Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Monday's Child

My favorite second born baby girl celebrates a birthday today. She's told me in years past that reading my blog on her birthday is one of her favorite things so I try hard not to drop that ball.


Putting words to feelings has sometimes felt like too much this year. Too complicated, too personal, too everything.

But today I'm going to try.

Because the birthday girl has taught me so much, and while we often say we just want to forget all the painful things we've ever walked through I don't.

I want to remember how my bright eyed baby girl has looked for joy in the middle of a hard thing.

I want to remember the wisdom she's shown and how she's grown in ways she maybe didn't want to grow, but she pressed in and pressed on, and in so doing found her faith to be a sure sure thing.

I want to remember the way she has doled out grace by the bucketful and I want to do the same.

Happy birthday to my bold, big-hearted, beautiful girl.

It is my great great joy to be your momma and I pray this next year is filled with God's tender mercies and blessings abundant. May you always laugh easy and love great big xo

Friday, September 6, 2019

Long Time No Blog

I do still have a blog, I just haven't been here in a while. Nearly a month but who's counting? No worries, I excel at cramming a month's worth of happenings into a single post so strap in.

Actually no need to strap in because it's been a pretty low key month round here. Our definition of low key that is. Other people might say we're still awfully busy but we've managed not to leave town so that's something.

Wait. Hubs left town. He popped over to Tennessee for a couple of days to visit his mom, but other than that we've been planted here at the lake.

And maybe instead of telling you ALL the things I'll pick just five that stand out in my mind-

1. The dogs. Y'all. It's almost like hubs has a job, and the responsibilities of that job are focused primarily on wearing out the newest addition. Hubs takes the little brown dog for long walks, he swims with him, he kayaks with him...well hubs kayaks and little brown dog sits on hubs lap the kayak, but even when he's just sitting he's on alert. He knows as soon as that kayak hits the beach hubs will throw the baton into the water approximately 47 times and he will fetch it all 47 times. Then they'll kayak back to the dock and little brown dog will launch himself off the dock after that same baton another 47 times, and even after all of that the little brown dog will not seem overly exhausted.


Hubs on the other hand...

And Daughter2's dog has been sick since Sunday so she has needed watching. Normally the greyhound is super low maintenance, in fact we joke she's like living with a stuffed animal, but then hubs spent all of Tuesday morning with her at the vet because Daughter2 needed to go to work and great dads step in where they're needed. Hubs is a great dad.

For people and for animals.

2. Also he's a whole year older.


He had a big birthday recently, and we had the best time celebrating his special day. We invited a whole slew of friends and neighbors to bring their favorite raft or noodle and come for a 'float party'.



The weather could not have been more perfect and it was a great way to ring in a new decade.

photo credit: Pam N. 

Still young at heart!

3. We've done lots of face timing with our daughter and grandson in South Korea this past month, and we love that. Facetime really does make them feel not so far away. Daughter1 generally calls in the evening which is their tomorrow morning and that works on both sides of the world.


They've settled in beautifully and if you're not following her blog and/or YouTube channel you should. She has made several short videos that are wonderful and give you a fun glimpse into life overseas. Click here for her YouTube channel and click here to visit her blog.

4. We've had lots of relaxed evenings with nearby friends and neighbors, most recently at a local brewery where the Cousins Maine Lobster Truck made an appearance.


It also happened to be the night of the Clemson home opener (they killed it btw) so downtown was hopping, but we enjoyed that. Even better Daughter2 offered to hold a place for our gang in the super long line, and we all gave the lobster rolls two thumbs up! You should know that lobster tots are a thing and they're delicious.


The Cousins have a great story, but essentially they got their big break on Shark Tank after being asked more than once to audition for the program. Turns out producers of the show were some of their earliest customers and eventually convinced them to try out. They have over twenty trucks now in something like thirteen cities, and ours was I think from Charlotte.

5. Lastly but not leastly we have marveled at God's handiwork in a water colored early morning sky-


Been sun kissed-


And heaven blessed-






Not quite ready to let summer go...

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Light In The Wednesday Thursday Medley

Today is National Lighthouse Day. Who knew?

