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Another Happy Birthday

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Wil and Willow celebrated another day of birth yesterday, a year of living.  Wil went fishing after a few hours of work and Willow went to school equipped with chocolate chip cookies for everyone and scratch and sniff stickers.  When asked how old she was she would say, “I’m three, four, five, six”  while concentrating very hard on putting up the right amount of fingers.  As I was driving around town to get the cupcakes and balloons, I recalled her birth story and the first few hours of her life.  We were so sure we were having a boy that we had only picked out the one girl name.  Now, I can’t imagine a life without my spunky girl.  She enters the three’s full of song and dance, full of hugs and cuddles, and full of tantrums and laughter. I’m holding on to the way she says words (Cwacka= Cracker) and the way she says “no” first to everything and then in a heartbeat will change her answer.  Soon, those endearing qualities will turn into new talents.

 

After taking Lilly to open house so she could show me around her classroom, we feasted on crab legs and cupcakes.  I discovered that Willow does not like cupcakes.  I was forced to finish her somewhat gnawed heap of chocolate.  Someone had to do it because there was no wasting these gems.  Then, we did a scavenger hunt for the gifts which Lilly was manically excited about.  So excited in fact that she wasn’t making much sense before the hunt and then after she fell apart into a crying mess.

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It was a good day with a bit of “have to” and a lot of “want to.”  Thanks to everyone for all the happy wishes.

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Labor of Love

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I’m starting to think Labor Day is my favorite “day off.”  It’s a no expectations, nothing terrible happened, no gifts needed day to be with family and friends (unless you in fact did work then it was basically a tribute day?  That probably doesn’t help.)

This past week was really, really good.  Keeping with the whole “feast or famine” schedule, Wil was able to take a few mornings off while the girls were at school and he and I had date mornings.  September is so wonderful here.  The crowds thin out, the air is still hot and the water still wants to be played in.  We also know some really great people that give us access to some of the most beautiful spots in this town.  Being grateful comes easy when faced with such beauty.

 

Lilly and Willow had their first full weeks at school. I heard very few complaints and smooth transitions.  Willow started a new creative movement and tumbling class.  She was way into it, following all the directions and doing forward rolls.  She will, along with Wil, be celebrating a birthday this week.  I just wish I could get her eating more.  She has really become such a picky eater.  I hate sending her to bed with a few pieces of cantaloupe and one bite of potato swimming in her tummy but she doesn’t seem to want dinner, or much of it anyways.

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Lilly got her first jelly fish sting today.  We spent a good part of the day with friends playing at the inlet of Pawleys and Litchfield.  Lilly had been a little whiny and cryish earlier on so when she got stung, I just wasn’t very sympathetic.  I brushed it off as another tired tantrum.  Then, Willow got stung and I took a closer look at Lilly’s leg.  Sure enough, the marks of a jelly!  The whole event sparked a story telling of “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.”  As much as I know the outbursts and baby talk are a sign that attention isn’t being given somewhere along the way, it is like nails on a chalkboard and I react in ways I’m not always proud of.  I felt a tinge of guilt that I didn’t get to care for her while the sting was setting in but I was trying to ignore the behavior that I didn’t like.  We are hoping the story made an impression.  Lilly is so brave and so sweet that when her behavior isn’t A+, I’m hard on her.  It makes me miss her when she is at school and hug her a little tighter at the end of the day……

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Honeymoon’s Over

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First morning of the school year where I sit in total silence, except for the leaf blower and washing machine noises.  Both of our children at school, meeting friends, getting germs.  I have so many things I can do and want to do with my time but this morning, this will be the one I give myself 100% permission to sulk around and wander aimlessly.  Let’s back up….

Last week, Lilly started Kindergarten.  First day came around and the whole family piled into the car to see her go into her new, big school.  I asked her if she wanted to be dropped off at the door or walked in by me or Wil.  Without hesitation she stated that she would walk in on her own.  Not wanting to sound needy, I said, “Okay.  You sure?”  and she stayed true to her first impulse.  And she did.  And I cried.  Wil took a picture of me crying because we didn’t get the “standing by her classroom door” shot.  I did not post that picture because I am an ugly crier.

The rest of the week went on like that:  she was excited to go and happy when she got home.  She was also super duper tired.  On Friday, we managed to go to a back to school party that was lots of fun but she kinda fell apart a few times out of exhaustion.  This morning however, the honeymoon was over.  Lilly dragged getting ready for school and complained about our new carpool set up.  Still happy to actually be going to school but just a bit on the needy side, a side I hadn’t yet seen with kindergarten Lilly.  This made the fact that Willow started her mornings of preschool today a little bit tougher.

