Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Weekend Away

I've returned home, safe and sound, from my very first "weekend away"! Yes indeed--first time away from my little ones, that is, unless you count the one night I was in the hospital after giving birth to Isaiah. Everyone handled it fabulously aside from a few sad moments--but admittedly, I did want to be missed a little.

Saying goodbye was the hardest part for me. Thankfully I was determined NOT to cry so as to not freak out the boys, and only teared up AFTER the multiple good-byes and kisses and hugs and "but I don't want you to go"s and waves and "I love you's" mouthed until we were out of sight.

And we officially entered into "Girls' Weekend 2009"

My first observation, as I described to Insoo on the phone my first night there was, "It just seems like everyone feels so loved." And that simple statement reflected the truth and beauty of the entire weekend away. Nine of us, reuniting in one place, for the first time in years, picking up right where we left off. Nothing awkward. Nothing forced. Nothing contrived. No worrying if someone is feeling left out. No trying to be anything we're not. And I realize it's a pretty "surreal" environment, that not many people get to experience in their lifetime. And I got to have it for the whole weekend.

It was a weekend of storytelling (Jenny) and laughter:

Feasts of fabulous food:


Lots of lovin' on Heidi's little ones:



A wee bit of time for some games:
A Celebration of our dear friend's 40th:

Lots of photo taking:

Wonderful Worship:


A Grand River Adventure (unfortunately, no photos available)

And just being together:

It was everything a weekend of dear old friends reuniting should be, and more. Thank you, girls, for making it a priority and doing this thing!! For taking time off of work. For opening your home, Jenny. For making a difficult trip with 3 little ones, Heidi. For driving out a day early to be with me and mine, Care, Jen, and Mel. For bringing me home, Hannah. For driving the farthest, Loony. And for everyone loving each other so well!

Now here's the cherry on top...
I came home to a clean house, children who were fed, bathed, PJ'd and waiting for me, laundry done, and a bed made up for Hannah. Oh, AND Insoo had enforced the eating of veggies while I was gone. Can you believe that? He definitely did NOT take the slacker route, oh no. They went to the library and the zoo and to church. I think he even changed their clothes, despite his teasing me that he probably wouldn't. Thank you, Insoo, for allowing me a weekend away to just be me--a time to rest and recieve. It was a great gift.

I came home from time with my amazing friends to my even more amazing husband and family.

I feel so blessed. I could not ask for more.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Video Fun

I have three short (50 seconds total) videos to share today...

1. This Little Piggy

OK--I think this video is really cute, but first you have to understand a couple things:

We were winding up a photo shoot of the three kids--Elliot, Isaiah, and Hazel, which went way too long without much cooperation (especially from Isaiah).

When Hazel started getting fussy, Elliot tried hard to keep her happy, and started doing "This Little Piggy" on her toes. (I might have asked him to do it one more time to get it on camera.) I held our camera in one hand, and Hazel's hand in my other trying to comfort her for just a few more moments while her crazy Emo just sat there recording.

SO now if you know all that, and understand that immediately following this, she is returned happily to her mother and all is well, you might enjoy Elliot's efforts.

video


2. Watching Thomas
And one more of these two cousins to show their love. I captured this one of them just hanging out:

video

3. Tiger Love

And to be fair, I need to show you my favorite video of Isaiah so far! Apparently he LOVES tigers. And he calls all animals "Dog" (or "Duck")--try to catch it--it's the very first word as the video starts.

video

Friday, July 17, 2009

Catching Up is Hard to Do

The past couple weeks have definitely been the highlight of the summer for me. Which is wonderful, and also makes it really hard to put into blog-form. But I know that the family is itching to see pictures--Joel said he was checking the blog almost every day during our "Sisters Week Minus 1" (Bummer, Andrea couldn't join us). So Joel, for your birthday, I'm going to try to update TODAY!

