Thursday, July 17, 2014

This is 39, People

Hugs and snuggles and coffee in bed. A surprise text from a sweet friend while I'm exercising - I just left you something on your porch swing...



A mid-day babysitter, requested by Greg. I'll be home at lunchtime, he said. Don't eat! Don't make plans!

A low-cal lunch in defiance of my ever-slowing metabolism.


Time to explore a new city neighborhood.


Triple chocolate Italian gelato.



After lunch, Greg announced he was taking me somewhere special. Hmmmmm, I thought. A long, leisurely walk along the Canal? A trip to a new bookstore he's found?

Nope.


This is why I love this man. A long time ago, a lifetime ago, I was a girl who loved Go-Karts. Four kids and fifteen years later, I am still that girl to him, which was the best gift I received today.


Chalk murals from my four favorite little people.



Presents chosen by each of the kids. Side note: Greg let each child pick out their own present for me, 
with no help and no suggestions. Charlie picked out three packets of M&Ms. Max picked out an IPad. I think if our house ever catches on fire and we only have time to grab one thing, we should put Max in charge.


A sweet birthday song sung by sweet little voices. A Wegman's chocolate cake, my favorite.


The chance to blow out candles, to give thanks for another whole year of health for myself, my husband, our parents, our brothers and sisters, our kids. Do I deserve this, any of this? Certainly not. Really, none of us do. But every bit of it is a blessing, not luck. And tonight, I have a heart full of gratitude.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Sundays


Our town hosts a Sunday night concert in the park each week in July and August.


Tonight was their kickoff for the season, a near-perfect evening of seventy degree weather and red-streaked skies.


There's prancing kids, toe-tapping seniors, and everyone in between. There's old couples dancing barefoot as their favorite song is sung.



We chose this town by chance. We had three days and two nights to find a house. It was winter and everywhere we looked we saw melting, dirty snow and gray skies. So we prayed. 


We prayed for wisdom, for blessing, for good gifts from the One who loves to give them. 


We miss our town. We miss the stadiums and our beloved three rivers. We miss the beautiful, revitalized city, the eclectic neighborhoods that all feel like home, the Steel City pride. We miss our urban church, a glittering jewel of a place in the midst of a concrete jungle. 



But God, in His providence, has us here, and it is well with our souls.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Hello There, Summer!


We have been happily busy. Four weeks have passed without me much noticing. June was filled with travel to cool places and visitors from cool people. July - at least these first four days of it - has been quieter.


I've begun tackling my book list. I've logged many hours on the porch swing and the pool deck watching my children become fish and tree-climbing monkeys and sidewalk-chalk Rembrandts.

The phone's left inside, too far away to be heard. June, with its days each so full, was good.

 

And July, with its wide open spaces, is good too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Land of the Free



We celebrated Memorial Day in Rochester this year.

 I am a sucker for this holiday - I love everything about it. The parades, the firemen in their dress blues, the veterans walking proudly down the streets of their hometowns.







I love the burgers and hot dogs, the watermelon, the picnics, the marching bands, the official start to summer. 

Though we missed our family and the Sewickley parade, we had a wonderful time with new friends and undertook new adventures.






This is a verse I have been loving lately: "So if you are suffering according to God's will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God Who made you, for He will never fail you." (1 Peter 4:19)


I don't know why, but I thought a lot about that verse on Monday.

What a relief it is to rest in Him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Snakes & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails

When I was a little girl and I played house, my dolls were all daughters. When I found out that I was having identical twins, I immediately envisaged little blond girls in bare feet and matching sundresses. I had their names all picked out.

God had other plans, and my house is currently overrun with three boys and their trucks and Star Wars guys and muddy sneakers. Even when they're filthy, I have to beg them to bathe. Some of their actions and needs are so foreign to me that I have to read entire books about raising them, just so I don't lose my mind. One of the chapters in the most recent book I read was entitled "Get Used to Skid Marks." 

And the truth? Boys are so much fun. They are infinitely more fun than I remember being at their age. They are wild, fearless, and almost like dogs in their need to be outside, free, running off energy. My doorbell just rang, and I figured it was the neighbor dropping off something I had asked her for. Instead, I found this on my stoop:


You might as well have given them each a car. They adore amphibians.


They haven't been this giddy since they found the dead chipmunk, christened it John, and attempted to bring it into their bedroom. 

Be careful what you wish for. God will give you something better.



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


A day to sleep in. Drink coffee in bed. Get only myself ready for church. Receive flowers and cards and sweet sentiments from my family. It's the most wonderful time of the year :-). I love Mother's Day.



My sweet sister, knowing my love for long & luxurious baths, surprised me with bath bars that "smell like Covent Garden when you get off the Tube." Anyone who would describe anything quite like that is pretty amazing in my book - and she's my sister. Blessed indeed. These are already being put to good use.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Happy Half Birthday to You



Max and Sam officially turned seven AND A HALF this week... and I forgot. Who remembers these things? The kids. That's who remembers these things.

So we're celebrating today. As I've added children and responsibilities to our family with each passing year, I've learned the hard way to keep things simple. When I don't, I run out of steam as soon as I inaugurate a new tradition, leaving the kids to sadly reminisce, "Remember the time you rented a pony for my half birthday?" I'm kidding. I'm not that bad. But with four kids I need to keep things simple and inexpensive if I'm going to be able to do them every year. 

This year for the half birthdays we started the pick your own cereal tradition.  This is the ultimate luxury for my poor, underprivileged children, forced to eat the Aldi brand of sugarless Cheerios morning after bland morning because their mother doesn't believe in Fruit Loops. 

Happy half birthday to my rock 'em sock 'em twins. Let the sugar comas commence.