Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Delete the "Bad" Pictures

For some reason this year, I did not delete "bad" vacation pictures from our camera while we were on vacation.  Well, there was the one time I took a series of burst pictures of Brad and Alex racing on the downhill racer.  And when Brad and Alex got to the bottom, to the sounds of me "WOOOHOOO"ing, I realized it was not Brad and Alex.  So I deleted those.

But I decided to just edit them out when I got home and could see them on the computer.  And I'm so glad I did!  We had some good laughs over the pictures I would normally delete.  One of my big regrets of my scrapbooking years is how many pictures I "cropped" thinking I was enhancing them.  I wonder now how much that seemed to be background noise at the time would be precious to see.  I digress...

Anyway, we looked through these pictures and I realized quickly how much I would have missed:

I would not have captured the goofy look of a boy who just finished a 10-mile run of hills by eating a family-sized serving of cereal and a glass of chocolate milk.  Silly boy.

I would have missed learning the crazy obsession one child has with zooming.

I would have missed looking just one more time at the beautiful sand.  I want to dig my toes in that so badly.  While drinking an iced coffee and reading my book.

I would have missed seeing a picture like this and remembering how my mom could not seem to keep heads into a frame.  Most pictures she took came back with someone's head cut off.

Another example of my genetic disposition to cutting the subject out of the shot.

And, for whatever crazy reason, this picture just makes me smile with memories of splashing water and FUN!

And I would have missed the opportunity to show Brad why I don't race downhill in the lane next to him.  See all that spray he creates?  Yeah, right in my face too many times.

And this?  I would have missed showing my children that anytime you take a vacation that results in you looking like this when you start the drive home means that you've been truly blessed with a fabulous vacation.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Another Year Greater

The calendar is turning over a new year for my man today!  Happiest of Happy Birthdays to you, Brad.

I wish you were doing this today:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

But instead you are doing this:

(Isn't that pretty much what you do all day????)

Get through your day, cuz you are coming home to this:

And this:

(Be thou clear:  the KIDS not the watercraft.  Sorry.  Budget cuts, you know.)

And this:

(More clarity:  the wife, not the Blueberry Hills.)

And lots and lots of this:

You are deeply, deeply loved.  I think you know this, but a birthday is a great chance to make sure.  You are LOVED!  Happy Birthday!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Being Playful ~ Part One

Oh, my goodness.  Almost a week has gone by since I posted about being still on vacation.  How long ago was it that I was being still?  It seems so long ago.  The busyness came back in a flurry.  Like throwing a bunch of feathers into a fan.

Well, time to reminisce about some fun.  The good kind of busyness.  The playful kind.

Oh, we had lots of playfulness during our week away. Really, it was all play.  Even the relaxing was play.  But the play play?  It was bountiful.

I can't quite decide how to break up the replay of our play.  So I think I'll be a bit random.

On the fourth, we were treated to a small, very small, parade right outside our door.  These little kids were putting all they had into this parade, complete with singing "God Bless America" at the top of their robust lungs.  And one particular little parade participant just cracked me up:

Is this not all things Americana?  This flag-waving, soggy diaper-clad child was just a hoot, leading this parade with the confidence and authority of a child at least twice his age.  I do wish you could see the view from the front, it was a sight to behold.

We walked through downtown Manson to feast on shaved ice.  There is something very relaxing about being in the midst of people who are all vacationing.  People are more chatty about everything and anything, walking slower is not an annoyance, and dangling your feet in the lake while eating shaved ice is considered the active part of your day.

If I have my thoughts right, this was the first dip in the c-c-c-cold lake!  This was the first of many cycles of swimming in the lake, warming in the sun: rinse, repeat.

Sweet sisters:

Sweet trio:

Of course, never one to do things the easy way, Beth found a floating log and bobbed around on that instead of her noodle!  It became an on-going comical sight of Beth bobbing on a log, Beth chasing a log, Beth grabbing a log, Beth chasing a log.  Over and over and over.

Next it was time for the wave runner day!  We had a perfect day to do this.  We went out of Chelan a ways and played on the river.  We chatted with the guy we rent from and asked where we should beach for the day.  He directed us to an island that was perfect.  We had a chunk of beach totally to ourselves, other groups were around the corner, but not visible.  All.  Alone.  We had some views of homes that I drooled over a bit.  Lovely, peaceful day complete with:

rock climbing

floaty lounging

more floaty lounging

wave runner riding

more floaty loungy and great conversation

fast wave runner riding

and some picture posing!

This post has taken me three attempts to get completed.  My life is consumed with cheer uniform fittings right now, and I must get back to that.  My mind sure loved the vacation break these pictures brought!  More soon....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Being Still

Time to head back to more vacation memories!  This time away was so beautifully and perfectly what our family needed.  We played hard, we laughed hard, we ate heartily, and we rested peacefully.

Resting peacefully.  That is something I've always sought, and yet always struggled with.  I want to have times of being still.  I know how refreshing it is for my mind, how rejuvenating it is for my body.  I know how healthy it is to let all the cares of the busyness of life fall away, to get the focus clear, to "be still and know that He is God".  I purpose to do that, but I struggle to do that.  My mind is always busy.  Always making lists.  Frustratingly, my most productive mental time is in the still of the late night or early morning, when I should be sleeping.  I try to empty my mind and rest, but my mind loves to work things out when I should be sleeping.  And it's really good at it, too.  I've problem-solved so much during that time.  I've been struck creatively so much during that time.  And I've lost so much sleep during that time. 

