Friday, June 29, 2012

VBS giveth & VBS taketh away...

Vacation Bible School ended yesterday.

The end of VBS means that today (the day after) we will be experiencing the gentle led down that frequently follows such commitment-heavy, oh-so-worth-the-investment-of-our-family's-time-and-energy, friendship-building, fellowship-strengthening, endurance conditioning events. 

The end of VBS also brings the finale of my niece Sophie's annual pilgrimage to our home to attend VBS with her cousins. 

The first day of VBS always brings with it her much anticipated and joyful arrival to the festivities. 

The next days find Sophie finding her short-term, albeit important, place among her cousins in the rhythms of a five-kid existence. 

Sophie is the oldest child in her family, 

...but when she joins us, she lands smack-dab in the middle of our four. 

It is an interesting study in birth order to watch the shuffling take place, if only for five days, as each of the younger kids scoot down the line to make room for our VBS gal!

Sophie fits in beautifully!

The last day of VBS brings with it the fine sense of completing a rewarding week of summer Jesus-learning...

...but also brings the exodus of Sophie from our summer. 

And such a looked forward to part of our summer she is! 
We just can't believe that she's here when she finally arrives...

...and we just can't believe that the week has ended when it's time for her to return home.

The weeping and wailing that marks the end of the last night of VBS is pitiful, sometimes even beginning before bible school makes its final wrap-up on the last evening. This year the tears remained swallowed down until we returned home to pack the last of Sophie's belongings and to see her safely into her mamma's care.

The good-bye hugs were soppy.

Soppy and drippy.

If the amount of tears was any indication of the level of fun enjoyed by our merry gang this week, we'll count it a great success!!

"...the barefoot kids sharing a long game of cousins and summer..."

~Barbara Kingsolver in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Monday, June 25, 2012

Go, Go, Go...Be, Be, Be

If I had driven in a straight line today I would have made it half way to Kansas. Instead, I drove to golf camp, theater camp, to the library, home for car snacks as we whizzed by, and back once more to golf camp before finally returning home. Kate, Molly and I logged three and a half hours in the car this morning!

Happily, when we parked the car in the garage, we had nowhere else to go all evening and for that we were thankful! Our summers are like that... go, go, go then sit and be, be, be. I enjoy the going as much as the being especially when both states of existence are fairly balanced. The going would be so frantic if not balanced by the peacefulness of being. Conversely, the being would tend toward boring if not punctuated by the action of the going.

The girls and I were in the midst of a frenzy of going one day. Store to store, one errand after another, wearing our collective patience thin, the day was becoming an exercise of merely getting one foot in front of the other. It was nearing lunch time, so we decided we needed to hurry and get home before hunger joined the other symptoms of our drudgery.

Headed toward the check out, we happened upon a display of odd fizzy drinks in cans that were marked of the girls remarked that at that price we could get drinks for all of us for nearly nothing.  One thing led to another and we left the store with plastic bags full of picnic potential!

Our go, go, go day was tipping dangerously toward frantic until an orange-flavored fizzy drink from the clearance section balanced it perfectly with a lovely bit of be, be, be.

“Our life is frittered away by detail ... simplify, simplify.”
Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Few Clowns Short of a Circus...

When your daughter hits a home run on the ball field, you quickly upload a video and share it with the world. When another daughter, your oldest daughter in fact, plays a "home run" her performance should also be's only right...

Meg's Grandma was so thrilled about her recital performance, that upon returning home, she ordered for her oldest granddaughter something for which Meg had been longing...

Face. Paint.

How very, very quickly the UPS man arrived with the package in which four sets of face paints were placed.

Oh Grandma. Thanks so awfully much...

...for all of that paint.

Meg was looking forward to following the directions and turning Molly into a puppy or a clown or a butterfly, but...

...nothin' doin'...

"See! I can do it mythelf!"

Boy could she!

 Just a bit here...

...and some highlights here...

"Now! Take my picture!"

Then she found some more real estate...

...right there,

...and maybe just fill in... on the cheek bone area...

At lunchtime, we cleaned her up a bit...
a very little bit, so that her pillow wouldn't suffer at nap time. 

Thwarted by Molly, Meg gained permission to use Kate as her canvas...

and then she turned her face paint back toward her very own self later in the evening...

Molly, not to be outdone, decided to have one more go at this whole color-your-face event and we were all surprised at what a fine job she did...

...but perhaps, none of us was more surprised than she...

Eat your heart out Barnum & Bailey!

“A clown is like aspirin, only he works twice as fast” 
~Groucho Marx~

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sometimes, It's the Little Things...

