Friday, July 29, 2011

Face Nipples.

I've mentioned before that my Summit says some crazy stuff. His imagination runs as wild as the horses in the Old West. I imagine that inside his head are a million ideas flying all over the place... much like a whole slew of those little rubber balls from gum ball machines would if they were all tossed at once inside a rubber room. Bouncing. Everywhere. Constantly. All different colors. All different directions. Colliding into one another. Changing direction. Up. Down. Sideways. Crossways. Impossible to pay attention to just one.

And I love this about my little guy. He never ceases to entertain me. Never.
Case in point:

Yesterday, as we were driving down the road, he was asking a question about something I wasn't ready to discuss with him... which is pretty common... remember how he keeps asking about how babies get in their mommies' tummies? So, I diverted his attention, using his inquiry that had something to do with a friend's birthday   to take him off course.

Me: Do pirates have birthdays?
Summit: Yes. They have dirty birthdays.
Me: What?
Summit: Yeah. They jump in a dirty pool. And they eat dirty cake. And dirty chicken.
Me: Dirty chicken?
Summit: Yeah. They eat the chicken out of the pool with feathers on it. And they get feathers in their teeth, but they don't care 'cause they're dirty.
So, the conversation continued for a bit until he got distracted with another idea. And, his question almost made me run off the road and pee in my pants at the same time... of course, peeing in the pants is easy for a 5'4" woman who birthed two babies who weighed more than 8 1/2 pounds each. For real. I can't even breathe the wrong way when I'm running without having to make a quick getaway to the ladies room.

Anyways, his question was one for which I was completely unprepared. But it was A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

Summit: Mommy, do I have nipples all over my face? 
Me: What?!?!?!?! Do you have have what?
Summit: Nipples.
Me: Nipples? No, Summit. Those are freckles. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


So, today kind of pissed me off. It didn't start off well. It didn't help that last night sucked, too. I guess the suckiness of the night before just wore on into this morning, and I couldn't find my way off the sucky train for a good portion of the front side of the day. Little things continually grated on my nerves. Continually.

Such as:
  • The whining. The constant whining. Whining without end. From both of the kids. From Ella it's worse, because I can't even understand the whiny words since she won't drop the marbles out of her mouth that the surgeon installed in place of her tonsils.
  • The mess. The constant mess. I am beginning to think that the incessant replacement of my clean with their (the kids' and Matt's) mess is intentional and they're trying to kill me.
  • The drivers. The constant moronic drivers in South Carolina. GET OFF THE ROAD! (And stay out of the voting booths, please.)
  • Politicians who won't compromise. You know who you are, and you sons of bitches suck. Stop being such whiny, self-serving, personal-agenda-ridden jerks. Get it together.
  • My feeling sorry for myself. I'm over it. Over myself. So I've gotten some crappy news and things haven't been easy. So. That's life. Tough.
  • Trying to give myself pep talks and remind myself that things could be more difficult and that lots of people have it way worse. I know this, and I'm starting to think that this attitude isn't validating my sad heart, which isn't helping me feel better... which makes me realize I need to find some balance with the previous bullet.
  • The gray hairs. Oh. My. God. What the hell is this? Because of my butthole little brother's observations, I went on a search, and found a serious patch of silver. Thanks a lot, age. I guess I have another item to add to the monthly budget, because those puppies are NOT welcome on this head.
There. I said it. Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech.

So, in the midst of my bad mood, when I couldn't help but see the stupid side of everything, I let some tears fall out of the old eyes. And when I pulled it together enough to climb out of the hole that I'd dug for myself, I saw my sweet girl... the beautiful, precious child that I grew inside of me... and I grabbed onto her. And I saw a different perspective, young and fresh and alive and not jaded. And a big bumble bee landed on top of the aqua water of the pool for a drink, and I thought that it must be nice for that big bumble bee to do that. And then a pair of humming birds flew just a few feet above us and playfully chased each other for a few moments. And then I looked at my girl, and when I saw her look at me, I asked what it felt like to have the sky in her eyes. And, as if this was a perfectly normal if she knows that she does have the sky in her eyes...she said, "Good."

