"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Friday, August 22, 2014

factual friday -- more to summer

Getting home from our east coast journey-ings was a little tricky and we got stranded in Charleston for just a bit longer.

It was okay by me. I wasn't ready to come back.

We spent the night in an Embassy Suites Hotel.

The night before I got married, my family of eight younger siblings stayed in the same hotel chain in Atlanta. My little brothers and sisters rode the glass elevator nearly off the rails, ate the all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast down to nothing, and threatened to spit on the people in the garden court below from the top floor.

We were simply entertained.

I remember feeling just a bit abashed in front of my Southern California in-laws-to-be.

Here I am standing years later, in an Embassy Suites Hotel with children of my own the same age as those then … doing the very same things.

It was a surreal moment to laugh at but I was thrilled to have just a minute more vacation time.

Annie's cutest friend ever had been anticipating our arrival home.

And had been holding on to presents she got for Eliza and Charlotte's birthdays.  She's so great.

Every one of us came down with a miserable summer cold that lingered forever on our return.

Gotta stop licking the handrails at the airport. Yuck.

My boys went backpacking in the Colorado high country for a weekend. The girls and I took advantage of a girl's night dinner out.

A girl's night has to conclude with pedicures.

Annie and I worked on her photography skills together.

We never did get that garden in but the raspberries took over the entire plot. We've had a year of monsoon-like rains and they grew up so happily.

I also left my phone home one day and later found tons of footage of kids daring each other to do crazy things in the rain.

The rainy weather has cut our warm afternoon short and put a bit of an early chill in the air.

I'm missing these days.

Christian's friends have made that their gathering place. His friends are so sweet with all the little kids and it's so cute to watch.

Grant made a cake for a cub scout party all by himself. He insisted on German Chocolate, his favorite.

Newel attended a couple weekends of a scout camp for stake leadership training.  I crashed the camp one night with dessert for him and his fellow attendees.

We dipped away from the others for a walk and the surroundings were so incredibly beautiful.

When he got back, he was full of fun little scouting things he'd picked up. I caught him teaching Grant to weave a neckerchief slide.

I taught Christian to drive the Sprinter Van. He was actually so thrilled about that, he asked for me to take his picture doing it. That's a rare request.

Just this girl and her cat.

Grant made me pull over and capture this sunset after one of our afternoon storms.

Christian got into making t-shirts he called, "Squatch T's" for their silhouette of Sasquatch. They were a hit.

He attended the Mountain Man Rendezvous with the young men at church. One of the nightly activities was a trading blanket swap where they had to bring something to trade for other handmade items by other attendees.

He made of slew of the shirts and they were a hit.

Newel and I got to chaperon a dance where he met some random guy wearing one of his shirts in the crowd of hundreds of youth.

They didn't know eachother but were thrilled to pose for a picture together.

I'm not sure how thrilled I was with these raccoon traps he came home with.

I'm not even sure they are legal.

We moved into the meat poultry project.

We worked and re-worked those fair books for the project. Twenty four pages of spreadsheets, accounting, receipts, goal setting, pictures, medical records, expenditures, evaluations, losses/gains …

Times 5 children …


But moving into fair week and making new friends, is so fun. More on that later.

And for now, those are the gap fill-ins for our summer facts.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I stood on the porch saying goodbye in the final moments of my wedding reception. A new bride lingering just a minute longer as toile and ribbon wrapped rice pouches were passed around to celebrate departure. My mind was a blur. 

"I have a small gift for you to present to your grandmother," my own mother doubling as event planner said and quickly turned disappearing back indoors.

And then it happened.

The new husband grabbed my hand sending an invisible signal for rice to fly. The crowd closed in, whisking away down the front walk to the waiting car amid cheers and well wishes. I took one longing look over my shoulder and then obediently ducked into the passenger side seat.

And she had missed it.

Silent tears rolled for a minute before being stuffed back in to avoid tainting an otherwise perfect day because new beginnings are sweet and endings are never easy.

We spent a few days last week easing in to Eliza's first day of kindergarten.

We had a one on one conference with the cutest kindergarten teacher in the world.

We took in our school supplies and learned about the classroom.

We attended a parent day and watched Eliza slowly edge into the social scene.

When that first day came, she was brimming. Almost to the edge of irritation that the early morning hours wouldn't pass fast enough so that she could go ahead and go "all by herself".

She had set a date with her dad to be driven and I had agreed to follow separately along and join in the celebration.

In a series of unfortunate miscommunications, I parked in the lot while the car containing my girl got caught up in the passenger lane. Helplessly from a distance, I watched that excited face jump and run up the walk through the doors without even a glance back over her shoulder.

And she was gone.

The first day hubbub died. Magically the parking lot cleared. I climbed back in my car.

And I'd missed it.

I pulled away and stuffed tears back in because time was short and groceries were needed.

All the while keeping a special place in my heart for new beginnings and endings we are never quite ready for.