Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The boys of summer

Nothing says summer like boys playing baseball.

The twins wanted nothing to do with the tee- they hit slow pitch like big cousin Henry (who, my niece calls Hiny :)

We are having an unbelievable time up north. After figuring out the right allergy medicine, we are really enjoying our selves. My camera is filling up with pictures I am dying to share and stories being saved in my memory to tell. But for now, I am just going to continue enjoying my family and the (finally!) nice, breezy, northern summer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

And We're Off!

One year and one month. That's how long it's been since I have left the state that we live. I think, that is the longest stretch of time I have gone without traveling out of state. I am blessed that that is the longest time I have gone without traveling.

11:28pm our mini van was packed with food, toys, enough cloths to last us 2 weeks and 5 very excited people, ready for our big family adventure. Driving across county, south to north, with three under three- oh wait, I guess we are three under four now. Crazy? Maybe. Brave? Definitely. But now that we are headed to our second destination I can officially say I am loving this vacation.

In two weeks, we are hitting 8 states, 4 cities, seeing numerous friends and family, visiting both sides of Lake Michigan, celebrating a lot of birthdays (including my own!), sporting our red-white-and- blue for many fireworks and cook outs, and enjoying ogles of family time as well as many kid-free nights.

6:30am, I took over driving for my husband as we neared Atlanta. As the kids slept soundly in the back and my husband attempted to get comfortable after driving nearly 7 hours through the night, I watched the sun rise over the hills of northern Georgia. The air was lighter, cooler then the humid sea level air of home. And I took in everything that I love about this more intimate way of traveling. The mountains that look like mere bumps from the heights of an airplane, were towering over me as my car navigated its way through their curvy roads. The lakes were deep blue, full from the rain that has been generous here. Rain that has kept the central part of our country lushly green.

We made our stop at my go-to road trip stop- Cracker Barrel. A tradition that got started somewhere in my own childhood travels, sitting in the handmade rocking chairs, picking out a piece of rock candy and looking through all the nick-nacs in the general store is always a nice break from the long stretch of being cooped up in the car. A road trip just isn't a road trip without this stop.

I drove the rest of the way to Nashville, enjoying the quiet of sleeping passengers, and listening to my choice of music. My grass-is-greener syndrome always kicks on whenever I travel, picturing what it is like to live somewhere else. Somewhere simpler, somewhere colder, somewhere with a rich history and culture. Everything I don't like about Florida fills my mind, and what I miss about the north suddenly seems really important. But eventually, my thoughts level out and Florida isn't that bad. Isn't that bad is an understatement.

So what am I thankful for this week?

I am thankful that, so far we have traveled safely.

Thankful that the majority of our time on the road, the kids have slept. Gavin's key to sleeping through the morning sunlight? Cover his head with his blankie.

Thankful for seeing a childhood best friend and that he will be marrying the love of his life this October. Thankful that I finally got the chance to meet her.

Thankful for seeing our bestest friends, Breiden's godparents, the two that after 6 months apart we haven't skipped a beat. Thankful for them letting us take over their house, for two great nights of Brinkman/Blaeske dinners like the old days, and that they found us a baby sitter so we got a night out down town.

Thankful that I got my notification that my business has been approved and my license is on its way. I am so excited to share this new adventure of mine.

Thankful for the friend that is watching our house while we are away and that we have a sheriff that lives across the street. Just incase anyone was getting any ideas that we are away for awhile.

Thankful that I met my youngest niece! And that all the cousins are together for the first time. 7 under 5

my niece, Oliviah

Fiona's "little" cousins, the three youngest

Thankful for my mother-in-law and my aunt-in-law watching all 7 of the kids so we could have a fun night of Tim McGraw at Summerfest grounds with my brother and sister-in-laws.

We are now 4 days into our 16 vacation. Two nights sleeping in a car and two nights of kid-free fun. Needless to say, I am still catching up on energy and very thankful that all three of my kids slept in till 10 this morning.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My hero

This is a hard post to start. How do you introduce the man who is your biggest hero? I could start with that he recently donated his kidney to a good friend. Or that his faith in God, that he taught me, held me together as I was starting to crumble learning of Fiona's diagnosis. Or that he has given me the opportunity to explore the world and has encouraged me to become the person I am today. But I love him for so much more then that.

I love him for sweeping little me in his arms and dancing with me in our living room, singing "Shall We Dance" from The King and I. I love him for never missing one dance competition, music recital, basketball game, softball game, track meet or volleyball game. I love him for pushing me to stick it out when I wanted to quit and for helping me when I wanted to be better.

nice white washed jeans, dad :)

I love him for calling me daily, numerous times a day, just to say hi. For his day and a half visits to Florida just to see me (and my family). That he put up with my teenage attitude independence and still drove me 3000 miles away and let me live on my own at 18. That he trusts me.

I love him for his it-will-all-work-out attitude. Something that comes from fully trusting God is in control. I love his giving heart and his competitive sole- which makes for much more intense and exciting games. I love that I could count down to the second when he would come back and say he was sorry for getting angry. That he is human but he knows his flaws- and attempts to change them.

I love that my husband and dad like each other. That they have mutual respect for each other as fathers. That my dad is just as proud of Charlie as I am.

And if all of that did not convince me I have a great dad,  my kids tell me every day they are thankful for Papa. I am thankful for Papa, too. I love you dad, you are my biggest hero.

Dear Charlie,

Happy Fathers Day to one of the best dads I know. 

Its moments like these that make me love you even more...

It has been amazing watching you grow and mature and take on the most important role of your life. Your boys worship the ground that you walk on and think you are the greatest thing in the world (which of course you are). Every day you work, they ask about you all day long.  And you know you have your daughter's heart. Her first love. You are the glue that holds together our family. The rock that we rest safely on. Thank you for everything you do for us. We wish we could do more for you. We love you, babe.

Shannon, Gavin, Breiden, and Fiona.
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