Good. Thank you, Ella.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's what the cameras are for.

One of the very top things on my list of 'Loves To Do' is taking pictures of my Ella and Summit. For several reasons. Part of this love is owed to my sweet grandmother, who always had her camera out. Always. She had to record everything in photos. She always told me if her ship was sinking and she had time to save but one belonging, she'd grab her photo albums. I never got this as a kid, because I always loved the jewelry that Popa gave her. As I've kind of matured a little, I've begun to see things from her perspective. And as technology has matured, I bet she'd love digital photography... that actually allows you to choose which pictures to keep without ending up with 24 exposures of people you have to identify by clothes and shoes... or those pictures with a finger covering half of the landscape... what a bummer it must have been to get your film developed and have only 3 half-way decent photos. Furthermore, if I couldn't delete all the double-chinned photos of myself, I would never step foot in front of a camera. Ever.
Which brings me to my second reason for loving to capture my kids in pictures. It's not me in front of the camera. I may quite possibly be the world's most non-photogenic person. This is no lie. This is no exaggeration. I am absolutely heinous in most pictures that are taken of me. Eyes barely open, mouth in a half-smile-half-frown, chins draping down to my belly button, hunch-backed and slouching. Some say the camera naturally adds 10 pounds to everyone. Well, for me, that mother adds 150. I swear I don't have a single good angle. Not one. Not even if I'm hiding behind a curtain. It's depressing and sad... especially when my dad says stuff like, "Cameras don't lie, Mary Rose." Really, Dad? Thanks a freaking lot. If that's the case, then I suppose my real parents were somehow genetically crossed with hippopotamuses and goats.
My kids, on the other hand, don't lend themselves to bad pictures. I'm sure part of it has to do with the fact that I'm such an amazing photographer (ha!). But, really, they are beautiful. Simply beautiful. Quit rolling your eyes; I know I'm biased, but I am always amazed at how sweet and flawless they seem in pictures. Of course, if the pictures could speak, the viewer would realize that they can be total knuckleheads for a good portion of every one of their waking hours. In the pictures, though, they sparkle. Their eyes shine. Smiles illuminate their faces. The essences of who they are, of their happiness, of life and love... these things resonate through the images.
It probably helps that they're usually doing fun stuff when the camera's around. And, it's these memories that I like to hold onto. The good times. The laughter. Our lives as a family... blessed beyond imagination with my sweet Ella and Summit. I couldn't ask for anything more. Unless I could hold onto this time in my life forever. If time could stand still. But, that's what these cameras are for.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I am a hunter-gatherer mother.

Way back in history,  in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Era, men and women lived a largely egalitarian lifestyle as hunter-gatherers. In fact, it was more a man's duty to collect vegetables and firewood while women were charged with hunting small game for consumption. As people became less transient and began to settle into farming societies, the tides shifted, and women's status declined and they became more confined to the home as their "jobs" were given more to reproduction as a way to ensure that farming communities would have enough hands to contribute to cultivating the land.


What does this have to do with my point? Well, at least in my lifetime, I've seen another shift in the relationships that women have within their families. Of course, the positions of power in this country are more relegated to males, but women have begun to retake many of those roles that once provided them with honor and respect back in hunter-gatherer days. In my house, I am a hunter-gatherer woman. It is true that Matt is the one who goes out and gets paid for the work that he does, but even more true is the fact that I am the one who is designated food gatherer/hunter. I do the bills to keep the fire going. I produce and look after the children. My main goal of each day is to protect (and serve) my family. And I hunt for all the crap that everyone in the house loses on a consistent basis.
Usually, I'm one hell of a hunter-gatherer for the missing items. Usually. I can tell Matt where his belts are... on the hook in the closet (where they belong and for the 1 billionth time). I know where the underwear is... in your drawers, people... and the extra paper towels are. I can locate the source of "funny" (and not funny haha) smells around the house. Little buttons, pieces of puzzles, specific pencils, tiny Barbie shoes, computer cords, games, dragons, Mercy Lou, missing socks, remote controls, and DSis.
Wait, what? Remote controls and DSis? This is where the 'usually' comes in. Right before we went to Florida a couple of weeks ago, the remote control for the television in the living room went missing... right around the same time that Summit's DSi disappeared. Now, being the huntress (and DVRed reality TV junkie) that I am, it is a rare occasion when I am unable to smoke out a remote control. Rare. But this thing had simply vanished into thin air. Same with the DSi. Not that I actually play with the thing, but we needed it for our drive to Orlando. (Some may be wondering why it was that we didn't fly... Ella... but our trip was super-last minute.. and the drive isn't so bad.) We needed it so that S and E wouldn't be fighting over the girl's DSi. We needed it for sanity and to keep the boy busy. Alas, it was nowhere to be found. Without a trace, it was gone.

