Monday, August 29, 2011

We Do What We Can

When it's the last weekend in August and daytime high records are still being broken, the grass is so dry it sticks like splinters in your feet, and your air conditioner runs all day non-stop (yet the house remains a couple degrees warmer than desired), all you can do is take the sprinkler to the backyard and make the best of it. We do what we can.

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

New milestones

Collapsible tunnels

Amazing bath stuff gifted from a dear friend...

...and the amazing baths they make

This week has started off on a cloudy, sixteen-one-hundredths-of-an-inch-of-rain note, and as August draws to a close and September kicks off, we can only hope this week holds many more signs of summer beginning its retreat!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day Is Done

Fading light dims the sight
 And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
 From afar drawing nigh
Falls the night.
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
 All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.

Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright

God is near, do not fear,
Friend, good night.

'Taps' adapted lyrics by Horace Lorenzo Trim

Monday, August 22, 2011

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

The results of a Sunday afternoon spent baking

A new book almost daily in the mail...

...and the inspiration they bring with them

A tough little girl who will play outside, even when (at 7pm) it's over 100 degrees

As this week opens with the first day of school for so many, we plod on with our every-day, and rejoice in the simple stuff that comes from being Home.  May your week hold surprises and beauty in the changes and the things that remain the same, and may everyone still gather, in the end, at Home. Happy Monday.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hold Tight

This summer has flown by faster than any I remember so far. Not necessarily a bad thing in terms of the weather... I mean, honestly, who would be sad to start coming back down in to the low 100's, or 90's for that matter?

It is, however, hard to accept in terms of the passage of time, which I know I wax poetic about quite frequently. However, with friends and family sending children away to various levels of school for the first time tomorrow, it really rings home how golden and fleeting these innocent, early years are with my own babies. I can still remember the first day at each new school I attended throughout my scholastic career, and my first night alone in the dorms as a college freshman still feels like yesterday.

I remember excitement, I remember anxiety, I remember fear, panic, and the intoxicating feeling of freedom... and I also remember how quickly all those feelings leveled out and things settled in to the new 'normal' of a new school year.

I can only imagine how hard it will be to be on the parenting end of those feelings in the all-too-near future. Thankfully, though, I still have a few beautiful, precious years left before paths start to diverge from the congruent family path we're plodding, and with every sunset, then sunrise, I vow to make the most of them.

I will enjoy the present. I will treasure every phase, stage, and milestone. I will look forward to the future, and be thankful for the past. I will learn from the hard stuff. I will learn from the easy stuff. My parents I will appreciate more with every hurtle, and my babies I will hold tight. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Before and After

We have salvaged yet another childhood handmade keepsake from my parents' storage... today, it's the step my dad built me when I was very small to enable me to wash my hands at the bathroom sink. In it's glory days, it was hunter green and very solid. When I got my hands back on it, it was a plethora of colors and stains, and though still pretty solid, had a few nicks and notches missing.

Before the heat of the day descended, my trusty helper and I gathered bucket, rags, brushes, and paint, and set out to restore this handy-dandy booster.

Step one: find some shade, then give everything a good sandin' (the little pink step mysteriously appeared in our garage at some point this summer, we're not sure where it came from... Gramps and Grammy?).

Step two: wash away the dust, grime, and cobwebs (as best you can).

Step three: give everything a good coat of a super-concealing primer.

Step four: let primer dry, take girlchild inside, get boychild up from "nap," feed everyone, play a little, put both Littles down for a nap, go back outside, debate over final paint color, settle on a warm dark gray, paint, sweat, let paint dry, go back outside again, realize that the shade has moved away, move everything back into the shade, sand to transform into shabby-chic, wipe down again, bring back inside, and add felt footies...

...and, ta-da! A two-step booster for a Little Miss to use when the counter is too full or messy to allow for a whole Audrey to sit upon it.

The verdict?


Monday, August 15, 2011

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

The before, during, and after of the first rain in months

The invention and joy of new games

The handmade cedar picnic table from my thoughtful in-laws...

...and the little girl who thought it was made just for her

The beauty that can be found in something ugly

As we start this week with the good, the bad, and the ugly of the previous days and weeks, I hope to remain in the present, and remind myself that this too shall pass. Happy Monday.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Slowly But Surely

Despite having the play room furnished and filled to capacity, we have yet to put anything up on the walls. During a brief trip to the craft shop yesterday, I stumbled upon some very simple wooden letter cutouts, on sale, and couldn't resist grabbing an 'A' and an 'H.' Once home, Sister set to work making them just right for the play room, and after drying over night, the kiddos put their hand prints on their own letters.

Now, we are happy to announce, there is one spot of wall that proudly is displaying a bit more than beige. We're on our way, slowly but surely!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crystal Beach

OK, girls and boys, this post is going to be a long one, and picture-heavy, too. So sit back, grab a margarita, and put on some sunblock, because tonight I'm going to show you Our Trip to Crystal Beach.

