One Final Memory

One final, glorious memory, of a day that epitomizes all that is good in the world.

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One final incredible day, the last day of our summer, the last of this season of my life.

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A day without pretense, without hyperbole, without anything other than just absolute appreciation for all that we have and all that is about to be.

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One final sunset, a last farewell to so much more than a glorious week in Maine.

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More final words on another day.  For now, happiness, nostalgia, and gratitude.

 

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Many Many Maine Memories

So many photos, so little time.  Here is the rundown:

Old Orchard Beach and its awesome/terrifying/powerful waves, sand angels, and Grampy

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Evenings At the Beach with Auntie Jenny

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Another evening, another sunset at the beach, more mud, some acrobatics

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Sunset + My Kids + Shadows + Reflections = Mommy’s Heart Bursting

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And one last day in Maine to blog about…another time.  These memories are glorious enough to keep me happy for a while!

 

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Summer Smiles

More photos from Maine!  Not much needs to be said, other than we had a lot of fun the day that Grampy came up.  Muddy, footbally, snuggly fun!

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Boogie On

When I go through my pictures from Maine, I can always tell one day from another based on the clothes the kids are wearing.  So now, even though it’s been a while, I remember that this is the second day of our vacation, more importantly known henceforth as The Day We First Bought Boogie Boards.

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Boogie on!

It started out as a normal beach day–Hannah was excited to just stroll along the walkway with Daddy, while the big kids insisted on traipsing along the jetty, so fired up about the boogie boards they may not have had their best listening ears on.

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Which led to definitive not listening and then to the countdown and then, you know, time out.  Beach time out! On boogie boards.  Whoever heard of such a thing??

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All right, all right.  Time in!

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Now, how about those boogie boards?

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I’d say they were a success!  Even with Emmy coasting right up to the shore and Jackson flipping over after about three feet.  He was a good sport about it, surprisingly.  Sometimes Emmy does surprise us with her coordination.

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Hannah was delighted to be left on shore.  I think mud is her spirit animal.

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On the way out, since it was still early in the week, I still had high hopes for an astoundingly beautiful photo of the three of them.  Lots of effort went into this hope, all week.  In the end, the photos may not have been what I envisioned, but they are imperfectly perfect in every way.  Who knows? Maybe by the end of the week, I got a practically perfect one, too.

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I feel good about my chances!

On the way back to the car, Jackson created a new tradition–the jetty dance.  It has to do with a lot of shaking and hustling across the jetty on the way back to the car.  I kind of love it.

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Emmy, not so much.  She may have killed it at boogie boarding, but girlfriend knows her limits (and knew she was wearing flip flops).  She just observed from afar and looked adorable doing it.

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The day ended with my family humoring me and staying for the sunset, where we were even saw a couple of seals, much to Emmy’s delight.  It was a glorious.

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Boogie on, my loves!

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The First Day In Maine

The first day in Maine during our annual family vacation is ever the same: we arrive, we scurry to unpack, the kids run around the house like crazy people, claiming beds and unpacking books and toys “just so,” which is hilarious since they will never be organized or in their appropriate place again, and then we jump back in the car to greet the glorious Atlantic Ocean at our favorite Drakes Island Beach.  We never bother to bring bathing suits.

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Why do we never bother with the bathing suits? Probably because we just unpacked them in the first place, it’s late, after dinner time sometimes, and because we always assume erroneously that the kids can just go in a teeny bit without getting their clothes wet.  Maybe it was because they used to be little enough to go naked or just in their skivvies.  Whatever the reason, our first night in Maine is always full of pictures like these.  Every year and we never learn. Why should we?

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I think I know what it is.  It’s not that we are too lazy or we just don’t bother; it’s that we don’t care.  It is somewhat ceremonial and symbolic that we are in such a rush to get to the beach that we can’t even discard the layers of civilization before we arrive.  And seeing them knee-deep in the ocean in the clothes they wear to school, church, the grocery store, makes me think, Ah, yes.  Now we have arrived.  We are officially on vacation. Let the not-caring begin!

The kids think this is an excellent way to begin our week.  Beach hair, underwear, don’t care.