771_md-Kitchen Sink, Strip Paint.jpg

A couple of days ago, we discovered the truth. After interrogating the kids for hours, we learned what had become of our technological friends. Summit, as a lover of non-sticky, non-dirty stuff, had taken it upon himself to "clean" both the remote and his DSi. Clean them, not with a paper towel or by blowing off the dirt, but clean them with soap and water. In the sink. Full of water. Because the things had been missing for so long, I'd given up on my desire to hunt for them, deciding instead to just gather more from the store, so I didn't want to wring his little neck when the truth came out. And, I couldn't be mad... he was trying to do something good. It wasn't his intention to destroy the things. We'd never told him that it was a bad idea. But, dear Jesus, I've always thought he had more sense than that. One thing I was grateful for in the whole debacle was that my abilities hadn't let me down. I could have found them if he hadn't thrown them away after he realized his mistake. I am still a hunter-gatherer woman.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Longing and Belonging

Tonight, my Yogi Tea bag tag message read: "The art of longing and the art of belonging must be experienced in life." For me and my sometimes slow to catch on mind, at first I was like, 'Why? Why should we have to long for stuff. Even more, why should we have to make an art out of it.' It sounded like a ridiculous notion. I considered all the things for which I long: to be skinny, to be assured of good health, especially that of my kids, to never have wrinkles, to always be in control, to always be happy, to have more money, to see peace blossom around the world, for people to be good and kind and generous... Clearly, this list could continue indefinitely.

So then I thought about how to make wanting these things into an art. And I think I kinda figured out a little of what it means. We're always going to long for stuff; this is part of being human. However, the ways in which we conduct ourselves while living in the wanting matters. If we pout and feel sorry for ourselves for the things for which we feel entitled and neglect to appreciate the things with which we've been blessed, then our form of art of longing sucks. But, if we use that longing as a motivation to create the happiness that we want our lives to be, and to make the world a better place, and realize we aren't entitled to anything at all, then our art is beautiful.

When I thought about the art of belonging part, that made sense right off the bat, but it, too, requires more reflection. There have been times in my life when I've belonged to groups of friends or family, but I know I didn't appreciate them. I know that I absolutely took them for granted and didn't honor my relationships with the appropriate love and respect. And, that sucks. In some instances, I've lost, but in others, I've gained. No one is a wholly guilty party in these situations. The losing, though, has shown me the importance of maintaining healthy relationships, and it is here that we gain, too. It's taught me that I need people in my life who I love and who love me back. The art of belonging requires grace and honor and learning and mutual respect. It requires selflessness and positivity and the goodness that resides within each of us, but which needs to be cultivated. And the only way to cultivate these things is to experience the beauty in relationships. Yeah. The art of belonging is cyclical and continual.

Right on, Yogi Tea! Thanks for putting those messages on your bags.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The more you drink, the better you feel.

