Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weddings are fun. Weddings in Hawaii are more fun. Part 1

I think it might be weird how much I love that these two just got married.  Brian's sister, Heidi, and her boyfriend-at-the-time, Adam, came to stay with us for a few days during Christmas... and we just fell in love with them.  With him, with her and him, with him and her... there was a lot of happiness and celebration when they ended up engaged.

We don't have much experience with in-laws.  Of course, I have all of Brian's family, and Brian has all of my family, but 'being' the new in-law to the family feels much different than 'accepting' a new in-law to the family.  So, when we called Brian's mom on Mother's day, and Adam was there with Heidi, it was happiness all over again to realize that he will always be there.  He's one of us now.  An uncle to my kids, a brother-in-law to Brian and me, and I couldn't be happier about that. 

I also couldn't be happier about their decision to get married in Hawaii, and to invite us.  I was shocked that the beauty of the Hawaiian ocean was so much grander than the beauty of my own backyard ocean (though, let's be honest... this backyard ocean is awesomely grand, too).  I guess I had forgotten that all oceans are not created equally.  The depth, the colors, the power... they're different out there.  I mean, I don't even have to TRY to get beautiful pictures... they're just sitting there in all their beauty, waiting for me to snap the shutter and take them home.  I mean, these are with my phone guys!

The next one isn't my favorite picture in and of itself, but do you see that color!!!  You know which part I'm talking about... oh my heavens.  Favorite, favorite, favorite.

In addition to Getting Awesome Pictures of Awesome Scenery, we crammed a ton of stuff into the three short days we walked the Hawaiian land.  Check out what we did in just the first day:

Morning Walk

Brian and I kept saying 'Remember those days before we had children?'  Because we were remembering those days before we had children.  Our life sure was simpler... but much less interesting and full.  I loved walking alone with Brian without thinking about the kids in the back of my mind, but I was sure glad that they were there in the back of my mind if I wanted to think about them.  It made me feel lucky.  Anyway - that's not seaweed up there... it's some kind of coral.  Incredibly interesting and teeming with life.  

  Goat Island

 Goat island is my favorite place on Oahu.  I'm not sure if it's because I have such great memories of it (Becky...) or if it's because it truly is an amazing place.  I'm pretty sure it's both.  Looking at the above picture, you can see the main island of Oahu in the distance, and the only way to get onto Goat island is to walk through all that ocean water on a coral barrier.  It is amazingly fun because the ocean wraps around one side of the island and sends waves at you from the right, and wraps around the other side of the island and sends waves at you from the left, so as you walk you get bombarded by waves from both sides.  Which, on a calm day, is very fun.  (On a choppy day it can be scary, though... especially at high tide.)

This picture shows a bunch from our group just heading back to the main island.  They haven't reached the deeper part yet which, at mid-tide, reached our chests with the waves.  Also, the coral is sharp... so since Adam's brother-in-law didn't have footwear, Adam graciously piggy-backed him the whole way.  I do enjoy that coral/sandy beach you see up in that first picture of the island, but my favorite part is the rocky backside where there are usually all kinds of sea life swimming in little pools (though, we didn't see much this time).  Those first two pictures at the top of this post (after the ones of Heidi and Adam, of course) were taken looking out over the backside of the island.


We did.

You know, there's nothing like jumping out of a plane and free-falling for 60 seconds to get the pre-wedding jitters out.  (For Heidi and Adam, of course.  I, personally, didn't have any pre-wedding jitters to get out.)

What an awesome experience!  I'd done it before (Becky... how I missed you during this trip!) when I lived out there for a spring semester at BYU-Hawaii, but this time was different.  The excitement and atmosphere and nervousness and craziness were way better the first time I did it... the actual fall was better the second time (I think it's because the first time we chose to fall for 20 seconds, and this second time we did the 60 second version)... but the breathtaking scenery when you're floating through the silent sky after pulling the parachute was equally captivating and awe-some in the true sense of the word.  If only they had allowed me to bring my phone to get some pictures of it.  It was fun to share it with Brian this time, too.

