Monday, May 30, 2011

A Living Memorial

Sunshine, warm weather, shorts,

Sandbox fun, flip flops, and lounging in the grass.

Summer is upon us.

Flowers, swimming, cool breezes,

Staying up late, catching lightening bugs, rocking sleeping babies by the campfire.

Watching summer storms with wide eyed little boys, or Aunt Julie giving the swimming lessons.

Getting sticky, sweet post popsicle kisses, watching parades and fireworks,
all while wearing our red, white, and blue.

Sometimes it seems that the meaning of Memorial day has been lost on us.
It's a day off work.
It's  a day for picnicking,
It's when the pool finally gets open.

Don't forget what today is about. There are people who are missing sons, daughters, husbands and wives today. They defended us and gave it all so that we could live in this country.
Beautiful, flawed, diverse, filled with controversy, but forever united.

I will teach my children as they grow that we should never forget, never become complacent.
We should mourn these losses and be grateful to all who serve for our freedom.

But I think with the true meaning always in mind that it is fitting to honor their sacrifice by celebrating life with those we love. Really enjoying time together, good food, funny kids and sweet babies.

Savoring the freedom they gave us to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Not just today, we should everyday try to live our lives to the fullest to honor the fact that we are free.

The Flag still floats unblotted with defeat!
But ah the blood that keeps its ripples red,
The starry lives that keep its field alight.
~Rupert Hughes

Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, 
the cost of a free and undivided Republic.
  ~John A. Logan

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

If My Cell Phone Could Talk....

My phone decided to put itself put of its misery a few weeks days ago... 
I don't blame it, life here is hard.... and sticky.
So when I got my replacement Tom had to transfer photos to my laptop. 
Technology and me aren't friends... I knew it could be done but didn't know how.

To give you an example of the depth of my problem, Isabella had to show me how control the volume on Julie's ipad the other day.....
yeah, that bad.

Anyway I had a few hundred on that little thing, spanning 5 years so get ready for some random.
Lots of baby photo's...




Taking pictures to send to Daddy to show him how our day is going...
We document the damages....ouch...

Sometimes taking pictures while they cry is all I can do to keep from crying myself...

Sometimes laughter is the best medicine... for instance every time I see this I get a good laugh.
Calm down... he wasn't hurting her. She is a tad high strung... want further evidence?

This was much ado about nothing.... tiny little scrape on her foot.
But I gave her an ice pack anyway.
And then she needed all her animals too... and she was back up in two minutes.
Back to her weird funny self...

"Look Mama! I've got nipples like yours!"
She is nothing if not creative....

"Hey honey... remember that loud noise last night while we were watching tv? Figured it out!"

And of course sending picture messages is a good way to bribe a man too.

"Honey look what I made you....
I am such...
...a good wife!

Sooooo.... can you buy me these?
or these?

"Cause don't forget you did this to me so you owe me...

and shoes are the only clothes I can still enjoy shopping for at this size."

And then he sends me pictures like this and says things like,
"look what I have to go through to make a buck... leave me alone and quit spending my money!"

That's not true... he says how much? or can it wait till Friday... and I say no.... gimme gimme gimme..

And further more those earrings and shoes were bought pre-pregnancy.... for our anniversary weekend last year, and actually may have been part of the reason we got pregnant with Vivian.... to much info?

Anyway... some of my favorite pictures of all time are on this phone.
Daniel, to tired to hold his head up anymore.

Summertime with Aunt Julie.

and weirder...

Bald... and wearing his big sisters high heels!

Saturday mornings.

And the first of many naps together... this was right after we got home from the hospital.
I think he has done this with every baby within an hour of getting home.

This hat is obviously Bella's but the boys always seem to wear it more.

Lots of pictures of church outfits to send to our Nana who is sadly often at work.

Reading their Bible before bed, we try to do it every night but we fail often.

This one has survived three or four phones now, Tom and Izzy, one of my favorites.

Playing in the puddles, and working on the patio last summer.

Ice cream at King Cone's Castle last year..... we go for the ice cream and stay for the cow rides.

Daniel... so tiny and bald. We haven't figured out the formula for making baby's with hair.

Going home from church last spring. She is this girly all on her own.

Aren't we cute... this is when Daniel was the baby.

Lunch at Chili's with just one kid... pretty much a date in my book.
Christmas play at church... a sheep, an angel, and a cow.
I was so cute it almost killed me!
Playing at Nana's.... they did this to themselves, that's a stuffed snake Aunt Julie made.