Yesterday was a day both greatly anticipated and incredibly dreaded. For the anticipation part, Matt and I have been so looking forward to getting some relief for our sweet Ella's sleep problems. Her seizures, which have, thus far, occurred only nocturnally, can be aggravated by sleep disturbances. Because my little girl snores like a very old, very fat trucker, and because she is prone to sleep apnea, we met with an ear, nose, and throat doctor to schedule a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. (The humor that the procedure is referred to as a T & A is not lost on me, by the way.) It is our hope that the T & A (again, hahahahahah!) will relieve some of her breathing issues while she sleeps.

As far as the dread goes, Ella has been shaking in her rain boots these past few weeks (seriously, despite the 100 degree + temperatures, she's been rocking galoshes). She did not want to be subjected to such a scary experience, even telling us that she'd rather have seizures. Really? Only kids. For our part, or at least my part, I haven't been looking forward to the recovery. I love my girl. L.O.V.E. her. She is my shining star, one half of my reasons for smiling and living each day. However, my sweet Ella is NOT the easiest patient. Not by a long shot. She doesn't get sick much, but when she does, all logic and reason and order fly out the window. Actually, they are propelled out of the roof of the house, and our world is an exploded mess of discomfort.

Before and after her surgery yesterday, one of the nurses repeated, "The more you drink, the better you feel." (Ummm. Ha! Oh, if we had heard that in college, my friends and I would have made that our dictum. For real.) The last thing that needs to happen is for the throat to dry out after a T & A (hahaha). However, swallowing sucks after having things cauterized out of your nose and throat, so Ella didn't want to drink at all. Also not helping anything was her low tolerance to the anesthesia. I'm glad my mom drove us in her car to the hospital, because girlfriend lost her cookies on the way home. Though, she did make her mark and most of it got into the barf bag the nurse gave us. Regardless, with the puking and the lack of drinking comes the possibility for dehydration. Great. And there was no gentle persuasion in the world that would work to get the girl to drink. No logic, reason, order. Nothing. Ahhhhhh! Enter exhaustion, frustration, worry. Next, enter threats to go back to the hospital. Those seemed to work amazingly well.
Since the end of summer semester is upon us, I really couldn't miss work last night, so I left Matt and my mom with the kids. I'm not gonna lie; it was a little nice to get a break. Normally, my mom is really good about keeping up with the house in my absence, but last night she was more focused on E and S so Matt could do something. I thought it was to clean up and stuff, but he must have been cleaning someone else's house???? because when I got home, the place looked like my old pre-married life living environments. Clothes and Summit's underwear were all over the house. Cups litterd the place. Mercy Lou had stolen my bras out of the hamper and strewn them about the living room. The kitchen table, countertops, and floors were sticky and covered in food debris. Cabinet doors open everywhere. There was more, but I'm pretty sure you get the picture. And, seriously, I was like, "What the hell is this? You have GOT to be kidding me!"

So, I spent the late part of the evening into the early morning checking on Ella...positioning her so she could breathe easier...and cleaning the house of a 20-year-old version of me. I finally was able to fall asleep at around 2.30 in the am. Expectedly, I was awakened by a moaning, weeping Ella 30 minutes later. Thanks to more threats of needles and doctors, I got her to take some more medicine and go back to sleep. Today has been better. Thank goodness. And I keep telling Ella the nurse's advice, "The more you drink, the better you feel," all the while hoping and praying she doesn't remember those words when she's a freshman in college.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Early intervention is key.

My nearest and dearest peeps all know this about me: I have a M.A.J.O.R problem with aging. I do not like it. I do not like it at all. I cannot stand the thought of getting old. I cannot stand the thought of saggy (well, saggier) boobs. I hate wrinkles. I cringe when I find a gray hair... I may as well have found lice on my head. All of this old people's business makes me shudder. I don't understand how it was just yesterday that I turned 5, and I got a moo cow purse as one of the best gifts ever. I can't wrap my head around the fact that I didn't just turn 21, and it bugs the mess out of me that door guys (sometimes) don't ask me for my ID when I go into bars. How can this be?

