Best Shot Monday ~ Wishing

I never could have predicted the full range of raw emotion that motherhood would elicit.  Protectiveness – sure, I expected that.  Yet I’m finding the line between meeting their every need and catering to their momentary wants.  Watching them play, my heart swells with both excitement at the fun they’re having, at the memories being built.

Then I see the longing in his eyes as he scans the area for one of the coveted fishy squirt toys.  Looking to the water, his eyes quickly survey the sad scene that all the toys have been claimed.  (I can’t help but point out the full net in the background of this picture!). 

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Then he spies a fellow water-parker with some fishies in her net.  The little expression on his face and my memory of how nonchalantly he hoped to get his hands on one of those toys, makes me want to laugh and cry.  I’m so thankful and proud that he wasn’t knocking kids over to get what he wanted, yet I desperately want only the best for my precious kids.  Shortly after this moment, I went on the search myself.  When I returned with a terrific purple octopus, I was already awaiting the excited squeals.  Much to my surprise, he dismissed it with barely a second glance and continued longing for a fish.  It had to be a fish. 

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I realized then, though it’s a lesson I’ve far from mastered, that my role in this life, my job and awesome responsibility, isn’t always to provide the very thing that gives them temporary joy.  Rather, in the face of disappointment and desire, to lead them through those impulses and toward a more lasting fulfillment.  Today, these are both my very best shots.

Wordless Wednesday ~ Good Times at the Gardens

Earlier this year, we took a trip to Meijer Gardens to see their butterfly exhibit, and just shy of heading outside to explore, it started raining, so we headed home.  It wasn’t until later this summer that I discovered the treasure that is the Children’s Garden!  A few friends and I met for a playdate and I knew we had to go back.  As our final weekend of summer, we headed their the Friday of Labor Day weekend to take in the last days of the Alexander Calder art exhibit.  While he isn’t necessarily Calder’s namesake, it’s still too cool to miss! 

Textured Squinting

If you think a little thing like not being able to walk is stopping her from literally soaking up all the fun she could possibly have…well, you’ve got another thing coming!  Little Miss had a fantastic time.  I can only imagine how much fun she’ll have throughout the coming year!

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Gardens 5

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I spent too much time getting just the right picture in front of the Calder sculpture at the Gardens….and was thrilled with this result.  It was only after several minutes of shooting (while Garth and Seneca walked ahead) that we learned this wasn’t in fact, a Calder.  *sigh*  Regardless, I have to say I love these two shots!

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Gardens 2

Playing with my new zoom lens…and The American Horse sculpture was a pretty sweet subject!

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Calder Exhibit 1

My finger was just itching to snap a few dozen pictures of the amazing artifacts we saw at the exhibit, but understandably, photographs are not allowed.  Thankfully, there was a hands-on aspect to the exhibit where it was permissible to snap some pictures…I love the concentration here as he constructs his own mobile. 

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Calder Exhibit 2

I suppose this is more a Wordful Wednesday than Wordless Wednesday, but either way….hope yours is happy!

Sunflowers ~ Best Shot Monday

I remember when we first walked through the house where we now live.  After seeing many homes ~ some great, some absolutely NOT ~ we’d kept coming back to the pictures of this one online.  When we finally decided to look at it, even though it wasn’t in the location we really wanted, we knew it was the one we would buy.  I snapped dozens of pictures on our second walk-through and would scroll through them back at our apartment.  Before long, the house was ours…one week away from our first wedding anniversary. 

Recently, I found a few of those pictures  and was amazed to see the ways in which the home both inside and out has changed to fit the needs of our growing family.  Projects such as landscaping, painting, or updating the deck, or installing the new playset have really changed the look over the nearly five years we’ve lived there. 

A few years ago we pulled out the dead and dying lilac trees that resided in the back corner of our yard.  I was sad to see them go because the smell of lilacs is something I remember fondly from days spent in Grandma Gert’s backyard.  We’ve tried wildflowers, which ended up looking more wild than flowery.  We’d thought about turning it into some type of sitting area with a bench, arbor and fountain.  But none of those plans ever felt right.

This year, Garth sprinkled sunflower seeds (aka leftovers from a winter of feeding the birds) into converging rows.  I liked the idea, but it was really his thing.  He’d be out there watering or thinning them while we played in the yard.  Even when they were small, it already looked so much better than any of our prior attempts.  Then, after two weeks of rain and the sudden warmth, they exploded.  What was once a cute patch of knee-high plants, became a forest through which Calder was suddenly wary to explore. 

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The first signs of buds appeared.  Our excitement grew. 

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We watched and counted the numbers of buds appearing on a single stalk.  Did you know there could be more than one per stem?  I observed the pride on Garth’s face as his laboring was paying off.  While our time away has been refreshing, we’re anticipating a sea of sunny yellow to smile upon us when we arrive home.

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My best shot this week is the first one, I love all the possibility that it holds, and yet wince a little to think about how quickly the time will pass when he really will be forging out on his own, exploring the world around him.  And yet, if you look closely, you’ll see his daddy’s hand, outstretched.  It’s enough to make my heart melt. 

How about you?  What’s blossoming in your world this week?  What are you exploring?

Coming Together

Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing. 
– Jim Rohn

Peas 2 

Families are the compass that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter. 
– Brad Henry

 The Right Tools

The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduced yourself to, had life not done it for you. 
– Kendall Hailey

Gretchen and Kegan

Has it really been almost six years?  I remember how my nerves made my stomach dance as I met everyone for the first time, knowing that in a few short months this would be my family.  I remember being prepared in advance to be called the wrong name.  I was.  I remember that instead of feeling uncomfortable, I felt calm and relaxed because this was a family just like mine. 

Now, my own children are introduced to aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Pictures are taken to preserve memories, despite their limitations ~ how do you capture the smell of the breakfast prepared on the campfire, the spicy-ness of the gumbo that tickles your nose, or the sounds of squeals and giggling by the many great-grandchildren bustling about? 

Again, we come together across the miles by air and by car, we have come together for a brief moment before going again our separate ways.  Wanna glimpse of our family fun?  Go ahead, take a peek!