/> Raising Angels: July 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Favorite Moments of the Day

On my final six mile morning run on the shady and flat paths I love on this island, one man on a bike passed me and yelled, "Good job! Keep up the good work!" What a difference encouragement makes!

Sitting in the shade in a nice Adirondack chair watching the troops fish. Enjoying the enthusiasm of a fifteen year old cousin catching some turtles. Then watching a seven foot alligator threaten to approach us. Excitement!

Holding Max and then my niece as the giant waves crashed over us. Then listening to the laughter and watching the smiles and sputters.

Inventing a bowling game on the beach with Aiden and playing it with him. We were having so much fun, we attracted a small crowd to watch and comment on his creativity.

Watching Max take on the waves all by himself. He got tossed and tumbled and turned and loved every minute of it. What a dramatic change!

Looking down in the surf and catching a starfish (even though I know they're technically sea stars now). Almost as cool as yesterday's dolphin sighting.

Having two brother-in-laws and that same fifteen year old cousin help me with my kids and all my beach stuff as we packed up and headed for the trolley. Melts my heart and makes me so grateful for a family who helps when the husband is not there.

Watching the nine kids inhale their snow cones and then freeze on the air-conditioned trolley.

Having Nelson's uncle tell me eye to eye that it wasn't all my son's fault with such sincerity that he made me cry. I love that man.

Kissing four pair of sun-kissed cheeks good night at the end of an exhausting but fun day.

The knowledge that we have one more whole day tomorrow to enjoy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Good Rainy Day

Yesterday was a rainy day at the beach. It was drizzling when I went for an early morning run and steadily picked up throughout the day. Not to be stopped, we headed to the beach anyway and the waves...were...awesome! We spent two and a half hours riding some monster waves and having the times of our lives. We did that because we were having fun; that and it was a bit chilly when you got out.

We finally turned it in when we were all blue. The rest of the day we watched it rain while we played cards and Scrabble and just plain hung out. All in all, not a bad rainy day the beach.

This morning we rolled over to hear the constant pitter patter of more rain and went back to bed. We had a lazy breakfast and played some more cards and prayed the rain would stop. It mean we're all about making the best out of a bad situation but at the beach one day of rain is quite enough.

Around noon it finally stopped and we were out of the house faster than ever. The sun was not shining, it was simply no longer raining and that was enough. We were happy to be outside. We were happy the sun was not beating down on us. We were happy it was not raining. We were happy that the waves were still HUGE.

It was out in the midst of those gigantic waves that I had one of my best beach experiences ever. About twelve feet in front of me a dolphin surfaced above the waves. It was by far the closest I have ever been to a dolphin in the water. We were so excited we started screaming and everyone in the water turned to look. At that moment the dolphin jumped so high his whole body came out of the water. I looked into his eyes and saw the white underside of his belly. It...was...amazing!

I don't know much, but I'm thinking if it hadn't been raining, we may not have seen that dolphin today. If it hadn't been raining, we wouldn't have had those amazing waves to ride. If it hadn't been raining, it wouldn't have been as cool.

Turns out a rainy day at the beach can be pretty good after all.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Unconditional Love

Tonight I was chastising the boys for some hand to hand combat that has become the norm for working out their disagreements.

I first took the older boy and very sternly told him, "I don't care what he does, Max is three and you do not hit him...EVER."

I then turned to Max, who already had the lower lip protruding and a few tears welling up, "Do NOT hit...EVER!"

He burst into tears and leaned in for a hug as he told me, "I still love you Mama."

Friday, July 22, 2011

One for the Road

I should be in bed as I have an extremely early wake-up in order to squeeze in a long run before it breaks 100 in the morning. I'm not going to tell you how early that is because it's going to be painful. The good part is I'm going with a friend and I won't have to feel guilty heading off to vacation with a run under my belt.
Part of the packing included uploading some pictures from my camera so I have room for vacation photos. When I came across this one of my patriotic crew on the 3rd of July I had to share it. Sometimes, when they're frozen in time like this, I can really see the love. These are the images I hold onto dearly in the moments when they're at each others' throats. When it comes down to it, they really do love each other, even though on most days I have to remind them of that.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beach Bound

Saturday we leave for the beach. I've found that no matter how much advance prep I do, there is always a longer list of things that have to be done the day before. I don't look forward to this. Only moms understand how much work it is to relax.