It should come as no big surprise, then, that my birthday is not my friend. Of course, it hasn't always been this way. I used to like it... when there were important experiences to anticipate: double digits, driver's license, voting rights. Maybe it was my 25th birthday where things started to change. I'd just gotten married, and three short days before the 14th of July, my brand new husband fell off a ladder and earned himself one awful broken hip. Not to diminish the pain that he was in, but the whole incidence was a glaring sign of the changing times. I went from wahoo party girl (and I'm not gonna pretend that this completely disappeared) to an old married nurse. It was like a small chip in my youth... one that has grown to a serious crevasse... Ever since then, my birthdays have been like scary omens of old age. And, for some reason, annoyingly crappy things happen around my birthday. I won't go into detail, as I'm trying to work on a positive attitude and be thankful for the many blessings in my life, but literally every year, beginning about the middle to end of June, my luck kinda sucks, and the notion of getting old pokes me over and over.
But, every year I make a vow to myself: I will enjoy the age I am now because next year I'll be older. It seems obvious, right? However, for some ridiculous reason, it makes the current age better. I also make a promise to fight tooth and nail against growing old. T.O.O.T.H. and N.A.I.L. I will not go down without a fight. I will use every resource possible for protecting my vanity: botox, fillers, plastic surgery, supplements, exercise, hair dye... whatever it takes... no stone will be left unturned. This is my solemn oath to myself. Some of my friends tell me that I'm being superficial and preposterous. I should just grow old gracefully, they say. Well, this isn't some Oil of Olay commercial. That crap doesn't work. I won't judge them for their choices, so they should support me in mine... and they should get their tickets on the fountain of youth train before it's too far out of the station to catch that ride. Early intervention is key, people.

Happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Everyday Reasons

Life can be super-tough some days. Even some weeks, months, and years can be full of challenges and heartbreak. For me, though, I cherish so much that no matter how crappy things seem, I have two huge reasons to be happy... two huge reasons to be thankful for every sip of air I get to breathe.
Despite how much I dread mornings, the one thing I look forward to in the early part of each day is hearing, "Good morning, Mommy! I love you!" from my little loves. I get to hear them smile and see them laugh... these words are not mixed up... I know I can hear them smile. I can feel it inside my soul. 
I get to hear this little guy call out, "Wait up, princess!" when we we're going somewhere or watch him get down on one knee and say, "My lady, I honor to you," so I can knight him with his sword.
I get to hear the sweet made-up songs of my precious love, Ella, when she thinks no one is listening. And, her voice is to me what angels must surely sound like when they sing.
Don't get me wrong, there are days when the sounds of their voices have driven me crazy enough to make me rather hear someone scratching their nails down a chalkboard over and over. Everybody needs a break. But, all the time, I know just how fortunate I am to be their mommy... just how lucky I am that they are mine. They are my everyday favorites. My everyday reasons.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monkeys in the Magic Kingdom

