Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I don't have anything to say tonight.  I just thought I'd share a few photos that make me smile.
 How can you not smile when you see this smile?
 I can't get over those blue eyes.
 Everyone in this photo is happy and that is a joy.
During a hike my kids spontaneously sat next to each other on a bridge to watch the water.  I hope that they can develop the friendship to chose to sit next to each  other during other activities in life.  It makes me so happy to see.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Counting Down

I've had a few other ideas for Things I Think posts, but my energy to even get those ideas out is very low.  Here's why: my kids.  I think this summer has just been a smidge too long.  Charlotte and Greg are bored almost every day and do what siblings do when they are bored.  Fight.  So now we are counting down until September 6th.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Things I Think

When you have a lot of time in the car there is a lot of time to think.  You know, interspersed between getting snacks, breaking up fights, fixing toy cars, finding the perfect stickers and spotting trains.  Here is one thing I thought:

Growing up there was not ever any time that I didn't know that my family loved me.  And not just my immediate family.  My extended family too.  I  think part of my confidence in the love that my family had for me was inherent in being a kid.  Being the self centered little being that most children are it never occurred to me that perhaps I was not always pleasant or a joy to be around. But on top of that I saw the actions and heard the words my family said to me.    I went to visit my grandma and cousins for two weeks every summer and our days were packed with activities.  My grandma nearly fell over with joy when she would see my sister and I come into view in the airport terminal.  I assumed that this eagerness to see me was, of course, because my grandparents didn't do anything when we were away.  They simply sat around, waiting for me to come back, so they could entertain me.  Of course as I grew older I realized what was really taking place.  There was much planning, sacrifice and concerted efforts made so that our stay would be fun.  My grandparents, and aunt and uncle had to take time out of their busy schedules to be with us.  I think looking at it that way showed even more to me how much they loved me because they did this even when I was tired, cranky, or fighting with one or the other of my cousins.  I just knew that I was loved.

 I looked at my children during this vacation and saw our family through their eyes.  They know they are loved.  Greg's great grandma spent time patiently listening to him give her a tour of the beautiful the garden that she works at everyday.  His great grandpa made him breakfast every day.  His grandma let him point out every "boy" choice in the fabric store and let him drive his car all over the floor.  His uncle and cousins played batman and superheroes with him until I think everyone else was so bored of the game they couldn't see straight. 
Greg's cousin teaching him to throw rocks in the lake
Greg exhausted after playing batman with cousins
Lee's cousin taking time to play and make him smile

Charlotte's aunts swam and played with her and told her that they loved her to no end.  Her grandparents complemented her on her "artwork" and even purchased a few pieces, which made her feel like a million bucks.  Her cousins played with her to her little heart's content.  And Charlotte and Greg's great grandparents, and great Aunt and Uncle took time out of their days to drive up to meet us just so they could visit for a few minutes.

Grandma/pa with three of their five, soon to be six great grandchildren.

 As I see my family through the eyes of my children, my mother's heart is so full of love and gratitude towards all of them.  It makes me so joyful to know that my children are given the same security and love that I received growing up.  It also makes me motivated to tell those members of my extended family how much I love them.

I want my nieces and nephews to grow up knowing that I love them with a closeness I didn't know I could marry into.  I want my future nieces and nephews and my cousins' children (I don't know what to call them) that I love them too.  I want that security and peace and joy for them too.  I want them to know that I'm excited to see what college has to offer and also kindergarten, how they do in their sports and school and friends.  I'm interested in their milestones.  I will listen to their stories, their joys, their woes.  I love each one individually because they are mine and precious to me.  They are my nieces and nephews.  I want my family and my in-laws to know that no matter what, I love them and I will be there for them to the best that I can.  Because I know that nobody is always the easiest person to be around (including me), but if love underlies everything else then those times of friction, when they are bound to happen, matter less than all the other parts to my relationship with my family.

I title this photo: Friction.  Just look at the face on that girl.
So that's one thought I had during our drive.
Dan with the kids somewhere in Wyoming

The Aftermath

We essentially did four vacations in the span of 12 days.

Then we drove through the night to get back home.

Then I had to bathe Baby Lee because he smelled like the worst mixture of sweat, car seat, spit up, and poop.

Then I had to empty out the van because it too had the worst mixture of sweat, car seat, half eaten food, and poop.

Then we all collapsed.

The contents of our van is still littered across the upstairs.

It's going to be a long recovery week.

That's how you know we had a great vacation.