"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lake FUN!

Admittedly, most of the time we spend at the lake we are working.  HOWEVER, I make sure we mix in an adventure or two every time we are there.  (Can you believe it?  I am learning to be the fun parent!)

So far we have:

Raced to the back of the lot to watch the sunset - my personal favorite - at least once every weekend.

Gone fishing.

I am learning to enjoy tolerate the four wheeler.  Generally speaking, I would rather walk or run or kayak than drive - but I am learning to use the four wheeler to get me to the places I long to explore on foot or boat.  The kids (Mataya included) still coach me as I start it - but I am learning!

We have had the kayaks in the water a couple of times.  I have so much fun in them.

Mataya, her daddy, and Joshua totally enjoy the four wheeler.

 We have done a bit of exploring in nearby towns.  One evening the kids and I drove into Harvey.  Jamison and Joshua tried out the disk golf course.
 Brenna, Sierra, and I tagged along - alternating watching them play and goofing around in the park.

We stopped at  the local version of Dairy Queen for a treat before returning to the lake.  We are looking forward to spending more time in the small towns near the cabin.  We have scoped out the  movie theater, bowling alley, pool, several parks, a church and a restaurant or two that we hope to investigate as time allows.
 We have done the tiniest bit of hiking.  Mataya likes to explore on foot, like her momma and biggest brother.  Joshua prefers "horsepower" like his dad.
 Because of weather, we have only had the jetski in the water once.  We did enjoy that one time though!
 I have been training for a half marathon, which means I have explored miles and miles of gravel roads and prairie trails in every direction of our lot.  One weekend, I spotted the most beautiful wildflowers in the ditch.  I knew I HAD to bring Mataya there to pick flowers.  She loves flowers and rocks and feathers and grasses and weeds and leaves.  Truth be told, she has even proudly brought me the fluffy, white cotton that is blowing in the wind right now.  (Yuck!  I am totally allergic to that fluff!)  Where we see weeds or allergens, Mataya sees beauty.  And she delights in it.  It is precious.

So I loaded up Mataya and Joshua on the four wheeler on a several mile trek to gather wildflowers.  Mataya was so excited!  Joshua was just happy I was driving the four wheeler.  He figured he better go with to supervise.

 Diving back to the lake with our large bundles of flowers was an adventure in itself.  We giggled and giggled as Mataya's fist full of flowers kept obstructing my view, not to mention tickling my nose.
 Those wildflowers definitely made a beautiful bouquet!
(Fragrant, too!  So fragrant that we had to move it into the cabin.  Ha!)

While we all know that next summer will be much more fun, I am determined not to wait a year for  adventure and laughter and silliness.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wyatt is 2

The boy who made me a LaLa turned 2 today.

Oh, Wy-guy!

At two you are such a joy.
You talk constantly.  You share your own thoughts and ALSO repeat the last two or three words spoken to you.  The way you learn language and rule the universe at the same time makes my heart giggle.

You are the sweetest big brother.  You rarely pass Sophia with out checking on her and giving her a toy, a hug, or a kiss.  You call her "sissy, Sophie, and Sophia" with such tender pride.

You love trucks and balls and puppies and outside.

You are always moving, yet you love books.

When you enter our home calling, "LALA!!!" and running in search of me something amazing happens in my heart.   I feel overwhelmed by love in a way that is new to me.  Its LaLa love, I tell you.  Deep and silly and blind and giddy and gushing with a force I can barely control.   And if that it what it feels to be a grandma, maybe that title is not so bad. (But, lets stick to LaLa until we are both a decade older, OK?)

You have rocked my universe, young man, in a most amazing way.

You, my precious grandson, are dearly loved.

My prayer for you remains unchanged, precious boy.

"May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is."  Eph 3:18

So many people love you, Wyatt.  Your grandparents and great grandparents, your aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and especially your mom and dad and sissy.  BUT none of us love you as perfectly, as wide or long or high or deep as the Lord does.  My greatest prayer is for you to accept and return His love for you.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Building My Dream

Our BIG project this spring and summer (and probably fall) has been building a lake cabin.  Chad and I have been enjoying the project immensely.  The kids. . . well, they are tolerating it!  (It is a lot more fun to just GO to the lake than to work at the lake.  And since they are not the ones saving bunches of money on labor, it is understandable that they are not quite as hyped about the project as we are.  They ARE helpful, which is a huge blessing!)

Last Fall, Chad and his employees poured footings, framed the cabin, and put on the roof.  The rest of the project will be completed by our family. So far this Spring we have:

Installed all the underground plumbing.

 Prepared the interior of the cabin for its concrete floor.
Brenna and I learned to screed sand.  Sierra shoveled.  A lot!
 Brenna took a little nap while waiting for the next step.
After the sand was leveled, Chad packed it.

(Chad and the guys poured the concrete later that week.)

Chad, single-handedly, installed the septic system.  Oh, how I adore the septic system!  That means we can use water in the camper (which we are living in as we build) to my hearts content.  I don't know how he did it alone, but I sure appreciate it!

We have slipped in a few fun projects, too.

The kids and I built a firepit all by ourselves!

It is on my favorite corner of the lake lot - the cliff that overlooks the lake and has an amazing sunset view.  It is a good thing we got it done early this summer, with the lack of rain and high fire index it may not be used much this year.

