Monday, May 24, 2010

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Yesterday her hands caught me off guard. Half tickled and half tearful, I gazed down at those 9-year-old fingers, artfully bedazzled with nail polish, a mood ring, and silly bandz.

Gone are the newborn fingers that clung fiercely to mine and the dimpled toddler hands that toted around my purses and ruined every. single. tube. of lipstick within reach.

It's funny. Lately she seems to pay attention my hands more than I pay attention to hers. She plays with my fingers during church and asks me the same questions every time. Mommy, is that a real diamond? Are all of those tiny diamonds real too? Do you think I'll get one someday?

'Cause even though 30 rubber bracelets on one wrist are totally awesome and she does not go anywhere without her penguin mood ring, the girl would trade those baubles in for the real thing any day of the week. There are some things a mama doesn't have to teach.

I'm just glad I took notice of her {still small} hands and had the good sense to grab my camera.


It kind of makes me see all of those sticky handprints {and smooshed-up lipsticks} in a new light.


Linked up with Tuesdays Unwrapped

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, May 17, 2010

Meet the Family {Beach Edition}

We've come here every year together since 1997. There were only seven of us since I was the only one married then. Now we've swelled to a whopping nineteen, nine of whom are kids. Seven of those nine are ages four and under.

When we all get down to the beach, it looks like somebody dumped a day care out onto the sand. {Just imagine 14 more people.}

Gone are the days of beach novels and sun-drenched naps. As much as I miss that life of leisure, I wouldn't have things any other way now.

Our week together is the best kind of crazy.

As the oldest of four kids, I was the typical firstborn, responsible and bossy. Had I known then about the future invention of the internet and how any one of them could publish tons of junk about me, I would have been much nicer.

Want to meet everyone? Of course you do. {See, I'm still bossy.}

Here's my first younger brother and his family. As a child he was bookish and introspective and passionate about justice in the world. He still is. Last year he and his family moved to Colorado and we miss them terribly. He goes to bars and has meaningful conversation with people. Often they end up talking about God. He and his wife are passionate about loving people who are lost and struggling.

Here's my next brother and his gang. He was a Tazmanian devil. Not much has changed. For his 30th birthday he invited his best friends in for the weekend and did stuff like cage fighting and eating contests. But don't let his bullying ways fool you. He is tender-hearted as can be. He and his wife spend their weekends building community among hurting people.

Eighteen months after the cage-fighter was born, this happy little girl came into the world. Thoughtful and cheerful, she has always loved others something fierce. Thirty years later, she is just the same. In addition to raising their own children, she and her husband are amazing house-parents to at-risk teenage boys. They are saints.

And last but certainly not least, the dynamic duo who started it all. Meet the parentals. They have sacrificed a lot to give us all this week together every year. They feel blessed beyond measure by all the mayhem they began nearly 37 years ago when their first one was born.

And because I've already subjected you to the bloggy equivalent of my family history, what's a few more pictures? Here are some of my faves along with totally unnecessary commentary.

Cupcake's curls are on steroids with all that beach humidity. I love it.

I found this guy while combing the beach for treasure. I think I'll take him home.

There are no words.

She planned her outfit around the colors of the sky.

Because if you can't wear a tutu at the beach, where can you wear one?

Speaking of outfits, Nana gets matching suits for the boys every year. This will likely be a short-lived tradition as boys will only be suckered into this matchy-matchy scheme for a few more years at best.

I could have followed this ruffled cutie around for the day with my camera. She knows she looks good.

Tutu's mama was two weeks away from her due date last year. Obviously this year was much more pleasant. And we got to celebrate baby girl's first birthday!

If eating birthday cake was an Olympic event, this girl would take home gold.

Don't let them fool you.

One of these darlings is the daughter of the cage-fighter. The other is the daughter of a former college basketball player. We witnessed some epic battles over the course of the week, one of which came to an ugly end as Girl #2 flipped Girl #1 backward over a baby-doll high chair.

Clearly, they take after their fathers.

The dads are serious about their moats and sand castles, not to be outdone by the college students down the beach building replica Egyptian sand pyramids.

A highlight is the Man of the Year competition. Contestants battle it out in bocce ball, shuffleboard, mini golf, corn hole, and the famed Oreo Blast competition.

The winner takes home the ghastliest trophy you have ever seen and has to display it prominently in his living room for the year.

The ladies are the judges for the Oreo Blast contest, so we're the real winners.

Meet this year's blast champion. A dreamy blend of rich vanilla ice cream, cinnamon, whipped cream, and golden vanilla Oreo's.

And finally, a rare moment of stillness {brought to you by the makers of M & M's, the best form of child bribery ever.}


It's easy to paint a picture of familial bliss with pretty photos of cute kids and good times. We're a far from perfect lot. We've had disagreements and hurt feelings. We don't see eye to eye on everything. We are as varied now as we were as kids.

But I'm convinced that love and loyalty and Jesus bind us together.

That and the alluring incentive of a complimentary beach trip every year.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Super Mom

Behold the Super Mom shirt.

A certain 9-year-old gifted me with this. I've been sleeping in it, hoping that some of those super powers might seep through my skin overnight.

It's pretty much the best gift ever.

Wearing the opinion of someone who loves me unconditionally is powerful stuff. Powerful enough to overtake all of the villainous opinions and identities, smother them with kryptonite, and lock them in an underground lair...

Which is why I may wear this shirt every day of my life.


Linked up with Tuesdays Unwrapped {Chatting At The Sky}

Monday, May 3, 2010

Crazy Nest, Part Two

We have babies. When I found out, the miracle literally halted me in my tracks. I couldn't stop smiling. My husband sent a photo text while I was out shopping. He was just as shocked by the birdy miracle as I was.

New life is powerful like that.

Birdies hatch every day all over the world but when it happened on my front door, suspended in a basket hanging on a $2 wreath hook, well...I still can't stop thinking about it.

Our main entrance continues to sit unused as Blondie's sign re-routes guests to our garage door. We worked hard to protect those eggs and I'm so glad we did. What is it about life that makes us fight so fiercely for it when it seems precarious or threatened...and yet we take it for granted 99% of the time?

Saturday a friend let us come over to see her 10-day-old baby bunnies. Her husband had nearly crushed their nest while doing a landscaping job. Now they have five furry newborns and feed them with a medicine dropper.


Life is swirling around us all, waiting to be celebrated and cherished, even protected. I fear I'm so busy tasking and toiling and over-thinking that God has to slap a miracle on my front door before I'll slow down and finally take notice.


For Part 1 of the story, click here.


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