Sunday, October 11, 2015

On Being At The Beach

Do you know how long it takes to get four little people dressed in swim suits and slathered with sunscreen?
Did I mentioned those four little people are squirming and running around and have no concept of the words, "stand still"?
Did I mention that in no way any of this is a bad thing?
Because I love every single bit of it. I love the way my hands get covered in sunscreen and how bathing suits are hung over deck rails to sun dry at the end of the day.
I love the hour of preparation it takes to finally get out onto the sand and I love the pile of discarded flip flops and beach towels as little feet go running for the water's edge.
I love that Harrison is figuring out his own oceanfront vacation groove. He loved playing in the surf for a few minutes but we was perfectly happy to sip on a Dr. Pepper in a beach chair watching the tide come in.
I loved watching Jefferson literally dance to the sea. His little feet would pound a rhythm only he and the water knew and he would wave his arms over the waves like a maestro orchestrating a symphony.
I loved watching Wilson vie for the world record of sand packed into one's swim trunks. He would start at the top of a dune and roll all the way down, across the beach, and crash into the surf. I loved watching him dare the waves to knock him down and challenge the undertow to duels.

I loved watching Jeff and Wils torment seagulls by chasing them mercilessly down the beach never giving them a moment's rest.
I loved watching Harrison catch crabs, build them a habitat, name them, and let them go at the end of the day after trying to convince us to let him keep them.
I loved that LilyMae would fall asleep to the lull of the surf and her brothers shrieking. I love that next year she'll be joining them.
I love that the whole messy process of chasing kids with a bottle of suncsreen, grabbing towels, baggies of goldfish, and beach blankets, and running across hot sand to score the perfect oceanfront set up is something we all love together.
Being at the beach means making some of the best salty, sand covered memories together. It means being in our happy place and it means seagulls quickly learn to avoid our spot of beach ;)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On Getting There

The next several posts are going to be me reliving every moment of our two weeks in our happiest place on earth.
This means it may bore some of you, but for the sake of this being our chronicling of memories, and my love of sea and sun, I'm going to enjoy this. (The beach posts, not the boring you part.)
So I'll start at the beginning;
Once upon a time, there was a girl who was inherently programmed to live on tradition. That is, once a tradition is established it is utter blasphemy to mention a change or a discontinuation of said tradition.
This girl, ok me, I have the issue, I'm working through this and letting go of my love of tradition and classics, just a bit, not a lot, but a bit. But I am the mother of several little men who were genetically programmed with the same love.
And so three beach trips ago when we stopped at a hole in the wall BBQ place in Currituck and repeated it the next year, well, it may as well be a family member we need to visit each trip from here on after in the minds of my men.
And when we stopped at a farmer's market with a rope swing and icecream machines hooked up to tractor engines, well you better believe we'll be there again, same time same place next year.
Because my boys don't forget. They remember exactly where that rope swing hides behind the broken barn and wind chime collection.
They remember the tins of peanut brittle and honey roasted pecans free for the tasting.
They remember the BBQ place with the the pig statue, the 8 different kinds of sauces, and the tables outside to eat on.
They remember the broken fire truck in the field nearby to climb on and explore after they abandon their food from being "too excited".
We won't be making the same trip on repeat over and over through the years, and I'm ok with this. I may go through a momentary loss when I realize we won't be stopping at the same farmer's market, but I'll get over it because I have a competing love for new adventures.
But my boys have a ways to go in overcoming their genetic makeup for tradition love. And that's ok with me because they crack me up.
Their growing up is going by fast and I know it will only go by faster. So if we need to stop and get bagels before we leave town to make sure we start the trip off right, then I will totally be standing in line at Einsteins Bagels.
And if stopping by broken down fire engines and rope swings brings every joy and giddyness to a bunch of little guys then I'm all about repeating it. These moments are fleeting, precious, and worth reliving. 
But the real tradition is the beach, and this was only just about getting us there...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