When Matt first suggested that my Ella, Summit, and I travel to Orlando with him to hang out while he was attending a conference for the Autism Society, my immediate reaction was, "Are you freaking crazy? What the hell am I gonna do with those kids by myself for three days in Disney World? No way!" Then I started to think about it: probably the same thing that I would do here for three days with the little monkeys. Yell, discipline, threaten, break up fights, scold, etc. At least in Disney, with Mickey and his pals so close by, the threats would be new and more effective, so I thought an adventure to Florida might be a good idea after all. I booked a hotel for us right down the street from Mickey's digs, and packed our bags.
And, let me tell you, I was a little really apprehensive about taking those two to the Magic Kingdom all by myself. We'd made that trip around Christmas last year, and, even with 4 adults to manage the rascals, it was wild. However, I had a game plan. I mapped out everything we would do in 6 hours, and I was prepared. Prepared, people. And, I'm not typically a big planner. I prefer to live more spontaneously... let things happen naturally... but I knew that lack of preparation in this regard would lead to me naturally scaring other visitors of the park with my mean mommy voice. Surprisingly, our excursion went off without a hitch. Really, I don't think it could have gone better if I had another adult with me to help manage the kids. First of all, they know better than to mess with me. Secondly, Mickey threats are amazingly effective.
Since we had to drop Matt at his conference so dang early, we arrived at Magic Kingdom before the gates even opened. This was rare for sure, as me and mornings/early are NOT friends. Literally, we were the first people into the park that day, the first guests to get on Snow White's Scary Adventure, and we had ridden 7 rides and visited one other attraction before 11.30 am, when the kids had appointments for makeovers at the Pirate League in Adventureland. 7! What?! There have been times when I've visited that place and I don't get to ride 7 rides in one day! Anyhow, the pirate makeovers were something else; Ella and Summit Samantha Goldstealer and Ben Swordcutter (their new pirate names) L.O.V.E.D them. And, I loved them, too. They looked awesome!
With a couple of hours left before we had to leave, we added lunch, four more rides, and a 15 minute rain/ice cream break. My little loves couldn't have behaved better for me. Don't get me wrong... they weren't perfet... and there were definitely times when I wanted the Disney Police to take them off my hands for a couple of hours... but all in all they were great, and we had a blast!
That night, we used our park hoppers to go to Hollywood Studios with Matt, where we rode a couple super-cool rides before ending the night with Fantasmic. Just a little FYI: that show is not for the weak of heart. Who wants to see Disney's most beloved character on an island engulfed in flames with the most evil queens ever trying to kill him and every other good character? Who? It gave me nightmares, so you can imagine what it did for the kids. My arms are still sore from Ella holding on tight for protection. It was scary for 20 of the 25 minutes that it lasted. Thanks for that, Mickey.

The rest of our trip was great fun and relaxing. Hanging out at our hotel pool (that was crawling with astronauts, because they were all staying there for the launch... too cool!) with a slide, waterfalls, and a bar that made a killer pina colada was fab. La Nouba at Cirque du Soleil was incredible, too. A late check-out on Sunday and sleeping most of the way home = perfect end to a sweet trip!
A huge thank you to my dad's best pal, Steve, who hooked us up with those awesome park hopper passes. You rock! Also, a big shout-out to ME. I rocked it out, too.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Uncertainty in any form can be troublesome and laden with anxiety... trying to remember if we turned off the oven... wondering if we put the electric bill in the mail... not knowing how secure our jobs are... waiting for answers to serious questions of which we have no knowledge. These things make us stop; they urge us to seek confirmation that everything is going to be okay... that we aren't gonna burn down the house or get a late payment on our bills or that we will be able to pay them... You get the picture. And, while these are minor in the great scheme of things, just being worried about them can cause us grief and stress.

My old friend from high school, David Pugh, and his loved ones are living life with far more uncertainty. With far mor grief and worry and pain and anxiety. I've spoken about David before, so some of you are familiar with his story. For those unfamiliar, this guy is literally struggling for his life and for his family. He has been battling cancer and multiple complications from this beast for nearly 2 years. And it's not just him fighting... he has a little boy and a wife who've been holding his hand every step of the way and experiencing the pain and terror of his battles right along with him. And they've all been so strong and noble and brave. They've had faith and hope and love that have carried them so far. Every time it seems things are getting better, they get worse. The uncertainty that they live with every single day would be enough to knock many of us down to the point that picking ourselves up again would be impossible, but it hasn't been that way for this beautiful family. They are superheroes. They are some of my biggest idols.

And, now, they are in one of the most trying and scary and uncertain moments of the fight for their lives. For their family. For their happiness. David is so sick in the hospital with a complication that just appeared out of nowhere. The certainty of each hour is not there, much less the certainty of the next week. In this minute, I am begging each of you who read this to remember David and Alicia and Drake and the rest of David's family in your prayers and thoughts. Send them positive energy, notes of encouragement, loving thoughts. If you could ever imagine your life being so uncertain and frightening, you know that is what you'd want everyone in the world to do for you.

Thank you, friends. I love you all.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

In the nature all around us.

Our trip to New York wasn't just so we could traipse around the City for a day, although it was a great part of it. The main reason for our visit was to gather with our sweet Grandma Great's dearest relatives to celebrate her life and honor her in her passing.

