Tuesday, June 28, 2011

more summer fun

texas eveninguncle natethe face
We found another reason to go outside -s'mores with uncle Nathan and "Auntiemanda". Gathering around a fire at the end of a hundred degree Texas day? Not as crazy as it sounds.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

summer fun

summer fun 3
summer fun 1
summer fun 2

because in this heat, there's really no other reason to even be outside.

Friday, June 24, 2011

happy birthdays

Today I want to say happy birthday to my sister, Christie, and nephew, Thaddeus, so...
H a p p y  B i r t h d a y !
happy birthdays!
Yes, I know your birthdays were yesterday but I figured if you have to share,
then you deserve to stretch it out at least one extra day. Love you both!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

still moving...slowly but surely

moving day
On June 7th, our move from Virginia to Florida began. Except that our movers didn't show up so it didn't. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise since I had, up until that morning, been completely unable to get myself into "moving mode" what with all the swimming and playing and other important bits of life going on. When I looked at the clock that day and realized I had a few short hours until strangers would (supposedly) begin stuffing our clothes and gardening tools and bath toys into boxes (or all in one box if we were lucky enough to get those movers) I finally kicked it into gear. I had a day to take things off the walls, fill a closet with "do not pack items" that would go in our cars, and get a jump start on the cleaning. So of course we spent that day in D.C. sightseeing and picnicking and driving around the Mall searching for parking. Also important stuff.packing
The next day, our movers did show up, along with extra help since they had lost a full day of packing. After about twelve hours and three trips to Home Depot for more boxes because they didn't bring enough in the Ford Explorer they all showed up in (seriously?), our house was packed and ready to load. Except for all the stuff they forgot to pack. So the next day, boxes were torn back open and missed items were stuffed in and boxes were taped back up and furniture was dismantled and wrapped and boxes were moved from one room to another and more furniture was dismantled and wrapped and more missed items were found in drawers and shoved into boxes as they were moved closer to the door...and eight hours later! the truck! was still! empty!playtime
Shawn was the only one at the house watching this agonizing non-loading fiasco because I was out keeping the kids busy at the library and pool and chick-fil-a playground and friend's houses. It was actually a pretty sweet time with them. When we had run out of things to do and energy to do them, we went on home to check out the progress. Of which there was none.playtime
It was 7p.m. when Shawn finally lost his cool. Unlike that other adult in our family, ahem, when Shawn loses his cool there are no harsh words or heavy sighs or rolling eyes -he simply starts moving. He began hauling boxes down the stairs like the house was on fire and managed to clear the entire upstairs -four bedrooms, two bathrooms and five closets worth of stuff- in thirty minutes. Thirty minutes! His quiet, firm and quick example was all it took to get the movers moving, and at around 11p.m. papers were signed and the truck drove away. Without our barbecue grill. Or fire pit. Or the jogging stroller. Sighhhh.moving day
At this point we had less than twelve hours till our move-out inspection and one very dirty house. And it was at this point that Kirby, one of the best neighbors ever, showed up at our door with a pajama-clad son and cleaning supplies. I could have cried. We set the kids up with sleeping bags and a movie and started scrubbing, vacuuming, sweeping, Mr. Clean erasing, and mopping. And the house got cleaned. And the inspection in the morning went fine. And the cars got loaded. And the door got closed.
goodbye, house
After driving around the neighborhood, stopping to hug and say goodbye to the friends still left (and totally losing it at my friend Jodie's front door as I reached my limit on goodbyes), we drove out the Quantico gates in two over-loaded cars. And in the quiet of that drive southward, I prayed. I thanked God that although our packers and movers had been less-than-stellar at their job, they had done their job and I had been given a few last days to play with my kids at all their favorite hangouts, and visit with friends I was about to leave. It was over a hundred degrees and I didn't have to haul a single box out the door. I thanked God for the amazing year we had in Virginia, for the fall leaves and winter snow and spring flowers and committed myself to practicing thankfulness in a land of fewer seasons. I thanked Him for the precious group of friends that squeezed into our living room every Tuesday night and prayed for each of them, their moves, their new homes, their children, their new communities. I prayed for the women who helped us with kids and cleaning and meals during our pack-out and I prayed that God would send them the same kind of love and support and help when they move. I realized as I prayed that I was searching for a way to say thank you but nothing, no words in my head seemed to say it as strongly as I felt it in my heart. This year in this place with these friends was a gift I didn't deserve.hello, Florida
After spending a comfortable night in the new Ft. Bragg home of one of our former Quantico neighbors (see how fun this community is?) we arrived safely in Florida where we left the kids in the much-appreciated care of my sister and parents and closed on a house that will soon become home. Already blooming in the yard were roses, day lilies, hibiscus, hydrangeas and more. More reminders from a big God that He loves little me. He tells me so with roses -such extravagance. More undeserved gifts.knockout roses
And this story isn't over. I'm in Texas right now. Shawn is in Florida. We've been visiting family and friends and the ER (don't worry). We've been protected on the road and we've had beds and meals and a roof over our heads every night. Our household goods are on a truck or in a storage facility or lost forever, who knows. Actually, God knows. And that's all that matters. I may be tired and missing home (although I don't actually know my zipcode), but as I think about these past days so full of gifts, and Shawn working so hard and going so many extra miles to make that house ours, I am humbled, thankful. So thankful.

