Hannah & Emma's photography teacher, Cheryl Joyce, took these beautiful pictures! So thrilled to have them all taken at the same time. It was really a last minute decision and Cheryl did such a fabulous job making it happen :)
We had Chris' family here for Thanksgiving this year and having everyone together is such a rare event!
I am definitely a work in progress with the whole "hostess" thing, but living far away from our family has definitely encouraged me in the right direction. Having such hospitable friends here in Virginia has also been key in developing a love for sharing our home. I hope our family will look back on these sweet times and remember the blessing of family.
And because I delete all the pictures where I am speaking firmly to my children through gritted teeth, they should be none the wiser ;) Remind me to tell you sometime about how I had the camera on the tripod and set the timer as a test and then walked away to give my boys some correction ... you know the kind where words are not really necessary? Yeah, well I kind of accidentally caught that moment on film.
Needless to say that pic didn't make the cut.
Since the pics are numerous I will break it up and do a series of Thanksgiving posts. You all can wager on when I'll forget to keep posting.
Chris' brother Scott, and his wife Robin, drove up from New Orleans and spent the week with us. We met their insanely precious baby, Lili, for the first time.
See what I mean?
She stole a piece of our hearts when she left and I think being privy to so much of her daddy's life before she got here makes it all the sweeter.
Scott was about Hannah's age when Chris and I began dating and he has been like a brother to me the last 20 years. I have watched him grow from a mullet-headed punk to this adoring husband and daddy that loves his girls more than life.
He was always a doting uncle to my girls and so much of their early years are sprinkled with precious memories of him in their lives ... to the point that Emma listed: Dad, Mom, Hannah, Emma, & Uncle Scott on her family tree during preschool 10 years ago.
And believe me when I tell you that it was around that time that I was pretty-darn-well-certain that settling down and starting a family were not on the horizon for him. Of course I was plotting against his evil plans of Corvettes and lake houses with prayers and petitions to match.
So those prayers, combined with meeting sweet Robin, were too much for my bachelor brother-in-law to resist.
God's providence is so good!
And sweet Lili is such a reminder of His grace ...
It goes without saying that being busy (beyond belief) is a constant state of being for this family. I am coming to realize and finally concede that there is little that I am willing to do to change that.
Sounds crazy to embrace it and oftentimes (like tonight) I would rather give it a swift kick to the shins and curl tightly into a doodle-bug position and wait for the busy to pass on by.
To eliminate busy from our life would mean to bid farewell to so many things that make our life rich with experience ... relationships ... and growth in all sorts of areas.
With a heart that is heavy with the trappings of this world I am hoping to be deliberate in finding gratitude in all of it.
I am thankful to have a boy who loves to play sports ... not because it's sports but because he loves it.
I am thankful to have daughters who are busy with classes and activities and friends and jobs ... so busy that I am not here as often as I would like.
I am thankful for these little babies who keep my time at home hoppin' and while there is little reprieve, it is still a task that I would never want to relinquish and I daily purpose to relish.
I am thankful for a car (that I live in) that has air & heat and a seat for all my lovely kiddos.
I am thankful for events that make me rush to the grocery store and rush back and sweat and fume while preparing something edible and pleasing and then being surrounded by people who we love and who love us ... and how the grocery store trips and the dishes never seem to be the things we remember.
I am thankful that with grace there is forgiveness for all things. Ugly words. Ugly thoughts. Selfish acts. Even ungrateful hearts. I am thankful for this every single day.
I need to post some pictures from our precious Thanksgiving with our family but until then I will leave you with this absolutely delightful and almost-too-much montage of our Ben-Ben ... who has suddenly grown up way too fast.