Greetings Friends & Family!
I feel there must be a way to scientifically prove the phenomenon that time seems to fly faster the older one gets, and of course even faster towards the end of the year.This year has been chock-full of events both big and small that will leave their mark and memories on the pages of our lives.
First of all, how did I get to be THIRTY?! In October, Dan and I celebrated this milestone birthday by livin’ it up at a local farm – stuffing our faces with good potluck grub, going on a hayride, feeding the donkeys, traipsing around the fields, and amusing ourselves in various ways.What a great time with friends and family, just kicking back, having fun and celebrating life.
Phil grew up going to Deerfield Fair in New Hampshire, a tradition he had yet to share with me… until this year. His parents gave us one of their slide-in campers, which he jury-rigged to the back of his flat bed truck. We camped on the fairgrounds for the weekend, and had such a great time with our little family seeing the fun sights of the fair. Gwen’s favorites were the kiddy roller coaster and host of yummy offerings, the pinnacle of which would have to be the humble yet decadent ice cream cone. My favorites were all the animals, especially the babies… and watching the delightful gleam in my children’s eyes as they Took It All In. Just spending three whole days with my family felt like a guilty pleasure, as we are often so busy we don’t get the chance to chill.
Using the slide-in camper for a couple weekends, we realized that – while we love this camping thing – we would like to pursue our dream of purchasing a fifth wheel camper. We didn’t want to make any hasty, irresponsible decisions, but were fortunate enough to find an immaculate secondhand camper that was too good to pass up. We are now the proud owners of a fifth wheel!We’re dreaming of all the good times our family will have in this little home-away-from-home, and it occurred to me, “Great, now I have two houses to clean!”
While some of the things on our life checklist seem to get checked with apparent ease, other things remain stagnant despite expended effort and prayer. Both Phil and I have been pining for a change in vocation – he trying to get on a paid fire department, and I trying to work from home. There have been a number of promising opportunities, but nothing has panned out. We are trusting in God’s provision and perfect timing; He never fails us, despite the disappointment we feel when open doors slam shut.
Tucked in-between the humdrum day-to-day activities and pockets of disbelief and disappointment are the much-needed moments of refueling. Among many other special moments, here are some of the highlights: Daddy builds us a tire swing (this is a big deal!), I attend MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) for a while and meet a great group of women, Daddy buys a Jeep – the Ultimate Toy, Josiah gets his first taste of Del’s, we go canoeing on Wood River with Dan and Jenn, Mom and I trek to Confreda Farms for herbs, Jenn and I go peach- and apple-picking at Narrow Lane Orchards and concoct yummy goodies with the spoils, we score a dollhouse for Gwen on the side of the road, the kiddos and I take our first trip to North Kingstown Beach with one of my best friends Nikki and her son Elijah, Phil and I celebrate nine years of marriage and spend the day together in Mystic, and last-but-not-least I made a conscious effort to change my eating habits and lost about thirty pounds. Phew!
Sometimes the miraculous can be seen in the every day busyness, and being home with Gwendolyn and Josiah has afforded many of these moments. I love seeing things through their eyes, watching as they study something, figure it out, and learn something new. From the blossoming of Gwendolyn’s vocabulary and understanding of concepts, to her capacity to pretend play and make up silly stories on her own. From the studied expression on Josiah’s face when in deep concentration and the huge grin that appears when he masters putting an object in a container or climbing the whole staircase, to the barrage of giggles that assail us when we tickle his tummy or help him down the slide. Their birthdays are two days apart, and I can’t believe I’ll have to get used to my big little girl being three whole years while at the same time accept that my baby boy is officially one year and no longer a baby. While at times they can be challenging, maddening, induce hair-pulling and general hysteria – I can honestly say that I love them with all of my heart and am so glad God placed them into my arms.
Change is always bittersweet for me.I know change can be good, but sometimes I just want security and comfort in the familiar. The same weekend that we celebrated the kids’ birthdays, my Grandma Edna went to be with Jesus. She had been failing for a while, and just this year diagnosed with lung cancer. It was only a matter of time, and we were praying that she would go peacefully in her sleep… but you’re never really prepared for the end.
These things have a way of making you want to grab hold of them, of the Good Stuff, relishing them and treasuring them while you can, knowing that time is slipping through your hands and will be gone before you know it. Praying that you will take hold of that which is most dear to you this Christmas season, and thank God for the Treasure of his Son Jesus, whom He graciously bestowed upon us all.
Karla, Phil, Gwendolyn, & Josiah