Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Camping, part three. Reflection.

5 things we learned about ourselves while camping...

1. We want to be like our friends, Rusty and Marlaine. They have three boys, almost grown now, and they've made recreating together a huge priority in their home. We want to become as resourceful, inventive, prepared, and generous as they are, and we are thankful to have had the chance to become closer to them.

2. Our kids are champs. They sleep through the night, even on the woody ground. It's easy to think of all the things that are hard about camping with young children, but we are tough! We did it and we can do it again. And again.

3. We are so happy. So happy with our current life situation. So happy having what we have. So happy in love. So happy as a family. I don't even know how many times Duke and I expressed these things to one another while we were in the wilderness.

4. Around potential hazards I am far too grown-up and Duke is a big child. We balance one another, but we've both got to work on becoming more well-rounded. I yell, "climb down from there and set a good example." And he yells back, "come in the water and spend time with us."

5. Our good attitude about the road bumps made the trip infinitely more enjoyable than our fondest dreams. If we got lost in the woods, we laughed. It was really that simple. All the little "disappointments" were not disappointing at all. We had a true adventure and soaked it all in. I loved that about us, and I want to keep that trait for everyday! I hope we can!

Now, on to the next adventure before the summer closes! Can you believe that baby #4 comes around in about 4 weeks??? I can't!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Camping, part two. Magic in the night.

There is something so magical about a pitch-night, lit only by a fire or camp lantern.

Our good friends introduced us to a new type of night magic; glow football. Each player wears glow sticks around their neck and wrists. The end-zone is marked with glowing LED light balls. The ball switches on like a firefly. Magic.

Can you spot the play in the next picture? The ball is bright orange. Duke adorns a purple glow. Like I said, magic.

Of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to make some time-lapse designs with the field markers... Cool, right?

What fun. Again, glad for great friends and family to share the starry-night enchantment.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Camping, part one. Thunder and light.

I didn't want to come home. Who needs showers, electricity, the internet, or a home equipped with modern-day conveniences? Ok, we would have eventually run out of propane and camera-battery life, causing our defeated march back to civilization.

I awoke Thursday night to both the pain of sleeping pregnant on the ground and a subtle sound of thunder, miles away. The raise and fall of little-boy's chests, along with the familiar, soft snore from the man I love, filled my aching bones with comfort and peace. Unable to rest completely, my mind moved with heavy storm-clouds outside. The sky lit noon for an instant, one-onethousand, two-onethosand, three-onethousand, four-onethousand, CRASH.

I wondered, should I wake them? I wondered, how do I know if I am feeling prompted from on high or if I am just overly fearful? Be still. Light, one-onethousand, two-onethousand, three-onethousand, CRASH. Should I wake him, if only to hold his hand in the flickering darkness? No, he lays so calmly. No. Flash, one-one-thousand, CRASH. "Honey, wake up! Let's get in the car."

He roused to the sound of thunder-resonating through the small valley, bouncing for minutes and multiplying with fresh claps. The sky strobed like that one room in every haunted house, causing a similar, slight horror. And then the rain.

One by one we gathered our tiny babes into our shaky arms. The car was safety, possibly only in our minds, but our shaking arms and nerves relaxed into a peace and gratitude for our sweet family all huddled together. The baby snored on. The older boys asked question after question until we were expounding to them the thoughts of our hearts and our great love of God and one another. There, in the middle of the night, the forest, the storm, we felt our family draw closer together. I wouldn't trade that wet, spooky night for a free stay in the nicest resort-spa available.

The beautiful sun came to dry our soggy camp. And oh, so many salamanders to make glad.

In a family recreation class that I took once, we spoke often of the great blessings of camping together as a family; increased team-work and problem-solving skills, greater appreciation for day-to-day ease at home, a chance to heal strained bonds without the distraction of a busy day.

Not to mention learning self-reliance skills from more experienced family and friends.