Of course there's all that work to get there and then all the work of unpacking when you arrive. We vacation with all of Nelson's family. There are a lot of us and it will be noisy and messy. The quarters are nice but when you have a family of six assigned to one little bedroom, you don't exactly leap for joy. The kids are getting bigger every year and when everyone is finally asleep, you can't put your feet on the floor without stepping on someone. Last year I actually panicked that I lost one when I found Dawson sleeping under our bed. I mentioned to Nelson that it might be good for us to get two rooms next time. He reminded me that that decision would double the price of the vacation for us. Squished we shall be.

On the other side there is a whole week in front of us with nothing to do but sit by the pool and lay on the beach. We have days to play with cousins and spend time with family we don't see often enough. We have nights full of stories and competitive matches of Taboo. There are meals shared and crosswords done. There are sandcastles to be built and wave jumping to be done. If I'm lucky, I may even get to read a book.

Suddenly the cramped quarters don't seem so bad. Let's face it, with thirty or so people around, not much sleeping gets done anyway. The memories, the smiles, the time away...these are the things that make all this work totally worth it.

One more day, then look out beach, here we come.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Varsity

Currently I'm procrastinating folding laundry by posting pictures from a month ago. Really I was looking for something else when I came across from some photos from our little anniversary trip.
After mass that morning we decided to eat somewhere that screamed Atlanta, GA and The Varsity was the unanimous choice. This place is known as the largest drive-in the states (I think). They are known for their rude service, long lines and downtown views.

But let me tell you, in spite of all this the place is always packed because of its food. It's simple fare - burgers, dogs, fries and rings. There's no fancy decor, no table service...nothing but really good, totally indulgent, bad for you food served on a paper plate no less.

We loved every single bite! If you ever make it to Atlanta, it is an experience you have to try.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night

Lately, I'm finding I have more things to write about than I have time for. I have pictures of my massive decorating changes and am working on a few more here and there. I had a pretty big birthday one week ago today that I want to share about. Shoot, I haven't even posted the photos of my dad (waiting on him to decide whether or not he wants those to go public) or Fourth of July.

What I'll leave you with tonight is a little entertainment of the Parris variety that my kids did for our annual Fourth of July Talent Show. They got up in front of several hundred people and gave it their all. What I want you to know is that after hours...and hours...and hours of rehearsing thinking they would have lapel mikes, they found out precisely ten minutes before show time that they didn't have those. Suddenly they were panicked. What about the dance moves? How will they hear us? I assured them they would do fine (even though I had the same doubts they did and was just as disappointed).

They pulled it together and got the job done. It was not what they rehearsed but unless you saw the practice, you would have never known. I'm so proud of them for going with the flow. I'm proud of their courage to get up in front of such a loud crowd. I'm proud of them for their enthusiasm on stage. Mostly though, I'm just proud of them for who they are and the fact that they belong to me.

The first 40 seconds or so is them trying to adjust the mikes for the kids so hang in there, fast forward to that point and enjoy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday Aiden!

Aiden, today you turn eight. I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. I was sure you were a girl (we never find out before hand) even though you were pretty rough and tumble in the womb. I'm fairly certain if I bruise on the inside, you did it.

You came bursting into the world fast and furious. The doctor didn't get there and neither did the anesthesiologist. When they said, "It's a boy," none of that mattered. We were thrilled.

I learned in the hospital that the difference between boys and girls is inborn. Every day I am more convinced that is true because of you. You, my son, are nothing like your sister, which is probably a good thing. Boys are different and that's okay.
You are one of the most curious kids I know but what makes you stand out from most other kids who ask the non-stop questions is that you really want to know the answer. You are on a quest for more knowledge that I hope you continue throughout your life. You are very, very smart and I'm sure God has big things in store for you.

