Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thoughts on the Beach, Part 4

Patrick and I celebrated our 7th anniversary over the course of our vacation at the beach. Since my parents were there on our actual anniversary, we took advantage of them and spent an evening out shopping, eating, driving, walking and other pleasurable things that are even more pleasurable when it can be done with my love and without the scruples of children that our love produced.

Dad snapped this picture of us as we were about to head out and I said "oh, let me get my SLR so we can get some fill flash". So, I put my camera together, pressed the shutter, and all I saw was an error.

Oh, fudge.

I removed the lens, wiped out whatever dust may be there, changed the battery, changed the CF card, and did all the tricks I could think of. Nothing worked.


I was hoping to use some of the time that we were out to snap a few pictures of the sand and sea, but my camera was down for the count. I was very perplexed but tried not to let it disturb me too much.

I think I was some what successful...

Patrick scoped out a really nice restaurant called Sara J's which was right down the way from where we were staying. He took me for our anniversary meal, which was right on the marsh of Murrells Inlet.

We had a fantastic view of the Oceanfront living, which was the backdrop of a crabber casting his net over and over to draw up his prey. The sun was setting and it would have been a great place for some photos. My P&S did an OK job...

We took a walk on the Garden City pier and I was drooling over the warm light of the late afternoon. But, instead of focusing on what I could have been taking pictures of, I was focusing on my husband. We talked about the beach, what it would cost to live there, if maybe we could one day live there (this is mainly my desire, I have to disclose), and how we (er...I...) just needed to be thankful to be there.

Every year that goes by makes me thankful for God's grace and restorative measures He abundantly blessed us with in the last few years. I was actually pleased that I didn't have my camera there to distract me that evening. Who knows what I would have missed if I had it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thoughts on the Beach, Part 3

There are a lot of things I absolutely love about the beach, one of them being that I can walk on the beach and not care how far or how long I walk. When I walk at home, I usually give myself goals, like "2 times around the block". Or if I add running in the mix, it's usually something like "keep going until I reach that brick house with the black shutters" or something to that nature.

At the beach, though, I'm so mesmerized by the sound of the waves or the innumerable shells on the ground that time and space just don't matter. But, given that I like to know how far I go, I had Patrick measure the distance (he didn't mind since he was running and wanted to know himself how far he'd gone).

Here was the view to the north from our condo. You can see the Surfside Beach pier sticking out into the Atlantic in the upper left of the picture. I decided to walk to that pier one morning, thinking it wasn't too far. Over an hour later I was back at the condo sweaty and hot, though very happy with such a wonderful morning walk. Patrick clocked it and it was over 2 miles one way to the pier. I was pretty proud of myself for walking/running 4+ miles, since it had been YEARS since I've accomplished something like that.

This is the view to the south. You can see the Garden City pier here. It was about a half mile to this pier. We walked here quite a bit with the kids, who usually ran the majority of the way. We watched them tire their little tails out running around like banshees and the awesome thing was is that they had a great time doing it.

We took the kids out on the pier a few times and they enjoying seeing our condo from the ocean's point of view. Our condo is the first tall building you see as you look from left to right.

We were on the 14th floor so that if you were sitting in the living room and looked out the window, all you could see was ocean. It was absolutely stunning. Since I spent a lot of time in the condo while Evan was napping and the others were enjoying the sand, I was able to look down from the balcony and watch the family enjoy sand and beach. It was nice to catch a few quite moments in the room, listening to the sound of the ocean and the faint sounds of children laughing while I delved into my book. I didn't mind being up there while they were down in the sand. Really.

Evan was an early riser in the mornings. At home, he would be fitful around 5:30am then go back to sleep until about 7. At the beach, the same thing happened but he was fitful in the same room with his brother and sister. So, my mom would get him out of the kids' room and cuddle him for a bit until I nursed him. At least one of the mornings she was there, she took Evan out on the beach in the stroller before sunrise. I tell you what, I can be extremely forgiving getting up at the crack of dawn and loosing precious sleep at the beach because it's the beach. I just hope my mom felt that same way...

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I know a lot of people start making goals and plans for their life around January 1 of each year. I mean, it's a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate or whatever else you may call it. For me, though, it seems like my goal making and life changing occurs in the fall.