Engagement Shoot

Heidi got brave and asked me to take her engagement photos.  I was actually quite nervous because, not a professional, but then I decided to just not be nervous and do the best I could.  I know there is a learning curve with everything and, since I'd never actually taken pictures of a couple before, I knew that I wouldn't love everything that came out of my camera... plus, I knew that if they didn't really like the way they turned out, they could always hire a professional to get some couple shots of them at a later date.  I ended up being totally right that I wouldn't love everything that came out of my camera, but I learned so, so much and ended up being so happy that Heidi had asked me and that I had said yes.

Pre-Wedding BBQ

Somehow I managed to go through the entire evening without taking a single picture of the barbeque that Heidi and Adam threw for the family.  It may have had something to do with the fact that I had spent the whole previous hour and a half doing nothing but taking pictures (and really thinking about taking pictures).  My picture brain was probably just as tired as the rest of me and went to sleep for the evening.  It was a lovely barbeque, though.  It was fun to get to know Adam's family a little bit more and feel this strange, distant connection to these people that I may just never see again, but that are, in a small way, family now, too.  One of Adam's brothers and I even talked about this strange connection that night.  "So, like, do we ever really see each other ever again?" he asked.  "Good question..." I replied.  "I guess, maybe, like, for baby blessings?"
"And funerals?"

This is a bit stressful for me because I do not remember details very well... and names are details. So, someday - far in the future - I'll run into these people again and remember that we spent a couple of days together in Hawaii years ago, but that might be the extent of my memory.

Well.  Hopefully they'll feel the same way about me...

We went to bed exhausted that night and hoped for a good nights rest.  Because the next day: wedding.

Holidays are Happening

It's been interesting to see how all the days kind of feel the same around here.  The lack of seasons has tricked me into believing that the months really aren't ticking along at all.  I mean, I see the pages flip through the calendar, and I believe what they tell me, but there are times where I feel like we're just kind of living in a sort of Groundhog's Day existence (though, if I could handpick a scene in which I'd want to have that experience, this would be the one).

For example: when we first got our new van, I was happy to see that it had a thermometer built in, but after driving it along for about a ten days, I determined that it must be broken because every single time I looked at it, it said 80*.  Then one day, it read 79* and I realized that the thermometer wasn't broken at all... we're just living in Florida.  (It was winter then... hence the frigid temperatures.  It's back up into the 90's now.)

This fact has made holidays rather stressful for the simple reason that I don't anticipate them.  At all.  I don't think about them, plan for them, remember them, feel their demands approaching... which, in the beginning, created more than a handful of stressful last-minute pow-wows with myself to pull them off.  (Remember how Brian and I completely forgot about our anniversary this year?)  As the year went on, I decided to just relax and not let the stress get to me.  If things weren't planned, well then life would go on and my children would not remember the year that the leprechauns didn't invade the house.

So, Mother's Day was a happy holiday because I didn't disappoint any children by not seeing it coming.   (Though, I may have disappointed my own mother and mother-in-law by not seeing it coming... I do love you.)

Brian went way above and beyond this year.  He's generally amazing at showing his appreciation for me on a sort of random and unscheduled day basis that I would imagine Mother's Day would be hard for him to make even more special.  But he always manages it and seems to delight in showering me in love and gifts, and who am I to stop his delight?  Of course, my favorite gifts were the cards.  McKenzie wrote "I know that my mom loves me because she never stays mad at me for long."  Carson wrote "I know my mom is very smart because she knows that 100+100=200."  And Miles wrote "I love her because she sometimes do's my chores."  So, there you have it.

Easter, on the other hand, was a bit of a mad scramble as I remembered the holiday less than 24 hours before its dawn.  I actually do not like Easter at all - at all, at all - because I haven't found a good way to celebrate it yet.  I'm frustrated that we spend so much time preparing for and talking about and getting into the spirit of Christmas, yet Easter seems to be all about candy.  I would argue that the resurrection of Christ is the most important event in history (but granted, it couldn't have come to pass without the birth of Christ, so that is important as well), yet it seems that the holiday created to celebrate Him and this event is more overshadowed by the Easter Bunny than Christmas is by Santa Clause.  Sigh.  Anyway, I realize that, being the mom, I have the power to change this about my own little family, but I just haven't put the work into it yet... and so for the past three years as Easter comes around, I've felt much more resentfulness than sacredness.  Which is a shame.  Next year... next year.  Any ideas?

