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Now, remind me again–IS there summertime life off of the beach?

August 24, 2009

One would think that a family who lives at the beach wouldn’t really need to go on a beach vacation. Because, well, isn’t that what our life is every day?

Believe it or not, there is a difference between living AT the beach and vacationing at the beach. Though we hit the sand and waves a couple times each week at home, we still have to, you know, go home afterward. Drive the ten minutes inland. Do laundry. Fix dinner. Clean bathrooms. Vacuum under the kitchen table. Pay bills. Follow through with commitments. All that normal stuff. We still have to LIVE… just near the beach.

I know. What a shocker.

Then there’s a beach vacation. The kind where your friend calls you up and says, “Hey, wanna hit up the beach house for a week? You know, the one that’s right ON the beach. The one from which you can walk out, move your feet twenty-five times and be on the sand?”

And you say, “Um…. yes. As a matter of fact.”

So you go pack up a few changes of clothes just in case you actually wear something other than your swimsuit, drive up the freeway to a different beach than your normal one, and you’re officially on the vaca.

(Forgot to mention: you must also grab all blankies, stuffed animals, bibs, bedding, and other paraphernalia necessary for your two little people to be away from home for a week, wrap up any pending business at home, figure out what days, if any, your hard working husband can get off work early to join you at said beach and THEN you can load up the truck and head up the freeway. Just sayin. Being real and all that.)

We’re at the beach this week. Did I mention that yet?

It’s a funny thing–I haven’t spent this much time at the beach in one summer since I was wearing diapers. As I said before, I’ve lived in the desert most of my life since those diaper wearing years and might grab two trips to the coast each summer. That said, I’m begging you to forgive my raving and gushing and going on and on and on and ON about the whole schebang. I’m just a little in love.

This morning I got up before it was light outside, grabbed my Bible/journal/book/devos necessities, answered a text message from my sweet guy who was doing the same thing at the same time back at home, and headed out to the patio. Truly, there isn’t much that compares to time spent with the powerful God who controls the seas while being lulled by the breaking, swirling waves of those very waters. The sun slowly made it’s ascent behind the morning mist, giving me almost two full hours before I heard little voices and pattering footsteps through the open window.

Yesterday as I sat in church with Bethany–my forever sister friend–and belted the words of In Christ Alone with a group of believers I’d never met but who clearly adore my same King. I sang… No guilt in life, no fear in death–this is the power of Christ in me… From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny… and was overwhelmed with the greatness of this God, this Savior. All that He is, all that He does. There’s no large or small with Him–He’s complete and fully in both extremes. My time with Him this morning only intensified the solidity of the emotion. Funny how God can do such a thing… take something as abstract as feeling and turn it concrete. His very being is just too much for me… words fail me. And you know it’s not often that happens. Ha.

Bethany and I are off for a run on the boardwalk as soon as the boys are done with breakfast. I’ll be packing them in the double jogger and trying not to knock over any innocent strolling folks with the big ol’ steam engine it is. I’m thinking that might ruin the whole “perfect beach trip” experience for all parties involved, wouldn’t you agree?

Of course, the old surfer dude who lives behind this house just came out and told Bethany and I we should just get some lined paper instead of having our laptops out here on the patio–that we’d enjoy the morning better. I’m guessing he thinks we’ve already pretty much committed sacrilege, so anything goes from here on out.

As long as it doesn’t include cleaning, major cooking, or bills. That WOULD be ruination itself.

So. ANYWAY. The point of this here post. Believe me, there was one when I started typing.

I’ve been pretty much talking about the beach and summerish things and vacations and blah-ti-blah-ti-blah for, oh, I dunno… three months now. So let’s talk about something else.

Tell me what YOU have done this summer–vacations and/or how you’ve typically passed these warm weather days.

Because I’m curious… what exactly do people DO when they aren’t getting sandy toes most days of the week? This desert girl has left the land of her heritage… and can’t remember. More sacrilege. I’m all about it today, aren’t I?

And the livin’ is easy…

August 18, 2009

It is totally and completely a death sentence to a blog post to give it a deadline. For instance, if someone writes that they’ll have a post up by, say, Monday, those very words can be considered the signature on the death certificate for Monday’s post. Because, really? Who LIKES to write on a deadline? Not most writers, that’s all I know.

