Sunday, July 14, 2013

(more than) A Week's Worth of Wonder: Summer 2013

I confess that I was looking forward to summer so that less of my time would be consumed with explaining math problems or working grammar concepts into every day play time or carting kids to constant after-school activities...and more of my time could be consumed with one of my favorite pass-times--writing about the people and things that fill my heart and mind up with joy.

But to my surprise, even though I yearned for more writing time several weeks ago...I'm finding that the warm breezes and rays of sunshine keep calling me away from my computer screen during this relaxed  season. I keep finding myself outside...a lot...enjoying this beautiful world with my children while they are young enough to point out things like bugs and flowers and airplanes and the moon.

So, as much as I'm drawn to document and share the wonder I see inside and outside the walls of my home, I'm even more drawn to experiencing moments one-on-one with each of the members of my family (husband included!). That's what fills me up the most. Whatever's missing on the few blog posts that I squeeze in here and there will at least still be written in my heart (and among my memory cells ;).








 <We went to a park that had a really really really long tube slide. MaryAnn kind of liked going down with Daddy, but very much hated the echoing screams of kids (her siblings, eh-hem) that trailed down right behind them. I'm afraid of their screaming sometimes, too, MaryAnn.>
 



  
<Backyard baseball turns back the clock for me. We really could have used a good umpire like Uncle Brian.>

 <And when the surge in baseball playing prompted a search through Dad's old baseball cards, we were in great need of Uncle Brad. I just couldn't keep the who's who in baseball excitement going, so the kids' energy veered off in a different direction...>

  
 <Brent and I have accepted a few odd jobs this summer in which our kids can work alongside us...like constructions projects and babysitting gigs. It feels a bit like milking cows in the suburbs. We feel like it is time well-spent and the $$ earned is set aside specifically to fund all of the millions of activities, camps, and field trips our kids hope to be involved in.>  

<The boys also sold and delivered home-made cinnamon rolls to several neighbors over Father's Day weekend to fund their upcoming Boy Scout camp. The rolls were a huge hit...we're receiving unsolicited orders for the 4th of July. Cinnabon...watch out for the Smiths. *totally kidding*>


 <I'm glad we still find time to play games and ride big wheels.>
 
<My 3 oldest and I had the privilege of accompanying our local choir director as guests at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's pre-show sound check during their recent visit to Ravinia. It was such a treat to see that even the MoTab has to receive direction about improving tone, articulating words, and sitting quietly until it's time to sing. Afterwards, directors Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy chatted up close with us and graciously signed my kids' mini  hymn books. The concert was incredibly inspiring!>  
 
<Certain things seem to skip a generation...like mending. Thank you, Kirsti!>

<I have a nice jewelry box that I received back when I was a teenager. It sits on my dresser today and it's still filled with all my 90s jewelry that I've been saving for my kids to rummage through some day (because I used to love sifting through my mom's jewelry box). Watching their little hands pick up treasures and attach new meaning to my old memories is well worth carting that box to our various homes in five states all these years.>  




<It is so nice to have scouts in the house.>

Monday, July 8, 2013

Christmas in July--Part 3

The day after we celebrated our country's birthday, our Christmas in July present-opening extravaganza came to a close as Kirsti unwrapped her birthday packages first thing in the morning.

After the flying wrapping paper settled, we headed to the beach with a caravan of friends.






A few months ago, Kirsti handed me this small piece of notebook paper:

It reads:

Kirsten's 9th Birthday List:
hand pensol sharpaner
preeschool garbej can (for her classroom in our basement)
close for American girl doll's doll (mini-Kirsten)
cunducter's wand
a bike with handol brake
a horse

It was a peak inside my spirited girl's mind...I felt like I'd just been handed a present myself!

Children keep life so full of refreshing ideas.

As I discussed the list with Brent, it was obvious that we could make a few of her dreams come true...but hmmm, a horse? We've been saying no to a dog for years. How did 'a horse' make it onto her list? Kirsten is growing very mature these days, but I love that she's still young and innocent enough to dream bigger than she knows is possible. I hope the logical side of her brain doesn't catch up too quickly. Her robust imagination balances me out in a beautiful way.

Brent and I decided that perhaps a little pony ride at the local park district farm would be sufficient. But then just a couple of weeks before Kirsten's birthday, Brent contacted a woman at our church that we hadn't seen in awhile. As they talked about a variety of unrelated topics, he discovered that she cares for an elderly man who owns horses just 30 minutes from our house...and she generously offered to have our kids come over not just for a five minute ride, but to learn to ride...as often as their hearts (and our schedule) could handle this summer.

So we spent a Friday morning back in June up close and personal with horses...feeding, petting, grooming, saddling, and riding. All the kids were all smiles. Kirsten's horse was even white. After trotting around with a guide for a lap or two, the older ones bravely took the reigns and shared a few very memorable moments of mentally trusting and bonding with and leading another one of God's great creations. I imagine it felt as scary and as glorious as parenting does sometimes.





<I'll never forget Cienna's continuous gleeful giggle the entire time she was mounted on the saddle...my once nervous-about-trying-nearly-anything child was bold and beautiful and bubbly trotting around the arena.>







<we might as well try for a group shot once in a while>

As parents, we are so thankful for our loving Heavenly Father's tender mercies whose inspiration helped us make impossible (but worthwhile) birthday wishes come true. And a BIG thank you to our dear friend!


We love you, Kirsten, and feel so lucky to be your parents! You add such grace and adventure and style to our family. For the third time since summer solstice I say, "I can't imagine life without you!!"