(p.s. I told you there would be a lot of hipstamatics coming your way. and there's always more in my flickr stream if you're interested!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

some things, because

::because we're not with him today and we miss him.
::because we think he's the best and appreciate him every day.
::because he makes great paper airplanes and strings fishing poles.fishing with dad
::because when he finds a huge tax return check and his newly earned starbucks gold card in the mail, he opens the starbucks card first.
::because he can build anything out of legos and loves to snuggle his girls.dad is so cool
::because he likes to watch masterpiece theater.
::because he loves me (lots) the way I am (crazy) and has given me three (awesome and crazy) kids who he also loves (lots).
::because we will be scrambling to get out the door with all our shoes and shirts and brains and he will suddenly pick up the guitar and start playing like he's got nowhere to be. (part of me will get annoyed but the other part of me will tell me I shouldn't because he's good at it and katie is starting to dance.)
::because the coffee is better when he makes it.
::because he provides and protects.
USMC Birthday Ball
::because there are three little people that think the world of him and miss him when he's gone and squeal at the site of him coming in the door.
::because he is going to install a house-full of new flooring all by himself so that we can save some bucks and get the kids a good playset for the backyard.
::because he's also going to build that playset.
go dad!
::because he is patient.
::because he is kind.
::because he is fun.Annapolis1
::because my favorite pictures are always the ones of him with the kids.
::because he tells cheesy jokes and repeats old movie lines again and again -even though we don't always get it or laugh.
::because he is training his children well and showing them how much the Father loves them.
::because he is who he is.

happy father's day, shawn ~ love, us

Saturday, June 18, 2011

what I did on my summer vacation...

