Thursday, August 28, 2014

Signs of Life

In putting the photos together for this post, I noticed many of the "signs of life" were outside.  That is where we do as much life as possible, particularly during the summer....although apparently Aiden disagrees.

The other day walking to school to pick up the girls, I commented to Aiden on what an incredibly beautiful day it was and that we needed to enjoy it because before long, it would be cold.  His reply:

I think its kind of boring here in the summer.  Really?  Yeah, in winter there is so much stuff to snow, throw snowballs....

And that's when it hit disdain for winter clearly stems from the fact that I am not eating enough snow.    That is "easy cheesy lemon squeezy" (as Aiden would say) to fix....I'll have to give it a shot this year!  :)

Installment #3

Instead of seeing imperfections as thorns in my decorating flesh, I want to open my eyes and see them as signs of life.  These messes all stem from gifts in my life.  I still clean the mud off shoes (or make my boys do it), but I also know that if a neighbor walked in and saw a trail of mud, I wouldn't need to be embarrassed.  Its just proof of lives being lived, and houses are for living.  My home is a reflection of our life, and life's messes can be gloriously beautiful. ~The Nesting Place

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Project 365, Week 34

We were enjoying our last week of summer this week and easing back into routine with R starting daily football practice and the girls having two soccer practices.  Nothing like four kids in different activities to ramp things up.  Its all good and I know its going to be a great summer.

Hope you have a great week!

August 17
I came home from my long run to find the kids out in the yard doing face painting.  Avery did a pretty good job!
 Uncle Nathan came over and got right to work fixing the swings.  Avery said she had asked him to do it....such a great uncle!  :)
 August 18
The dreaded back-to-school shopping, but it really ended up not being bad....the pain of shopping, that is, though it still adds up...thankful for tax-free week.
 Tea party on the porch.  Why not?

 August 19
Though our "garden" seems to be behind by a couple weeks, I consider it a huge success that its not dead.  We've been carefully watching it and the kids have been asking when they can "harvest" the cucumber.  Finally it was time!

 Not so much the carrot though.
 It was a good day to give Shaun a quiet house, so the kids and I went to the children's museum with Aiden's birthday gift certificate.  It was just our speed!

 We found a patch of grass to have a picnic on.
 First soccer practice.  The girls are on the same team and the coach is the mom of one of Avery's classmates.  They are going to work hard and learn lots.
 While they were working, Aiden and his "girlfriend" played on the playscape.  I took her to the bathroom and when we returned Aiden was talking with some older kids.  Aiden left them and I said Aiden, who were you talking to?  He said, Just some kids....who didn't know much about bees. 

Then, when we left Aiden said, Mom, I think I need to break it off with Maggie.  
 August 20
I try to always make it a point to brighten the cashiers day on my way through.  This day, the kids were ahead of me in line.  They loaded all the groceries onto the belt and chatted with the cashier.  By the time I got close enough to pay, she was absolutely beaming and all the kids had contributed to blessing her.  There is such power in kindness.
 Shaun took the second part of his licensing, a grueling SEVEN hour exam.  And....he PASSED!!  So proud of him and we're all so happy the studying is over.
 August 21
Shaun was doing some digging and discovered a little patio.  We spent the rest of the day clearing out brush.

 Aiden got to go with my dad to see one of his favorite musical groups, the Blackwood Brothers.  He was there early helping to set up and it worked out that he ended up riding in their bus, following my dad in his car to their hotel.  He was in the bus for 20 miles and became a fast friend of the group.
 The next day the girls went to the assisted living home and sang.  The girls sang and did the motions to one of their VBS songs.
 August 22
After taking E to her visit, I dropped the girls off at Grandma's for a sleepover.  Then Aiden, E and I went to get some supplies for projects Shaun is beginning around the house.  Yes, our house!  I was so happy that it'd been a while since I'd been in the home goods store and also missing it a little.  Just a little.
August 23
The kids went with Grammy to a union picnic, a large and fun event they have every year.  I've never been but the kids sure were excited to go back.

Since R had a double practice session, Shaun and I were left with no kids!  We worked together and hung out together and it was SO nice to just be the two of us.  Grateful for grandparents!

Friday, August 22, 2014


There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.  ~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Be Brave

The other night we went to the river,  late enough that we had the place to ourselves.  The girls did some exploring and eventually got it in their heads that they should swim across to the other side.

Initially, they doubted themselves and debated the merits of attempting it.  What if they got stuck in the middle?  There were no towels.  If they did make it to the other side, how would they get back?

Though Shaun and I teach often about "doing it afraid" and how that never goes away, it just gets easier with practice, I chose to stay uninvolved in their conversation.

Finally, after a few more should-we/shouldn't we's, they stripped down to as few clothes as they could  and just went for it.
 They made it to the other side...and back!  Their hearts were pumping and their arms were tired, but they had done it!!  
 They were so proud, so confident.  In that moment, they felt like they could conquer anything.  They did it again, maybe just to prove to themselves that it had been real, maybe to experience that euphoric feeling once more.

It was such a beautiful story to watch unfold.  I pray that they keep that lesson, and the feeling from it close to their hearts.
 "Doing it afraid" doesn't end when you turn 21.  Its a lifelong effort.  Today, let's face that thing we really know we need to do or pull out that dream that's been tucked away and let's be brave!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Project 365, Week 33

Uncharacteristically, I wasn't "feeling" taking pictures this week.  In fact, one day I took none {gasp!}.  Still, I'm soaking up these days of having the kids around, being kids.  Life is sweet.

August 10
Aiden thinks Renna is SO cute and is so gentle and sweet with her.
 August 11
Girls night out on a lovely evening.  Thankful for friends who know my heart and a husband who can hold down the fort.
 August 12
One never knows how Aiden will wake up.  Often, he seeks me out to snuggle for a few minutes (more often after naps), other times he is full of swirling ideas that are just waiting to be implemented, such as a new lego design.  And then there is no time for "good mornings".  :)
 I drove an hour to drop off E at the DCF office to visit her bio mom.  We took her up the elevator (an adventure with four littles) and I was just going to let her go into the ratty closet visiting room herself, but she was insistent that we meet her mom and younger sister.  I stuck out my hand to greet her mom, but she threw her arms around me in a warm hug and thanked me several times for the note and pictures I'd sent with E the week before.  Wow.

Its a post for another time, but my views on and approach to the bio families have radically changed since we began this adventure.

It was emotional to be face to face with this woman in her business suit and heels, each of us with our three small children hanging off of and around us and just one thing setting me apart from her...God's grace, His unmerited favor.  My prayer each day is that she would meet the great Rescuer.
 August 13
These girls made cookies almost on their own.  They were also part of the cleanup crew.  :)
August 14
Shaun took Avery and Amanda to see Hillsong in Boston.  So sweetly, he was planning on it being a surprise and was including E and me.  Alas, she had a visit that evening so it didn't work out.  Points for the thought though!

August 15
Just crazy...middle of August, sitting around a campfire, I was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt.  Holding out hope for as mild of a winter as the summer we've had.
 Also kids + my sister's kids = enough people for a soccer game
August 16
Makeovers By Maddy....