Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fragile Faith

My faith has been tested in recent years. Well... let me rephrase that. Perhaps I mean my trust has been tested. In terms of faith, there have been times (Omg omg omg. I just killed a spider crawling on my arm. Deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Okay. Okay. I’m okay. Continuing on....)- there have been times, days, weeks, long stretches of barren wasteland, where I thought my faith was being wrenched. But I've realized, in retrospect, that the times when I thought my faith was gone, it was there all along, a steady, tired beating. Sometimes I may have managed to tune it out. But the rhythm of the steps that kept me plodding on through those dry, aching times, was the rhythm of my being. The core of my faith. Whether I knew it was there or not, it kept me. It held me when I wasn’t strong enough to hold it on my own. My faith has never wavered. But my trust... now that’s a different story.

My trust is being stretched again. I’m not a naturally trusting person. I think I can say that along with many of the human race. We are not a trusting species. We’re wary, and cruel, and biting. Those who do trust are considered naive, chewed up and spit out in a bitter pile. I learned early not to place my trust in people. Certain types of people especially. If my initial judgment of someone is too harsh, it’s merely out of self defense. And yet, somehow, these certain types of people seem to always reel me in. Against my better- or baser, at least- judgment.

So what call do I make? Do I back into a corner, hissing and spitting, ready to bite any hand that reaches out to me, merely because I mistakenly placed my trust in a fallible human being that I knew would break me eventually anyway?

Or, do I exercise this fragile faith of mine, knowing that it’s very likely I’ll be hurt, broken even, and people I love along with me? Do I take that LEAP I’ve been maundering on about, forgive what needs forgiving, and love with a vulnerability I don’t feel? Do I let others make mistakes in front of me, leading me down thorny, gravelly paths, and trust that my true Guide won’t let me get lost?

I don’t know. It’s easy for me to sit here in the middle of the night, and bravely beat my chest, saying, “Oh yes! I’ll be strong! I’ll be resilient! I’ll trust and be broken, and broken again, knowing that He can put me to rights!” It’s easy to type those words out. But when faced with a choice to trust or run, odds are good that I’ll run right back to my corner with my hackles raised like a suspicious cat, my eyes dilated and reflecting the darkness of my brokenness.

So here’s what I’ll do. For now. I will plod through these wastelands with a steady gait, trusting that the rhythm of my steps will not be lost on Him, because His heart beats with mine, bleeds with mine, and breaks with mine. I will take this fragile faith, and I’ll place it in the only One in my life thus far Who has truly earned it. And I will trust Him to nurture it, nourish it, and make me well.

Monday, June 27, 2011

List Making

Here's a list of things I DON'T want to do today:

1. Get out of bed.

2. Listen to my kids whine about there being nothing to eat.

3. Go to the grocery store.

4. Step on a hairball.

5. Clean up the hairball I stepped on.

6. Change diapers.

7. Wash laundry (And trust me- it needs to be done).

8. Load the dishwasher.

9. Take a shower.

10. Fight with Jeremy (2 and counting).

11. Eat lunch.

12. Feel fat.

13. Pretend I'm cheerful when I'm not.

I'm sure I'll make more lists. Hopefully next time they'll be of a more optimistic nature. Thanks for bearing with me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Round Six: The Long and Winding Road

I'm sitting on my mattress, which is sitting on the floor, typing away on my laptop. I feel like I was given a second chance to become a college student. I'm questioning Jeremy's and my sanity, in many ways, but most recently based on our decision to switch rooms with the kids. Not a bad idea in theory. Our room is bigger than theirs, and they have more stuff than we do. The switch seemed like a natural progression. Granted, once we switch, we'll have to forgo our bed frame, (hence the floor/mattress situation), and- horrors!- the bookshelves he built for me in our much larger closet. He's been telling me for years that I need to just box up my books and clear the shelves for other things, his reasoning being that I've read all of said books. More than once. Jeremy is not a reader. Enough said. My fellow bookworms will grieve with me.