hello again!
It's been a while, yes, sorry about that.
I am living out of a pile of suitcases and laundry bags as we travel from one place to another and another until our new house is a livable home. Shawn is working hard at that and I'm working hard at keeping out of the way. My computer is in need of a small (I hope) repair, so I finally managed to pull a working laptop out from among the towels and shoes and toys and other random why-didn't-this-get-packed-in-a-box-on-the-truck items floating around the car.
I've been photo-journaling the past couple of crazy weeks using my iPhone hipstamatic, since my Nikon is also in need of a small (I hope) repair. You may just be seeing a lot of these in coming weeks. I have a bunch to catch up on but I'll start today with our last week of fun in Quantico before we said goodbye...Capitol
Shawn and I enjoyed one more date in D.C. We really enjoy any chance we get to wander around cities, exploring and not worrying about naps and snacks and diapers and all those little things and come with our little people. We love our little people but it's nice to take time to remember that we loved each other first.D.C. flags
traffic at Lincoln
Tristan really wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial (the one from the penny!) but we hadn't made it up the actual steps yet with him, so we squeezed in some sightseeing one trafficky day in D.C. as well as an evening picnic and silent drill parade at the Marine Corps Memorial.
silent drill parade
Those Marines are sharp. If you're ever in D.C. you have to try to see this. And stand up and cheer and place your hand over your heart and be proud.
silent drill parade
Our coffee habit may have reached the point of needing some kind of intervention.coffee trouble
The weather turned hot then cool then hot again...just trying to slowly prepare us for the Florida heat I guess. We may trade the coffee habit for an ice-cream habit. Not sure which is worse.ice cream at jo-jo's
We had as many dinners and game nights as we could in our last weeks in Quantico. I pray that we can live in a community like this for good some day. The kind of community where you head down the street bare-foot with a bowl of whatever-you-have-on-hand and kids already in pajamas for dinner with friends. The kind of community where those same friends will come to your house with kids in pajamas at midnight to clean your kitchen in time for your move-out inspection...more on that later though.
This place has been amazing. A year of rest that we needed so badly. Leaving it hurt but had to be done and the next place will have life all its own that we will love and hate and live and one day, again, leave. Around and around we will go. For now, though, we'll just concentrate on Today. Moving. Settling. Exploring. Appreciating.
Welcome to our Summer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

photographic D.C. | views of the Capitol

It's not easy to get tourist-free shots of landmarks such as these.
You really have to stop and think, take a step back, and another, and keep walking.
Who knew there were so many ways to see one building?
I didn't mind this one tourist being in my shot...
I see photos from "photo walks" all the time but I've never actually taken a photo walk.
Shawn and I took a long walk around D.C. the other evening. As you can see, I took lots of photos.
Oh. I do take photo walks.
I should do this more often.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

how to survive | IKEA

IKEA scavenger hunt
send them on a scavenger hunt.
kate in a cart 2
keep the little one close. she's sneaky, that little one.
sooo big
let them stop, and talk, and question, and eat fries, and crawl around on the floor.
kate in a cart
and you might just make it out of there with bunk beds, dressers, storage...and your sanity too!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

whose waters never fail...

water's edge
In just five days, the packers will arrive with boxes and paper and tape. Less than a week. Most of our friends have already gone. The cool spring breeze has given way to thick summer heat. There are mice in the pantry. But still, my heart hurts a little when I think of leaving this place. It went so fast, this year, as I knew it would.
There is so much to look forward to and be grateful for. A new home waiting for us in Florida with walls we can paint and a garden we can plant, white sand beaches, a lively historic district with a pier, a splash park, and great restaurants that we don't have to fight traffic to get to, a thriving OCF ministry, three years without deployments -three years without deployments. So much goodness.
water's edge
So why do I look back? Like an Israelite in the desert begging to go back to Egypt, the only thing I know, I refuse to believe that God has something good for me ahead. This blind following, it's frightening, it hurts sometimes, but He's leading and with my heart I've chosen to follow. Still, my flesh resists.
marsh grass
Then He speaks to me one Sunday morning, quietly, clearly, firmly:
I will guide you always; I will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
Then I remember:
Exactly one year ago today, I was facing a busy month of June full of travel and packing and moving and painful goodbyes, and a spirit that is weak. And I see now where He was taking me! A year of pieces have been added to the puzzle and they fit and the picture is a beautiful mystery. And my heart hurts a little less.
So for four (and maybe a half) of our remaining five days, we will continue to not pack and not dwell on the leaving. We are fishing, swimming, playing, sightseeing and living here. But when those boxes arrive and the pictures come off the walls, I'll be ready. I will trust in a Love that I have only ever known to be unfailing. I'll breathe in, breathe out, and turn my eyes south.
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