I'm used to Brian working long hours. There have been years in our lives where we hardly see one another and, of course, this has been difficult. But there has come a rather ironic silver lining from this that I've become aware of: we know how to spend time together. What I mean by that is that we have had so many years of having just pockets of hours together that we got really good at making the most of those hours. And since this has all happened through the first decade of our relationship, it has simply become the way things are. When he is home, we are together. We watch movies together or play games together. We talk through the evening hours over a half gallon of ice cream and lately we sit and cuddle out on the balcony and talk about our future while the ocean rings in our ears and the breeze dances through our hair.
I love this.
And over the years he has become my best friend.
So I miss him in years like this one where he is being worked so hard. This year he gets home late and leaves early. He takes call often and sleeps at the hospital a few times a month. We've had worse years in terms of his schedule, but this one falls close to the top. Even so, there are so many beautiful and wonderful things in this state that I'd like to experience as a family, so we try to make the most of his time with us by getting out and enjoying it when he comes home from work, which means a lot of evening outings. And, you know what? I think evening outings are becoming one of my favorite things about this year. Sometimes I feel like my life is going by like a train on a railroad track. Fast, straight, not many options for detours, just get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. Our evening routine certainly falls underneath the umbrella of this analogy. An invisible railroad track connecting Dinner to Chores to Pj's to Scriptures to Teeth, Potty, Stories, Songs, and finally arriving at Kids Lights Out. I don't allow much room for flexibility or improvization during these hours because, frankly, I'm tired by this time of the day and it's much easier to let the railroad tracks take me down their well run course. But... my life is not a train. And I am free to stop and wander off the course as often as I like, to change up the schedule and to keep our scenery fresh and alive. And this year, because of my desire to Get Out And Do while Brian is around, I've been forced off the evening tracks enough times to recognize that I really cherish those hours when we're out in the beautiful open air during a magical time of day.
Anyway - here are some pictures of these types of detoured evenings. After the work hours are over.
*John D. MacArthur State Park
I love the beach at our apartment because it has a shallow bottom floor for yards and yards before dropping off in to the deep, but there is something about the depth of that blue water just over the breakers at this park that leaves me breathless.
And terrified. A little. Sharks, you know.
Should-a brought swimming suits. Always. Bring. Swimming suits. And, is it just me cringing at McKenzie's rolled up shorts? My goodness... that child will not stop growing, and those legs put almost as much terror in my heart as the thought of sharks in that deep blue water.
Should-a brought swimming suits. Always. Bring. Swimming suits. This park is so beautiful at sunset. See the lighthouse in the background of the previous picture? I keep seeing lighthouses around and then feeling like I should really spend some time thinking about them, because there is potential there for me to really fall in love with the symbolism behind them. But they just don't do anything for me now. I'm much more in love with the clouds and the sun and the water and how all three of those things combine in such... ways... it leaves me speechless.
See that reflecting light?! Trust me, it was better in real life. Still trying to figure out how to capture things as they actually are...
Lots of shallow water.
Lots of rocks, and just enough sand.
We realized something was terribly wrong with our parenting when the kids started using the words football, soccer ball, and basketball interchangeably. Brian vowed to change that. We are now the proud parents of football experts. Not really. But at least they know what a football is now. I think. And McKenzie and Carson seem to understand the rules well enough to enjoy the games. This guy took a football to the face and decided moping in the grass would be a better activity for the evening.
And this guy just sat on a blanket and looked cute enough to eat.
What should we do tonight?