Friday, December 30, 2011
I suppose when it comes to 'branding' my blog, trying to hone in on one area of focus, I haven't had much success. It's a parenting/marriage/kids with special needs/working from home/public speaking/ministry/photography/homeschooling/running/decorating/organizing (or lack thereof)/cooking/friendship kind of a thing.
In a nutshell.
But it is a journal, a discipline of recording experiences and thoughts, images and inspiration, questions and hopefully some shared wisdom. It's not everything that happens in our world, but it's a strong snapshot of our seasons.
And it operates strongly as my memory. Because having eight kids and ringing phones and businesses and friends and two dogs who insist on running away every three days does stuff to your memory.
Hence the blog as well.
I've been trolling through my own blog, taking a look back at the year and thought I would have a highlight from each month. So take a little stroll with me as I work on my memory banks from the past twelve months....(some of the months have links included if you'd like to look back at the original posts).
Bit By Bit, Bite By Bite
1 of 8 headed back to Paris as the calendar clicked from 2010 to 2011. And I began to tackle the job of digging out from under the holiday paraphernalia. While I can't claim to be an organizing guru, I do know a thing or two about crowd control. If you're looking for some new year inspiration, light on miracles and heavy on reality, you might check out this link....
JTT Comes Home!
And my heart will never be the same. Oh.My. How I love this little boy.
Dance Season in Full Swing
We spent lots and lots of time on the road during the winter and spring, heading to competitions and conventions all across the region.
And 3 and 4 of 8 were able to spend some time on the movie set of an upcoming film.
One of the Good Guys
I posted a few thoughts about my dad during his birthday month. It's still one of my favorite things I've written about one of my favorite people.
And Just Like That, They Were Four
We keep calling the twins 'the babies.' But the calendar says otherwise...
Paris, Paris, Paris
My brother sent me to Paris. To see my oldest baby. And to take in that whole magic that is Paris. And I took you along as well...
Most of the OctaCrew headed to Dance Nationals. There was a lot of dance. And July heat. And a birthday to be celebrated. And trophies to be admired. And 1 of 8 came home from France.
Mike and I celebrated 22 years of marriage this year. Wowza. Been together for 24. I used to be able to blame my mom and dad for how I turned out. Now, given that Mike's had 24 years to raise me and they only had 17, I may have to rethink the blame....
5 of 8 found out that he, along with 2 and 6 of 8, had made Company for dance. Which he was incredibly excited about. And he had worked very hard for. And we were so proud.
No Brace Face
4 of 8 got her braces off. And we went to Oklahoma for a wedding. And our transmission failed. And we stayed in Oklahoma. For a long time.
JT and I ran the Chosen Marathon/Half-Marathon again, a race that raises money for families who are adopting internationally. And it meant all the more since JT's son from Ethiopia, JTT, was home with us! 1 and 2 of 8 spent a lot of time on set for an ABC Family Series, The Lying Game.
My Oldest Guy Child Person
In addition to turning 15 and growing a couple of inches every week and a half, 3 of 8 delighted me this Thanksgiving by insisting on pulling out the crystal and china (and a tie!).
Legacy of Hope Austin
What an amazing experience 2011 has held for us through our work with Legacy of Hope Austin. It is a thrill and a beautiful challenge to look ahead to the coming year, looking to see how we will expand and how we can serve even more families of children with special needs.
As I look toward 2012, I feel that tug to create new goals, make new resolutions. But I also love looking back over this year, seeing how many things occurred that were surprises and impromptu. I see God's mercy and provision and peace splashed across the pages. I see His strength when I think about 2011's challenges and hurts. There were the events we trained and planned for...and then there were the things that were a spontaneous delight and I see God's design. And that seems to be an apt recipe for heading into the new year....
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Mike is the soccer fan.
And I am the photographer.
I've always wielded the camera. It's my medium. And beauty is my muse, the beauty in faces and colors and textures and the unexpected.
But Mike is tromping into my territory. With genius.
He took these images of my dad and mom and grandmother. Each of them bearing the most natural and joyful expressions. Expressions I can't seem to capture, even with all my photobug habits.
I know that the pics aren't in perfect focus. And I know not everyone likes to be photographed in full laugh. But I love, love, love these. Love that Mike anticipated and captured these moments. Love that he's developing a love for one of my big loves, photography.
Unless it means I have to learn to love professional soccer......
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Our Okie Christmas was a delight.
Loud. Messy. And wonderful.
(I think we bring the loud and messy with us.)
There was a little something special under the tree at my parents' home this year. A gift that threatened to get my eyes to watering. And spilling over. And going for the ugly cry.