IMG_1628 With her new blue, light up shoes on, we strolled on over to St. Peter’s and headed in the door.  Parents and kids were everywhere crying or smiling.  It was the usual beginning of school chaos.  Willow did not want me to leave her and I kinda had to sneak out which I hate to do but seemed necessary.  No tears were shed by Willow but I went out the door with a little hole in my heart.  As much as I truly believe Willow needs and wants to be at school and as much as I love having a few hours each morning to do errands or workout, part of me just wants her to be with me all the time.  Totally unhealthy I’m sure but true none-the-less.

So, here I am, blogging it up, waiting for Wil  to go on a bike ride with me so I didn’t have to be totally alone the first morning.  My thoughts go to the family friend that posted a picture much like the one above with the caption:  “First day of college classes for this girl!” and it becomes all too real how quickly this time will pass.

Meet The Teacher

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Today she will “Meet the Teacher” and tomorrow she starts her long journey of organized learning.  The past week has meant no holds bar fun.  We have done more summer things these past days then we did all summer long.

In my swirl of emotions, I’ve been trying to figure out why this start is so different from all the others.  She has been going to preschool since we lived on Lookout.  Maybe it’s the extended hours or the fact that I can’t just randomly choose to keep her home.  Maybe it’s the size of the school or the fact we have to actually be there on time.  I keep going back to the fact that this is when the intense learning starts.  The knowledge of all that is right and wrong with school.  The beginning of dealing with tough life lessons and losing maybe a bit of innocence along the way.  It’s also the start of lifelong friends and teachers that will make impressions that follow us as adults.

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Yes, I know it will be great and I’ll reclaim just a bit of free time each week for myself.  I’ll be praying for my girls and hoping that they will be strong and smart and kind.

Willow has been trying to wrap her head around the fact that she isn’t going to school with Lilly.  They have gotten along so well this summer and have become best friends.

 

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As we begin a journey that so many other families have taken before us, we can’t help but feel how special these next two days will be.  These feelings will only happen once in this exact way.  Maybe I’m building it up a bit but just like a birthday or a wedding, this needs to be celebrated because it will lose that magical feeling as Lilly grows and changes.

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Thinking about all the moms out there who are dropping their babies off in front of doors to big for those little bodies, wearing backpacks that seem to swallow them whole.  How lucky are we to have these opportunities and all this love to give.

 

Window To The Soul

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Everyone that knows a kid knows what I mean when I say, “The light in a child’s eyes.”  Kids have answers that adults don’t.  That’s one of the reasons why it is so hard when we know that children are suffering.  To know they are suffering and feeling completely unable to help.  It leaves this empty feeling inside.

The past two weeks have brought me so much opportunity to be with Lilly and Willow and bask in their glow.

Asheville was a trip that was taken because Wil was  going to be out of town.  I made it all about kids and family and seeing things I love in and about Asheville.  We missed Wil but knew he was having fun at OshKosh.

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We left Asheville and headed to Nebo where my folks are enjoying the summer on the lake.  It was so nice to spend time with my mom and dad and see some extended family that I rarely get to see.

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Once back in Pawleys, we had a week of Vacation Bible School at HCFM.  Such a great experience. I saw a lot of joy, very few tears, and people working together.  Seeing Wil all morning and getting to work beside each other reminded me so much of why we fell in love at Camp Henry.  It was a great week and I’m still sore from going down the water-slide multiple times. Willow wakes up hoping it is a VBS day.  Not for another 363 days….

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Ahead of us is a week and a few days of time before Lilly starts kindergarten.  I am preparing us both for the change with celebration.  Well, as much as I can muster even though it does seem to make me a little sad.  We’ve done a few drive-byes of the elementary school and read a few books about the first day.  Since she has been in preschool, it won’t be such a major transition but this mom knows that it will be different.

IMG_1474I’m thinking of all the little lights that shine and what that means when the light is fading.

