Thursday, September 22, 2016

two whole decades

2 decades. 20 years. 7,305 days. 175,320 hours. 6 kids. 2 addresses. 8 or 9 vehicles . . . 10 even, maybe. I've lost count. A lot of life has happened since the day we got married. It hasn't all been fun or easy or something we would have chosen, but it has all worked together to bring us to where we are today! Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. But I don't think it's supposed to be easy! Good, but not easy! To celebrate our 20 years of marriage, we returned to Cape Cod, where we spent our honeymoon 20 years ago, when we were just "kids".

I still do 1996-2016

I'm not a big fan of travel, so it took me a few days to really feel settled and enjoy myself being away from home (and by then it was nearly time to head back), but we did have a wonderful trip and enjoyed our unhurried, calm, quiet time together. I have tagged along for a day or two of a work trip that Kirby was on, and we have "house-swapped" with my parents to celebrate an anniversary or gone away to a nearby town for one night, but this was our first real TRIP together (out of state, kid-free, no work commitments at all) since our honeymoon. It was just what we needed.

Our plane landed in Hartford (after an early-morning red-eye flight and a layover) in the early afternoon. We picked up our rental car and grabbed some lunch. Then we headed to the cemetery where my grandparents headstone is located. It was a beautiful day and I LOVE cemeteries and I hadn't seen the marker for my grandparents since it had been placed in the ground, so that was a great way to start our trip. Then we drove to Boston and walked around downtown for a few hours. We went in the Boston public library, walked through the public gardens, went by Cheers and saw the Boston Marathon finish line. After our quick self-guided tour, we hopped back in our car and headed to the hotel we were staying at that evening. Travel had worn us out, so we had pizza delivered to our room and turned in early.

State Veterans Cemetery, Middletown, Connecticut

Boston Marathon Finish Line

Super cool book art at the Boston Public Library

cool church window in Boston
 The next morning we got up, checked out of our hotel and went to church. We had hunted on the internet for a church in the area that we could go to that morning and ended up at one whose service started about 20 minutes after the scheduled time (the first service ran long -- they had a guest speaker . . . this maybe should have been a clue for us!). We finally headed in to the sanctuary and the service got started. It was significantly more charismatic than we are used to, and it made for an interesting morning. We snuck out a bit before the service was done, since we'd already been there nearly two hours, we were hungry and we wanted to get to the ocean! Driving to Cape Cod on a Sunday afternoon is much like driving north in Minnesota on a Sunday afternoon in the summer! You quickly realize that you are going the opposite direction of EVERYONE ELSE and for that you are so very grateful! We had lunch at a hole in the wall local place and then headed to the place we would call home for the next couple days. Ships Knees Inn. My dad's sister and her husband own and run the Inn, so we got a little family time in, too, visiting with them while we were away. We were go grateful for their hospitality and loved seeing how fabulous they are at their jobs! Best innkeepers ever!
Ships Knees Inn (we highly recommend you visit!)
Our shadows on the morning of our 20th anniversary
We took long, slow walks on the beach (it's hard to walk through beach sand any way other than slow!) and around town. We went to a movie (it was a rainy day!). We ate. We walked on the beach some more. We ate some more. We browsed in a quaint little shops. We toured an amazingly beautiful church with stunning architectural detail (again with the rain!). We want to another cemetery. We found a labyrinth a walked through that. (I LOVE labyrinths. Kirby didn't quite see why I love them so much). We saw seals (hundreds of them!). We listened to waves. We ran away laughing as waves crashed against our legs. We watched sunsets and sunrises. We enjoyed our time together and rested and relaxed and then were ready to head back to our state. Our house. Our kiddos.

A pair of seals in the water (hundreds more on a sandbar in the distance)

glorious sunset on Skaket Beach 9.20.16

my love
It was a great trip and one we hope to repeat again. Maybe we won't wait 20 more years next time! I am so thankful for twenty years of faithful, supportive love and encouragement mixed with lots of fun, laughter and heartache. Neither of us are perfect, but we are a pretty darn good pair!

amazing sunrise on our final morning

the "old" married couple who need major work on their selfie skills!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

That's a wrap!