Actually it was yesterday, and I did write my answers yesterday but then it all got away from me and I never made it back to my blog to hit publish. Also, the only reason I know yesterday was National Lighthouse Day is because that's the theme in this week's Wednesday Medley hosted by Terri over at Your Friend From Florida. The questions didn't sound like a brain strain so thought I'd play along.

Here we go-

1. Let's start with a number-how many lighthouses have you visited?

Hmmm...maybe this will strain my brain? We have lived mostly on the East Coast which I'm pretty sure is where you'll find a fair chunk of the lighthouses in America. I'm sure there's more but the ones that popped into my head are Cape Hatteras, Portland Head, Mystic Seaport, the Baltimore Harbor Light, Point Lookout, and Thomas Point all in Maryland, Point Arena and Heceta Head in California, and Cape Blanco on the Oregon coast. I guess about ten, but there are probably some I'm forgetting. 

Portland Head Light

2. Have you been inside a lighthouse and did you walk to the top?

I have been inside a lighthouse, the most recent being Cape Blanco on the Oregon Coast. 

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

3. Do you seek them out when you're traveling or are you not that big of a fan?

I wouldn't say we seek them out, but if there's a lighthouse along a route we're traveling then we'll definitely make a stop. 

Point Arena

4. Do you have a favorite scripture or another reference to share with us concerning a guiding light in your life?

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105

5. If you don't collect lighthouses when you travel is there something else tangible you tend to collect as a souvenir when on vacation or a road trip?

I don't collect lighthouses but I do try to purchase a Christmas ornament wherever we roam. It's one of my favorite things about our tree each year, the lovely reminders of places we've been all around the world. 

6. Please share something with us about your week.

On Monday I met daughter2 in her classroom to help with some of the cutting-taping-gluing-that needs doing prior to a  new school year starting. Technically she doesn't need to report until sometime next week, but she's already been in her classroom working on set up because that's how most teachers roll. 

Anyone who still thinks teachers have summers 'off' hasn't been around a good teacher in recent years. Sure there are a few who might do nearly nothing over the summer, but most of the teachers I know are hard at work preparing for the next school year in some form or fashion all summer long. 

My daughter took an online class that lasted most of the summer. She also took an in-person class, wrote curriculum for the county, read several new books on classroom discipline and related topics, attended tech in-services and assorted other meetings, and spent many an hour and dollar at Michael's-Target-Dollar Store-The Teacher Store searching for interesting, new, and necessary items for her classroom. 

Thinking of all the great teachers out there as they return to the classroom and the noble, often thankless, still honorable, hard work they do every day. 

"Teaching is the greatest act of optimism" Colleen Wilcox

Thursday, August 1, 2019

About Those Mysterious Ways

Sixteen years ago we moved to England. We spent six mostly glorious, sometimes challenging, oftentimes edifying, ever so memorable years living in a small village not far from London.

People moved in and out of the country on a regular basis which meant every single year you were forced to bid tearful goodbyes to once-upon-a-time strangers who had quickly become dear friends. And every single year you learned to re-open your heart and home and welcome the new strangers who in the blink of an eye would also become cherished friends.

For five years I hosted a women's bible study in my home, and the women who walked in and out of my great big front door, the one with no handle and the old fashioned bell, were some of the most extraordinary women I've ever had the privilege to know.

One of those women I'll call K. Her husband was in the Air Force so they left the UK around the same time we did and have moved several times since because that's the nature of the Air Force. We've also moved several times because that's just what we do. ahem I haven't seen my friend K since we left England ten years ago.

On Saturday night my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson had dinner in her home.

In South Korea.

Because she too is currently residing there with her family, and because God is so incredibly good to remind us He goes before us in the hard things. The not so hard things too but maybe we look for Him a little more in the hard.

I can never get over the smallness of this great big world.

The 'kids' are doing great as they settle in to their new life on the other side of the globe, but knowing someone is there to 'welcome the new strangers' is such a gift, and one for which I feel tremendous gratitude.

When I started this blog we lived across the pond and I had this verse in my header-

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:9-10

It was a verse I took great comfort in and one that came to the top of my brain as my daughter talked about having dinner in their home.