2003 - I got married on Aug. 30th. That fall was one heck of life change, that's for sure.
2005 - I found out I was pregnant in early August, preparing the way for a sickly fall yet an exciting winter as we anticipated parenthood
2006 - We moved to Johnson City, TN in Sept, opening doors for a few ups and lots of downs
2007 - I had my second child in November
2008 - I stopped breastfeeding my second child and was on a mission to get my body back, which was successful until I found out I was pregnant 4 months later.
2009 - I had my third child in October and was on a mission to survive.

So, that brings me to this year. In looking back, we haven't had a fall without some major event in many, many years. I've also discovered that since 2005, I have been pregnant or breastfeeding every day except for 4 short months. That's just weird to me.

OK, so talking about this year again...

This fall, I am not breastfeeding (Evan was weaned a few weeks ago). I am not pregnant (holler!). We are not moving to another state (whew!). So, that leaves me to getting my body back.

That is one of my goals.

I've had lots of friends blog about loosing weight and I don't know if I want to go that route. I may, I may not. I don't know. Should I? In any case, I'm going to run a 5K with my husband sometime in the near future. We need to sign up for one so I'll have a tangible date, but I'm going to do some sort of plan like the couch to 5K. I've been faithful for 2 weeks now, so hopefully I'll keep at 'em.

Another one of my goals is getting up early for devotion, prayer with my husband, and exercise, which leads me to another goal of going to bed at a decent time. I need adequate sleep or I am not nice. Plus, rest is good for me. But so is devotion, prayer with the hubster and exercise.

Balance, my friends. Balance.

Another goal is to not be selfish. I think this is the hardest one for me. I'm a very selfish person, which I discovered while I was on vacation. I'll have to some how put into words how I came to that conclusion, but it was actually not that hard to figure out until I started looking in the right Mirror. I am expecting not to reach this goal for a very, very long time.

All this to say that I am starting a new fall - a new season for me to start afresh with some goals that will help me change my life for the better.

Unfortunately I have nothing measured. Should I set measurable goals with rewards? I don't know...I usually work better with some sort of measurement to attain. I am, though, looking at my efforts more as a way for me to bring glory to God, which is something I haven't really done. He's showed me lately how I am absolutely nothing without Him and I want Him to be proud of the way I spend my time and treat my body. I will fail, that is inevitable for I am a sinful human being with a propensity to mess up. But, I will do my best.

So, that's it in a nutshell for now.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thoughts on Vacation, Part 2

I didn't really know why I had so many misconceptions about how our vacation was going to go. And as I think through my thoughts and as I write them down, it seems like I'm giving the impression that I didn't have a good time.

This is not the case. I had a wonderful time on vacation.

Now that I have said that, what is it with the sand that is so enjoyable?

I mean, it's dirty, it's gritty, it's clingy, and it reaches down in the farthest of crooks, crevices, and cankles of the human body making it impossibly difficult to thoroughly clean. Yet one of the greatest attractions of the beach is the sand. I can't tell you how many times I've heard it said "Oh, I can't wait to feel the sand between my toes!".

Really? You really like to feel dirty grit between your toes?

I honestly didn't realize I had an aversion to sand until my kids (and hubs) began to love playing in it.

Or eating it, in the case of my youngest.

One thing I was looking forward to was building sand castles with my kids. I remember making drip castles for hours whenever we went to the beach as children. But every attempt to make a castle was pretty much in vain since my children took great joy in stomping upon every sand mound created by a bucket or other castle-building accoutrement. The kids are still young (I reminded myself) and at least their merriment was encouraged around our sand hole, but we had to be very watchful of the other families whose children actually liked to watch a castle get shaped and developed.

So, I'm not a big fan of sand as a Mommy. I didn't know that until we went to the beach. We did lots of sweeping in the condo, lots of towel laundry, lots of hair-rinsing, and lots of shaking-out-of-sand-from-the-bathing-suits. For some reason, I didn't remember this aspect of the beach. But, I guess it didn't bother me in the past since I wasn't the one cleaning it up.

This was the first time I was a Mommy at the beach.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thoughts on Vacation, Part 1

I've thought of many ways how to approach my blog posts regarding vacation. I could give you a run down of how each day was, what we did, how excited the kids were, how much fun we had, etc. I could write a book about the whole process of finding a place to stay, packing, loading, traveling, arriving, settling, sleeping, playing, and eating. That's all well and good and some of you may enjoy it, though I think most would skim the writing and look the pictures (which aren't that all spectacular because my SLR broke the first time I tried to use it, but I'll talk about that later).