Anyway, I tried to not be too big of a Scrooge... we had a great time dying Easter eggs.  And finding them, too.

After you look at the adorableness of this next picture, you really should take a minute to look in the shadows in the far right of the photo.  It will be worth it. 

April Fools Day was one of those days that I didn't even remember until halfway through the morning when I read an article about it online.  Thankfully a quick Google search later reminded me that I had not, indeed, had the children brush their teeth that morning yet, and that a drop of blue food coloring underneath their toothpaste would get the rest of the day started off right.

Oh how they laughed!

An hour or so later, I happened to spot a green plastic cup on top of a doorway.  Hearing giggles and whispers behind the door let me know that the kids were anxiously waiting for me to come through that door to 'see what would happen'.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had graciously put warm water into the cup, so that when it fell onto my head there was no cold shock.  McKenzie laughed so hard that tears poured out of her eyes.  Oh how I love it when she laughs like that.

As a teenager, I used to try to get tears to squeeze out of my eyes from laughing, but it never happened.  I guess my tear ducts just don't get tickled by laughter like other people's do.  McKenzie's friends will be so jealous. 

Anyway, I really do love holidays and the excuse that they give us to celebrate.  But I think that this year has taught me to treat Life as a celebration. Some of the holidays have slipped through my fingers this year, but I've learned that stepping down a little from the preparations of the planned holidays isn't such a bad thing.  It allows me to magnify those day-to-day celebrations instead.  Dancing through lunch, singing to soundtracks, playing Uno, having tickle wars, racing the kids in Mario Kart... I have a feeling these are the celebrations we'll remember as the most beautiful, and most meaningful anyway. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Parallel Parking

It all started with a sign that read: No Parking in Front of Gate.  This wasn't terrible news, though it did take away two or three of the coveted parking spaces along one of the quiet roads perpendicular to our apartment building. 

I say 'quiet' but I'm guessing that my definition of a quiet road is somewhat different than the normal definition, so perhaps I should, instead, say 'quiet-ish'. 

By contrast, the road that runs right in front of our apartment complex is awfully busy.  And when I say 'busy', I mean it's the only main road that runs north on this barrier island.  It has three lanes of one-way traffic, no right or left turning lanes, no shoulders, is heavily congested and moving fast.  It's rather a mess, in my opinion.  And so given the choice to parallel park along this crazy road or along one of the perpendicular quiet(ish) roads is an option that I was happy to discover I had.  And the quiet roads will win every time.  Even if I have to walk an extra block because of it.

So, the real trouble came a few weeks after that initial sign when the rest of the 'No Parking' signs showed up.  Soon after that, the trucks came.  And the tractors.  Then the big cranes and the dump trucks and the dirt sifters and the jackhammers.  They blocked off the entire right hand side of that wonderful parking road with big, plastic barriers filled with sand - now it is a highly inconvenient one-way, and parking there is absolutely illegal and impossible. They're building a new building across the street from us. 

And another one down the street that, in addition to swallowing up the other quiet(ish) roads, has increased the traffic and craziness of the main road as well... leaving us the only option of parking in madness.

Now, I've gotten pretty good at parallel parking this year and can generally slide the little car into some pretty tight spots.  But parallel parking along a quiet(ish) road doesn't feel like the same thing as parallel parking on a crazy road.  In fact, I think they should call it something else entirely - like 'anxiety parking', or maybe 'death parking'.

Aside from the sheer number of cars on this mad road, lets take a moment for me to give you a better idea about what the drivers, in general, are like around here.  

Example #1 - One night I mentioned to a new friend in the ward my observations about how crazy Miami drivers are.  "Oh yeah," he said, tossing his hand into the air like that was last years news.  "I always say that in America, teens are taught how to drive with their hands on the wheel in the 10 and 2 position, but in Miami they're taught how to drive with their hands in the 12 and Honk position."  We all threw our heads back and laughed because, truth.