Even on the far side of the sea He remembers us.
He guides us.
He holds us fast.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Two

Dear Little Man Cub,

Today you are two. Or maybe it's tomorrow which is your today? You're a million miles away from us geographically speaking, but never more than a millisecond from our thoughts.


Your mama made a video filled with snippets of your life this past year, and it's fun to see how much you've grown and changed. You're a full-fledged toddler boy now ready to take on the world, a new country, and a baby brother.

You like to lay your head on your mama's belly and say 'Awww'. I pray you and your brother are best buds from day one the same way your mama and auntie are and always have been.

Peas in a pod.
That's my prayer.

While everything about you is my favorite thing here are a few of my most favorite right now-

Grace. This tops the list because it's new and precious and tells me your heart is oh so tender. When a plate of food is put in front of you (definitely one of your favorite things) you stretch your arms out wide and grab the hands of the people beside you and shout GRACE!!

Everyone snaps too and smiles big and tries not to laugh as we bow our heads and say 'God is great God is good....' Then we say Amen and you say Amen, but you raise your hands high above your head when you say it so we all add a great big hallelujah and it just makes my heart beat wild with delight.

The way you love boats, planes, trucks, and trains, particularly one called Thomas. The world can say what it will, but I think loving all things that go is wired into a little boy's DNA.

Your minor obsession with rolling suitcases, backpacks, coolers, anything with wheels you can pull along behind you.

Your major obsession with balls of all sizes, shapes, colors, and sport. Footballs, baseballs, basketballs (or hoop as you like to call it), golf balls, balloons (boons) that look like balls, bubbles that look like balls, balls in books, people playing ball on TV,  the moon when it looks like a ball...just give you all the balls.

Books. Your current favorite is My First Book of Korean Words which I've read approximately 725 times in the last couple of weeks. You like the sing song rhyming and words that make you giggle-echwi (ahchoo!), kkachi (meaning magpie-that double k is fun to say), and especially the part where Nana reads the 'gimchi is so spicy it will make you squeal' and then we squeal.

Other current favorites are Bee-Bim-Bop (can't wait to taste some with you!), Fiddle-I-Fee, and In a People House. 

The way you say Korea when we ask you where you're moving-"Key-ee-ah"
The fact that when we ask you where you're moving you know the answer is Korea.


Doing laundry. Who knew this task could be so much fun? You like to help me put clothes in the washer and later in the dryer, but you especially love pushing all the buttons to make it go. Sometimes too many buttons and sometimes Nana isn't quick enough and you turn the machine off mid-cycle and we have to start over, but you don't mind.

The way you ask me for a 'bite' when I have a drink in my hand.

The way you say crouton, helicopter, gobbledygook, and onomatopoeia

The way you call me Didi. I know you're saying Nana but it comes out as Didi and now I'm loving Didi so maybe that name will stick. Secretly I'm hoping so.

The way you wake up happy and go to bed happy and sleep like a teenager and how you love to sit at the counter with a bowl of cereal like your Daddy and I get a glimpse of the actual teenager you will be one day.


The way you pronounce your Aunt's name. The way you look for her as soon as you wake up. The way she turns an almost melt down into something just the opposite. The way she is your person and how we all need someone to be our person and how lucky you are to know she's yours.


The way you want all the people you love close by.
In this way more than any other you are your mother's son.


Happy birthday my travelin' toddler boy-


You are so very precious and your Nana/Didi loves you deep and wide.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He makes straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Rhythm and Blues

So much to catch up on and write about I don't even know where to start. As we speak my daughter, son-in-law and the mancub are finally on their way to South Korea. They left the lake Sunday and made their way back to Seattle in order to catch an early morning flight today to the Land of Morning Calm.

That sounds nice doesn't it?


Especially after spending seven hours in an airport with an almost two year old waiting on a delayed airplane.


My girl said he was good as gold because he had his trusty suitcase and apparently right now that's all he needs to make him happy. He loves nothing better than a suitcase on wheels so we got him a little backpack of his own to wheel around, which let's be honest could also be more trouble than it's worth, but in this case was a huge win.


Hubs and I are home now, in something like recovery mode which means hosing down the highchair to put away til next time, taking down the port-a-crib and putting it back in storage til next time, although next time they're here the mancub will be in a big boy bed and his soon-to-be-born baby brother will be sleeping in that crib.


