Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sharp Top

Jared was off on Monday so we celebrated Memorial Day with a early morning hike. We hiked Sharp Top at the Peaks of Otter. It was short but steep and Grace made it all the way up on her own! It was well worth the effort - the views at the summit were awesome. We are so thankful for the sacrifices of many that allow us to enjoy this wonderful country!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mother's Day

I did a lot of reading this year prior to Mother's Day, just various blogs and opinion articles on the celebration. I still don't get why so many women hate Mother's Day - I know the guilt for not being perfect, the unrealistic homages to mothers over the pulpit in church, the discomfort of being the center of attention, the gift of another potted plant to keep alive...  No surprise that I am all about a day for me! No complaints here. My crew went with their usual: Breakfast (bagel & oatmeal squares) in bed, our traditional "Great Mother's Day Race" where I run around scavenger hunt style, doing all sorts of silly challenges and find my prizes (always the kids with a bow on someone's head and other various gifts). This year my challenges including skipping down the street, riding Grace's bike, playing one of Noah's piano pieces (oh how he loved standing over me pointing out my many mistakes!) and fighting through a barrage of styrofoam sword attacks. I wonder if they will still make me do it when they are all teenagers? What about when I'm 60? But honestly, look at those cute kids - what would I not do for them?

Gwen's 5K

Gwen participated in Girls on the Run again this spring. She loved it, but I like to tell people she did "Girls on the Walk & Talk" more than she ran. I tried to set some goals with her at the beginning of the season, made a chart, you know the type-A mom stuff, but she was clearly uninterested. She loves being with her friends and I love that she's made so many nice friends through the program, so I can't complain and quit bugging her about her efforts.

In the fall she ran the 5K with friends and they took their time coming in around 45 minutes, so imagine my surprise when the 3 of them coming running down the finishing shoot at 35 minutes! They decided at the starting line to stick together and one (the one who actually trained throughout the season) said she wasn't going to let them slow her down, so they pushed themselves and did it! I was pretty impressed and loved seeing how happy they were with their effort. I hope it's a feeling that will stick with them for a long time.

Brandy came to the race to cheer her big cousin and she was so funny. We cheered right at the finish line and Brandy told my mom that my her "woo-hoos" were embarrassing her. She finally caught on and did some yelling herself, but the best was her dinner prayer that night. I quote "and thank you that Gwen is the best and fastest and she won and bless that we can know how hard Gwen worked and she is the best" and on and on. Doesn't everyone want a cheerleader like that?!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

first swimming hole of the year

We found a new favorite hike last week. It's so short it hardly qualifies as a hike, but the kids begged to do it again this weekend and they had a great time again, this time Dad got to come along too. They found lots of good swimming holes and our van seats are still moist from the ride home since we didn't have any towels. I'm excited for lots more hiking this summer, and I'm sure we'll be back for more dips in this fun creek. And next time we'll know to bring towels.

Ryan, the beaver

It is so easy for me to get stuck on all the fighting that seems to happen throughout the course of a day, but they really have lots of fun times together. Last Sunday they spent hours and hours in these homemade "hammocks" playing sailors. They crack me up when they aren't making me pull out my hair.

I think this was the same day that within an hour I went from "Mom, you are the very best mom EVER" to "you are the worst mom in the world! (slamming door)". I love it. Seriously, it's the best job ever and these four kids are perfect for me, they are teaching me and stretching me and helping me become a better person with every slammed door and sweet hug. 


It always takes a while to really feel at home somewhere. And I don't mean the friends or knowing how to get around the city without the GPS, but that feeling deep down that says "this is just right, exactly where you belong right now." I had that moment the other day sitting at the stop light looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Of course, I'm a Virginia girl and there is nothing I love more than some rolling farmland and those blue hills in the background. Virginia is always home for me, but it was a perfectly peaceful moment, a tender mercy from my Heavenly Father, to let me know I'm home.

A bathroom moment

My most meaningful moment at church last week came while I was in the bathroom stall. Grace had an accident and I was busy cleaning her up when I realized that in the stall next to me a daughter was helping her elderly mother use the bathroom. She was lifting her from chair to toilet "scoot up a little mom" and "let me hold this for you" all the while I was changing little panties and "that's okay, you can still go to nursery" and "are you ready for me to wipe your bum?" As the mother and daughter finished up and daughter helped mother wash her hands at the sink, I helped Grace wash her hands and felt like for a moment I had experienced something special. I don't even pretend to be a "writer" and others would do the experience justice by writing more eloquently, but the moment was poignant and so many thoughts went through my mind about women and the stages of our lives and serving others and the bonds of family, I just don't want to forget my special bathroom moment.