Continuing our journey home saga, the (almost) final leg of the trip was up to me. Here's a little fact about me: I've never driven on a road trip. I know! Crazy, right? For various reasons or other, I've always been a passenger, never a driver. It seems unfair. I've missed out on a very important rite of passage in my young adulthood. Well. When we stopped in South Carolina, Jeremy decided I needed to drive so he could sleep. It's a little ridiculous how excited I was. Especially for it only being 5 in the morning. I hopped in the driver's seat, readjusted all of my settings (grumble, grumble), plugged up my iPod and chose Ben Gibbard's live album to guide me through South Carolina. That turned out to be a mistake, by the way, because apparently, due to all the times I've listened to this album while falling asleep, I've created a Pavlovian response to it. I had to turn it off after the first two songs. Jeremy ended up kidnapping my iPod anyway to block out some noise while he slept. I turned the Beach Boys CD on for awhile, but I had to keep it so quiet it wasn't even worth it.

(Back story: I've decided that watching Jeremy listen to the Beach Boys must be what it's like for others to watch me listen to the Beatles. Endearing and annoying. It's a little obnoxious how he sings every part, cutting into one part to sing the other part, bobbing his head, telling me facts about the band in between. I'm sure I'm not that bad, am I?)

All that said, I found my lovely little "road trip rite of passage" bubble burst within the first hour. Here are some of the thoughts that went through my head during those long, long five hours:

"I can't believe I get to drive!"

"How long before the sun comes up?"

"I'm about Surfer Girl-ed out."

"Jeremy is the whiniest road trip sleeper I've ever met." (He really is.)

"Why do some girls look so good in rompers and others look ridiculous?"

"I wonder what I would look like in a romper."

"This is freaking boring."

"How long before the sun comes up?"

"I have to pee."

"I wish it wasn't too early to call someone."

"I don't know why I ever wanted to drive on road trips."

"I wonder if I could accidentally wake Jeremy up..."

"My butt is falling asleep."

"I have to pee."

"I wish I lived in Georgia. Then we would've been home a whole state ago."

"Maybe I could just close my eyes for a second..."

"WAKE UP!!!"

"I can't believe I just convinced myself I could close my eyes while driving."

"I am so. freaking. bored."

"Where the hell is a Chick-fil-A when you need one??"

"I can't believe I have to drive."

"If he makes one more little sleepy noise I'm going to slap him."

"That dude totally just checked me out. Heyyy, dude."

"That was definitely a woman."

"She was probably still checking me out."

"I really, really have to pee."

"I never want to do this again."

"Are we there yet?"

Eventually, around 10am, I woke Jeremy up, telling him that if I kept driving we'd probably all wake up in heaven. We stopped and got some breakfast (at Chick-fil-A!) on the outskirts of Virginia, then got back on the road. He had the nerve to call me a wuss. I didn't bring up all the "Can't get comfortable" whining I endured from him.

We made it home around 1pm, unloaded all the perishables (namely the homemade meatballs and spaghetti sauce my mom and stepdad had sent home with us), and fell straight into bed (which, at that point, was still in a bed frame).

This seems like an anticlimactic conclusion to all of our Floridian adventures. Maybe it is. I'm okay with that. Our adventures were tiresome enough, without a colossal ending to them. I'm not worried about it. We have all summer to have adventures.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Round Five: Homeward Bound

We left my mom and stepdad's Tuesday night, after dinner. And when I say night, I mean night. My mom and her husband are night owls. They stay up til all hours, and don't eat dinner until late. I felt like the elite, eating chicken parmesan and french onion soup at 10 o clock. Well... the elite from 200 years ago. The elite these days are probably all health nuts and won't eat after 7pm. But then, they've never had my stepdad's french onion soup, either. However, I will say that eating french onion soup at 10:30 at night, then hopping in the car to drive 12 hours back home... Well. Let's just say it wasn't the wisest decision we've ever made.

Leaving my mom was hard. I didn't expect it to be easy. When we arrived at her new house in Florida, it didn't feel any different than her old house in Virginia. There was this surreal quality to the visit... I kept forgetting how far I really was from home. Even Chloe asked me, "I thought Nana moved to Florida?" So to fall into that sense of normalcy, only to leave it again, and realize all over again that my mom really was GONE- it was a wrench. Chloe cried for the first 10 minutes of the drive, with Ashton making comments all the while, things like, "I can't believe you're crying!" When Chloe finally stopped, Ashton started up. And sobbed for 20 miles. To the point of hysteria. I couldn't even really give him a well placed "I told you so". My heart was too broken for him.

