Wednesday, November 09, 2016

November 9, 2016

Dear my Children,
Yesterday, after months of hearing about these people, these 'presidential candidates', we took y'all with us to the polls.  You'd watched a presidential debate where you aptly made note of the likeness of the candidates and 3 year olds.  You'd heard snippets and snatches of radio personalities, your parents, and other adults and you had definite opinions, though you knew enough to know you didn't know anything.

And so you were right on par with the vast majority of the voting population, just minus cynicism and experience.  

Last night, y'all stayed up late to watch as the results started coming in.  You asked questions and some of them were really excellent questions, too!  Some of those questions I would love to know if the average American voter was asking.  When we sent you to bed, nobody had any idea what the outcome would be yet.

But Daddy and I sat up to watch.  We listened to the talking heads for hours.  We talked trash over Skip-Bo - game trash and political trash.  It was all intermingled with the curiosity and the prayer and the tired.

Here's what I know, kids:  Yesterday, there was a lot of uncertainty.  It's been the hallmark of this election.  Who knows what he'll say or what she'll do. Today, there is a lot of hurt and a lot of fear.  Because now who knows what he'll say or what he'll do.  But he has the nation's (or at least the majority of the nation's) stamp of approval to go forth and be our Commander in Chief.

But guess what?  That was the order for today regardless of the outcome of this election.  Fear.  Hurt.  Uncertainty.

This year, like never before, I feel like there was no real choice for America.  Neither one of the candidates who were put forth exhibit the qualities that we most want the leader of the free world to embody.  Honesty, integrity, wisdom, humility.  Here's the truth of it (as I see it, of course): He stinks.  She stinks.  There are evils associated with each that terrify me.  And really?  I don't believe that most people voted for a candidate so much as they did against a candidate.

I know that as I sat there with the ballot in front of me, I realized I'd been holding out until the very last minute for something, anything, to change to make my voting experience a more palatable one.  With the tangible weight of voting on my shoulders and you kids watching me, asking questions about the ballot and the whole process and who was I going to vote for, I buried my face in my hands.  My eyes cried tears and my heart cried out to God.  I did the best I could with the information I had, which is all that can ever be asked of anyone, when I made my choice.

My choice was what I hoped would be the best for your future.  Because, like anything else, voting for this person or that person to have such a role in our future's history takes on a whole new meaning when you have kids or love kids who are our tomorrow.

Oh, my children, I want so much for your tomorrows.  I can only pray that our yesterday brought about the best decision for our tomorrow.  For your tomorrow.  And for your children's tomorrow.

Today, though, today I'll give you all hugs as I tell you who won the election.  Today, we'll do math and language arts and science and run errands while election talk and what-ifs pepper our conversation.  Today, we'll discuss again why it is so important to honor the office and pray for the man.  Today, we'll do laundry and clean the kitchen and mess it up again.

Today, we'll do the best we can to give you the tools you need for the best tomorrow. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A Few Months Worth of Pictures

Our Herd - Swim team 2016.  We log a lot of hours at the pool during early summer!
Towards the end of swim team season, the coaches put on a huge fun day for the kids.  Shaving cream wars are a big it.  Here's Sarah Grace and I *think* that's her bestie, Abigail. 
Sarah discovered her love for back-stroke and participated in the city-wide meet.  We were all proud of her hard work!
Killing time at city meet with Abigail. 
This little dude did NOT do swim team.  He spent his pool time wooing the life guards and monkeying around during meets.
Flag foot-ball with Thomas was another summer activity.  It was his last year to play and he really enjoyed every aspect of it.

Shenanigans on the sidelines. 
 
Daniel. 
Sarah was often found doodling away during football games.  Or spinning stories for the rest of the family. 
The undefeated 2016 Packers!
Elizabeth's mission in life is to steer clear of the lens, but here's a true to life picture of our little Sunshine. 

Talk Like a Pirate Day, 2016.  It's a thing.  And Krispy Kreme gives free donuts to visiting pirates. 
This beauty has lows in the night on a semi-regular basis.  While it's not the way I would recommend getting one on one time with a child, it has proven to be a sweet time with her.  She has such a wonderfully good attitude, even if she occasionally has to be prodded into being awake enough to eat something. 
Speaking of sweet, these two have such a special bond.  They play together so well and their laughter is loud and contagious.  Here they are on their patiently awaited McWane Center date.  Full disclosure: I took this picture as we were going in just in case one of them wandered off. 
This little girl went to Camp Seale Harris' diabetes day camp this summer.  This was just before her first day - she was SO excited and loved every minute of camp!! 
Elizabeth Hope Freeman.  This little lady was baptized at our annual church retreat. 
Shopping sisters. 
This picture, y'all.  It's perfectly captures the spirit of the relationship these two sisters have. 
This kid.  He makes me crazy some moments, but I'm so proud of him.  I love him to the moon and back. 
We participated in the Kids Bowl Free program this summer.  It was a lot of fun but our favorite time was when my Dad came to bowl with us! 
Thomas and Sarah got ENO hammocks for their birthdays this year.  A LOT of time has been spent doing school work, reading books, giggling, and just hanging our in those hammocks.  I'm especially partial to when they stack them like this. 

Sarah had a big birthday bash at the lake this year and we learned that the hammocks were also a LOT of fun when used in the boat slip! 
Joshua and all the kiddos inside a B-17, a War World II bomber. 
A pic of my sweet friend, Bethany, and me at the beach.  She's wearing Peter, her 4 month old cherub. 
Lizzie making sure that Peter got to put his toes in the water. 
My guy.  I'm so thankful he likes me! 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beach Camping

Last year, we tried something new with our family.  We all went camping.... at the beach.  We enjoyed it so much that we reserved spots for this year and did it again!

Here's the thing about beach camping:  packing is a bear.  You're packing to go camping - tents, sleeping bags, cooking gear, food, all the stuff.  BUT.  You're also packing to go to the beach - towels, swimsuits, beach toys, portable shade (for me!), sunscreen, all the stuff.

So by the time your ready to actually roll out of the driveway, you basically have half your house packed to go with you and it's time to find a place to cram all the people. 

It's a really good thing that being there is so fun because getting ready to go is nothing short of exhausting. 

But get there, we did!  And with the added bonus of friends!  16 people, 14 bikes, 6 coolers, 5 days of vacation, 4 tents, 2 vans, 1 trailer, 2 campsites, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Florida has beautiful state parks and we enjoyed the scenery, the short bike ride to the beach, the shuffle board courts, and the freedom to just relax.  Plus we took a day trip to another state park, Eden Gardens.  Just gorgeous!  

Sarah Grace as a Mermaid

Daniel and Lucy

Lizzie

Eden Gardens

Lillianna, Anna, and Lucy

Anna spent a fair portion of the week learning to cartwheel.  I have lots of pictures of her upside down with her legs thrown in the air and haphazard angles!

The younger crew stayed closer and were easier to get pictures of.  The older kids walked up and down the beach looking for beach life and played out in the waves for hours at a time. 

Meal time was fun.


The little girls kept us in supply of treasures to use as centerpieces for the tables. 

The only picture I took of Thomas - he was so rarely to be found sitting still!

Sarah Grace and Caroline.  These two girls loved their 'extended sleep over'!