-monica

It was also a hodge-podge of our usual pop culture quotables. My day started with “The Living Years,” originally Mike & The Mechanics and recently/beautifully by The Isaacs. It quicly turned into Many Friends Quotes, namely from the episodes about Rachel moving out of Monica’s apartment (“IT’S THE END OF AN ERA…YOU MIGHT SAY!”) And finally, as we hugged goodbye, I couldn’t help but warble in my nearly-gone voice the lyrics of the Dixie Chicks first hit, because:

She needs wide open spaces,
room to make the big mistakes.
She needs new-ew-ew faces,
she knows the high stakes…

It was fun. Really.

And there were pictures… from a sisters’ goodbye, a little breakfast we got to have just with Rod, Paige, and me, and from this evening…when the little girls chose hot dogs and pool time to drown their proverbial sorrows. They’re all gonna be alright! <smile>
p-girls2 p-dad3 p-dad2 p-dad p-kelly
p-girls

summer lovin’ happened so fast

The #bestsummerever is quickly transitioning to #readyforfall.

museum

This week is the culmination of sorts. The last of our summer visitors will say goodbye. Paige is packing to leave for her new life in Charlotte (I need to learn how to spell that) with Shabbach Masters’ Commission on Monday. Then we will begin the countdown to having a kindergartner and first grader.

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The circle of life... is exhausting.

I was pretty sure my emotions were at bay until about an hour ago, when my husband sent me my new phone number. It seems after 2 years and 3 months in a new state, I am finally able to make the change. With the school and with work, it makes sense.

But seeing that 843-xxx-xxxx started me on a road of nostalgia. After all, I’ve been 708 since 1989, when 312 changed and well…whatever. Chicago has a lot of area codes. We had 3 or 4 in the same household. Myrtle Beach has one, and it’s time to embrace it.

 

Other things I’m embracing this week~

Our house is going bye-bye…our house in Illinois, that is. It’s full of details and very typical 2013 economics, but I’m thankful for closing this chapter. It is a house full of beautiful memories… getting married, making a family, bringing our babies home…but it stopped being where I thought of as home a long time ago. HOME is where we are together, my love and me, our kids (as many of them as we can have around!), and whoever is daring enough to call themselves our family. One of the most profound lessons learned for me in the past 2 years and 3 months is that definition of home.

IMG_2699Our wedding anniversary is Thursday. 10 years, baby, 10 YEARS! Yes, we celebrated this in March, on our marriage anniversary. Yes, we got married twice, so we celebrate twice every year. We will be delaying a big date night a little bit because of all the other stuff going on. But really, every day is a celebration with this guy! I’m thankful for the great health God has blessed him with this year. I’m thankful almost every moment of this #bestsummerever involved him being able to play and bask and enjoy with us!

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The week ahead will include scurried calls to update the phone number, turn summer hair into back-to-school hair, find the perfect backpacks, cook an awesome steak-and-fettuccine-alfredo-farewell-dinner, soak in some more free summer movies, find a babysitter to keep on retainer, and…get me to the beach.

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These faces make it easy to have a blast, even when the boat rocks or the waves take us by surprise.

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Lots of mixes metaphors here. I’m on medicine (for just a few days, thankfully) that makes my heart beat fast…and my emotions are trying to keep up with all the crazy change, again.

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Stay happy, friends. Summer isn’t over yet!

best summer ever

Truth is, for the last 4 summers, their mama has been preoccupied with other things…

2009 – Branson Gospel Music Convention (& lots of roadtrips)
2010 – Branson Gospel Music Revival (& lots of roadtrips)
2011 – Moving to a new state, starting new jobs (Mommy’s official ‘return to work’) at a new business, & Branson Gospel Music Revival
2012 – Moving to a new house, starting a new preschool/daycare, starting new jobs (& another new business)

Yeah. We’re done with all that.

Now that my kids are 5 and 6 years old, they are not as portable. They have opinions and desires. Thankfully, they do not look at the past 4 summers with the amount of stress and guilt that I do.

This summer, I have declared, with all the grandiose-ness of a child myself, will be The BEST summer ever!

It started with a visit from 23 of our closest relatives and our own staycation… cousins, slumber parties, Myrtle Beach attractions, plenty of pool and beach.

cousins swings cousins cousins shopping with gramma

It continued with a fun Father’s Day weekend with Gramma and Papa.

state park medieval times
It is further commenced by the opening of one of our Favorite Places In The World, Chipotle!

best chips and guac in the world Chipotle!

And it is filled with plenty of little treasures, like Party!Lights! and lanterns on the patio, spontaneous visits from friends and neighbors, small-town-feel baseball games, ice cream for breakfast, free movie mornings, and whatever else we can get into.

IMG_2247 IMG_2088 IMG_2346 IMG_2308 IMG_2282     party lights!

Happy Summer, friends. Here’s to the simple bliss of togetherness.