Jeremy drove for the first 5 hours of our trip, while I dozed on and off. Before we left Mom's, she gave us a stack of CDs that belonged to one of my brothers, asking us to give them back to him. At the bottom of the stack was a Beach Boys greatest hits CD. To see Jeremy's reaction, you would have thought Christmas came early (more on that later). In and out of my fitful dreams were snippets of "Surfer Girl" and "Good Vibrations", and Jeremy humming and bee bopping along. I kept hearing him say, "This is some good stuff right here!"

We stopped right inside South Carolina to gas up and stretch our legs. The gas station attendant gave us the evil eye when we walked in. You'd think being at a 24 hour gas station right off of I-95, she'd be used to seeing tired, disheveled families in their pajamas march in, using the restrooms, drooling over the fireworks, telling the kids that no, we can't play the claw machine.... but apparently, she wasn't.

Also, side note to my dad and brothers: Can one of you tell me the odds of seeing an old 15 passenger Royal Ranger van parked outside a gas station in South Carolina at 4 in the morning? I was kind of blown away. Strange.

And when we got back in the car- it was my turn to drive.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Round Four: Visitations (Part 2) and Heritage

We left Corey and Sarah’s on Sunday after Sarah’s baby shower. Side note: The “shower” concept is unequivocally the feminine realm. I know there are some souls out there who try to breach the gap, throwing co-ed showers. I say, leave it to the women. I amuse myself at every shower I go to, trying to imagine that we’re all men. Oohing and ahhing over pacifiers and fuzzy blankies, little onesies that say “Daddy’s Lil Man”, and telling horrifying birth stories. I picture us guffawing and slapping each other on our manly backs, drinking fizzy punch from plastic cups and eating pineapple chunks off of toothpicks.

So Sunday we left the Gulf side of Florida, and drove across to the Atlantic side, where my mom, stepdad, and grandparents live. My grandparents started out as Satellite Beach “Snowbirds”, traveling from Connecticut to Florida and back again every year, with a stop to visit us in Virginia every late spring.

Here is a huge regret of mine: Because of this arrangement, I feel like I don’t really know my grandparents as well as I could. I’ve communicated with them through letters and emails since I was 12, and send them pictures of my kids every few months. But there is so much I have missed out on. My grandfather is a retired Army vet. He fought in the Korean  and Vietnam wars. He’s a Catholic who eats fish every Friday. I could listen to his stories for hours. But I’ve rarely been given the opportunity. Last winter, my grandpa was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, which had been found on his liver. Through the help and blessings of friends and family, I was able to go down to Florida with my mom and stepdad shortly after his diagnosis, and bring Atleigh with me, whom my grandparents had never met. We spent 9 days down there, and I got to know them as in adult, in ways that I never could have as a child. It hurt my heart to realize how much I don’t know. How much of my heritage is lost on me. When we left to come back home, I remember pulling out of the driveway, seeing him stand at the door, lit by the glow of the porch light. He was waving every time I turned around, watching us until we had turned off of the street. I thought that would be my last memory of him.

My grandpa is a trooper. He made it through chemo at the age of 81, weighing in at 122 pounds. I don’t know how he did it. Earlier this year the cancer made a reappearance, triggering a new round of chemo. This past week I only got to see him for about an hour on the day that we left. The new chemo has made him sick. He’s lost down to 112 pounds. If I’m being honest, and I know I must be, there is a possibility that that hour I spent with him may be the last I see him. I know he has proven stronger than they thought he would be. He’s always been strong. Even my early memories of him, he is surrounded in this quiet strength. Not blustery, in your face strength, although he did say he used to be a drill sergeant in the Army (now THAT I can’t imagine). So I know there is just as much of a chance that he will beat this cancer again, and I will see him again next year. I pray so. I wish I had 20 more years to know him, to hear his stories, to learn from him. I wish my kids had their entire lives to love him. I don’t know what will happen. But I’ll remember. I’ll remember his hug. I’ll remember my kids sitting next to him, laughing with him, just as I did when I was their age. I’ll remember him standing at the top of the stairs as we left this week, watching us walk to our car, waving every time we turned around to see if he was still there.

And I’ll remember what he’s said to me for as long as I can remember, and what he said to me when I told him good-bye on Tuesday:

“We don’t say good-bye. We say so long.”