The kids and I also created a flowerbed our of rocks.  I love the results.

That is Joshua running the skidsteer - all by himself!  I found the rocks we wanted to use, and he hauled them into place.  He does an amazing job, and he is beyond proud of his skills.
The girls helped me arrange the border of the rocks. Then the girls and I ran into town to select some plants. Mataya and I tilled the soil.  Sierra chose the plant placement.  And Brenna planted.  It was fun to work together.  It was also fun to see the girls' creativity come alive.

The next project was to install all the windows and doors.

 These two shots are before windows were installed.
It was so fun to watch Chad cut in the openings and have light flood the interior of the cabin.
 Chad has never been an impatient person, but his patience has grown with age.  He takes so much time with Joshua as we construct, allowing him to learn and work at his dad's side as much as possible.  They are precious together.
Mataya's version of helping looks a little different than Joshua's!

These three shots are the cabin with all doors and windows installed.

My handsome hubby loves to get me on a roof.  Although the guys roofed it, they left the ridgecap for us to do.  Luckily I am not afraid of heights. I enjoyed view from the lift while we worked!

The cabin itself a simple design.  It will have three tiny bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with an open concept kitchen, dining, family room.  I am loving watching it's personality unfold.  More than any other project Chad and I have done, this is "ours."  Because of its rural setting, we have much flexibility. We are having a lot of fun creating a totally custom place utilizing as much left-over or re-purposed materials as possible.  It will be a creative and quirky space that totally reflects us.

Chad and the kids are planning to use it as a hunting lodge this Fall, so the race is on to have the main level completed by November. 

It has been a TON of work with much more work to come, however I am SO thankful.  A lake cabin has been a long time dream of mine.  Even in the chaos of construction, my soul rests at the lake.  It is my happiest place.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Crazy Beginning

So. . . I have not blogged in very long time.  I considered quitting.  Life has been crazy busy, and as I reread the last couple of blog posts I wrote, they feel rushed, stressed, and choppy.  I prefer a different style of writing, one that is casual, patient and calm.  One that exhibits a heart that is savoring rather than sprinting.  BUT - guess what?  Rushed, stressed, and choppy was exactly how I was feeling as I wrote those last posts.  Joyful, to be sure, yet also busy and a bit overwhelmed.

In the end, Sierra was the one who convinced me to continue writing.  She said simply, "Mom, I think you should just blog.  I miss reading it."  And so I continue to write in whatever style fits my current circumstances.  I write in honesty and truth, which is sometimes eloquent - but more often choppy, imperfect, and rushed.

Yet, I  ALWAYS write with the goal of remembering and savoring these precious memories in my heart.

Summer is my very favorite time of  year.  I love having my kids close by.  I love the noise and the constant silliness that fills my home when our kids are here.

Jamison moved home the end of April.  He had such a great first year away.  I was actually a bit worried that coming home for the summer would be a drag.  However when he walked into our house with bags in hand, he gave me a hug and said, "It's good to be home."  Those are precious words to a momma's heart.
When Jamison is home the activity level in our house increases automatically.  He is great at wrestling, racing, tickling, hide and seek, and all other wild and crazy games.  He loves activity, and he chooses to allow these two little ones to follow him and participate in whatever he is doing.  They LOVE it, and I appreciate the relationship he has with them so much.  

For the first few weeks of summer, we were lucky enough to have Jamison's girlfriend, Ida, stay with us.  She needed to have a fairly extensive surgery before flying home for the summer, and she bravely agreed to let me hover while she recovered. The only downside to having her stay is that we all miss her terribly.   We are counting the weeks until she returns.  (And feeling a bit guilty about it! I can only imagine how much her family will miss her when she flies back for the school year.)

 They are very sweet together.  They laugh a lot.  That is what I miss most since Ida left, their laughter.
 Ida was incredibly sweet with Mataya (who totally adores her).  Every time we drove anywhere, Ida would sit in the backseat next to Mataya, just to make her happy.  Above, they are telling jokes under Mataya's blanket while I drive.  
After she got home, Ida sent us this picture.  Mataya insisted I print it so that she could hug Ida because she misses her sooooo much. 

The week after Ida flew home, school was dismissed for the rest of the kids.
 Joshua rarely agrees to a photo.  He asked me to take this one. . . which signifies just how happy he is to be finished with grade 2. 
 Brenna heads to CHS next year. . . high school!
And this girl begins her senior year in the Fall.  

My goal this summer is to listen a lot and to laugh even more.  I want to soak up the noise, laughter, arguments, and dreams of each of these precious ones with intentional joy and appreciation.  Some days my brain feels like mush  with all the commotion around me.  On a typical night as I make supper - Sierra is considering one dilemma or another while Jamison adds a joke or piece of advice here and there.  Joshua is tattling on Mataya.  Mataya is singing loudly so we will pay attention to her.  Chad is calling to tell me he is on his way home. Brenna is quietly waiting her turn.  I am wondering if there is enough of me to go around.  How do I hear it all?  How do I validate each one?  How do I savor in the midst of all the activity?  I do not have it all figured out - but I do love my life, my kids, my husband, and my noisy kitchen.  It is a dream come true.