Example #2 - The day after Christmas, Brian and I went to the mall to trade in some shoes (first mistake, don't go to the mall on the day after Christmas) and had to drive around the parking lot for 20 full minutes before finally finding a place to park.  I passed those 20 minutes counting the number of horn honks I heard. After 20 minutes I had counted 36 honks.  In one parking lot.  That's almost one every 30 seconds.  It's amazing really. 

Example #3 - Red lights.  Or, more specifically, red lights that have just turned green.  You have less than one second to get your wheels moving if you don't want to be honked at.  I've seriously been honked at (a handful of times) in the time it took me to lift my foot from the brake and onto the gas pedal, after watching the light turn green.  And, if you're driving a manual transmission, you better not even think about putting your car in neutral if you're in the front of the line, because you'll have three cars honking at you if you take the time to put your car in gear after the light turns green.  

Example #4 - Bumper to bumper traffic.  If you let more than 5 feet of road get between you and the stopped car in front of you?  HONK, HOOOONK!  Get a move on because, you know, moving those 5 feet will really help the cars behind you get wherever they're going faster. 

Examples #5 - Phantom honkers.  Much of the time I can't even tell who is honking from where.  The seventh car in line is just as likely as the second car to blast his horn if the car in first is taking too long to move through the intersection.  If someone behind you doesn't like that you need to turn left and consequently block their lane of traffic to do so, you will hear about it, and so will everyone around you... but since it's perfectly legal, it's not easy to always find the source. 

Example #6 - Need to change lanes?  If it's heavy traffic, you have a 5% chance of having a car actually let you in, and a 70% chance of being honked at as you force your way over.

All this to say: people don't really like it when you inconvenience them around here, and they're certainly not afraid to let you know about it. 

So parallel parking in the midst of these people on that road (which includes stopping in the middle of the lane and then r.e.v.e.r.s.i.n.g (!)) is a little ... nerve-wracking.  Thankfully I don't really drive the car all that much because I drive the van, but when I do I always feel a little twinge of hope that there will be a space big enough for me to just drive right into instead of having to *gulp* stop, and *double gulp* reverse. 

Well, one day recently ago I had no such luck.  Not only was the only available spot one that I would absolutely have to reverse into, it was one that was going to be a prettytightsqueeze.  I knew I had one shot.  Thankfully, people are actually quite patient for one (quick) try... but if you have to pull out and realign yourself?  Oh boy.  I feel bad for the people who I've watched try to parallel park with the guy behind them pushing on his horn without ceasing.  Like that's going to help. 

I put my blinker on and applied my brake three cars before the empty space to give the car behind me enough time to start slowing down or to change lanes if he wanted (which, apparently, was not the right choice because I got honked at right away).  After I was stopped in position I quickly put on my reverse lights in addition to my blinker to alert the fast-moving cars behind me of my intentions.  They got the message and I watched the cars form what reminded me of a blood clot... stopped, clogged, and slowly seeping into the other lane.  It was time for my one shot.  Talk about performance anxiety.

You guys.

You should have seen me.  I'm pretty sure it looked like one of those movies where the car just snaps into place like a rubber band.  Smooth, fast, I've-done-this-a-million-times like. I felt pret.t.y. awesome.  The spot fit my car like a slightly too big rubber glove... a little wiggle room, but nice and comfy.  18 inches to spare at the rear, 18 inches to spare at the head.

And no more honking.

Really, it was a thing of beauty... and then the next time I ran the car up onto the sidewalk and scared two pedestrians nearly to death.  But we won't talk about that one...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Falling In Line

Sometimes the wind whips around our building with such force that it's not very hard to exaggerate it into what I imagine hurricane winds might feel like (logically, I'm sure the winds we've felt are mere children compared to their parent winds, but still... it is true that children sometimes resemble their parents).  I'm sure the reason for this lies in a combination of 1) the buildings being so close together, 2) the buildings being so tall, and 3) the ocean breeze (which apparently has to do with the air temperature, water temperature, and land temperature all being different).  I bet if I were to really dive into thinking about it, I'd end up using the word 'vacuum' somewhere.