Mid Summer Dip

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I need to start by saying how great it is that Weird Al is making new tunes.  When I was a senior in High School, I went with my friend Joanna to see Weird Al perform at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.  We were the oldest kids there.  The age bracket jumped up to adult chaperones right after about 10 years of age.  I witnessed the fat suit in all its glory and reveled in songs that I had grown up listening to.  Let’s just say, I’ve never really identified with the cool kids.  This has translated into adulthood where, thank goodness, it doesn’t matter as much.  You can still find me singing “Eat It” at the random Karaoke night and I will admit I have listened to his new one, “Handy”, multiple times.

Speaking of the good ol’ days, I was happy to meet up with my friend Cyndi recently to ride the Fort Fisher ferry over to the aquarium.  Me and the girls spent the day with her family playing as much catch up as we could.  I love the feel of a historic friendship.  There’s no room for analyzing or judgment because all those years have filled the space.

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We have hit a lull in our summer.  June was super busy and super quick but these mid July weeks have found us wandering around the house.  Lilly and Willow have become great friends as of late.  There’s some annoyance for sure but I catch a lot of laughter and a lot of hugs between them.  Wil had a super hard week last week for multiple reasons.  So today, he took Lilly to the Carnivorous plant talk at the library.  I think they both needed that one on one attention. This summers go to activity for Lilly has been creating things out of paper.  She’s made dolls, gardens, tools, and even a church.  Her creativity is impressive.

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At Target last week, I let her pick out a book bag and she wanted to wear it around the store.  Seeing her with that huge bag on was tough!  It is hard to believe that she starts her school journey in a month.  I know she is ready but am I?

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Willow has been growing!  Sure, the summer time ice cream trips have been helping but the baby fat is leaving.  Willow loves puzzles and ipad games.  Feeding her is my big challenge.  She is super picky and prefers carbs.  I have to starve her to get her to eat her greens.  Dancing seems to be her preferred method of exercise but the girl is clumsy!  She falls out of most chairs and her elbows are black and blue because of it.

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Wil and I went fishing together, without kids or other people, for the first time since moving here.  First line into the water and we caught a red fish!  I will admit that it was pretty exciting and I probably screamed a little bit too much for such early morning hours.  Now, actually touching fish is not my forte.  Then, we spent a few hours with nothing or throw backs.  Last cast of the day and we caught another red fish.  We managed to get dinner for the night and bond over Wil’s favorite thing to do.

With all the difficult events happening in the world and in our town, it can be hard to get relief from the guilt and sadness of it all. Rev. Sandy gave an awesome sermon Sunday that really deserved an audible “Amen” but I said it in my head instead.  After having a few difficult weeks of my own, it was great to hear the message of God’s love.  That is one thing I can get behind because it can be very lonely inside our own heads but if we have God, we aren’t alone and that is comforting no matter what.

When You Assume…..

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Speaking words of wisdom, let it be….

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There’s a lot of opportunity and joy in being a clergy spouse.  Being Episcopal gives me definition.  It defines issues that I believe in and as a clergy spouse, I am right in the middle of understanding how ideas are changing and growing.  I get a lot of love from the members of the congregation.   As I have grown comfortable at Holy Cross and seen what a church family is, I understand organized religion has its benefits and I understand, I totally get it.

Lately, “clergy spouse” has been somewhat of a burden.  We came back from Wild Goose feeling empowered and positive.  Somehow, I landed in the middle of under currents of judgement.  I landed in feeling the weight of the responsibility of church being VERY heavy.  Strangely, at church today, I felt more of God’s presence then I have in months.  I needed God today more than I usually think I do.  God was there as God always is.

As women, we seem to be so good at breaking each other down.  Since most women rely on their relationships to keep them balanced and happy, when relationships with other women are broken, it really hurts.  Needing relationships also makes us vulnerable to a mob mentality of judging others.  I’d like to say that I am smarter than that but I haven’t always been able to see it until after the fact.  I know clergy spouse who have become no more than a smile and a hello.  They have detached themselves from getting too involved or risking their hearts.  I won’t be that way.  I can’t be that way.

There are lots of obvious things I can say.  Women have got to back each other up.  We don’t all have to agree but we have enough going against us as it is, we don’t need other women to bring us down as well.  Agree to disagree.  Take the higher road.  Compliment someone instead of ignoring them.  Most importantly, ask them, “Why?” when you don’t understand.  Assumptions can be the disease that destroys happiness.

Thanks be to God for the power to move on and grow from all of life’s experiences.  Thanks be to God for little girls who only care about rainbows and cookies.   Thanks be to God for a happy, unburdened heart.  Thanks be to God for the opportunity to just let it be.

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