Friday, August 31, 2012

One thing off of my bucket list

From the time we moved into this house until now, one item on my "bucket list" was to have a family portrait done at the beach and have a big one made to go on my fireplace above the mantel in the den.

When we reached the end of our beach vacation this year, we accomplished the first part of my dream. We had family portraits done on location.

I went with the idea to take some pictures with my camera and hope to get one good enough to enlarge to maybe an 8x10 size. Not big enough for the fireplace, but maybe the mantel. In my dream picture I wanted us all to wear white and khaki colored clothes.

On Wednesday afternoon, unknown to me, Beth and John started discussing the picture. Beth urged John to call a professional and see if we could get a "real" portrait. She just googled and found someone in Wilmington. John was skeptical, (we only had a few hours on the next day when all 6 of our kids would be here) but called anyway. Low and behold, she was available and her prices were great. So he set the appointment. It turns out she was great and very easy to work with!

I was beyond excited. I'd always envisioned boys in khaki and white and girls in white dresses. Well, we had no time to pull off the dresses, but everyone did have khaki and white, except for Daniel. A quick trip to Wal Mart remedied that problem. I thought everyone had khaki and white. With the photographer sitting in the house, I went to put on my khaki skort. The one I had worn on the way to the beach. The one I thought I had worn to the beach. The one I took off before church and laid on my bed, because I decided to wear something else to church and was going to pack the skort.  The one that was still sitting on my bed in Raleigh! UGGGGH! So there's the story why everyone is wearing khaki and white...except for the one who issued the color coordination edict!

We got some great pictures. The one disappointment is Abbey. On the way to the beach, Beth put a little lip gloss on Abster's lips. So in most of the pictures, she refuses to smile. She's afraid it will mess up her lipstick.  Only a few of them are good of her.

Below are some of the best.

The Whole Family

The next two are my choices for my "over the mantle" portrait. I can't decided which is best. If you want, I'd love to hear some opinions about which is the best.

We have lots and lots of great pics of the kids to choose from:
The Girls

The Boys

The littles

The whole crew
(I really wish we could have gotten our son-in-laws, but the schedules just didn't work)

A couple of good ones of me and my honey

So, one notch in my bucket list belt has been filled. I'm grateful to my kids and hubby, who care enough for me to see that my wishes are granted! Oh, what a blessed lady I am!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More beach memories

So many great memories made...

My mom and dad got to see the beach for the first time in many, many years.

Many games of beach frisbee and football

Watching the Olympics every evening.

Thanks to Beth and Greg's iPad, a new video game junkie is born, (especially addicted toTemple Run and Angry Birds)

Played lots of ping pong.

My favorite quote from Daniel to me, "Wow, Mom! With your eye hand coordination, I never would have thought you could play ping-pong." (It's wonderful my kids hold me in such high regard isn't it?)

And generally, for the most part, really, really enjoyed being together! 

Of course, it helps when you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery the Lord gave us!

At night

Early evening
Breathtakingly beautiful!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sing with me, "I wear my sunglasses at night..."

Abbey and Elijah take turns getting "put in bed". One waits in the bed while the other gets a story, song and cuddle time. The other night Elijah went first, and when I got into Abbey's room this is what I found:

I don't know if the glare from the lamps was too bright, if she was getting ready for the sunrise, or if she just passed out from exhaustion in the middle of play. I'd put my money on the latter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yep, I think I'm gonna make it.

I'm going to be alright. I'm going to make it. Just like the proverbial little engine that could, I keep telling myself over and over again... You're going to be ok, the hurt will go lessen, you're gonna make it!

These past few days have been so hard for me. I tell myself to get over it, it's not like there's been a death or anything. But, yet, there has been a death.

Our usual day to day living has changed has died.

A few days ago, our house was bustling with people. Now a death-like silence fills the air. Not that Abbey and Elijah aren't sometimes loud, but they don't make up for the lack of TV, music from computers, guitar playing, friends visiting, or ear shattering drum practices that filled our house this summer.

But as I believe with physical death there follows eternal life, and therefore, with this symbolic death new life will be recreated. It is this fact that I'm clinging to. I'm making a determined effort to choose joy. I'm choosing to not dwell on what's lost, but dwell on what's to be made new.

I'm not dwelling on the fact that right now as I type this, I'm missing hearing a big-footed gait come bounding down the stairs to tell me something about his day, some new thing he's discovered, what he's eaten (usually bragging over the abundance), what he did in weight lifting or swimming, or just asking my advice about something he's contemplating.

I'm not dwelling on how much Abbey and Elijah miss having him around. I bet they've said a hundred times in the past couple of days, "I miss Daniel" or "I don't want Daniel to go to college".

I'm not fixated on the fact that I can't just "run to the store" for a minute, without finding 2 pairs of shoes, (sometimes not an easy task),  buckling carseats and lugging two reluctant little ones into the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk.

I am thinking about how my housework duties have decreased. Less people equals less food to prepare, less laundry and less mess to clean up.

I'm certainly thankful for the smallness of our world today. I've had several texts from Daniel since he's been at school. I don't feel like he's cut off from us totally.

What I am dwelling on is how happy and proud I am of how he has worked to be where he is. Because of the AP classes and exams he took, he's got about a semester's worth of hours already logged in. As for his dedication to swimming, that should allow him be a contributing member of the swim team right off the bat.

I'm focusing on what a neat young man he is. He makes me thankful for the kind of person he has chosen to be. The kind of person that I enjoy being around. One who earnestly seeks to live for God. Not perfect by any means, but always striving to be better.

These are the things I'm fixating my mind on.  While I do mourn the change, I recognize that life without change is stagnant, not productive. I don't want that for us or Daniel. 

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In his dorm room right before we left. 

Abbey and Elijah making sure the bed was comfy.

Definitely tears in those eyes.

Not a fun day for me and John, by any means. But, if  I will keep my eyes focused on the good and concentrate on the positive, and with the Lord's help, then yes, I think I will make it!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Elijah and Abbey's first game of "pow-pow"

Putt-Putt or Miniature Golf, as it is normally called. It just took Elijah a while to get the real name. He called it "pow-pow", so the name stuck!

While at the beach, John had the idea to go out and play putt-putt. I'm not a big fan of playing putt-putt, (insert--I'm horrible at it), so I went along as the self designated score keeper. I really enjoyed myself, as did everyone.

It was Abbey and Elijah's first adventure with hitting a small ball into crazily placed little holes. They had a blast. They each had a hole in one at some point in the evening, which is amazing, especially for Elijah. The first few times he swung, he missed the ball completely.

Maybe it was big sister, Beth's, tutelage that did it??

Eventually, he had reason to celebrate.

As Abbey did after her hole in one.

The big sisters got a chance to chat and get caught up with each other's lives.

Can you tell they're related? Look how they are both standing.

And big brother just was his crazy self.

Afterwards...Ice Cream!!

In our family, no beach trip is complete without a putt-putt/ice cream outing!