Friday, October 31, 2014

happy halloween from our clubhouse

my trio

always taking care of her baby shep

i mean, really.....

my mickey

his current camera smile

she's always happy to be in pink

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

our old married couple

The twins continue to be best friends. Really and truly. They very much prefer being together over being apart. Frances calls Barnes her BB. At our preschool parent-teacher conference this morning, the teachers said that they once sat them at different tables for lunch, and neither really ate because they were too worried about what the other was doing. I love how much they love each other.

But as they are getting older and feistier, a new dynamic is emerging...the old married couple dynamic. Inevitably, if I ask them a question, they give me opposite answers. Frances wants to go to the stage park, Barnes wants to go to the red park. Frances wants to eat at a restaurant, Barnes wants to eat at home. Frances wants to play on the front porch, Barnes wants to play in the driveway. No matter the situation, they find a way to be at odds. But they are only allowed to cross each evidenced by their school picture below.

Clearly the school photographer said something about Barnes that Frances didn't like.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

family vacay

Family vacations are rarely vacations when there are several tiny ones in tow (although I am holding out hope that they will become vacations again at some point in the future). For now, they are really just trips. Trips where we pack an ungodly amount of things in the car, drive and drive until we are convinced that this was a terrible idea (and discover that one of our children gets carsick), and then do the same things we do at home in a different location. Yes, family vacations are a labor of love. But they are also filled with opportunity. They are an opportunity to stretch our kids a bit, to show them more than their community, to begin to introduce them to the greater world, to teach them more about God's creation, to watch them fall in love with our earth a little more, and to play with them and love on them without the distractions that inevitably pop up at home.

Ove the past three years, I've learned that the key to a great family "vacation" is to set low expectations. So this year, I prepared for crazy, and got less crazy and more fun than I could have expected. We drove to the beach on Shepherd's birthday and ended up having a surprisingly sweet few days of family time.

The first order of business, of course, was to celebrate Shepherd's first birthday. He was pretty pumped.

So much beach time. B&F were quite the imaginative explorers, checking out every inch of dune and sand. Shep liked the beach, but was quickly covered from head to toe in sticky sand, so his love was a bit less enthusiastic.

The porch was a big hit this year. B&F kept saying they wanted to "listen to the waves...." So big!
vacation= ice cream
and a morning at the aquarium on our one rainy day

Monday, October 6, 2014

a battle ended

Kids are amazing. Really, they are. But sometimes they are hard. Sometimes their breakdowns and irrational fits and persistent neediness seem to shine a bit brighter than their amazing-ness. Life, though, reminds you of how amazing your children are. Of how privileged you are to be their parent. Even when you wish the reminder had taken a different form.

Yesterday a life-long friend of the Shafer family passed away. He battled cancer for the last 4.5 years, and he battled hard. There is a never a good time to die. There is a never a "fair" time to go. But here's the thing....Tim was mine and Andrew's age. Early 30s. He was a beloved husband, son, brother, uncle and friend. He and his wife and family fought valiantly for so long. And the fight ended last night. A wife is left without her husband. Parents are left with a giant hole that their son should fill. 

Each time I have picked up one of my two precious boys today, I've thought of Tim's mom. I can't get her out of my head. Barnes has wanted to be carried all day, and despite his increasing heaviness, I've complied more than usual. I've scooped him up and kissed his full, shiny hair. I've cuddled Shepherd close and nuzzled his still preciously bald head. And I've thought of Tim's mom. About how many times she picked him up. About how many times he asked her to carry him well past when he was capable of walking on his own. About how many kisses she layered on his head over the past thirty-plus years. About how many times she told him to stop, to wait, to not run so fast...and how many times he didn't listen. I am certain that when she carried her three-year-old son, this is not what she envisioned.

There is so much to learn from this precious family. From the wife, the parents, the brother, the in-laws who personified love and devotion. From Tim, whose attitude was astounding. 

When my kids ask me to hold them this week, I am going to try to remember Tim's family and how they would love to hold him one more time. When they are crazy and hyper and not listening, I will try to focus on how cherished these memories will one day be. And each time I get to kiss my sweet child's head, I will try to remember to send a prayer for those who no longer have that luxury.