Happy Birthday!

Love, Mama

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Summary

Can you believe that I let a whole week go by without even looking at the computer? It was one of those typical whirlwind weeks. When we moved in, Nelson and I decided we needed to have house guests or host some big event at our place every few months of so in order to motivate us to get some things done around here that get placed on the back burner.

Friday afternoon my aunt, my cousin and his family all came for a visit. We were thrilled they were coming, but suddenly we felt a need to try to do all the things on our list at once. They didn't all get done but we checked off a huge chunk of things on that list.

It's amazing what you can get done with a little motivation (like houseguests), a little time (kids were in a vacation bible school last week at night and they ate dinner there), and a little inspiration (finally putting up those curtains in the laundry room).

I have photos to share but tomorrow is Aiden's birthday, which I'm embarrassed to admit, got put on hold with the house guests here. So I've got a shopping list to make, a cake to bake and some presents to buy. Let's hope that motivation and inspiration didn't leave with our guests!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oh, Sweet Child of Mine

Saturday we went to the lake with some friends. We swam for a good long while before having a picnic supper. We had our kids plus one with us and there were plenty of other kids in the mix. Nelson and I were doling out the burgers and passing out the condiments and chips. There was a sigh of relief when the two of us finally sat down and began to eat.

Max had garnered a space at a picnic table across from where we were. About fifteen minutes into the meal we heard a little voice from across the way. "Hey, did someone forget to give me my food?" Nelson and I looked at each other in utter surprise. Did we forget to feed our baby? Somehow, he went totally undetected in the chaos.

There were no tears. There were no tantrums. There wasn't even a harsh word from the kid. He simply stated a fact and then waited patiently while I slapped some ketchup on a burger and tossed it his way.

I watched him as he happily gobbled up that burger. Poor kid, I thought. By this time the other kids at his table had finished and rushed back to the water. Still there was no complaint from Max. He watched them swim as he polished off every bit of his dinner.

I was feeling terrible about my mistake. Then I looked at Max sitting there eating, happy as a clam. I was blown away by his sweet spirit. Here was this three year old, totally content to make the best of a bad situation. In fact, he was more than content, he was perfectly happy.

Tonight I was once again reminded of this sweet disposition of his when he came down crying because his back hurt. He never does this so I seized the opportunity to hold him for awhile and rub his back as he fell asleep in my arms. I can't remember the last time he did this and I was utterly amazed at how blessed I am to be his mother.

I was in an awkward position so I asked Nelson to carry him back upstairs. I watched him grab my baby who has suddenly outgrown his arms. His long legs were hanging over one of Nelson's arms and his arms were hanging over the other one. In the blink of an eye, he has grown up. And though I miss the baby he was, I am so happy with the boy he has become.

Of all the worries I've had about him over the few years he's been in my life, I would take any of them again and then some if it meant he would still have this same personality.

I am convinced if I could clone this kid of mine, I'd be a millionaire.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Try A Little Tenderness

Tonight I plopped myself down on the couch next to Max. He looked up and said so sweetly, "Mama, I just wanna give you this." He proceeded to lean in and plant a big kiss on my cheek.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

In the Holiday Haze

On the blog it looks like the Fourth just came and went. That's what it looks like now, but in a day or two...or maybe three, I will show you that it came and conquered - us.

There were five solid days of celebrations. We celebrated with dance, food and fireworks. We celebrated in the water, the backyard and in homes. We celebrated by standing in my parents' driveway on Monday, cheering like crazy as my mom pulled in with my dad.

There are pictures and words which I will share when I'm not so worn out from the festivities. It was a great holiday. Tonight, I'm kind of glad it's over.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Don't You Mean MC?

Mackenzie commented at lunch today: I really like McHammer. What else does he sing besides "Can't Touch This"?