Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Hint of Fall

While it is still very much summer, with today's high reaching 90, yesterday I noticed an ever so slight hint of Fall in the air. The humidity has left the air (although it's still August in Missouri, so I'm highly expecting it to make another appearance!) and it feels so good to breathe in fresh air again! As I walked around our yard I noticed that the leaves from the Walnut trees had begun to turn from green to yellow and were ever so silently raining down around me. As I sat in the shade enjoying my last half-price Sonic happy hour drink of the summer, I noticed that my arms got the smallest goosebumps when the breeze blew.

The hint of Fall seemed to perfectly match the fact that the girls returned to school today. Now 2nd and 4th graders, another milestone is reached.

I could not have asked for a more perfect summer with them. I loved the time we spent just hanging out at home, completing our A to Z of summer fun, taking trips together.

And I just have to say that I LOVE how creative my girls are! I noticed that here it was just a couple days before school was to begin and they were still making up creative stuff! I love that summer gives them this down time to be creative - for example in these last two days- they got a cardboard box and decorated it up as a room for Sarah's new stuffed animal, lamby; they turned the hammock sideways and played volleyball over it; and, they made up their own Deal or No Deal game.

Here are pictures from the bus stop this morning, marking the end of one season and the beginning of another in their sweet lives, and in mine.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sweet 16

I have this distinct memory of my 16th birthday. After my parents had celebrated me and showered me with presents, cake and a special birthday dinner, the day came to an end and I remember closing my bedroom door, eating almost an entire bag of candy hearts (after all it was Valentine’s day) and crying until my tears ran dry. Why? Well, ‘cuz I was ‘sweet 16’ and I’d never been kissed! Being so quiet, I barely even talked to guys, let alone had any sort of relationship with one. At that moment I could not envision a future for me that included love. I had dreams of love and happy ever after, but at that moment they seemed beyond my grasp.

Little did I know that I would meet my soul mate, my knight in shiny armor, my husband, just one and a half years after my sweet 16th birthday. We dated for three years and at the ‘mature age’ of 20 (ha!), we got married on August 13, 1994. Today we celebrate sweet 16 years of marriage! And what sweet years they have been!

As I wrote this just now, it came to me, I’ve been having trouble envisioning my future career lately. Oh I have dreams and passions, but I haven’t been able to envision how they will come together – it all seems beyond my grasp. Yet I only see a small piece of life’s puzzle, while there is a God who sees the bigger picture of my life. He has the lid to the puzzle box and each day of my life he keeps putting the pieces together. So for today, I am going to enjoy the journey, and trust that 16 years I will see a bit more clearly the bigger picture of my life.

Thanks Mike for 16 amazing years! I love you deeper and deeper with each passing year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Dash

This week has been filled with wonderful news of beautiful people discovering the joys of pregnancy and bringing life into this world. It's also been filled with tragic news of beautiful people suffering from cancer and about to lose their fight with the battle. I have been reminded of this poem I read long ago, called The Dash, by Linda Ellis. Here it is:

I read of a reverend who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth…
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash mid-range.")

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
with your life’s actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

Monday, August 9, 2010

2,733 miles

2,733 is how many miles we logged for this trip. This trip took us through NY, PA, OH, IN, IL, MO and KS. Our girls are the best travelers. I don't remember them complaning one time. I took this picture about 100 miles before the end of our trip. As you can see...they are still smiling! The benefit to not watching a lot of TV at home is that when we spend 25 hours in the car (over 3 days) to get home...watching movies is a fun treat for them. Their two favorite movies this trip were Princess Protection Program and Another Cinderella Story. They probably watched them each at least six times. They worked on their math workbooks (for candy & slushies) and screamed every time we'd cross a state line. Mike spent half the road trip saying "ok, guess who sings this" while I would pick a name out of the hat...I think I got like 1 out of 25 right!
We were so tired at the end of the trip we were acting a bit crazy - so I was snapping some pictures of Missouri scenery...largest morel mushroom, tree growing out of silo.
Mike drove at least 2,000 of these miles, which gave me lots of time to get lost in a few books and organize pictures on the laptop! Good times. Yes, "I could not ask for more than this time together, I could ask for more than this time with you. Right here in this moment, Is right where that I'm meant to be."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Droid X

Ok, three people on our trip had a new Droid X and now I REALLY want one! Oh what fun I would have with that phone! I could geocache with it, I could keep our trip maps on it, I could use the internet travelling, I could twitter with it, I could, I could, I could… the fun of phones these days! But I met Dave Ramsey a few years ago and so therefore, for right now, I still have the simple ‘pay as you go’ phone. This week, I was thinking of stuff I would twitter on our trip, if I did have a Droid X. So, for fun, here they are…

  • Awww…after I told Mike we were going to have perfect weather on our trip, he said our trip would be perfect ‘cuz I’d be there!
  • We just crossed the NY state line. I’m now deaf. My girls seemed to think this was cause for screaming their lungs out.
  • Sarah asked Mike who he loves. He said ‘mommy’. With a twinkle in her eye, she said “You always love mommy!” We both smiled.
  • I love Mike’s Gram…this 92-year-old, young-at-heart, lady inspires me! It’s so good to see her again!
  • Nothing wakes you out of a sound sleep faster than the TV turning itself on at 4am. Did I mention we’re staying in a rental cabin?
  • How can the power be off at Niagara Falls? How ironic, this is where electricity started.
  • Glad the power came back on at Niagara, ‘cuz we thoroughly enjoyed getting drenched below the Falls!
  • The owner of the rental cabins came over to fix the stove. He likes us ‘cuz we are “clean and don’t do drugs.” Yep, that about sums up the condition of our cabins.
  • Lining up 14 great-grandkids, in order of birthday, on the playground slide is easier said than done. Oh, but picture perfect!
  • Found our first geocache in the dark! I found it thrilling, the girls…not so much.
  • Last day with the cousins…should be a blast at the water/amusement park!
  • Plan B – Girls spend their last day at the water/amusement park. We spend ours waiting for the tow truck and repair shop.
  • I love my in-laws!! I wish we lived closer!!

Yeah, when we get home, I might need to rework our budget to try and fit in a Droid X somewhere. Oh, make that two Droid X’s ‘cuz Mike’s kinda liking them too!

Silent Ache

Today my mother-in-law should be celebrating her 68th birthday. I’ve thought about her a lot this past week. We’ve spent the week with Mike’s brothers and his extended family in upstate New York having an absolutely wonderful time creating memories for us, and for the cousins, that will last a lifetime.

When my nephew and I were talking, he excitedly said me something like, ‘there are a lot of Bakers, we have a big family, we need all 3 cabins!’ It was with a lump in my throat I found myself answering him, “yes, yes we do,” while at the same time my heart ached for Mike’s mom, dad and his sister. Oh how I wished they were able to be here to enjoy the love of family with us! How I wish my girls (and their cousins) knew the love of their grandparents and aunt whom left this earth way too soon. Yes, throughout the memory making this week, they were missed, and I just wanted to pause and acknowledge this silent ache in my heart.