Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Big sister duty

Bella reads her Bible to Graydon.  Love it when they get along so well!

Monday, August 29, 2011

1,000 Gifts

It was the Christmas season.

I stumbled upon a website about a six-year-old little girl.  Battling brain cancer.  I read her story and the pleas of her parents for prayer on her behalf.  I prayed.  Then I thought to myself. . . if that was me and I could have anything I wanted for Christmas, all I'd want is a healthy child.  That is all I would ever want for the rest of my life.  I'd never ask for anything else if I could just have that.

I entered back into my own reality with a huge dose of contentment.  I have the very thing this family prays, dreams, and cries for.  My family is healthy.

Our health is not something that I take for granted.  But in that moment, I felt even more grateful.  And we're not just healthy, we are happy.  Our marriage is strong.  We have a nice home.  Loving family.  Good friends.  We are blessed.  And I don't want to take any of it for granted.

But sometimes I do.

Each day unwraps many little gifts for me.  And I miss them.  I'm either not paying attention or I'm unaware.

Someone else felt the same way.

I haven't read her book, but I am ready to take on its challenge and make my own list of 1,000 gifts.

So here I go . . .

#1. . . the scent of fresh air filling our living room

#2. . . chubby legs taking their first steps

 #3. . . our family portrait created with Bella's pencil and crayons

  #4. . . birthday balloons and streamers still up in the living room

  #5. . . Graydon sticking his popsicle stick in the gap between his front teeth

  #6. . . music that calms my heart

  #7. . . taking photographs through a new camera lens

  #8. . . daily rain that gives me a rest from watering outdoor plants

  #9. . . a flourishing Lantana plant

#10. . . feeling the earth tremble - a great reminder of Who is in control

#11. . . laughter from my children

#12. . . the bird camped outside our window for hours

#13. . . grilled cheese dinner by candlelight

#14. . . Graydon's mealtime prayer: counting from 1-13

#15. . . meeting a new friend

#16. . . a whole day free of schedules and commitments

#17. . . shelter from the storm

#18. . . talking for hours over dinner with girlfriends

#19. . . the names of my children on a necklace

#20. . . anticipated power outages that never came to be

#21. . . chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate chip cookie inside

#22. . . parents who are still married after 35 years!

#23. . . AA batteries on sale: a 20 pack for $2.99

#24. . . a morning nap on the couch after a night spent on the floor

#25. . . blue skies after days of gray

#26. . . roses that returned for their second bloom this summer

I'll be keeping my ongoing list in my personal journal and adding it here as often as can.

Maybe you should try it too?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


My birthday celebration actually began the previous evening.

Bella stayed up late. I went to bed early.

Bella and Andy tucked me in that night. Extra rest for me and an opportunity for them to make all of the birthday preparations: finish my cake, wrap presents, and put up decorations.

I woke up at 6am on my birthday morning, wide awake thanks to my early night. The house was still and quiet.

I watched the sun meet the sky.

And enjoyed the fruit of Andy and Bella's labor from the night before.

While peace still filled the house, I sat and thought about this past year of my life. Ways I've grown. Areas I've been stretched. Lessons I'm learning. I am still very much a work in progress, but I like the person I am becoming. I am more and more comfortable in my own skin.  It fills me with anticipation about how much better of a person I hope to be in the years to come. And that makes me look forward to getting older - even if it does come with a few extra lines around my eyes.

Soon kids were up and the morning took off.

Church time.

Lunch time. Andy prepared everything. And cleaned it all up. I didn't have to lift a finger.

And then I got presents!!! They spoiled me. My big gift was a new camera lens and accessories to go with it. If that wasn't enough, I also have an hour massage at a local spa coming my way. Andy went all out this year. . . and I enjoyed every bit of it.

A bit of rain dampened some outdoor plans. But we still took a little family drive and I got my free Starbucks birthday drink.

We came home for dinner. Pizza. Yum!

Two of the three kids were contained, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to get a picture with them.

Perfectly imperfect, I guess. I sure do love those silly kids and all the craziness that comes along with them.

And finally. . . cake time!