Well, another summer is in the books and another school year is up and running. This is a significant school year for our family as it marks some major milestones. Our baby is in full-day kindergarten. She is in heaven and LOVES every minute of it so far. Our other "baby" (who is not AT ALL a baby!), our very first baby, is a senior in high school. A SENIOR! On the one hand, I saw it coming -- he has lived more than 17 years. He has progressed, one year at a time, from kindergarten to first grade, to second grade and so on. From elementary school to middle school and then to high school. I'm not a complete idiot and I get how time works! But, on other hand it has caught me completely off guard. How can it be true? I don't think I have fully internalized the reality of it yet. All my people go to school all day, 5 days a week. 3 of them to high school and 3 of them to elementary school (praise the Lord for a year of respite from having a middle schooler!) I have a decent amount of time where I am not responsible for any short people and can pee and go to Costco without a sidekick! This day has been nearly 18 years in the making. I still am not sure what I think about it, though. I could become completely giddy and overwhelmed with excitement or burst into tears at any moment. It's a bit of a crap shoot. Consider yourself warned!

A few weeks back we were having some car trouble, so, if I wanted a vehicle to drive during the day (which, with 6 kids who needed to get shuttled to various activities, I did!), I had to drive Kirbs to (and from) work. So, I'd drop him off in the morning and drive the 3 or so miles back home to get on with my day. Well, one afternoon I drove on campus (in case you didn't know, he works at a local university) to pick him up after work and as I entered campus, I looked left. On the left, when you enter the campus, the first thing you see is the (beautiful!, new) athletic complex. On the football field that afternoon were lots of (big!) men in purple uniforms. At that moment it hit me (HARD!) that one year from that very moment, my "baby" would be out there with them. Donning a UNW uniform and practicing football. Living, not at our house with us, but on his own in a dorm! That wasn't an easy moment.

Summer is hard. This summer was hard! I don't know if summer is hard for me because it is hard for our family, or if summer is hard for our family because summer is hard for me. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Even with the hard of summer, it went by shockingly fast. I think there were a few backpacks that never even got unpacked before being packed back up again for the next school year. Before I knew it we were at the fair eating too many fried foods and trying to get to bed earlier, so that our return to the school year routine would be slightly less brutal. There were certainly some great things about this summer :: Rebekah had the time of her life working at camp all summer. There were walks in the woods and backyard bonfires and bike rides. We had a wonderful, just-what-we-needed time at family camp (although we missed Jacob who couldn't go with us due to football practice, but was well taken care of by his grandma)! We did some swimming and played at the park. We celebrated birthdays (my grandma's 90th, most notably!). We spent time with friends and grilled lots of stuff . . . but it was still a hard summer!

This summer wasn't only hard on our family. It was hard on our world. Locally. Nationally. Internationally. There is lots of crap going on in the world. And also lots and lots of good and beauty. That is how life is! (More on that in another blog post, possibly.)

We undertook some major house/property stuff this summer . . . . and into the fall. We removed 4 trees from our lot (a couple diseased, one old and decaying, and one that was just a nuisance and was in the way of some changes we want to make with our driveway). Tree removal is a spendy and loud endeavor! We got a new roof (unfortunately we had some shoddy workmanship when we replaced the roof a few years after moving in to the house, following some hail damage, and it was in BAD shape and also causing some leaking in our living room). Sara was disappointed that the house didn't really look any different once the new roof was on. I don't know what she expected, but clearly the new roof was not living up to her expectations. Also, when your very efficient roofing crew of 8 or so guys shows up at 7am and all get up on the roof to start ripping off old shingles, your kids will be a bit upset that their summer sleep schedule has been disturbed by quite a bit of noise that cannot be ignored! It seriously sounded like they were going to come right through the roof and join us inside the house! Roofing is a spendy and loud endeavor! We have a couple more projects coming yet this fall. Replacing/repairing the living room ceiling, which has nasty water damage, and replacing our old, rotting porch windows. Once the budget recovers from those blows, we will take on the driveway project (hopefully sometime in 2017). There's always something to do when you live in a 90-year old house!