Saturday, January 10, 2015

a look at 2014

I’m skating into the new year a little behind, arms pin-wheeling and legs precariously balanced on my roller blades. And I’ve decided that’s okay this year. We are adjusting to a life here at the lake. It’s a slower life in some aspects and busier in others. Jack and Jon have successfully completed their first week at a new school. I am positively humbled by their ability to ride the waves of this transition with such chivalry. Maybe I can take a page from their book.

The tail end of 2014 wasn’t the easiest ever and sometimes I feel like the past few months took up the span of an entire year. Sometimes I can’t remember what went before. So when I started back through the photos it was a shock to uncover all the experiences we gathered up. There was a hunting trip, FOUR snow days, and lake swims with no floaties. We conquered a broken arm, two amusement parks, and a 48-inch roller coaster WITH a broken arm. There was dancing in a parking garage, dancing in the rain, dancing on the beach. We hatched a duck. We got attached to a duck. We diapered a duck. We taught a duck to fly. We set a duck free. We missed that duck.

In short.. We lived full.

Friday, December 26, 2014

home

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We made it.

A few days before Christmas my brothers, my dad, and my uncle drove down to our house and together we loaded up a truck and moved to the lake. To my parents’ house. Which, even though it isn’t my house, feels so much like my home. The move was exhausting and full of its own special challenges, but we made it. And as Christmas Eve welcomed us with the most spectacular lake sunset, I centered my soul, opened my heart as wide as it would stretch and said “Yes, Lord, welcome to our world.”

Merry Christmas, friends. I hope your day was peaceful and bright.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

bare walls and fort hamp

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Every year in December Caleb and I work together to construct a fort in the boys’ room. Sometimes we make it elaborate with lots of lights and carefully crafted decorations, sometimes it’s as simple as two chairs and a bed sheet. Every year looks a little different and this year was no exception. The boys’ loft beds and almost everything else in their room had been removed and packed, as well as all the bed sheets and most of the blankets. So we went simple. Just a tent frame, wrapped in lights. Which I think they loved just as well as last year’s. 

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A look at our fort hamp through the years:

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

the tooth story

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When I was little I lost a tooth while we were vacationing at the lake. I don’t remember how the tooth ended up in the water but I do remember my mom and I looking at our murky reflections forlornly and her shaking her head a bit and declaring it gone. Sometime later my dad appeared on the scene, armed with a pair of goggles. He didn’t promise to find my tooth or even declare his intention, but while my brothers and I splashed around the dock, he dove. Over and over and over again. And he found my tooth. It would have been amazing even if there weren’t 8 billion tiny white pebbles on the lake floor.

That story has stuck with me when a lot of other childhood memories faded away. In fact, it is the first thing I think of twenty minutes after bedtime when Caleb and I are searching the house for Jonathan’s “cute whale”. Or when we open the car door at the Fair and ten miniscule Lego pieces land on the asphalt and bounce in different directions. We have yet to come close to the kind of parental heroism that finds a tooth at the bottom of a lake, but one night last week Jon gave us a good try.

While we were s’moring around the fire pit he bit into his hunk of gooey graham cracker and pulled out a tooth. He jumped out of the chair, ran to the bench where we’d left the fixings and tried to spit the tooth into a bowl. I was on my way out the back door when I heard Caleb yelling “flashlight! We need a flashlight!”

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Yelling for a flashlight when you’re outside around the fire pit usually only means a) someone is injured, or b) you suspect a wild animal is nearby. So naturally, I didn’t ask questions but I tripped over both dogs and stubbed my toe on the table trying to scramble for a flashlight.

We searched but we never found the tooth. Which means we were not diligent enough to locate in among the grass and twigs, or Jonathan didn’t manage to spit it out of his mouth and actually swallowed it. That prospect made him a little green for a few minutes and then he got over it and ate two more s’mores.

Me, kneeling in the grass and inspecting each blade: “Did I ever tell you about the time—“

Caleb, searching the inside of Jon’s mouth: “Your dad found your tooth under the dock? Yes, many times.”

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Other, less toothy, bits of our week:

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The last of our t-shirt days. Over the years I’ve come to embrace our Southern weather and even love it.

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Clean trampoline. Socks are welcome again.

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Fantasy in Lights. It was just cold enough in feel perfectly wintery.

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Cookies in mass quantities.

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If there was a prize given for most decorations used on one cookie, Jon would win.

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Hot cocoa. Anywhere will do just fine.

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Packing boxes. When someone at the boys’ school (who doesn’t know me very well) heard we were moving she said “Oh, but you’re military so you’re used to that.” Erm…. no.

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This illustrates how bad I am at packing boxes.

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Last day of school party. In which I did not bring enough tissue to get me through.

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The art of togetherness. I think we’re mastering it quite nicely.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

decking the sparse halls

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We’re preparing to move so the house is looking a little different than it usually does this time of year. The decorations were coming down out of the attic anyway, but I’d be lying if I said we hooked all those ornaments and carefully loaded the branches without a single thought of ‘should we really be doing this?’ Should we really decorate just to take it all down in two and a half weeks?

That indecision only lasted a minute or two. The answer is, Yes we should! In the midst of the chaos that is our home right now we needed this one room that still has a few familiar stuff hanging out on the walls. We needed cozy comforters still unpacked and a few beautiful things still on shelves. And we needed that tree in our home, to remind us to enjoy every minute that we are here.

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And Christmas wouldn’t feel complete without a project so before I packed up my glue gun, I grabbed some yarn and an old book and made a tree garland.

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A paper garland seemed like the perfect craft to get the kids involved in. Jonathan, being 6, thinks punching holes in book pages is the bomb. I’m thinking about putting a paper punch in his stocking this year. But then again… maybe not. 

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Once we had enough holes punched out, and most rescued from the floor, we folded them all in half.

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Then we took two pieces and glued the sides together at the fold.

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I attached the pieces to the string along the fold using hot glue. This is the part where I burned my fingers twenty times before I figured out how to keep them out of the way. This is also the part where the kids informed me I was on my own for the rest of the project.

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Once the glue dried I covered the string with the third paper piece. Glue it down and we’re done.

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Only ten more feet of garland to go!

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I think it made the tree this year.

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