Now that your eyes are watering and I've wasted a good few minutes of your life I will end this abruptly and weirdly as it began.... good night people.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family Ties

I'm sitting on the deck feeling a cool breeze, listening to Vivian cooing in her swing and Daniel sitting in the time out chair...
"ahh done na Mama? All doonnnee!!!"
Summer is upon us and I am finding myself struggling to come back to life with the rest of nature.
There has been plenty of drama recently, and for this past month I've not been writing I've mostly been stuck in the past.
I can't sleep and don't want to write... but I know that if I do it will help. Then maybe I can get back to my usual writing.
Its hard to write this way about something so personal, how to get it out without saying to much?
I will forgive you if you stop reading quickly... 
this may not make much sense to anyone but me and my family.

My grandmother passed away and so many painful, ugly memories from my childhood have been dragged to the surface just by having to attend her funeral. I swear I have been dreading that event since I was in high school,
I knew that it was the one last thing that would force us awkwardly back together again.

If it weren't for my father I would like to think I would have had the guts to just bail on the whole thing. But I'm glad I went... I think.
I feel like I learned something valuable.
There are two side to every coin.

This woman laying the casket was little more than a stranger to me even though we shared a roof for half of my life. I didn't feel she loved me in a deep or real way, I always felt in someways like she was indifferent to me for one reason or another... I can think of a lot of reasons but this isn't the place for that.
But seeing how some of my cousins reacted to having to say goodbye made me realize that there must have been a genuine love between them.... why did they get that and I didn't?

Was it her fault? Her children's fault? My own fault?
Most likely it was and unknowable combination of all three.

It was like it all happened yesterday, like I'm a teenager again losing most of my family to an ugly and impossible situation... one where no one can win or find any value in "being right" because in the end the damage is so severe it could take your breathe away.

It moved me to tears realizing that it was too late now to ever know what might have been if I had laid it all bare and asked her what went wrong and whether or not it could ever be made right.

Whether I could someday stand next to her and read as her grandson did about his genuine sorrow over losing her, his beloved Grandmother.

Truth be told it has been to late for a long time, she hadn't known much of reality for years.
But death is such an incredibly final nail in the coffin of the dramatics and fighting in that family that it is hard to stomach.

It seems to me that an all out battle is so much easier on everyone than the cold long silences and  passive aggressive behavior that has been going on for years.

I wanted so much in that church to play the old silent home movies I had seen of these five siblings from nearly forty years ago and ask them all...
what had happened to this family flickering on the screen?

Because I feel like I've never met them.
It seemed that they were friends, and they cared for each other.

They were smiling and laughing.

They were standing at the beginning of they're lives.
Before husbands, wives, children, illness, jealousy, bitterness, lies, money and death would drive them apart.

There in those old movies was a family I would have liked to have been apart of.
Here in reality is the painful results of people just being people, paying little attention to God's advice to love one another as we love ourselves.

I didn't set out to write this, but I am glad I did because in the end everything I write here is for my kids.

So her you go guys.... what you can learn from this...

love each other and put each other first.

Do all you can do to build and keep strong your relationships.
Even in little ways. Yesterday Tommy, Bella was sick and you went and got her a blanket because you were worried about her.
It was a very small thing that meant a great deal...  keep doing those small things.

Weigh your words and actions in light of the long run, not just how you feel right now.
 Action is much different than reaction. One is thought through and the other is just acting on emotion.

Your emotions shouldn't dictate your behavior.
Always ask yourself how you would want to be treated and then act that way towards your siblings.

 Don't feel entitled and try to see everything you get in life as a blessing.
Don't try to figure out who has gotten more from us. Don't keep records of favors.
And even with all this advice about being kind... don't be a martyr or a doormat.
Speak up for yourself before you become bitter about something. 
Before you've stewed about it for days or years, 
before you have let time and hurt warp your perspective.

 I could think of a lot more to say but I'll stop here. I am not trying to preach to you, I am writing this as much to myself.... probably more.

 I write out of fear and you will know why when you have your own children...
because I see you now all together laughing and running through the grass of our backyard, racing to your swing set, dropping helicopters off of your tree house, blowing on dandelions and making wishes.... and while you wish for ponies, ice cream, and new nerf guns...
I wish so very much that you could just stay this close always, to each other and to me and Daddy.
 Right now you are little and it seems easy since you always follow our lead.
But I wish, or rather pray,  that we could be this family always, trying to love each other as we love ourselves, as Jesus showed us, sacrificially.
Sometimes you will need to sacrifice your pride, your time, your right to free speech, your wants,
to keep the peace in this family... to demonstrate love...and that is as it should be.
That is how we learn to love in just a small way as God loves us.
I think living in that kind of love together we could get a glimpse of Heaven on this imperfect earth.