Grandpa, Ashton, and Atleigh

Grandpa and Grandma

The kids and me with Grandpa

Four generations: Grandpa, Mom, me, and my kids

I know this blog has been more introspective than the others. Maybe even depressing. Bear with me. These are the things I'm working through. Stay tuned for more. Until then:

So long.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Round Three: Visitations (Part 1)

Friday we left Disney World and drove to my brother-in-law, Corey’s, house near St. Petersburg, FL. It’s about 2 hours from Orlando. Our kids fought and screamed the whole way there. And Jeremy and I hollered and refereed in corresponding volume and frequency. I suppose I should be grateful that it was the “short” trip, and not the one from Virginia to Florida.

We had a fabulous time, playing in the pool, eating my mother-in-law’s delicious food (apparently we daughter in laws can never compare to Mama. I’m okay with that, since we live less than 10 minutes from Mama... but I don’t know how Corey and Sarah manage!).

Saturday at around 7:40pm, we decided it would be a great idea to take some maternity pictures of my sister-in-law, Sarah. It was something I’d thought of a few months ago and completely forgotten until about 40 minutes before the sun went down. By the time Sarah was finished getting ready, we had about 23 minutes of light left. We squeezed every last drop out of that Florida sunset:

Corey demonstrating how Sarah should pose

I think my idea worked better

I think they turned out pretty well, don’t you?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Round Two: Fighting Fear

I hate roller coasters. I always have. This has been a bone of contention between Jeremy and I for the past 8 years. I never made any pretense about my feelings. He just chooses to ignore them. It’s caused some major fights. Jeremy is a pusher. And I, well, I hate being pushed. Pushing me generally results in the exact opposite of your original goal happening. Over the years Jeremy’s come to accept that I am not a thrill seeker. That’s something about me he’ll never be able to change. However, I’ve tried to meet him halfway and last year I even rode a few rides at Disney. And again this year. Yay me!

Ashton has inherited my... cautionary nature, I’ll say. Jeremy calls it something different, but it’s not exactly complimentary. I like to attribute it to our intellect. We’re just too smart to take chances. Ashton thinks through a scenario, and imagines every possible outcome. As a result, he is sometimes overly cautious, to the point of fear. He doesn’t like to try new things. Too many things could go wrong.

Chloe is our adventurer. She’ll be the one going skydiving, rock climbing, and- dare I say it?- riding roller coasters.

From the very beginning of planning our vacation, Jeremy’s goal was too get Ashton to ride the rides. He spent weeks checking and rechecking the height requirements, showing Ashton videos of the coasters so he wouldn’t be taken by surprise. Since I’ve been such a theme park disappointment to him, Jeremy was determined to have thrill seeking children. I warned him- I tried to, anyway- about Ashton. I know my son. And I, of all people, can understand his thinking. I knew what pushing him would do.

Well. The first two days at Disney were miserable for Ashton. And for Jeremy. And consequently, for me. Jeremy kept pushing Ashton to ride the rides (and I did a little, too, if I’m being honest. I hated to see Ashton missing out on even the simple rides like Pirates of the Caribbean or the 3D shows), and Ashton kept pushing back, refusing.

But then he surprised me. They both did. Jeremy decided to give up. He stopped asking Ashton to ride them, telling him it was his own decision, and he was old enough to make up his mind. I could see Ashton wavering. He told me he had to keep fighting with his brain. Ashton’s never been good at making decisions, even simple ones like what to eat or which toy to pick (DO NOT give him gift cards. If you do, YOU’RE the one taking him to Toys R Us and standing there for an hour until he’s reduced to the point of tears trying to decide between Indiana Jones or Star Wars toys). I finally said to him, “Ashton. YOU are in charge of your mind. That’s what making a decision is. You tell yourself, ‘I’m going to ride this ride’, or, ‘I’m not going to ride this ride’, and you leave it at that. It’s that simple, I promise.”

When we all decided to go on the Dinosaur ride, Ashton decided to stay behind. My lecture kind of backfired, because he said, “I’ve decided. I’m not going. That’s my decision.” So, instead of pushing him, we left him (with his grandmother, not by himself). We’d only just turned the corner when I heard him calling me, chasing after us. He’d changed his mind. He faced his fears and rode the ride. It made my day. And it made Jeremy’s whole week. I’ve never seen his face lit up like that. That was a turning point for Ashton. After that, he didn’t let his fear control him. He rode almost every ride. Even Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios, which I have yet to ride (I’m hoping to keep avoiding them- I’m still working on my own fear issues).