5 Month LilyMae

As you can tell from my blogging, or lack thereof, this past month has been a crazy mix of chaos and coastlines. 
In the past month I have managed to start a first grade and preschool school year, spend two weeks seaside totally not keeping up with what day of the week it was, helped move friends halfway across the country, spend time with friends we can't see enough, and blogged zero times.
In all the crazy, this beautiful sassy lady grew another month older! Our deep blue ocean eyed baby girl is now five months old and becoming quite the spunky little addition!
LilyMae, I can hardly believe you're the same tiny infant first placed in my arms five months ago. You can now roll front to back and have invented some army crawl/scoot hybrid to get the toy you so desperately can't wait to chew on.
You are the most laid back, sweet little girl in the whole world, of this I'm sure. Proof would be how you spent the majority of the past month not sleeping in your own bed, never having a normal routine, eating everywhere from mini golf courses to basketball tryouts, and you never got out of sorts about any of it.
You stay happy, peaceful, and wide eyed taking in the world and the non-stop chaos surrounding you. You cannot get enough of your big brothers and reward their rapt attention with huge dimpled smiles and musical laughter.
You hardly ever cry. There's very few things that make your deep blue ocean eyes well up with heartbreaking tears, in fact there's only three. One, the carseat, you hate being in the car, but you typically get over it fairly quickly. Two, when you're genuinely hurt, like a brother throws a ball and it hits you. Three, when you'd just rather take a nap instead of hanging out with your crazy family.
You are starting to show us a little more about just who LilyMae is and we can't get enough of you! You have learned how some of your silly faces elicit choruses of laughter so you love getting our attention to try out your new expressions. You are ticklish, patient, and gentle.
You are starting to play with toys and grab things to study and chew. Your pink sock monkey is a close fixture and you have very long conversations together filled with the sweetest little noises. I can't wait to find out what you're saying.
You're in size two diapers, 6-9 month clothing, and even though I'm not a fan of the weather getting colder, your cute clothes are definitely helping with that. You nurse every three hours, eat baby food for dinner and so far haven't had any objections to anything you've tried.
You are the sweetest little blessing and we love having you in our family! You've just jumped right in with us and handled your family's crazy last month beautifully. This next month should be a little bit slower so there should be a lot more blogging and a lot more time to soak up you and your incredible big brothers. We love you LilyMae!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Four Month LilyMae

I sat down to start typing this and accidentally typed, "six months," and I am so glad we aren't there yet!
Time is already going faster than I'd like. I feel like we are just getting to know you and I want to freeze you in this moment and soak you in.
You are laughing now and it's beyond infectious! You have us all in giggles as we listen to your laugh fill the room like a song.
You are completely sweet, patient, easy going, and flexible. You love being held close but are perfectly fine to hang out in a swing or the exersaucer when Mommy's hands are full with other things.
Your smiles and giggles are hard to earn but you richly reward them when you do. 
You love watching you big brothers play, you love tummy time, and you love trying to figure out how to army crawl of the blanket during tummy time and that's ridiculous of you to be trying so young so you must stop.
You are in size 2 diapers, 3-6 months clothing, and eat cereal every day. You nurse every three hours and sleep 12 hours at night with three naps during the day.
You just starting sitting up with the help of the boppy pillow and you seems quite pleased with this new vantage point. You gaze around the room like it's your tiny kingdom to survey.
Your favorite toy at the moment is Sophie the giraffe and your fingers. You just hold them and stare at them before stuffing them in your mouth to chew.
You are our beautiful, little, deep blue ocean eyed princess and we are truly grateful God created you for our family. It has been such a blessing getting to know you and we so look forward to watching you grow into the young lady God has made you to be! We love you LilyMae!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Back of Their Heads

I was going through pictures I've taken from our adventures these last few weeks of summer.
We've been to zoos, parks, monuments, and shopping malls giving me plenty of opportunities to capture their antics and give their teenager selves plenty of eye rolling one day.
But as I was scrolling through my uploaded pictures I realized a lot of the candid shots I get nowadays is of the back of their little heads.
Sure they'll turn and look if I ask, flash a cheesy grin, or stick their tongues out because they're cool like that. 
But if I really just want to steal a moment- a raw, perfectly imperfect glimpse into their little worlds I have to do just that, steal it.
It involves me hiding my camera and pulling it only when they aren't telling me their stories or showing me their coolest new jump or ninja kick.
And because of that, because I don't want to ruin the real moment I don't always get their faces. I get their backs, their shoulders, their heads...but I see everything I need to.
I know these little people, I know them inside and out. I know them like the back of my hand and the back of their heads.
I know what makes them giddy, I know what makes them scared, I know what makes them tired, angry, excited, silly, sad, and proud, and I know exactly what they feel without even seeing their face.
I see their shoulders slump in defeat, I see heads on craned necks in anticipation, I see smiles literally consume their whole bodies, and I see pride in confident heads held high. 
I know when to rush to their aid or to stay back and let them grow on their own, sometimes from not even seeing their face, I can tell, because I know these little people...who will one day be not so little people.
One day I'm sure I'll watch the back of one of my sons' heads as he sits in a robe and cap waiting to cross a stage to receive a diploma, I'll see the backs of their heads as they stand beside their finance becoming man and wife, I'll watch them walk away to board airplanes, drive to other states, move mountains, and blaze new trails and I'll know what's going on inside my child.
But for now I love the view through my lens of the back of their perfect little heads and their realizing I can tell exactly what kind of shenanigans they're scheming without ever having to see their faces ;)