Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cami Dresses Herself

I love the season of life when little ones learn to dress themselves. The freedom and expression in picking out their own clothes. The creativity and joy in exclaiming, "I did it!" The only thing I have to do is make sure they are warm enough, and they do the rest. I couldn't help myself...I had to take photos of Cami's outfit. She was so proud of herself. And yes, I did take her out in public like this. I don't care what anyone else thinks. She is dressed, happy, and proud and that is all that matters.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Mother Daughter Sleepover

I can't say that I love the fact that my children are growing up. I love to watch them grow and learn and change. But I also grieve the years that will no longer be. I embrace each season and stage of life, but I also look back and remember when they were younger. Kaylynn just turned 10, and I almost cried. She is really growing up. She is still a child, but things are changing. Our time together is different now. Our conversations have a different depth; we hang out and "just talk." We still have lots of silly fun together, though....enter mother/daughter slumber party! (just a side note: we also had a wonderful family party with those that live close enough to share in the festivities. Lots of love from grandparents, auntie, uncle, and cousins who pitched in to get Kaylynn the perfect gift....a kindle so she can read in between trips to the library. We truly are blessed to be surrounded by so many people who want to celebrate the lives of our children).

Back to the sleepover. My kiddos do not spend the night with their friends yet. They have done slumber parties with family, and that is all. I am simply not ready to let them stay away from me overnight. Kaylynn desperately wanted to have a sleepover with her dearest friends; they call each other BFF's (Best Friends cute). So, we decided to do a mother/daughter sleepover. This was a big hit for all the mamas because many of them are of the same mindset or have little darlings that are not ready to sleep over somewhere without them (it helps that I am friends with all of these moms).

So the boys and Cami went to grandma's house for the night while Kaylynn, Kalli, and I stayed home and welcomed all the beautiful guests. We had so much planned, and the girls were beside themselves.

Individual homemade pizzas for dinner, flashlight tag in the dark, silly games in the living room, pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting, Anne of Green Gables, make your own picture frames, make up on the mamas and the girls (which was entertaining), many homemade gifts from friends to the birthday girl, and late night laughter and stories. The morning greeted us earlier than we were ready for, but the waffles, strawberries, and whip cream kept the excitement rolling. We were all exhausted by the end but feeling completely blessed to have so many wonderful gals to share in celebrating Kaylynn's 10th birthday.

Not sure who took this picture, but the girls sure had fun doing all the mama's makeup...
I think the blush and lipstick were favorites.

My heart swells when I think about the opportunity I have with my children. The opportunity for relationship. Sitting in the living room in our pajamas at 11:00pm sharing stories of when the girls were "younger." Moms and girls alike sharing what they remember. A story mingled with laughter and blessing. I looked around, and felt emotion rising in me. Here in our living room was a community. Not just a room full of wonderful little girls but their moms as well. These moms that speak love and blessing into my children. These moms who cheer for one another. These moms who are full of encouragement. And those sweet little girls: when one is sad, they surround her with hugs and love. When one doesn't know some of the others, they embrace her and make her feel welcome. It was such a beautiful thing to be a part of. 

 I think I will always do mother/daughter sleepovers.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Day in the Woods

We love our home and its location. Our house was for sale for many months. We finally got a buyer. We were excited, apprehensive, scared, surprised, and uncertain. We began packing and began thinking about all that we would miss living where we do. We were also eager to move on and see what was in store for us. We journeyed on....until the buyer lost her job. Everything was halted. We are now unpacking, settling back in and enjoying all those things that we were going to miss so the acres of woods and hours of imaginative play right out our back door.

 The fort they worked on all morning long.

 Starting a "fire" so they can cook their food.

 The school "slate."

I am thankful to have more time to explore the woods of my own backyard.

Some Things Never Change

Back in October (I know that is way back but it takes me a while to get around to sitting down and writing out a complete blog post) I was blessed to take a trip to visit my grandparents....solo. I stocked my airplane bag with loads of books that I have been eager to read and enjoyed some genuine rest and hang out time with two people who have left a strong imprint on my life (well three because my dear mama flew out to visit too)! This post isn't exactly an "ode" to my grandparents but more of a this is who they are, and this is what I have learned from them.

 Earlier this year, my grandfather, who is in his 80's, was loading up his 4 wheeler when it tipped and fell on him, pinning him underneath it. His buddy called 911, and when the ambulance arrived, my dear grandfather almost refused to go to the hospital. He thought better of it after he tried walking some more. He had broken his hip. I tell ya, nothing stops him. He is a fighter and always has been. I realized when I received the news that I needed to head out to visit, just me and just be with my grandparents.

Growing up, I always had real relationships with my mom's parents. They invested in me; they listened to me; they showed me how to grow old gracefully. Now we are good friends. I talk to my grandparents on the phone, my children write letters back and forth, my grandmother sends us boxes of books every other month, and the relationship continues to grow.

 Sample of my grandmother's hand-drawn paper dolls.

The arrival was the same as it always is. I landed and the smell of onions instantly filled my nostrils and cows seemed to pop out all over the place. So much had changed, but so much was still so familiar including the pulling into the driveway, halfway running up the front steps to greet those who were waiting. Grandma gives me a kiss on the cheek, and grandpa (as is the custom) picks me up in a HUGE bear hug and says, "Hi Sweety!" This has always been and will always be....some things never change.

There is always good food at grandma's house, there is always sharing of some family heirloom or story, the cupboard above the dishwasher is always open, football is often on the tv, pinochle games are always played, Grdandma's drawings can be found around the house, books are everywhere, grandma is always busy doing a new craft, grandpa is always eager to stay up late and chat about life, and I feel at home, comfortable, and accepted.

My Great Grandmother's dress: she wore this dress in the dance competition that she and my great grandfather won
 (I believe it was for the Charleston)

There is always thrift shopping. My grandmother is the master at finding the best thrift stores and has a usual route that we take. Only she calls it "second handing;" my mom calls it visiting the "used stores;" I call it "thrift shopping." Whatever the name, we are all there to spend time and share in finding some neat treasure.

There is always the learning of something new. For me, I like listening to the old stories. I just found out that my grandparents met on a blind date. My grandfather was told that my grandmother was a female wrestler. He was pretty psyched to meet her. For them, they are always finding ways to keep their minds and bodies active. Grandpa goes shooting with his buddies. Grandma works every morning and thrift shops and does needle point and reads. Oh, she loves to read, and I feel so blessed that my kids can share this with her.

When I look at my grandparents, I look forward to growing older. I look forward to the life that will be. I see how beautifully they have grown, and I delight in it.

Then there is the parting. The goodbye is always the same. Grandma and Grandpa stand on their front steps and wave as I back out of the driveway, they wave until I disappear around the corner. This has always been. We grow up, we grow older, but some things will always be, and I am thankful.