So I guess it turns out I was wrong about Ashton. He may have my analytical nature, but he is working on not letting it control him. At the age of 7, he’s already on his way to becoming a better person than I am. I know to some, this seems like an insignificant thing to write about. Maybe it is. But it isn’t to Ashton. I’ve never seen him so proud of himself as when he came off that ride. He had battled fear and won. Not a bad lesson to learn on a family vacation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Being the First in Many Floridian Adventures

For those of you who have been following, we’ve spent the past few weeks preparing for our vacation. Our drive down to Florida was pretty uneventful. Minimal hitting and screaming, and the kids behaved themselves too. Ha!

This is going to mostly be a picture blog. Prepare yourself.

Tuesday we went to the Magic Kingdom. My mom surprised the kids by driving up from Melbourne (FL, not Australia) to spend the day with us. And we all surprised Chloe with a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside Cinderella’s Castle. Big deal here, folks. It’s a princess makeover, including whichever Disney Princess dress she wanted, a manicure and makeover, hairstyle, photo shoot, and a printed invitation with her name on it. On top of that, ALL Disney cast members who come in contact with the “Princess” refer to her as such. What little girl wouldn’t eat that up?? Chloe had been begging for months (ever since she saw the promotional video), and I kept telling her no, we couldn’t afford it, maybe next time, etc. Made her cry a few times, but it was cruelty with a purpose, I promise. She was definitely surprised. Instead of describing it all, I’m going to let the pictures tell it. Everyone asked me how she was taking it, was she thrilled, was she giddy, etc. I think mostly she just felt entitled. She was completely unsurprised with all the attention. Chloe is a girl who KNOWS she’s a princess. Disney just confirmed it to her.

Chloe meeting her Fairy Godmother

Getting her nails done

And her eyes

And her lips

I need one of these for at home

The finishing touch: Pixie Dust!

NOTHING could be better than this "First Look" face.

She knows she's a Princess

While Chloe was getting the royal treatment, Ashton was across the park in Adventureland joining the Pirate League. He’s signed onto Captain Jack Sparrow’s crew now, with a new name: David Starcastle. I’m totally okay with that. I didn’t even recognize my boy when they were done with him.

You can't tell me he's not the hottest 7 year old pirate you've ever seen.

Here are a couple of things I learned that first day:

1. Every girl, no matter her age or nationality, longs to be a Princess. I can’t even count the number of stares Chloe got, the whispered, “Oh, look at the beautiful Princess!”’s, daughters pointing her out to their mothers, wives pointing her out to their husbands. People asked to have their picture taken with her, asked for her autograph, cast members bowed and curtsied to her. It took on a spiritual aspect for me. This is the way God intended us, as woman, to feel. To be treated. Pictures and words can’t describe Chloe walking around that park like she owned it, flitting here and there, twirling and dancing. Words can’t describe the joy it gave me to see her. I wouldn’t trade that memory and experience for anything. I can’t wait to do it again for Atleigh.

She takes her royal duties very seriously.

2. Girls are JUST as fixated with pirates as they are with princesses. Now, I don’t know how wrong it is for me to say this, but my son looked HOT. He didn’t even look 7 anymore. He looked like a teenager. It made me a little sad, and not a little uncomfortable, to see him with facial hair. And it amused me (and scared me!) to see all the looks he got in the park from every girl ranging from the ages of 5 to 10. He got envious stares from the boys too. All the adventurer in him came to the forefront. If Captain Jack had appeared right then (why, oh why, didn't he??), I wouldn't have been surprised if my pirate had followed him right to the Black Pearl.

3. And finally, people should be licensed to drive a wheelchair. Those suckers are dangerous. I almost got killed. See for yourself:

    Thus concludes the first in a series of adventures. The rest of the week was pretty uneventful, but I will be posting more pictures, so stay tuned!

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Be Patient With Me

    I promise I will blog soon. I haven't had 5 minutes to myself to breathe, let alone blog. Just keep being patient... I hope I will have time within the next week. I'm thinking of just writing a mini-series on our vacation adventures. Thoughts?

