Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer by the Lake

We don't really do "summer by the lake" but I think it's cool when people say that so I'm just posting our "afternoon at the lake" as our "summer by the lake".  We don't own a boat or a house on the lake but we have good good friends that do.

Friends from waaaay back in China, the Demers.  And they are awesome!  They have five, yes, five kids ranging in age from college graduate to preschooler.  They are the most laid back and in love couple I know.  But they parent with a passion and their kids are all great.

Being around their family feels good.  It's got like a happy vibe that I can't describe.  I leave feeling like, "why was I so stressed about......"?

So a day on the lake in a boat will do that but so will just a day in their house.  It's the place but it's really the people.



Bill says, "put a kid on a tube and pull them and watch them smile..." he's right!


Can you tell Jenna's a nanny?  So so sweet Abigail loved her the moment she walked in the room.




No words...


A selfie...




Post tubing party


Hand stands



and daughters...



and hugs!


I'd say our "summer at the lake" was perfection!

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Back to School Post


Today is the third day of school. (music)

The first morning was chaos.

The second peaceful and perfect.

The third, even better.

Maybe it's better that I'm writing this three days later.  The emotions have had a chance to calm down a bit and maybe I won't be as sappy as these posts usually are for me.

Just get a load of this in

2013 (oh man, I just reread this one and it's still just how I feel) and here 
2012 and here and here  and here 
2011 and here
2010  and here

I mean really.  Sap, sap. sap.

Let's just say it's always the same.  I'm up before the sun.  Tossing and turning like I'm about to go on a big trip and I don't want to miss the plane.

Anna will wear a red dress.  Abigail will wear a blue dress.

I'll take 121 pictures.

And I'll spend that day and the days following all weepy that my house is too quiet.

So maybe I can just skip this post, right?

No way!!!!  This stuff, these emotions are too good.  I live for the joy they put into my heart.  The ups and the downs.  The nerves and the giggles.  The new lunchbox and the ribbons in her hair.  Oh how I love being a mommy!

The morning before the first day I did a little session with my girls here.  (and wrote about it back here and here)


I love her smile here and her relaxed stance.  She "looks like Anna" here to me... know what I mean?

1 collage

And she wasn't sure she wanted to wear a dress but she knew not to push me in that area.  I told her just until her first day of college... then she could decide for herself.  And oh I loved this one.


And my tiny second grader loves the camera


I adored her dress this year.  Really little girl...


But I adore her spunky personality too!



And toothless smile


8 collage

Changing right before my eyes... middle school here she comes!



And then the big day was upon us.

My alarm was set for 4:30.  But I didn't sleep that much anyway.  In the dark on my pretty table with my little lamp on I had my prayer time.  I'm in the middle of studying 1 Peter but I couldn't concentrate that morning so I just turned to Psalm 27 (since it was the 27th)  God always meets my heart there early in the morning.  He scatters seeds and I pick them up and store them away before anything else.

The Lord is my light and salvation, so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.  

And I scratched down in my notebook ~

Lord, I need you today.  My emotions are all over the place.  My hands are shaking and I don't want to say goodbye.  Could you help me today Lord?  Will you be with me and speak to me more than ever?  I invite you into this day Lord.  Be with us.  I ache for them to be little and home with me.  But above all I am so grateful that you gave this life to me.  This profound love in my heart.  Praise God!

And then I walked outside to set up my tripod for later in the morning and I saw the field behind my house all misty from fog.  The middle school in the background and the mist on the grass.  And for a few moments I felt calm.

 (and this left over from summer)

4 collage


Scott stayed home a little later to be able to give the girls a kiss before he had to leave.

(loving Anna here) 

Everything was ready.


(oh this card that daddy found) 

(and this one... the banner comes off so she can hang it on her locker door and see it every day when she opens her locker) 



But somehow we got behind.  I kept telling Anna that we had plenty of time for pictures before we left to walk her.  (just a 5 minute walk through the back yard) to the middle school front door... 7 if you walk really really slow)




(When did this happen?  If that's not a middle school pose than what is?) 
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A snapped a few but realized that we needed extra time to walk that morning because I wanted to walk her all the way to the front of the school.  But that was kind of far for Abigail so I pushed her in a stroller so she would be able to keep up with us.

I prayed for her as we walked but before I knew it she had to say goodbye and walk into those middle school doors.

And I had to turn and walk with Abigail back home and then get her to her school opening ceremony.

But wait!  I thought there would be more time at this moment.

Don't I have a minute or two to ponder what just happened?  Can't I hug her one more time?  There must be some other words of wisdom that I forgot to tell her.  Wait!  Come back!  I thought.

16 collage

(I know I'm sappy)  But she walked away and I did too.  I wanted to run after her and have one more day of summer.  I wanted to get her and tell her she could do elementary school with her beloved teachers one more year.  I really I did... I thought all those thoughts and really wanted another few minutes with her.


It was over so quick.  I was sweating from the walk, pushing Abigail who was holding the camera.  And I fought the tears.  I knew I had one more goodbye to get through and I couldn't cry yet.

One more.

A few more pictures in the backyard.








All her idea


And a few more that her school.



We parked and walked up the sidewalk.  (without Anna... now that felt weird!)  And this song was playing on the speakers.  Oh yeah... those first cords got to me.  Abigail and I walked really slowly; holding hands.  I memorized the way her little hand fit in mine.  And I listened.  Hold in the tears Tara... just till the car.

But with Abigail it is so much easier to be happy and not cry.  Anna was always on the edge of tears at that ceremony.




I mean look at those happy faces.



I couldn't snap quick enough.


Oh Abigail.


You make me happy.


But now it's time to say goodbye.


And we did.


Bye baby.

(and one little story from the flag raising ceremony I want to read years from now ~ right in the middle of the chaos Anna's fifth grade teacher left his line/kids/parents to find me.  A hand on my shoulder and he said, "how's our girl?" with a smile.  I was so overcome with gratitude for her having what Scott calls the "golden path" through elementary school.  From her Kindergarten through fifth grade.  And this just summed it up for me. I told him that she did great; that she took a deep breath and walked in.  And he smiled.)  

And then it feels like I only blinked and it was time to have my girls home with me.

Ahhhhh here she comes.


See this path?  It leads from our backyard/field right to the school.  It makes me happy that she walks on it every day to and from school.  I pushed her in her baby stroller countless times on this path because she wouldn't nap.  She never ever napped because she wouldn't let me put her down.  It even took months for her to go in the stroller.  So sometimes I would even have to carry heavy Anna on our walks.  Scott was a teacher in this school in our backyard when Anna was a baby and we'd walk in the stroller to meet him for lunch.  This path makes me happy. 



And back through the garden gate.


And this one too... all smiles...


Guess what we did after that first day?  Went here!


And the night ended up here.  Read alouds on my bed.  The perfect way to end the day.


I am so grateful that I'm able to be there for all of that... the whole first day.  So very grateful...