See how far we've come from the days when family members were coerced into sitting for hours and looking at slides from a vacation they weren't a part of? ...Ahem, well at least now you can just click on your e-mail if I get a little long-winded...

So! Back to Crystal Beach. I'll have you know, this was: 1) The longest car ride we've taken thus far with kids, 2) The first vacation to anywhere with two kids, and 3) Both Audrey and Henry's first time on a beach. Prepping for it was a chore, packing for it was a pain, and making sure everything came back with us was entirely unsuccessful, but at least we didn't forget a family member! On the whole, though, it was a great trip, and it went way smoother than this worry-wart Mama thought it would. Shall we start from the beginning?

Kyle's family won, with a winning bid in a church silent auction, a few nights at a congregation family's beach house. It just so happened that the days everyone agreed on were days that allowed us to join Grammy, Gramps, Nanny, Granddaddy, and Katy (aka Aunt KK) there. So after packing up what seemed like at least half the house, arranging for a house-sitter (thank you Donny!) and cleaning out the fridge, we headed down on a Wednesday morning at 5:20am.

Audrey and Henry were awakened, semi-fed, and plopped in their car seats, still in their pajamas. It didn't take Henry long to fall right back to sleep, but Little A decided she wasn't going to miss out on a thing... and stayed awake... for the whole drive. Aaah well. Anyho...

By the time there was enough daylight to take good pictures, we were already in Galveston, and in line for the first exciting adventure: a ride on the ferry.

We got sandwiched in between a big truck carrying lumber and the side of the ferry, so Audrey admired her first glimpse of the sea on Daddy's lap
We arrived at the beach house by lunch time, and after putting little Henny Benny down for a nap, stretched out on his tummy (finally!), we slapped together some sandwiches and ate on the amazing back porch, picnic-style.
It looks deceptively calm; we fought an amazing sea breeze almost the entire time we were there...
Sweet sleeping nautical baby

Oh, and did I mention that Little Miss Awake-Since-5am finally conked out in a real bed and slept late into the afternoon? Oh yes... 
After this nap, we put up toddler bed rails and she slept safely and 100% contained the remainder of the trip

During nap time, I was able to wander around the manicured, yet rustic, property between the beach house and the beach itself. Apparently, last year, the scrub brush and flowers were not a presence like they were when we visited, but they quite added to the feel of the place if you ask me. 

In the late afternoon/early evening, we made our first trek down to the beach. Grammy and Gramps went first, setting up a shade contraption and folding chairs. We followed, once the Little Woman was thoroughly soaked and covered in sunscreen and donned in her fancy-pants bathing suit.

Grammy and Gramps hauling the beach gear over the scrub

 Luckily for us, we were allowed many a quality beach hour due to doting great-grandparents who loved up Henry while Mama, Daddy, and Audrey were off getting sandy and sticky...

Even when our stomachs started growling at the passing of our traditional dinner hour, we were hard-pressed to drag our sandy little beach comber out of the surf and in to the shower. However, as we waited on the grill to work it's magic, she seemed just as happy exploring the outdoor spaces of the beach house.

We all hit the sack early the first night, and in the morning, I took my little mermaid for a walk on the beach with Aunt KK. It was fun to see all the low-tide things through the wide-eyes of our little first-timer.

Day two brought Henry's turn to meet sunblock, surf, and sand.

The second day concluded with dinner, some beach-front acoustic guitar, and an evening stroll on the beach wherein the golf cart got stuck bringing us back to the house and Katy and I pushed it about 100 yards to free it in past-your-ankle-deep powdery dry sand...

Ahem. So on to the last day.

The third and final day was much more of the same... eat, beach, eat, sleep, eat, beach, eat. However, dessert after lunch came in the form of a beautiful early surprise birthday cake from Katy, made by a member of her church congregation and carefully carried in secret to the beach house for yours truly (though I'm pretty sure Audrey felt it was meant to be hers, there had just been a misunderstanding...).

There was, however, one special thing that made an appearance the last evening we were on the beach... one single thing that was, perhaps, more anticipated by our little traveler than the beach itself... the kite.

We squeezed every minute out of our last trip to the beach, then packed up all the gear for the last time and trekked back to the beach house. For our last night, we all had steak, stayed up way too late chatting and sharing photos, then hit the sack for an early start home.

We left Crystal Beach at 4:30am, and were actually too early to catch the ferry, so we detoured to I-10 and still got home before lunch. Since then we've been in recovery mode, reluctantly washing the sun and sand out of our bathing suits, happily washing the sand and grime from the shells we scavenged, and slowly easing back into the 'real world.' 

I am happy to report that it has been more than a week since we embarked on our beach adventure, and our Little One is still fondly talking about it, including in her games tidbits about the beach, and asking about wearing her bathing suit all day. I am also happy to report that not one of our foursome was sunburned. High five!

Until next time, thanks for everything, Beach... and oh, how we love you so.