    Until then,

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Summer Beginnings

    Well. I should write a blog. There are many things I should be doing. And some things I should not be doing, such as sitting here at 1:30 in the morning drinking Diet Dr. Pepper and eating Peanut Butter M&M's. But what the heck? It's summer, isn't it? Here’s what’s happening:

    There are a million ants in my kitchen. I don’t really know how to get rid of them. People tell me to put out the stuff that goes around the outside of the house. But that won’t work for us, you see, because the ants live in our siding. Our old, rotting, siding. So putting stuff outside won’t do us any good whatsoever, because the stupid ants aren’t outside. I try to comfort myself by telling myself that it could be worse. We could be infested with roaches, or termites, or fleas. Ants are by comparison much less vile. But incredibly annoying. I hate the way they march around my house like they own it. Where do they get that sense of entitlement? And they smell weird when you smush them. No, don’t take my word for it- do it yourself. I don’t know what type of ant they are. Typical, little black house ants, or whatever they are. But when you smush them with your finger, they give off this sharp, fruity, nail polish remover type smell. It’s so unnerving. The other day we were driving and something coming through the AC vents smelled kind of magic marker-y, and Ashton asked me, “Why does it smell like killing ants?”

    Vacation is 4 1/2 days away. What have I gotten done to further our vacation plans? Nothing. Well, not nothing. I’ve done what I can do. I’ve gotten the laundry done. We will be going naked from now until Sunday. I will NOT wash anymore laundry. I have compiled multiple mental lists of what needs to be done- What I need to buy, what needs to be packed, chores and errands that need to be completed- but written no physical lists. Oh! And I packed Chloe’s suitcase. Just hers. She’s the only one of us who has enough clothes to spare. However, she has gotten new clothes since I packed her suitcase last week, and wants to pack those ones as well. So, I will be repacking her, and my initial packing was a waste of time anyway.

    I started the weekend by going on a bridal shoot with my good friend Missy. We have gotten our business license for photography- that's another blog entirely, but you may congratulate us! Oh man. The shoot was fantastic. The bride is gorgeous, the weather was perfect (albeit a little buggy), the location fabulous. I so wish I could post some of the pictures, but the wedding isn't until this Saturday, so you will just have to take my word for it. I look at them and think "I can't believe I took this picture. Did I take this picture?!"  More to come on that later.

    This past Saturday my family got together to take family portraits. Missy was the poor soul we bewitched into being the photographer (She is wonderful. And brave. Very brave).

    Finding a turtle was the highlight of the kids' - and the uncles'- afternoon
    I started out in a foul mood. Anyone who knows me (and me with my family) will know the intensity of our relationships. We can intensely love each other, and we can intensely dislike each other. Saturday morning was one of my intense dislike moments. Getting my family together for an event- any event, but most specifically, pictures- is like herding spineless, brainless sea monkeys. I’m sorry guys, it’s true. You may get offended, but you’re not the ones doing the wrangling. There are questions that I answer and head off at the pass with valuable information as to location, time, setting, etc. (repeatedly!), that not a one of them remembers. So by Friday night, when I had received 17 texts and phone calls, I finally silenced my phone and said “I cannot do this anymore. I will lose my mind.” I very nearly did. But. When I get around my family, they work their magic on me. I can’t stay mad. I can’t even stay irritated. They make me laugh. They make me proud. They make me so happy. And although I made many of them promise me that if I ever- EVER- suggested anything as insane as family pictures again, they were to hogtie me until I regained a modicum of common sense, I might just be willing to try it again.

    My goofy, charming nephew Aidan.

    The original 6
    My brothers
    My own branch of the family tree
    Yes. It's a lot.

     We spent Memorial Day with Jeremy’s grandparents, his parents, and some of their friends. We always seem to straddle a line between the grown ups and the kids. But spending time with them and watching our kids and their little cousins play made me happier than I expected it to. We have a full life. It might seem mundane to some. But it isn’t to our kids. It isn’t to Jeremy’s grandparents, who get to see their great-grandchildren play together. And it turns out it isn’t mundane to me either, forging family memories that are more important than any other plans we might have made.

    Memorial Day (Atleigh with her other cousin Aidan)

    So it seems that if I really look around and take stock of this past weekend, our summer is off to a pretty bright beginning.

    Atleigh on Grandad's old Chevy, the Green Hornet

    Except for the ants. I’m taking tips on how to get rid of those suckers.