Monday, June 27, 2011

story time...

I'm inundated with pictures so let's take a story break story from Lily...I love this little voice and I know I'll yearn to hear it one day in a few years so I run the video camera around the clock trying to capture the cuteness, but know it'll never do it justice; there's nothing that can quite replace this voice matched with her big blue eyes staring right through you at the same time..

same video; different upload process...

if you can't see it click here

and since I'm an equal opportunity employer (ala parent), here's our cutie pie who does this from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to sleep and I simply can't believe our luck that we get to be with him everyday.

can't see the cuteness, click here

life is good :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Triple Crown

My dad.

There are really no words to fully summarize the impact he has had and still does to this day. If you know him, you know what I mean.

He has a heart of gold, openly cares about his kids and grandkids and nothing makes him happier than being with his family. I have probably 100 special emails from him he's sent to me on my bad days, my good days and just so-so days. That's 100 just in the last year. He knows and remembers every detail about my friends, my friends' kids. my friend's family and will send articles from the newspaper, websites or videos if it has anything to do with any topic we're remotely interested in.

Like Julie's son Nathan just started a new soccer team and I probably know more that Julie does about the team, the fees to be on that team, their travel schedule, and how many goals each player on the team has, and the coaches.

We always bonded over soccer growing up; I played since I was 5. When I got older, we went to Taco Bell after each practice, then to McDonalds for an ice cream cone and sometimes he'd have 2 in his hand while driving with his knees. He loved them that much. We had the best talks even though I couldn't recite one topic discussed, but looking back now I realize how much I took those talks for granted and couldn't wait to get home to call my best friend to discuss the topics of the day. He drove to and fro each practice, which was about a 42 minute ride one way so I could be on the most competitive team in our area. He never missed a game, even when I sat the bench my freshman year at UCF, he'd take off work at Motorola and drive 3 hours just to see my ride the pine. If that wasn't motivation to train extra that summer, I don't know what was.

In high school he was the manager of the club soccer team and while we were at the hotel horsing around staying up past curfew with the girls, he was in the laundry room washing all of the super smelly uniforms for the whole team. When people would thank him, he'd smile and say it was the best time ever. And now I know how much he meant it. All he wants is to see his girls happy and will do anything in his power to make that happen.

To say he's always there for his girls and grandkids is an understatement. To drive you to the airport, help you move a refrigerator, wait for the furniture guy, to hang with the kids while I run to the store, no matter what he's there and only a phone call away to be there in 10 minutes. One time when David and I were out of town he wanted to surprise us by running a cable to our patio so we could have cable tv outside. He went from the front of our house to the back of the house IN THE ATTIC! Crawled through a tiny space like he was a navy seal in the middle of a hot day, but had to turn back around because of heat exhaustion and almost passed out in my attic. I shudder at the thought if he wouldn't have been at the airport to pick us up and we would've all been puzzled where he could be. Okay, I'll stop there.

He's a staple at every kid event then and now and nothing is more important than being there for us. He comes over just for every one of Lily's swim lessons and I swear if Grady takes up underwater basket weaving, he'll be the first in line buying the twine for him and will know every technique under the sun that would put Longaberger out of business.

And God help you if you're driving anywhere you might not be familiar with because you will get a full dissertation of how to get there, alternate roads that may work, every gas station along the way and I promise you he brought me this map for our park play date when I told him I got a little turned around in a solo trip to Tampa when i-275 and i-4 met me with a question mark.

Other than the obvious extra giggles and time I get with Grady and Lily, the other best part of being home with them has been all of the quality time I've had and the kids have had with him.
He's ready at a moments notice for any type of field trip with the kids. He'll do anything . anytime. And we all benefit from him.

He had eye surgery and didn't have any other sunglasses other than the ones he got from the doctor's office so Stevie Wonder it was. How can he still embarrass me at 36 like when I was 14?

He got some new ones for dirt cheap through his insurance and said "do you know anything about Maui Jims?" and said it like it was a different language, hard to pronounce. He's also taught us how to respect money and not to indulge. We got just a little taste of that one and not the whole ladel of that lesson.