I remember lots of big moments during my 'growing up days': a big vacation to Hawaii, getting out of school a week early to take another big vacation to Florida, a two week mission trip to an indian reservation in Arizona, learning to drive, shopping for prom dresses, going away to college, and shopping for a wedding dress.

The"big moments" in our lives serve as anchors to the other less Capital Letter events that float around in our personal histories.

Those very lower case events in life also leave very large marks. Little things that can happen for no reason, with no forethought, and quite by accident tend to gain larger meaning as memory's light shines on them.

...Like when my Dad was walking me down the aisle and slowed me down a bit halfway to the front,

...or when my Mom and I talked using a homemade sign language throughout an entire speech competition when I was on the stage and she in the audience, Mom laughing it off when she dropped by my Jr. High to find me in detention for chewing gum,

...and my Dad trying his best to explain assets, liability, and capital to me during a car ride to my grandparents'.

Sometimes, it's the little things.

These days, I'm not just thinking about my own small moments memories.

I'm thinking about the little moments that my children are tucking away during their 'growing up' days.

I have ideas of what some of the moments might be right now, but I'm probably wrong. They'll likely remember things I've never even considered the slightest bit remarkable.

It's already happening, the conversations that begin, "Mom (Dad) do you remember when I...and you...and we...?" Often, I have absolutely no recollection. How could I forget, I was there for goodness sake, at least that's what the kids have told me!

Oh but they do remember. Just like I did. Just like their children will.

Something happened last Saturday night that just might make it to the "little things" hall of fame. It reminded me of something I'd read by Dr. Dobson...

"I urge all parents, but especially fathers, to work at building your daughter's self-concept throughout her childhood...

Tell her she is pretty every chance you get.

Hug her.

Compliment her admirable traits.

Build her confidence by giving her your time and attention. 

 Defend her when she is struggling.

And let her know that she has a place in your heart that is reserved only for her. 
She will never forget it. "

"Hey, remember when Dad polished our toenails and fingernails that one Saturday night. Remember? He said he thought it might help us get out the door to church a little easier the next morning...Remember? He said he was out of practice from when he used to polish Meg's toes when she was little and he went back and touched up the messes with a Q-tip? Oh c'mon you've got to remember that!"

{ Happy  Father's  Day!! }

{other Father-themed posts...}

Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James C. Dobson more info here
(quote from page 21}

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When You Are the Only Boy

When you are the only boy in a house full of women, you find any spot where you can to get a minute's peace to relax with a good book. 

It's a tough job being the older brother of three sisters, keeping them in line, keeping them out of your room and out of your stuff. Sisters don't get excited over baseball statistics or basketball scores. Sisters do scream for you every time there's a bug or a gooey mess to take care of. Sisters seem completely unable to realize that they, too, possess the ability to take the garbage out. Sisters also do NOT understand the importance of finishing a game whether it be checkers or whiffle ball or Monopoly. Really! Why play if you're not gonna finish?


But sometimes...when you want to discuss that good book...a sister is a handy thing to have nearby...

 ...sisters do know how to converse.

There are times (especially if you are a teenaged boy) when you need a bite to eat...and a sister just might appear with a snack. Happily, sisters do know how to share.

 There may also be a time when you just need to feel important.

How wonderful would it be for a sister to walk by with an urgent need?

...especially baby sisters...

...know how to make heroes out of brothers.

Sisters...know how to find your quiet, peaceful place and fill it up...full.

I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.
~Maya Angelou 

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Children Have Moved Out

My children have moved out.

The house is quiet.

There are times when I've wondered, with both sadness and anticipation, what our home will be like after the children have moved out. I'm not claiming to know the answer to that question as yet, it has only been a day or two since their leaving.

The silence is both refreshing and uncomfortable. It seems the kind of silence one nurtures while a baby is sleeping--so thankful for the peaceful respite but held captive by the stillness lest the baby is awakened...except that there is no baby here any longer. She is almost four and has come home to nap in my bed for a bit before returning to her new abode.

In their new home, the children seem to exist in a more perfect harmony with one another. Their collective imagination is in a higher gear there too...where they live now. I'd even imagine that those cookies they're eating taste better in their new place than they did at my kitchen counter.

Their new home holds qualities with which my own home cannot compete:

adventure, a hefty sense of accomplishment (they built it themselves), 

splendid views, 

clean fresh air, 

that pink(ish) bedroom the girls have always wanted, 

a dining room with a ceiling created by God Himself, 

one or two books, 

the background music of nature, lemonade, and of course, those cookies.

I have high hopes that the children will return soon, I'm guessing by dinnertime (I'm making their favorite)  or most definitely by nightfall. If not by then, I'm sure they'll show up for breakfast....they didn't take THAT many cookies with them!

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