Anyway, the fact remains: sometimes the wind whips around our building with power.  Getting out of the heated pool on a day like that is not something that my children like - especially when we forget the towels (which we do all. the. time) - but on those days I correctly point out that if they would just stand still for about three minutes, the wind would dry them like a giant blow dryer.  Then they correctly point out that a blow dryer blows hot wind, and the wind that they are feeling on their wet skin is definitely not hot (even though it's not really cold either).  Honestly, I don't like getting out of the pool on those days, either... in fact I generally don't even get in the pool on very windy days because, getting out.

Which is why I was sitting on a pool chair on this particularly windy day.  I was sitting on a pool chair thinking about ice cream.  Not about eating ice cream, really, (though, how can you ever think about ice cream without eventually thinking about eating it?) but about how, when you stand at the machine to make yourself a soft-serve cone, you traditionally spiral the ice cream around and around and around an invisible core before making it come to a nice, pointy top.  I was thinking about this because in the moment the wind spiraled around me and pulled my hair into a nice, pointy top, I thought that I knew what it would feel like to be that invisible core - if the ice cream was actually wind instead.

So.  There we were in this wind when Brian suggested to the (very wet) kids that they all get out of the pool, hold hands along the edge, and fall backwards into the water with the goal of: don't bend anything.  I was sure he had lost the kids at Get Out Of The Pool, but Brian has a gift in disguising unpleasant things in pleasant things, so the children didn't even realize they were getting out of the pool.

But they were getting out of the pool, and then they were standing on the edge of the pool with their toes gripping the tile and their heels dangling above 5 feet of chlorinated water.  It was at this point that I grabbed my phone and set it to 'video' to capture the moment when they all fell backwards into the water and gave themselves matching belly-flop marks (which, in this case I suppose would be more correctly identified as back-flop marks).  As you might suspect, Miles, falling from his 3'11" frame, did not contract any back flop marks and Brian, falling from his 6'4" frame, did.

But I'm getting ahead of myself because I really just wanted to write one little thing about the actual fall.  

In addition to the fall being funny and, actually, quite graceful, there was a moment in it that caught in my heart and tugged on one of the strings in the web I've woven to catch these moments of beauty. 

In was the moment of no return.  The moment when their centers of gravity were far enough behind them that there was nowhere else to go but down into the water.  They all reacted differently.  Miles smiled, McKenzie held her breath and concentrated on keeping her body straight, Brian gave a little woah!, and Carson turned his head to lock his eyes onto Dad.  It was Carson that snagged me this time.  Hand in hand the four of them fell together, and Carson watched his dad.

He's getting older, you know.  More independent.  More confident.  He wasn't looking to Brian for courage or comfort, he was looking to Brian to share in friendship and fun.  Being a parent is awesome, I thought to myself.  Courage, comfort, friendship, fun - we play so many roles. 

There are so many ways we can touch and teach them.

And I'm so glad that fun is one of them.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Scrambled Thoughts - X

1 - I found something more unpleasant than scrubbing toilets.