It means stacking books and shelving puzzles and putting Thomas the train with the basket of toys that gets carried downstairs 'til next time'. 

It means changing sheets, washing a million towels, and sipping coffee quietly on the porch with nobody popping up the stairs in adorable pjs, big smile, eyes a-twinkle, shouting HI!

It means everyday ordinary life with a little less life and a little more ordinary.


Ordinary is okay too you know.


This morning we sat on the porch and listened as a soft summer rain fell on the lake. The birds sang and we talked about our plans for the day and how I'm not cooking dinner but we still have to eat. About the car that needs another repair, the dog we've gained, the people we love.

And just like that we let ourselves fall, ever so gently, into this new old normal and the familiar rhythm of everyday life.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

Or 7,116 miles.

AKA the distance from here to there, with 'there' being South Korea and the mancub's soon to be new home.

My friend and neighbor (local peeps-Casual Moments Photography) is a fabulous photographer and since we'll be living 7,116 miles from the mister and his mom and dad too, we asked her to come snap a few pics of hubs and I with our grandson.



Be still my heart.


Baby boy's daddy was holed up in the library studying for his Boards, but his mama and aunt were in the house so they got in on the fun too.


Be still my heart.


Our little man turns two years old at the end of the month, and this time next year will have a baby brother to share life, adventure, and his mama's arms with. These shots with her are extra extra special-



There's a teeny tiny window of willingness to sit for a photo on a warm summer's day when you're almost two years old, but we persevered and are so glad we did.




 Be still my heart.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Easy Peasy

Summertime and the livin' is easy. 


Or easy peasy as the mancub likes to say. 

He and his mama have been at the lake with us for the past week, but he's gone to his other grandparents house this week. Sometimes people ask us if we dislike having to share our time with him when the kids are in town, but we don't mind. 

We might need a nap y'all. 

We're having the time of our lives with this sunny, chatty, busy boy in the house, and we're not thinking at all about the big move happening soon. 

               

Well maybe just a little teensy tiny bit, but mostly we're enjoying this time with our girl and her boy to the nth degree. Soaking up every ounce of sweetness there is and putting it in our pockets to pull out later when they're half a world away and we're missing them. We know how to do this and we are so excited for the incredible opportunity they have before them. 

Besides the mancub and his mama and his aunt we've had extended family coming and going and going and coming starting with hubs family at the end of June. Most of that weekend was spent in one of two places...here-


and here-


That's my mother-in-law in her happy place. Surrounded by all of her grown children which doesn't happen as often as she'd like. They're spread hither and yon so getting them all together requires planning and logistics. 

Or I guess you could just have a granddaughter/niece moving to South Korea. That works too. 


My neighbor has a backyard full of blueberry bushes and since she was going to be away she invited us to come over and pick. 


We've had blueberry waffles, blueberry cobbler, blueberries in our fruit salad, and blueberries by the 
handful. Yum!


Hubs family left on Monday and I did laundry and a quick grocery run before collecting my mom at the airport on Tuesday. 


She spent a couple of days with us at the lake then went on to my sister's for a few days there.



We hung out lakeside on the 4th of July and some friends and neighbors came by boat to watch the fireworks from our dock. Our across the cove neighbor puts on the most awesome display and boaters come from all around to see it.


I snapped this picture just as it was getting dark, but more boats made their way over as night fell. It's so much fun!


Boat hair. Don't care.

Actually that's a lie. I do kind of care but I also like the wind in my hair and you can't have it both ways. Baby boy likes the wind in his hair too so it's all good.

We had a couple of low key days swimming and boating and playing in the water which was grand, and then my sister and brother-in-law along with my niece and my mom trekked back to the lake for more family fun and a birthday dinner.


My mom and my brother-in-law share the same birth month and day so daughter2 worked her magic and made two fantabulous desserts to mark the occasion.


Carrot cake cupcakes for my brother-in-law and this super rich chocolate cake with a raspberry filling, chocolate ganache, and fudgy chocolate icing over all which was too scrumptious for words.


The Mister helped his great grandma read her cards and open her presents.



Par-tay!


And now about that nap...