I think that I'm going to share it a different way this time around.

I think I'm going to approach this vacation storytelling from a perspective of a Mommy. And not only a Mommy, but from a Mommy who sometimes thinks she's still a kid but realizes that she isn't and that she really is a Mommy.

As I packed MY bag to get ready for vacation, I brought with me 4 books: a pre-school science book my dear friend lent to me (after I bemoaned about trying to find things to do with the kids at home), Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, some random Debbie Macomber book and Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. It was a strange collection for me to bring yet I was really under the impression that I would read through 2, maybe 3 of these books while on vacation. I envisioned sleeping in, lounging on the beach with my hubs and kids, taking a dip on the pool, reading, and overall relaxing. Though I had a touch of all these things, it was not at all what I expected.

Even though we brought a small amount of toys, we still had sharing issues, the boys still pooped and peed in their britches, we prepared meals, the TV was still on, the stuff we had to schlep down to the beach was monstrous, the kids clung to us in the pool, the laundry was endless, etc. I was disillusioned by all the R&R I thought I was going to be able to do. For the first day or two, I was wondering if this was really vacation.

When I woke up to Patrick's alarm the morning after our first night at the beach (at 5:30!!!), I was ornery. Very much so. But my husband has come to love the early mornings and he wanted to continue waking early, reading and exercising while on vacation. I didn't realize that. I guess this nixed my idea of sleeping in because shortly after the alarm sounded, Evan woke with poop every which way. And shortly after that, Ethan and Mallory awoke raring to go.

After Patrick read, jogged and showered, we got ready to go to the beach, which took an hour in and of itself with sunscreen, bathing suits, towels, toys and the like. Then the sand was everywhere. EVERYWHERE!!! There was lots of screaming and crying out on the beach, mainly from Evan, but all 3 kids had some sort of fear of the ocean. I was on the verge of imploding.

I felt down that first day. I realized that I wasn't going to have things the way I had envisioned. There was not a lot of joyous family playtime, towering sand castles, lounging on the sand, reading quietly or resting for long stretches of time. It was normal life, but just on the beach.

I honestly have to say that first day was not fun. I was internalizing the fact that I was no longer a kid but an adult with a lot of responsibility. Even on vacation, I still needed to be as selfless as my current role as wife and mom already required of me. I figured that while on vacation, I could have a break from being a servant and be served. I also figured my kids would understand that I needed a break and they weren't allowed to pester Mommy while on vacation because hey! I was on vacation too!

Why was I so disillusioned? Why did I set myself up for disappointment? Why was I

But, during the course of the week, my perspective and my life changed. I didn't plan on that. God chose to sanctify me in the midst of my my selfish sinfulness. After that first morning of having a cursing-under-my-breath-because-I-couldn't-sleep-in attitude AND after realizing I was going to be waking up early every morning with my kids in toe, I realized that this was a good thing.


Because I got to see this every morning:

And I got to share it with them:

"His brightness was like the light;
rays flashed from his hand;
and there he veiled his power."
Habakkuk 3:4

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I've been so distraught about my last post that it's just been hard for me to write another post on top of it and get past the fact that we gave away our dog.


My computer wouldn't boot.


My mind went numb.


My brain decided to leave my head, take a vacation and never return.

Which one do you believe?

None? OK...

I have no excuse as to why I haven't posted. I've had the great aspirations of being a great blogger with great posts...and lots of them but then life got in the way. I have to decide what needs to be let go. I hate that it's my blog but that's what happens. Yeah, that's a sour excuse, too.

We've been on vacation, we've been recovering from vacation, I've been drowning in laundry, I've been running errands, I've been carting the kids to soccer and the library and the grocery store and to Wally World and then while we're at home, I'm trying to do something with my kids other than push the power button on the TV. Life is crazy.

Life is good.

At any rate, my biggest endeavor right now, other than being a wife and mom, is to re-vamp my kid's sleeping arrangements. My eldest 2 kids are about to stretch off of their toddler beds and it's time for an upgrade. My youngest 2 kids are going to start sharing a room, which I think will cause a great outcry from my middle child. Many changes to come. Many plans to make.

Anyway, I had a wonderful time on vacation. Once I get around to dumping my pictures onto my computer, I will share some of our adventures. I'll get around to that sometime...

Now it's time to take a deep breath and head back under water...