And looking at Carson, I'm sure you're thinking that the unpleasant thing I'm referring to is cutting hair, but nope.  It's taking four kids to the grocery stores in Miami.  The tiny aisles can barely accommodate two carts passing each other, and are filled with hoards of shoppers.  And those shoppers, donning their sweaty work out clothes, six-pack abs, baskets full of vegetables, and giant, dog-carrying purses, somehow miss the adorableness of these four precious faces and just see them as disruptive and menacing.  I've gotten good at ignoring the disapproving looks that shoot in my direction, but I still see them (in every aisle).  "Sugar cereal?" the one with the raised eyebrow thinks as she sees the boxes cascading out of my tiny shopping cart.  "FOUR kids?" comes from the one with the wide eyes as my attempts at control must look a bit like I'm trying to stop a fire hydrant from spraying with my bare hands.  "Can't she control that baby?" plays cleanly through the squinted eyes of the lady watching TK squirm and fuss to get free from his seat-belt for the 528th time on that side of the store.  Sometimes the look is fleeting as the offender remembers her manners.  But sometimes the looks of disapproval follow me through the aisle and around the corner without shame.  Interestingly, the looks and thoughts (and often words) of disapproval are secondary to the ironic fact that no one actually appears to see us.  No one scoots their cart to the side when they see my entourage coming, leaving me with no choice but to single-file my children and literally pick up the back of my heavy, kid-filled cart to move it to the side to get past.  No one exhibits patience as I'm loading the 8th gallon of water into my tiny cart full of food and children, leaving me with no choice but to haul the rest of the water out of the aisle and around the corner to finish loading (remember the small aisles?  I wasn't kidding).  More than a few times, people with a handful of items have deliberately cut in line when they see I have a cart full of food.  "I'll be fast," they offer, if they offer anything at all.  Never mind the fact that my baby is screaming (and clawing his way out of the cart), that my 4-year-old is trying to open the bags of crackers and that my two older kids are dancing around me and carelessly bumping into the other shoppers.  Can't you see that I just need to get out of here? I want to say.  But I refuse to become one of them, so I bite my hot tongue and smile at them instead. "No problem!" I say.  "I see that you only have a few items in your hand, and we will definitely take a while."  And, remarkably, there is never even a thank you.  It's simply expected and understood that their needs are more important than my own.

But, of course, there can be something beautiful about these shopping trips, too.  Hopefully, if these little shopping buddies of mine are seeing the way that others are treating us, they are also seeing the way I am treating others... and maybe the lesson that we can be beautiful to others even when they are being ugly to us will find its way into their hearts.

2. The air is starting to smell like sunscreen again.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the city... back to our own little town on the beach... the water and palms recharge and refresh me.  The smell of sunscreen?  Summer is here.

3 - Doctors and Lawyers?  Nope.  My kids want to be this guy.

4 - Either that guy, or bulls.  It's good to keep your options open.

5 - This make-believe world had me smiling back tears.

They play so well together...  I snuck around these three, snapping pictures of their precious make-believe world before discovering that they had smuggled McKenzie's Kindle Fire in there and were huddled around it like vultures over their kill.  I was not impressed.  After the confiscation, they were much happier... at least, once the tantrums had finished.

6 - I found the inspiration for glitter. 

I used to think that the Tooth Fairy invented glitter.  Whenever she visited my house as a child, she'd leave trails (and sometimes piles).  I figured that the glitter factories followed her around every night with a tiny, quiet vacuum, collecting the piles and putting them in the jars I found in the craft store.  Maybe they do... but no glitter in a jar can compare to this.

Monday, May 12, 2014


The ceiling is flawless.  It is white, gently textured, and spans from wall to wall, corner to corner without a single break.  It has never been wired for electricity, or at least I doubt so, and this simple fact adds a quiet gentleness to the room because warm lamplight surrounds us.  The walls rise up to meet the ceiling and I wonder if they wish they could hide the hand prints and foot prints and other various smears that defile their white paint. I have tried to bathe them.  I have tried to wash away the dirt from their faces, but no matter how gently or harshly I scrub, the dirt stays and I find that the cheap paint runs down my arm and drips from my elbow instead.  If the walls are ashamed, they don't show it.  They stretch and reach and touch the edges of that flawless ceiling anyway, standing tall as if proud to display the marks of fun and childhood.  Maybe it's the ceiling that feels ashamed.

It's quiet in the room.  The two boys are curled in their bunk bed, Miles on top, Carson on bottom.  The extra mattress we brought for the girl remains forgotten and tucked under the bunk.  She is sprawled out on the floor.  She likes it there, believe it or not.  The white marble tile feels cold, hard, and unforgiving to my adult mind.  But to her, a simple quilt between the tile and her body provides warmth, comfort, softness and a childlike sense of overwhelming satisfaction.  The only sound in the room is my own voice and the occasional squeak of the rocking chair in which I sit.  It's different than the small, wooden rocking chair from the story I'm reading to the children.  My rocking chair is big and soft, fluffy even.  If I wanted, the back could recline to almost flat, and a footstool, covered in extra cotton and soft fabric, could rise like magic. I wonder what the characters in our story would think of my rocking chair.  Would it inspire Pa to make one just like it for Ma?  Maybe.  More likely, though, I think it would be Pa's wooden one that would inspire me.

