Tag: summer

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!

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

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?


summer lovin’ happened so fast

The #bestsummerever is quickly transitioning to #readyforfall.


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.

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!


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.


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


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.


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.

Biker chicks

Two years ago, the excitement was that I got a bike stroller so they could ride with me.

Here we are, two harried summers and a few dozen bike rides later. I gave my bike away before the move (because a moving truck, trailer, 2 cars, and a bus could not contain all our crap), but I brought the stroller, thinking it would just be a matter of time before a few new bikes took residence in our garage.

I was right.



My babies are taking on the sidewalk on their own terms now. Sigh. Time flies by me in a blur of pink and purple and endless chatter and excited giggles.

Special thanks to our team of rocket engineers for making this evening possible…


This April 12

April 12 is a day of promise and victory for me, for our family.

It always will be.

On April 12, 2006, I was transformed from an “infertile stepmom of 2,” trying very hard to be hopeful in the light of a shattered dream to the recipient of a miracle and the happiest pregnant woman who ever lived.

{I really think I was the happiest one…}

Rod and I have been sort of counting down to April 12 this year… not formally, but sort of in that silent, knowing language of a couple who knows each other completely and is in the trench together.

We need to know what our next chapter is in order to get started on it.

On May 1, our home is rented to another family.

We have both applied for jobs in Chicagoland to no avail, at least not yet.

We have job offers in Myrtle Beach, SC…but the company needs to give a green light for them to start, and once they do, we need to find a place to live, and we need to move our family halfway across the country.

We are not restful spirits. We need stuff to do. We need deadlines and crunchtime and the semi-organized chaos of doing. And while we’re not exactly calm right now, with all our packing and a whirlwind trip to Nashville this week and planning for the ever-close Branson GMR, we are in a holding pattern.

And we don’t do so well with that.

We have been offered encouragement and lifted in prayer by so many people. I almost feel embarrassed. Our worries are, as KK would say, “teeny-tiny-lttle.” We are healthy. We have a landing pad (it’s a 40-ft coach, and families much bigger than we are live on them permanently…) We have options. And, miraculously, we have peace. Sure, my nerves are standing on edge (so if I have been snippy-snaps with you of late, I apologize), but my peace is rooted deep inside me. I know Whom I have believed…

So, this April 12, we will kiss goodbye 3 sisters who are staying at our current home with Mamaw – two of them working on their “summer knees,” as you can see, trek to Nashville (where we thought we’d be living by now, incidentally), and remember fondly how an April 12 changed our lives forever. Maybe on this April 12, they will change again.

{April 12, 2009 ~ April 12, 2010 ~ more April 12 reflections}