If you know my dad, you love him. Gentle spirit. Nice. Always there. Cute. Funny. Sweet. Thoughtful. Caring. Always there. He's the perfect balance between always there, but never overbearing.

We go for runs every week with Jen. He's on the bicycle while Jen and I huff and puff through our endless stories. He listens like he's taking notes, studying for the bar exam. We've cried, laughed and bonded over silly or important stories that mean more to me than the miles we've covered. He's heard of every heartbreak and heart filling story and I bet he could retell them at a moment's notice. Actually it'd probably take him an hour to retell it, but all the details would be in there.

When I graduated from college and stopped playing soccer, I know he missed it , but referee'ing was a way to get back in the game from another perspective. He was never the calm, quiet spectator and once got thrown out of a game for yelling at a ref "HEY REF GET IN SHAPE" when the portly guy couldn't move quickly enough out of the way of the play of the game. I was 12 and MORTIFIED. I wanted to dig a hole in the field and bury myself alive from embarrassment. I say his ref'ing days were his penance in apologies for his sideline behavior when I was younger. He loved ref'ing as it filled the void, but he was sidelined for a few years with a knee injury that lead him to have knee replacement surgery. We didn't know he'd ever recover fully enough to get back on the field, but he never gave up. He rode his bike like Lance Armstrong, ate healthy and got up at 4:15am before our runs to go to the gym to lift weights. And you know what? He's back out on the field now better than ever! Guess what he got for Father's Day? A framed picture of his studliness.

Happy Father's Day Dad. I hope you feel celebrated today and everyday.

If my dad wasn't enough, rewind the tape to David's dad, Larry who I affectionately call LareBear. He's as sweet as he looks, loves to play practical jokes, and as wholesome as they come. He's like the salt of the earth.
Larry doesn't gush with his feelings like my family does because we're like a hallmark commercial when we meet for 5 minutes at the grocery store, but you feel it when you're with him. It's unspoken, but spoken with every word. And it always feels good.

He's a wealth of knowledge about everything, loves baseball, hunting, fishing, yardwork, his rocking chair, cheez-its, peanut butter on ritz crackers, and race car driving like his life depended on it. I love when someone has a passion for something. No matter what it is, Larry loves deeply with intese loyalty and always puts his family first.

He teaches me (and the kids) to slow down, savor the important things, put away cell phones and just be present. It's as if he doesn't own a watch because he's never in a rush to be anywhere, but where he is at the present moment. And that's together with his family.

I love that our kids get those lessons for free like they're going to the best private school in town, but we get an all expense paid tuition to the front desk in the classroom.

I love that I married someone who had Larry playing such an incredible impact on his life that trickles down into our kids.

I see so much of Larry and my dad in David. He's like a cross section of the 2 people. Our kids get the triple crown with dads. David is such a family man. I see it with his loyalty. With his patience. With his be there for every moment attitude. His responsible ways. His stable personality. He doesn't gush with his feelings, but when he does it's like a dam broke. He shows it in his actions. Always tidying, cutting the grass, cleaning the pool, playing catch, scrubbing the shower, making detailed spreadsheets for budgets, doing laundry, packing the kids lunch bags, calling for kid updates, and endless reading of stories to the kids. I see it in his love for seeing his kids happy and I thank God everday I have a partner for life raising Lily and Grady with the same ideas and values we want them to learn.

They say you marry someone like your father and that's fine by me, but I think they took it a step too far when they showed up to dinner in the same shirt and shorts, down to the belt and sneakers. I love that David and my dad are buds and sometimes I feel like the 3rd wheel when we're altogether, but this was a bit much even for me.

And since David played for the Cubbies back in the Pre-Kelly days, (can you believe there's such a thing?)I thought it'd be neat to take Grady's 7 month picture in his alma mater jersey. Please note; Grady is 8 months old now, but wearing 18-2T clothes. GASP. And Grady knows one emotion and one emotion only. Happy.

