Friday, June 25, 2010

Livin' La Vida Low Key


Now that summer is officially upon us, I am officially ecstatic.

Most of the time, it seems like a cruel joke that the most wonderful time of the year--summer--is frustratingly short. But the hap-hap-happiest season of all is off to such a perfect start in 2010 that I am hoping to bottle it right up and inhale it next February when I am wearing three hoodies and cursing the latest blizzard.

I am not one for planning or organizing things {or being timely or remembering anything at all}, but I DO like to make sure that I am responsible about having fun.

So, on the first day of NO SCHOOL, the kids and I like to brainstorm a list of our Summer Goals and Objectives.

It goes without saying that the completion of these activities is very serious. I use it as an opportunity to teach the kids about dreaming big and working diligently to reach for the stars.

Of course, it also enables a lot of gratuitous eating and ice cream consumption, so we all win!

One of my goals for the summer was to blog about each of our adventures so when I am 60 {or honestly, next fall}, I can savor the memories and have evidence that the temperature does, in fact, rise above 70.

Sadly, we've done about half the list already (seeing as we've been out of school for awhile now) and I'm already about a dozen blogs behind.

Maybe someday I will dig deep and hire a personal assistant to help me reach my goals.

But for now, I thought I'd leave you with one of the most enduring images of our summer:

I didn't even know what lovely piece of machinery was called a few weeks ago, but apparently it's a manifold. Not sure if there are various types of manifolds, but this one controls our sprinkler system.

Or, shall I say, controlled.

{If pipes and wires submerged in water look fishy to you, then you are on to something big.}

Another blog entitled, "The Trampoline Pit of Death That Almost Ended Our Marriage But Ended Up Being Ok and Even Fun" is needed to fully describe that manifold. Maybe I'll even blog about it someday, but probably not.

{Not because of the emotional pain, but because of the fact that I don't really blog much.}

But now we have an in-ground trampoline, a semi-functional sprinkler system AND celebrated 11 years of marriage all in the same week.

And that, my friends, is not as simple as it sounds.

Ok, for real, sunrise on my back deck:

An oversized mug of perfectly creamed coffee, a sleeping house, and the Word are enough to remind me that knowing Jesus better is my purpose each day.

Plus, I haven't gotten to the part in Genesis where Eve really stressed over her sprinkler zones and the destruction of the manifold when Adam drove over it with a Bobcat.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dad's Day

One of the best surprises about getting married is when the person to whom you're married turns out to be a great dad.

And I'm not just saying that due to his ability to produce kids who look exactly like him.

It's one thing to think and even believe the person you're marrying will be a great dad, but until there's a little person involved and you see him hold a colicky baby all night long and then go to work the next day, exhausted, but never complaining, you don't know for sure.

But I do now.

There's also his desire to wear a Santa hat every single Christmas day. {No idea where that hat came from or why he's worn it for 11 years straight, or for that matter, where he stores it the rest of the year, but the kids like it.}

I'm so thankful Brad is great....not just because he jumps on the trampoline with a full stomach right after dinner or educates the kids on classic rock bands or has never been the first one to say he's done playing catch.

Mostly because he loves God with all his heart and pours that love into Jackson and Lilly's lives every single day.

Through his prayers, through his time, through his words.

When Brad was ten years old, his dad was killed by a co-worker. This month, 22 years later, the woman who murdered his dad, (and also shot another man, leaving him a quadriplegic) requested a clemency hearing.

The court asked Brad, his brother, mom, and uncle to write letters expressing why they believe this woman should not be set free.

With Brad's permission, I'm posting a little excerpt of his letter. No matter how many times I hear how great of a man, dad, and husband Dale Rowell was, it still makes me pause.

And then I remember why I'm actually never surprised that Brad is an amazing father.

Read on:

"My name is Brad Rowell and I am Dale Rowell’s youngest son. I was ten years old when my dad was murdered by (name.) My dad was a wonderful father and I have such great memories of him and our life together. Dad coached my baseball and soccer teams and made a point to play with me on weeknights when he got home from work. He also was committed to family dinners around the kitchen table and after dinner we would read the Bible and pray together. I loved camping with Dad at the Indiana Sand Dunes and our long road trips to both the east and west coasts. I remember helping dad with projects around the house and at church – he had such a servant heart. I remember sledding and ice skating in the winter and riding bikes in the summer. He was a wonderful father and I will always have these great memories.

But there are, and will continue to be, experiences that my Dad missed because of (her) heinous crime. My dad was robbed of so many things: Little things like simply seeing how I look. I’m much different at age 32 than I was at age 10. Major things like never seeing me get married or holding my two children in his arms.

And all the things in between: never seeing me as the captain of my high school soccer team, never seeing me graduate from college, never talking with me about my first job, never talking with me about owning my home and doing projects like he used to, never seeing me be involved in my own church the way he was, and on and on and on. I continue to think of my dad often I still miss him terribly."

What strikes me is the huge impact Brad's father had in ten short years. He chose to live each day like most people dream of--never wasting an opportunity to invest in his boys.

And I'm thankful that I get glimpses of Dale each day through Brad's kindness, patience, and fun-loving spirit.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Clearly I Am The One Who's Confused

So before swimming lessons this afternoon, Lilly was struggling to get ready in time to leave.

Couldn't find her swimsuit. {Had it on yesterday.}

Couldn't find her flops. {I could see them while she declared them missing.}

Kept stopping to read instead of actually changing into clothes. {Not to discourage reading or anything, but there's a time and a place.}

So my blood pressure skyrocketed and my veins bulged.

Sometimes instead of actually losing my temper, I talk about hypothetically losing my temper and it seems to calm me down.


"Lilly, if you are not in the car with Jackson and me in two minutes, I will be IRATE and that is the most serious form of anger I can think of and I guarantee you will not be pleased with the consequences."

{Doesn't that sound calming?}

Well somehow, she got into the car and it didn't end up to be a very big deal.

Five seconds of silence.

"Mom, do you have some flour and a balloon? Not the kind of flowers you plant but the kind of flour you make cookies with?"

"'Yes' on the flour, 'no' on the balloon."

"Because today at show-and-tell, Siena, a girl in my class, said you can put flour inside the balloon and make a cool ball that you can squeeze whenever you get irate or even just really mad."

"What about if my darling kids just obey the first time so then I don't have to get irate?"

Taking no time to consider that idea: "I think you'd really like the balloon."

Guess I'll be stopping by the party store.