If we were wealthy, I think we would miss out sometimes on marvelous, simple experiences. I think we might, were our bank accounts brimming, send ourselves to Disneyland and Hawaiian resorts with all the comforts available. I am thankful we are where we are. I am thankful we must be creative in our recreation. I am thankful for water balloons, and cups and buckets, and for tug-of-war rope. And beloved friends and family to share these simple pleasures.

Through the darkest nights and brightness of day, my heart is filled with gratitude for a the simple moments that knit our family tighter.

Oh, sweet joy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

a recipe for success.

Take some peaches.

Plus jars.

Add family.

Make sure to play lovely music and sneak off with your husband to the other room for kiss and dance breaks.

Mix all of the above with "late hour" and "communal effort."

Warning; silly puns (like "this is the pits!") and dopy laughter are likely to occur.

Successful families are established and maintained on a few, key principles.

One of those principles is "work."

Side by side.

So happy.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I think I am going to start a collection of beautiful, simple stories that my sons can grow up hearing; my own stories, or the tales from family and friends. Stories about honor and love and kindness. I know I have seen kindness, but I sometimes forget to retell the experience which telling gives it life and a chance to continuously influence those who hear.

The boys and I attended a funeral this morning. A lovely funeral, sad but not sad. The woman had lived a remarkable life of love and kindness. She served and befriended, mothered and nurtured. She loved her husband and was loved dearly by him. It was inspiring to hear the beautiful stories of her honorable life.

I'll share with you one of my favorite stories of kindness, so that you know the sort-of things I am looking to collect.

Wasn't that lovely?

Email me at if you have a personal story of love, kindness, compassion, honor, bravery, or other praiseworthy characteristics for the collection. Maybe I will get a chance to share a few on the blog here. :)

a blur.

What happened over this last week?

My body hurts, so I think I've been active. There is a giant pile of dirty clothes on the floor, so I think I got dressed every day. The dishes have stacked up, so we must have been cooking and eating food. All evidence of a busy life.

Plus I've hundreds of photos of high school seniors in my iphoto library.

I fear that this last month of pregnancy will be a blur and that I'll not ever have the time or energy to nest. What a shame, for I do so love to nest. I love the smell of perfectly clean carpets. I love a bathtub that sparkles. I love an organized pantry and a "to do" list with all the items scribbled out.

But I also love the look of a full and joyous calendar. Camping. Socials. Dinners. Dancing. The Zoo. Birthdays. Family. Family. More family. Our calendar is a full bottle of diet coke and the baby's coming is a mentos.

Hopefully I'll be able to enjoy the magical splendor of it all and skip the fretting over a giant, sticky mess.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Five, or around then, is usually the time I give up. Today I even called Duke and told him that I give up. They're fighting. They're sassy. They're just being kids, but I'm done.

Duke told me to hang on a little longer (he needs to help someone move right after work).

That's it! There's a watermelon in the fridge! And when they get sticky they can run through the sprinklers! Then when they get cold they can snuggle in a towel!

Then Dad will be home.

But by the time he gets here, we won't be in such dire need anyway since I will have fallen in love with those little, sticky faces all over again.

The 5:00 desperation is always short-lived. But very real.

Less than 7 weeks.

Less than 7 weeks until all of our family pictures become obsolete and incomplete.

Unless you count the belly.

I left my camera.

Stooph, one more thing.

I'm glad I left my camera at your house. It was an accident, but if had given it any thought, I would have done it on purpose.

I love that we got to come back in our pajamas and spend more time with you and your great family.

I love that my camera was returned with so many additional photos.

I love that the timing worked out such that I could see cute Tanya, her darling kids, and her adorable belly. It's funny how following her blog can make me feel like we're such good buds even though we've hardly ever exchanged a word. I really like her.

I love that our kids came back from our visit entirely too filthy for the second day in a row.

And I'm especially pleased that they were able to make friends with your spunky niece, Lucy.

I must share this video of their southern-accent-gibberish game that we so enjoyed witnessing...

So happy to have wonderful friends and acquaintances who make us smile.