The best writing doesn’t happen on deadlines, anyway, but… I digress.

Although, come to think of it, I wasn’t promising more mediocre writing on Monday, was I? No, the pledge was for a big ol’ load of pictures.

(I’m tempted to tell you what I just typed instead of “big ol’ load” and then erased once I realized what I’d said. But I won’t, because it was funky–though not bad–slang and I’m not that far along in my Twelve Step People Pleasers Anonymous Program yet. Ha.)

Okay. Y’all.

(Yes, I’m a SoCal girl, but I’m allowed to say y’all because I have an Alabamian staying at my house this week. She’s now using “TOTALLY” in every sentence, so I figure that gives me leave to use her words, right? Exactly.)

Okay, Y’ALL.

Our Summer in Pictures.

And, if you couldn’t care less, just give that scrolling finger a workout and head to the clip at the bottom. It’s amazing how much about our summer can be said in one quick PhotoBooth session.

Although these first couple snapshots pretty much sum it all up, too…

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The sand.

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The Sea.

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The pool. (This is the small one, though we also frequent the big one.)

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Naps.

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Or, more likely… no naps.

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Brothers.

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Friends.

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Sweetness.

For the first time ever… truly, ever… I’ve actually relished these summer days. My memory glances back and grasps at pleasant bits here and there, but mostly it just finds splashes of chlorinated water evaporating as soon as they hit the sweltering, oppressing heat. Every summer I remember is clouded in a fog of headaches and heat lethargy–the result of a strange “heat illness” I’ve dealt with all my life–the darkness of closed blinds, the hum of fans running in every room. Last summer was my first living away from the oven of the desert and yet it found me with two tiny ones and a deployed husband. My beach trips equaled a grand total of two and I only hit the pool with my little non-swimmers when I was back in the above ground pool of my childhood, surrounded by several other adults.

But this year–this year, it’s been different.

This is the kind of summer I’ve always imagined people enjoyed. The kind I read about in books and watch on screen. The boys and I drink smoothies full of local fruit in the balmy mornings before heading to the beach, the gym, the pool, the pool at the gym. Some days it’s just the three of us, most we meet friends. I guide two wet-headed boys into fan-cooled bedrooms in early afternoon where they–usually–promptly crash for a few hours. Then comes my dream time… when I curl up in the couch corner with a book, a plastic cup of crushed ice and water and a fan oscillating in the living room. Dinner has been understated the past few months–quick meals, cool meals, whatever doesn’t require much forethought or heating up of the oven. John rides his bike to and from work every day and comes in the front door sweaty around 5:30 every evening and a little later is fresh and clean, kissing my shoulder while I finish dinner. Evenings–Daddy and the boys wrestle on the floor, devotions with all four of us piled on the couch, bedtime kisses, talking with my beloved with cottage cheese and frozen pineapple for dessert (or, more decadently, mint chip ice cream) the salt breeze cooling the house while we sleep. A bit dreamy, all of it.

But, for the first time, and in spite of–or perhaps because of–the difficulties of the past year and the ones we anticipate next year, we’re enjoying our summer. Loving it, really.

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Daddy and Bubbie snuggling outside on a summer night.

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Flying.

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Troysie and his Grammie–his girl, the love of his life.

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Family of Four. My family? How crazy is this life I lead?

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Painting in the driveway. Shirtless except for the Crayola smock.

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The crown jewel of July–a little boy, not quite three and a half, who just up and decided to write his own name without a bit of prompting, or, really, any practice. Perhaps I’ve underestimated him?

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Movie night with buddies. Popcorn? Do we get popcorn, Mommy?

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Colorado. Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Race car drivers.

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Too tasty to use hands. Grandma’s an amazing baker. (Every pun intended, Those Who Know Us Personally.)

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Haircuts.

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Freshly shorn. And happy.

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Stealing kisses.

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Bubbly!!

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Exuberant.

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And pensive.

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The girlies–plus Merritt. Our miniature family reunion day.

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New baby girl cousin… cuddly and precious.