My feet are curled up underneath me, the book resting gently in my lap.  The words from the story fill the air and create a living movie inside each of our heads.  It's a different movie for each of us and I feel that we are all relating to different characters.  The comments and expressions coming from McKenzie and Carson tell me that they are relating to the two children, Mary and Laura, respectively.  Of course, I relate to Ma.  I am captivated by how raising children in the 1800's is so similar to raising children today, and so remarkably different.  Miles, most likely, is relating to their trustworthy dog, Jack. 

Then all together and all at once, we laugh.  The sound bounces off the flawless ceiling and the dirty walls and rests in our ears.  The power of words.

The laughter dies down and I continue.  The movie plays in my head as the words form in my throat and sound in my ears and I am shaken by the beauty of it.  I am seeing everyday events.  I am reading about moments.  And they are remarkably beautiful.  The author's prose is captivating and I find myself interested in things as simple as a child licking a molasses candy stick.  I am interested in the moments of her life - and I realize that I want to be more present in the moments of my own.

The book closes and I slowly uncurl my feet from underneath me. "No!" the children protest.  "Is that the end of the chapter?"  I nod and smile and open my mouth to answer their next question before it's even spoken.  "Not another chapter tonight," I say.  But I open the book one last time to read the title of the next one out loud.  They groan at the dangling carrot and I almost hear them thinking, I can't wait for tomorrow night!  This makes me smile even wider and I kiss their faces goodnight.  They are interested in the moments of life, too.

Dream well, my children.  And tomorrow will be filled with beautiful moments of our own.  I will watch for them.  I will catch them and I will write them for you.  Someday you can read our own story, built from the moments of our life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

April Harvest

 Between Miami and Hawaii, my eyes just about exploded with beauty this month.  It was nearly impossible to narrow it down - so a few extra pictures snuck in this month.  Be on the lookout for a few of these to show up in posts of their own soon... because, you know, it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes an additional hundred words in print can make it even better.
1 - Sunset over the harbor.

2 - Ft. Lauderdale temple open house.  Incredible to take my little kiddos through this beautiful building!
3 - Old graveyard Brian and I stumbled across
4 - Beautiful color
5 - One of my favorite things about the ocean - the way the sun glints off the ripples on a calm day.
6 - Long morning shadows
7 - Clouds.  Trees. Beautiful.
8 - Divine maker...
9 - Everglades
10 - Hawaii Temple.  It seemed to glow in the stormy morning light.

11 - My beautiful sister-in-law Heidi was feeling especially brave and asked me to take her engagement photos in Hawaii.  We found this old trashy building and I fell in love with the way the pictures came out of it. 

12 - Funny sea creature that was pulled off the rock. It may have died afterwards...
13 - Old gnarly tree.
14 - Breathtaking.  The sky, the clouds, the waves, the rocks... a heaven to me.
15 - My love
16 - Beautiful baby on Easter morn. 
17 - Perfect hole barreled through the rock.
18 - Sigh.  I think I can still smell that thing.
19 - Awesome lights in the Polynesian Cultural Center
20 - Ocean spray

21 - Heidi's wedding was beautiful - she looked gorgeous, and all the accessories were perfect.

22 - Goat island.  My favorite spot in Hawaii so far.
23 - A new friend
24 - Precision
25 - More glinting sunlight
26 - Easter egg dying... take a look at that color dripping off of the egg!  Dreamy.
27 - Walking across a coral barrier under a beautiful sky.  Hawaii, I love you..
28 - Rays
29 - Potential
30 - Texture

31 - Pearl Harbor.  Beautiful in so many ways.

32 - I'm a sucker for a good reflection.