Sisters Week, Colubmus OH:
It was so fabulous, and yet so normal it's hard to articulate why this time was so amazing, except to say that I just love being with my family! So to have 2 of my sisters here, ALL TO MYSELF, to hang out with, play games with, do life with, go on special outings with, drink iced coffee with, celebrate with, have "Girls Night" with, cook with, clean with, see movies with, watch kids with...well that is pretty much my dream life :) And to have about a whole week of that was bliss. Thank you, girls, for coming. It meant so much to me.

We packed a ton of activities into our time together, and it flew by at about the speed of light. But a few photo-worthy items to mention are...

Insoo met our newest niece, Hazel Faye, for the first time:

Elliot absolutely adores his baby cousin, and could not keep himself from touching her, talking to her, kissing her, hugging her, and holding her. He was quite the proud cousin:

Elliot & Hazel...toe kissing?


We made our regular trip to the zoo, which we always do with any guest who comes, no matter how many times we've been there:

And we went swimming a couple times. Hazel got to have her first experience "swimming"... or at least "got her feet wet" :)



If you want to see all the photos of "Sisters week in Columbus", click HERE.
And HERE For "Girls Night Out".
Kris, I have to say, I realized I don't do nearly enough "girly things"...because I was trying so hard to heed your advice but I didn't even know what to do! After wracking our brains, we finally decided on Olive Garden for dinner (with Hazel) and a late-night movie (My Sister's Keeper) after the kids were all in bed. It was absolutely perfect. And very girly, I must say!

So, to top that off--or rather, to book-end our time with the girls, we got to spend time with the rest of the siblings and Dad AND extended family too! On the front end we drove up to Cleveland to celebrate Cassi's graduation from high school--Congratulations, Cassi (front & center)!
For more photos of Cassi's graduation party, click HERE

On the back end of our time with the girls, we drove to the Chicago area to celebrate Kevin's wedding. It was a great excuse to have a "reunion" with our immediate family as well as a wonderful opportunity to see the aunts and uncles and cousins and extended family. I am bummed that we didn't get a MOL side photo with everyone, or at least the cousins, but that would have probably gotten us back to Columbus just in time for Insoo's work day, rather than our 5AM arrival time after driving through the night (thanks, Insoo!).

I bet you didn't know that Kevin married Lauren McDonald, did you?
OK, her name is really Kate, but I did a double-take looking through our photos, even when I knew it couldn't be her.

We were sure to get a photo of Dad with all the grandkids all ready to go to the wedding:

And 1 of almost the whole family at the wedding (missing a few that couldn't make it)
Cliff and Connie brought Bryson with them, and we got a photo of all these kids together...just before they got freaked out by Uncle Hank's chattering of his false teeth (not a good idea for trying to make little kids laugh.)

The wedding was beautiful, and family time was too.
For more photos from the wedding, click HERE
And if you want to see photos from the birthday party for the two 1 year olds in the family we squeezed in there, click HERE

Needless to say, we have NOT been bored lately. And catching up from all of this has pretty much taken all of me this week, hence the very late updating of this thing. Uploading our 1191 photos from the past couple weeks and sorting them out into picasa albums has been a big project, as well as dealing with ants, and one child who has had a horrible time sleeping ever since our anniversary date a few weeks ago...but that's another post. or not. (He is doing much better now, thanks to Insoo's wisdom and insistence on being more firm, and his patience and peacefulness through what was the worst temper tantrum I have ever heard.)

If I'm done with this blog entry, it feels like I should be ready for these past few weeks to be over. But I'm not. I miss my sisters being here. I miss being with family all around me. I miss the boys playing with their cousins. I miss getting my butt kicked at Nerts. I miss having people to drink iced coffee with during naptime, and people to play with my kids while I get dressed for a wedding or what-have-you. I know God has called us to be in Columbus right now, but I sure wish afternoons of hanging out together were far more normal than they are.

But I do have plane tickets purchased for a trip back home in October, and we'll get to celebrate our 2nd Annual "Grandma Sharon Days" together. Get ready for another LONG blog entry after that trip too. And thanks for reading...if you still are. :)