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As the sun nears the horizon and we have properly introduced ourselves to the locals…

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we head back home to gear up for the next wonderfully relaxing day in Maine.
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Wouldn’t have it any other way!IMG_9464

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A Momentous Day

Thank God I just spent seven glorious days with my family in Maine, unplugging and listening and playing and observing, because today is the day of something new, as well as the end of something remarkably precious. For the past eight years, two months and approximately two weeks of my life, my day’s work revolved around the raising and cherishing of three amazing little people that God deemed me worthy of creating.  Eight amazing years of late nights, early mornings, tea parties, superheroes, quiet moments, morning snuggles, one more book and one more photo and lots of laughs, as well as mistakes.  Questions about how we were going to do something, and then once we did, did we make the right choice? Are we doing it right?  The answers to those questions are still in the process of being answered, but after eight years, those questions are not the heart of my day.  They still have my heart, but from now on,  I have a few other things on my mind.

Today I start my new career as the librarian at my children’s school, a job which was literally dropped in my lap through circumstance, good fortune, and quite a lot of hard work. Hard work by me to make the impossible possible, and attain a job I still can’t believe is mine. Hard work by my husband who supporting me through the chaos of applying, the fear of accepting, and so many big changes as I prepared for this new stage in our life. Hard work by my friends and family to listen to me go on and on about it for the last six months, but mostly hard work by my kids who have to be brave enough to be willing to let me do something they know I want and love, even when it is taking me away from them.  Is this a sign that we have raised them well, that their kindness and love for me outweighs any selfish desire they may harbor to keep me home with them all to themselves? There has not been one tear shed or one shred of guilt from them, when any number of those could have made me change my mind.  At merely 7, 6, and 3 years old, they are supporting and loving me, as we have always done for them.  Perhaps there is some evidence that we have been making the right choices all along.

I cherish every single minute that I was able to be home with them, every early morning and weekend day Jason went to work and toiled at his job because he knew that the four of us depended on him to succeed.  I cherish every opportunity I had to help mold them into the amazing people they are today, and that I had the quiet reflective time to figure out how best to serve them individually as their mother.  I have been Jackson’s cheerleader, book buddy, and biggest advocate since he took his first breath.  I have given Emmy the quiet room to blossom that she needed, and the space to do it in her own way, at her own time.  I also gave them both the blessing of becoming an older sibling, and am forever grateful for my last baby, my Hannah.  I could never go to work without knowing she is very much ready for what life has in store for her.  We still have two mornings together a week, and I am beyond grateful for that attention I can still pay her so that I can listen to her words, too, as she grows.  I know none of this will end simply because I am working outside of the home.  I just know that it would be impossible not to stop and wonder and marvel at these little people and how wondrous it is that they are mine.

With that, I am off to work, ready to start anew, ready to remember what it means to teach kids that are not my own (with the added bonus of teaching mine as well!), and to remember that I’m good at what I do, and that I love it.  I am ready to be more of a role model for my girls, that being a good mother does not always mean being at home, and that following my dreams and heart are as important for them to see as it was to have me home to hold their hand.  They will come to and from work with me every day, I will see them often and will help shape the education that they are lucky enough to enjoy.  For this and so very many more things, I am very, very grateful, and hopefully, I am ready.

Thanks to them, and all of you, for your support and love on this very momentous day.

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A Summer Story of Strawberry Sisters

Summer’s almost over? What?

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I agree, Hannah. I feel like I blinked and summer is over.  I know we still have our amazing family vacation to Maine to look forward to next week, and we have had a lot of fun as a family, but it’s hard to wrap my brain around how fast the clock is ticking toward a new school year for my kids, a new career for me, and a new way of life for all of us as we begin the juggle of becoming a household with two working parents.  Good thing the kids had wonderful weeks of camp, awesome adventures with friends, and great days like this one the girls and I shared when Jackson was at VINS camp to remind us to slow down and stop and pick the strawberries.

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Don’t mind if we do!

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Yes, we drove 40 minutes to pick them ourselves, yes I arrived and only had $4 in cash (enough to buy a pint!), and yes I got pulled over for speeding on the way there.  Almost the most expensive strawberries ever!  Luckily I was let off with a warning so I took my $4 in cash and we headed for the strawberry patch.

It was hot and sunny (note the squinty smiles), but Emmy was very happy to eat her way through the rows of berries all the same.  She was in heaven.

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Hannah doesn’t love strawberries, so she was there more as an observer and a fair weather helper, but it was a good sister adventure regardless.  We had to do something memorable when it was just a ladies day!
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I know we’ll have a few more memorable days before summer really winds down, and I have the perfect company.  These girls are as sweet as they come.  So were the berries!

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