Before Matt's grandmother bid adieu to her precious family on earth, she left her daughter and son with special instructions for how she wanted her family to say their final goodbyes. A devout Roman Catholic, it was very important that her family take part in a funeral in accordance with her faith, and so her service, attended by her Kelley and Cooney families, was held in a special, old church in her hometown of Yorktown Heights, the same place where Matt's mom and dad were married 41 years ago. Growing up in Southern Baptist churches, I am not so privy to the dated beauty that encompassed this church, but everything about St. Patrick's Old Stone Church was perfectly weathered and stunning and well-loved. Well-cherished.
After the church service, we all shared a meal and some laughs and memories. And, because the Irish enjoy a drink or two, everybody's old pal, Guinness, was invited along. The food was delicious, but even more than that was the company. I have to say, I love Matt's family. They're just my speed: laughing and boisterous, always kind and warm, and quick with smiles and hugs.

The next day was reserved for a special hike. Years before, when Matt's grandfather passed away, his grandmother hiked... very far and all by herself... up to a peaceful, green, and enchanting spot overlooking the Hudson River. (Seriously, it's enchanting. You have to pass a castle to get to it.) It was there that she chose to scatter her beloved husband's ashes, and there also that she wished to be laid to her final rest. I don't know what it was, but knowing that Grandpa Kelley's dust layered the hillside so long ago, and seeing how green and lush the landscape had become, it was almost like we could feel his presence in the nature all around us. And, in that moment, we seemed to feel that when his wife's ashes joined his, they would once again be intertwined with each other. Of course, their souls had been dancing in heaven since the moment she released her last breath, but for us here on earth, it made things more tangible.

To say our trek was significant would not be enough to explain just how much it meant to be up there, sharing in that experience. It was something that doesn't appear in words, which is hard for me, but I can understand it in that it is something that could be felt within my heart, within the very fiber of love and life and death and eternity.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Family. Friends. Fun. Food.

This past holiday weekend was a great one, folks. Great. And full. It was really full. Full of family, friends, fun, and food. If life is measured by the amount that one has of each of these four Fs, then my life is pretty well successful, and I am more than satisfied.

Saturday morning began with a trip on the lake to see the July 4th Parade of Boats. The weather was warm, the water was refreshing, and a good time was had by all. We swam, and Ella and Summit demonstrated their talents for flipping into the lake. When the Lake Nose (Summit's name for Popi is not Loch Ness) Monster got tired of chasing after the kids, it was time to head back to dry land and another gathering.

Every year, my dear friends meet up at the Smith Compound for pool play, treks through the creek, delicious slow-cooked BBQ, blueberry yum yum, ice cold beverages, and fabulous fireworks. Several things are always certain for these 4th of July hoe downs. Someone's gonna do something they shouldn't with the golf cart. Somebody's gonna put their drinking abilities on full display. The food is gonna rock. The fireworks will be bigger than the year before. The sounds of kids laughing and playing will be heard over and over. And, everyone will have a blast. It's just always that way.

Sunday was for sleeping in, and even Summit wasn't awake with the birds that morning. Sunday afternoon was for more family fun when my Aunt Nita and Uncle Ed arrived from Connecticut and Uncle Butch and Aunt Debbie got in from North Carolina. I love it when they visit. I love seeing my dad with his brother and sister; it's good for the soul. We ate and swam in the pool and laughed ate burgers and laughed and swam some more and laughed. Then we laughed some more at Matt's fireworks. Let's just say they were 'cute.'

Monday was given to more swimming and eating. Popi made Babi into a Babi Board for Ella to surf on in the pool, and we just chilled for the afternoon. I made a pretty good Beaufort Stew and some blueberry/strawberry dessert for everyone. The day ended with a game of poker, at which I won a whole single pot. But, whatever, they weren't playing for real money, and my mom kept taking people's chips out of the pot. She's a cheater.
This morning, when I woke up, I was wiped out. But with good, good reason. Family. Friends. Fun. Food.