Chocolate on chocolate. Could it get any better?

I love birthdays. They are a great way to celebrate the life of someone we love.

And on this day, I felt very celebrated. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stuff of life. . .

The kids and I have been fighting colds since we returned from Wisconsin.  At least I think mine is a cold.  Could be allergies.  Either way, I don't like it!

Our internet is running at a snail's pace.  This seems to happen every few months.  A storm, activity from a nearby business, or whatever the case may be ends up screwing with our wireless signal.

We've had a LOT of rain this week.  It kind of feels like the sky is making up for all the rain we didn't get the rest of this summer. 

It gives me a good excuse to be lazy.

Well, that and my cold.

Or allergies.

But things are looking up.  My birthday is in two days and I received my first gift in the mail today!  A new purse and wallet!  I am not lying when I say that I've had the same purse since high school!  This is quite a treat.  Thanks again Mary!

And Curtis is thisclose to walking!  He took his first couple of steps yesterday! 

And you know I wouldn't do a post without photos.  Here's a few pics from my phone.   

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another Wisconsin adventure come and gone. . .

Let's take a look at all the fun stuff we did!

After settling in for a day, my first visit was with my wonderful friend Jenn Flowers! Of course, I didn't take any pictures of the two of us together, but here is one of Curtis and Payton playing together.

Later that evening, we went to 'Concerts on the Square' in Madison.

The kids played a little 'Ring Around the Tree' while we paid for parking.

In case you're wondering why Graydon wasn't playing along. . .

And he remained that way until halfway through the concert!

I don't remember listening to much music, but we did have a nice time just hanging out.

The next morning it was off to the Circus World Museum!

Our first stop was the Big Top for a circus performance.

A few coins into the slot and music filled the room.

It was a bit too loud for Graydon's taste, however.

The next day (we're at Friday now), we threw a little surprise party for Andy's dad's 60th birthday. It was really a surprise for him since the big day isn't until October. But this was when we could all be together.

Grandpa and his grandkids (minus Curtis who was asleep). (And kind of half-minus Graydon since he was having a two-year-old moment).

Saturday came and it was Bass Family Reunion time.

Here's the whole group that showed up that day. It's a big family! And there were still plenty who were missing.

Here are those monkeys again.

Later that evening was pool time!

Our video camera is waterproof. Andy and Tom had some fun with it. I've got a lot of actual videos, but for now here are just a few of the still shots they took.

Bella just started getting comfortable with putting her head all the way under the water. . . and now she thinks doing so is the coolest thing ever!

Sunday came and the Meades left. Bella and I took off in the afternoon and met up in East Troy with my mom, Kristen, and Scott. I have some pictures from our time, but they are in my phone.

On Monday, we ventured out to Monroe to meet up with our friends, the Golacksons! We had a brief visit with Josh almost two years ago when he surprised Andy in our dining room. But we haven't seen Lindsey and the kids since Andy's ordination in July 2007! Back then we just had Bella and they just had Lily & Caedmon.

Here are all the kids today. (Well, last Monday.  But you get the idea).

I should note that all of the kids were recently bathed in these pictures as they had just gotten in from playing outside in the rain.  My kids are all wearing Golackson kids' clothes, which is why Curtis and Graydon are swimming in their outfits.  I think they loved it though.  :o)

Two peas in a pod.  Bella and Lily all snuggled up and ready to watch their Barbie movie.

Graydon and Hadassah.  I really think she was smiling as I took the picture and must have stopped just in time for the camera to miss it. She's still a cutie though.

Curtis already looking up to Vivianna!

And here are all eight kids!  Lily is holding their newest little one, Olivet.  She was 10 days old in this photo.

And Graydon is again being uncooperative for a picture.  Like Josh said, there's always gotta be one.

Until next time, Golacksons!!!!

Monday came, and we played at the park.

Then it was ice cream time!  And to make things even better, we had Culvers for dinner that evening.  What a great way to cap off a Wisconsin trip.

I loved our time away.  But now that we're back, there are just a few weeks left of summer and we've still got a lot of fun to pack in!