I know that the reason my mind works so clearly at those moments is that it finally relaxes.  It goes still.  So many times I'm wondering why I can't hear the Lord talking back to me, responding to my questions.  Then I realize I just can't hear him over the chatter of busyness.  There's loudness everywhere.  Even in church.  In my car alone, I most often turn on the radio.  Why is silence the last thing I listen to when it sounds so very good?  But that time of the night provides silence, stillness.  I love it.  I need more of it.  Being comfortable in quiet is something I need to practice.

So this vacation, I went loaded with books I was eager to read.  I set myself up to purposefully find stillness.  I forgot to put my favorite beach chair in the van before we left, so we went to Wal-Mart and bought a new one.  I parked myself on the beach in various places we went to, pulled out my iced coffee and book, and took great pleasure in it.  I read less than I intended to, because I found myself just relaxing my mind.  Reading a little bit, thinking about what I read.  Soaking in the stillness.  Absorbing the moment.

One of my favorite sayings is "Wherever you are, be there."  I accomplished that fully during this week.  I was there, in the fullest way.

This was my view in one spot.  Below is the view I have above my head.  This is what Pooh would call a "thoughtful spot".

Iced coffee, good book, poolside....perfect.

Full belly from Blueberry Hills, good book, soft sand, lake waves crashing at my feet...perfect.

Even Beth - BETH! - found some stillness.  Perfect.

And Brad found some of that himself.  Oh, did he need that.  His last day of work before vacation was a 14-hour day.  His first day of "vacation" he worked from home half the day.  He left with a buzzing mind.  He usually transitions quickly and smoothly, but this year it took him awhile.  We were on day four when he said he felt like he was finally on vacation, and I had no idea.  But he relaxed fully, and his face physically softened.  You could tell he was rested.

Today is Brad's first day back at work.  The busyness begins again, so this is a perfect day to reflect on the gift of being still.  The playing?  Stay tuned...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Makin' Music With A Master

A very exciting day today!  The story behind the story is a bit tedious and boring, but we are spending this summer looking for a new bassoon teacher for Alex.  Perhaps someone to augment what he has, perhaps someone to replace what he has.  Time will tell.  When we were first approached about this, Alex sent out several emails to contacts he has made over this last year.  As he was doing that, we looked up the bio for the bassoon players with the Seattle Symphony.  Alex has a "shoot for the top" attitude, so he sent out an email to the principal bassoonist, and that led us to today:  a lesson with the principal bassoonist of the Seattle Symphony!  Maybe not the least bit exciting to most, but chill-bump-worthy-exciting to us!

I had the pleasure of staying through the lesson, sitting silently and taking notes.  I took a couple pictures, but had to use a setting that would not click or flash, because apparently teenage boys are rather easily embarrassed by mothers clicking and flashing the camera during a bassoon lesson.  Whatever.  So my pictures are a bit crummy, but I was grinning like a girl staring at a waffle from Blueberry Hills while I took these pictures:

Alex wasn't hitting a bad note here, this is just a man who moves with the music, and I believe Alex was suppose to be crescendo-ing here!

Very exciting to see such opportunities come my kid's way.  He's earned his way to this point, but it is such an honor to learn from this guy.  Love it!  I see some future trips to Seattle the rest of the summer.

Brad is still on vacation, so we decided to make a mini-day of it in Seattle.  First stop?  Dick's Drive-In for lunch!  This is an oldie Seattle landmark, and about as basic as it gets.  Plain 'ole yummy burger, fries and shakes.  A jumbled mess of a parking lot, quick service, no tables to sit at.  Drive away to eat, sit in your car and eat, or claim a thin strip of grass and have a picnic!  If you choose option #3, you probably will be joined by a few crows hoping for some left-overs.  Especially if one of your children throws a french fry to one as soon as you sit down.

Second stop?  I'll save that for the end.

Next stop?  Pike Place Market.  I'm not a big Pike Place Market kind of girl.  Crowded.  The smell of fish.  Crowded.  And that fishy smell in a crowd.  It's all a bit much for me.  But we meandered around, the kids picked out something from a yummy bakery to take home, and they had a fun experience.

Then, as we were making our way to park on I-5, we pulled up to this sweet intersection:

Aw, the corner of Edgar Martinez Drive and Dave Niehaus Way!

And now for the second stop?  Let's just say we'll be putting the kids to bed early tonight!  Oh, wait.  I guess you don't really put teenagers to bed.  Let me try again:

We'll be hiding from the kids early tonight (!!!) so we can partake in this in sweet peace:

Yes indeed, we made a stop at Trophy Cupcakes for my favorite Triple Chocolate!!!

The rain started falling on our way home, so what to do?  Jump in the hot tub as soon as you can wiggle into your suit!

While this is happening, and I'm blogging, my son is making dinner for the family.  I showed him a recipe I thought he'd like, he volunteered to drive to the store for the missing ingredient (goat cheese) and try it for dinner tonight.  I'm a little worried that his first step, in his words, was to "skin the carrots"...I think I'll just grab my book and prepare myself to enjoy whatever he turns out!  Wish me well...