And nothing makes us happier.

Happy Father's Day to all the influential dads out there that are there for your kids as babies or adults. And the role models like Uncle Jamie, Uncle Duane, Bob, and Uncle Dan who capture the fun loving, hard working, always there, awesome all around dad trophy, you'll never truly know the impact you're making on your kids and mine, but it's sure a powerful force. Feeling so lucky to be surrounded with such love and devotion from all the dads to our kids and theirs too. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bouncing and Sliding

One of Lily's favorite things to do is go in bounce houses. So when we heard of one in town in SC, we zoomed on over.

And exploring it with all the big kids makes her nervous, but not with Anna holding her hand.

and little gradycakes sat curbside smiling the whole way through...

seeing him happy makes my heart do a somersault and it does a lot of it because the boy eats, sleeps and breathes the open faced smile at any passerbyer. Yes, I just made up that word.

I love seeing Lily bonding with other adults so they can see the side that David and i know and love everyday.

Lily went from being their little baby doll to a friend they could play with and have fun together.
Grady now took the place of the baby doll that they just added a quarter to the jukebox and smiled like his life depended on it.

but they didn't want him to miss out on the fun either. (and I managed to snap the post office in town. note, it's the only one and probably the size of my house)

Anna and Allison were like 2 older sisters to Grady and Lily.

and even David joined in the reindeer games. Who knew teeter-totters even existed these days?.

I love this picture.

lily was insistent that David go down the slide and insisted on teaching him proper technique. Anna actually got this shot.

and this one too.

Life is confusing right now, but going through these pictures and the thousand others we have helps to resonate that we never thought we'd have kids and now I'm blogging about a family vacation allowing me to restore my faith that everything will work out the way it's supposed to. But, boy is it tough going through the roller coaster ride. Say prayers it's a short and not so bumpy ride. xoxo

Monday, June 06, 2011

I'll Have Seconds

Lots of loving (and yummy eating) in SC so a hefty dose of seconds is always a must. Too many amazing pictures from SC so it might be a multi-post of goodness. These 2 got along swimmingly!

I love having role models for my kids in the kid form. Yes, it's great to have positive adult role models for all kids, but there's something like our kids watching others within their same decade of life that makes such an impact. These 2 are the the rockstar supernova of role models. Wholeseome. Sweet. Kind. Loving, Guiding. Helpful. I can't think of enough adjectives for them.
We went tubing on Lake Wylie and the kids had a blast while the adults took in the scenery. Say what with this house? These were at every turn.

Our cautious little Lily joined the fun too and didn't even blink an eye at the fear factor of it all. I can't put her personality into a box if I tried; she's always surprising me.

Allison's feet made me laugh. I like to laugh.

Allison would marry the tube if she could; she got on it as soon as we started the day and never got off of it for a second all day long!

poor lily couldn't see above her life jacket.

for realzzzz she couldn't see. this picture made me laugh too.

Anna was SOO hesitant to get in the water because it was too cold and afraid of the fish - spent about 30 minutes contemplating and stalling the inevitable. Amazingly cool that our 3 year old talked her into it and helped her along the way. Look at the way Anna is holding onto Lily for support. Moments like these take my breath away.

super cool shot ...

ok , if this picture doesn't make you laugh I don't know what will. Our little narcoleptic Lily was hit by the tranquilizer gun again. Funny thing is she was sitting right next to me and we realized she was sleeping. sitting up. like a horse. So I grabbed her mid-snooze for some snuggles. (her original life jacket was soaking wet so we had to have plan b when we went to dry clothes)

PS I assumed most of you heard via facebook, that Grady's surgery went awesome, but guess it didn't hit everyone! He smiled through the whole thing even if his parent[s] (ie me) were a nervous wreck. It wasn't attached to anything internally, was removed switfly and he has a follow up appointment this week as a formality where we should be home free. PHEW! (wiping brow profusely) Thanks for all of the love and support!!!!

life is good.