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The Cousins. All six of ‘em. The three oldest girls are John’s brothers’. The baby is his sister’s. And, obviously, the boys are John’s and, you know, MINE.

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Uncle John and some of the girlies.

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I wuvs this face.

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Picnics.

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The king of my heart in his mountain man throne.

(I’m a big fan of The Corny.)

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Going ‘Round… and ’round… and…

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That’s Mt. Elbert in the background. ETA: I was just informed by the resident mountain expert that I apparently don’t yet love these mountains enough to tell them apart in pictures. Forgive me, Mt. Massive. The inhabitants of John’s hometown claim it as their very own.

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Grandma time.

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And nappie time.

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The mountain wildflowers are breathtaking.

Especially if you have allergies, but, you know…

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And that’s Mt. Massive. The other peak they claim and love as if it’s a person. I’m beginning to do the same.

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Mommy has this thing for stealing kisses, so it seems.

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Learning to climb rocks with a (patient) buddy.

And now.

And NOW.

The reality of my every day:

Hello and welcome to the House of All The Random

August 15, 2009

See what happens when you give someone an extensive list of books to read? You don’t see that person for eleventy billion years or so due to All The Reading.

I’m blaming it all on you, people. Lack of responsibility and all that jazz.

The problem with taking a long break from this here bloggity world is the part of coming back to it. I didn’t exactly intend for this month of silence to happen, but what can I say? It’s summer. The beach, the long afternoons of reading while the boys nap (five books down so far and a couple more in the works!), vacation, weddings, lots of friends, pool trips, projects big and small… all called my name much too loudly. It would take about ten trillion words to fill you in on everything we’ve been up to the past month, so consider it me doing you a favor when I forgo the actual, you know, WORDS and give you 48,000 words worth of pictures instead. I mean, I know this isn’t a photoblog or anything–though you were probably starting to wonder–but right now my children are beside me laughing their fool heads off at their Photoboothed selves on Hannah Beth’s Macbook (remember her? from here and most especially here?) and any words coming from my brain wouldn’t make sense in this particular moment AND (breath) my husband happens to have taken several thousand pictures over the past few weeks AND they’re all begging to be seen.

The logical thing would be for him to get his own blog in which to showcase the product of his SD cards, but he tried that a couple years ago and thought this whole blogging thing overrated. He also had a Facebook once upon a time and closed the whole ordeal down once he realized it required Maintenance in the form of, oh my goodness and fall down dead, Accepting Friends’ Requests. I know. BUT (newsflash!) two years later the situation has been remedied, just this very morning, in fact, and his name and picture can be found in that great, vast place of reconnection. I suggested Twitter a time or two, but you can imagine the response to that. The fact is that a man who spends 5+ days each week being a computer expert for the Marine Corps and for any friend, brother, uncle or second cousin twice removed, has no time or interest in actually socializing on such a contraption. Besides, it might be true that I had a little bit or a lot bit to do with the setting up of the Facebook account this morning. But, you know.

BUT, in other wonderful and interesting news (because this post is already chock full of it) that crazy wonderful best friend and beloved for life of mine took me on an old fashioned dinner and movie date last night (as opposed to the dinner or coffee and a beach walk dates we usually do–we seem to get a whole lot more distractionless talking time in that way) and we saw–what else?–Julie & Julia. I admit to a bit of moisture in my eyes in specific scenes and several quotes pertaining to my own life that I’d like to tuck away for the next time I question my direction with this whole thing called writing, but the best part of all of it was feeling John shaking with quiet laughter beside me during so many key blogging related scenes. Oh goodness. It was as if he’s had some experience with this husband-of-a-blogger gig over the past five years.

(I also loved the fact that, in 2002, a blog that received 50-some-odd comments on a high day was the third most popular blog. Remember those days, ye ol’ bloggity peoples?)

So, as further evidence of the fact that this is not a photoblog, but, lo, a blog with words–LOTS and LOTS of random words–I’ve filled my screen with an entire post when I intended to write two sentences and then show you a million pictures. I’ll spare your scrolling finger today and put them in their very own post on Monday for you to scroll away at if you dare.

Be warned–there will be mucho cuteness contained therein.

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