But luckily, my brother beat me to it.
We received our stockings that we had as children.
And just to make us even more melancholic and teary, we each had a beautiful box of the ornaments from the Christmas trees of our childhoods...
It's so funny, how a little figurine of plastic can hold so many memories of sight and smell and experience...
My kids were fascinated by these little dime store treasures, sacred relics of a Southern California childhood with Christmases spent in the high desert. Little ornaments that made the various moves with us, from coast to coast, following the Space Shuttle program as my dad's career in rocketry burgeoned.
I brought my stocking and my box home with me, another layer of childhood retained and yet somehow exchanged into the adult woman I aim to be. What is it about the items of our childhoods that somewhat keep us children in the homes of our parents until the transmission of those items goes into our hands, a trust to be handed down? My kids look on these ornaments the same way I handle the precious dolls of my mother's childhood and the ceramic horse that belonged to my dad. Museum pieces of our heritage. Little clues of the kids we used to be. And are still, in those little window seats of our hearts.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The camera snaps a lot throughout the holidays. I'm always trying to catch the action, documenting the presents and decor and general chaos.
But I also want to capture faces, the expressions of the day, the smiles. Time in a bottle...or memory card.
There's something about taking the pictures to black and white that lets me focus a bit more on the people, with the colorful splash of the holiday taking a backseat.
That's Justin Bieber body spray she's got there. Talk about a hard-to-find item for Santa....
Of all their gifts, 3 and 5 seem to cherish these hats the most.
The twins spent most of the day curled up with their new InnoTabs. (Shhhhh....they think they're iPads.....)
For a holiday that is merry and bright and red and green, black and white sometimes captures the day.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Or maybe it's because a few key friends and family gave suggestion and guidance.
But one of the more hilarious events of yesterday occurred when Mike and I opened our gifts from each other.
And discovered that we had each given the other a Kindle Fire.
I'm a die-hard book lover. Eat 'em up, mark 'em up, share 'em, hoard 'em. I had taken JT's earlier version of Kindle to France that she generously shared with me and liked the convenience. But I wasn't sure if a paper version girl like me could convert.
Mike reads all nature of financial and political periodicals and magazines. Oh, and soccer analysis. I'm not exactly sure what kind of analysis is necessary when it comes to soccer. One team gets the ball in the goal more than the other team over a 90 minute period. Done. That's all the analysis that seems pertinent. But apparently I miss the more subtle aspects of the game. And so analysis is read and discussed, a lot of it from online sources.
When I realized that the Kindle Fire had a web browser capability, I thought it would be a good fit for Mike so that he wouldn't have to lug out and log on to his computer to check out Arsenal's dismal season. It also seemed a much handier way for Mike to stay on top of all the financial reading he does for his work and consulting. Throw in business trips and such and it seemed to be a great alternative.
On Mike's part, he thought the web browser feature would be great for me, with the blogging and writing. I also use a lot of research in my speaking and being able to download some of my favorite but heavy and huge tomes to a digital format would certainly give my shoulders a break from carrying around heavy books in my bag.
It seems that we each consulted with the same panel of friends and family, who all encouraged each of us to go ahead with our purchases.
And so the Kindle trap was set.
And sprung yesterday morning, much to the giggles of those present.
It seems very romantic somehow, except that Mike didn't have to sell off his grandfather's watch and I didn't chop off my hair. Though I do need a trim.
Love in the tech age. Who says we don't know much about romance?
Sunday, December 25, 2011
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
There will be dancing girls [of the preschool population].
There will be fountain displays [the toilet has backed up twice~sorry, thrice, I've just been informed...]
There will be mood~altering substances [the kids are totally hopped up on sugar...]
It will be epic.....
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
These guys are intense and intent.
Some random video game on their brother's iTouch? Yes.
This would be one of the nephews. Actually smiling for me.
It's only taken me about 7 years to convince him to do that for me. He's always considered me a little sketchy.
That guy up there is my main boy. And he's washing dishes. And I felt that should be captured for posterity (wink wink).
The guy in the background there is my father-in-law. And that girl in the foreground is, ah,.......weird.
The holidays are in full swing around here....
Monday, December 19, 2011
I don't know why my sister-in-law was up at 4:53 in the morning.
But I'm glad she was. Because she found a great picture of the back of That Dress.
Mommy Victory had found a source photo as well.
Ladies, your efforts were well worth it.
Because look at That Dress. The Back of That Dress.
And then the fabulous Mizz Lew found this gem...
Now go watch White Christmas again.
And Sis-in-Law T and Annemarie Mizz Lew? Thank you!