Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's that time again!

It's time again for the annual Christmas picture. With Fitz and I both coming from big families, there are many, many aunts and uncles that expect this picture each year. Every year I plan a day of torture picture taking, and get the kids dressed in their matching outfits. They all whine and complain smile and hug, and just make it such a ridiculously difficult wonderful, easy job for me!

But seriously, we've got some good shots over the years... The last two Christmas cards having all 7 kids together.

So at my Mom's recent party, all my aunts and uncles were asking about this years card. I feel like I have upped the anti, and am under pressure this year to come up with something good. So Monday night, with some last minute scurrying to get things together, we did it. And I wish I had a video camera going at the same time. I don't think there is anything more comical than trying to get 7 kids organized for a picture. It's like trying to lasso a herd of cats. And with one of those cats being Charlie, it makes it that much more interesting. Honestly, out of about 30-40 pictures last year, I think I got 2 or 3 shots where Charlie was standing relatively still and looking in the general direction of the camera.  I am glad we can all laugh during and after the process, because if not, we would all (me) go insane.

So now you will just have to wait till the card shows up in your mailbox.  And when it does... please think of me... of me and my sanity.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Life is good

If there is anything that we have gotten out of the last few weeks, it is a reminder of how precious life is. How we need sit back every so often and appreciate every little thing we are given. This past Sunday we celebrated my mother's 70th birthday here. It was an amazing day, with a houseful of friends and relatives, many of whom I hadn't seen in years. My mom is one of 10, and many of my aunts and uncles live a good distance away, and don't travel as much these days. So many of them hadn't seen my kids since they were babies... had never even met Pipo. There is nothing to remind you of your own blessings like seeing your children through other people's eyes... especially someone older.

Some very dear old friends of my parents sent us a beautiful note today thanking us for inviting them to the party. They gave us one of the highest compliments I think I could ever receive... that we have created a "real home" here. It reminded me how silly it is that I stressed about the matching hand towel in the bathroom, and what color the tablecloth was. The things people noticed was the warm open environment they felt coming into the house. They didn't notice the cobwebs in the corner, or the dust on some of the picture frames... they noticed Kaleigh playing music with an older cousin she had never met. They noticed Charlie telling stories to his namesake, my Uncle Charlie.  They noticed my kids and my brothers kids racing around the backyard after a soccer ball.

We are so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing family... and not just the people in our house... the uncles and aunts that drive great distances, my brothers that came and laughed and talked about old memories with cousins, my parents, celebrating another big milestone.
Yesterday I had dentist appointments for all 7 kids. For some, that might sound like some type of torture, but lately with our ever growing schedules as the kids get older, it's so rare to have all 7 of them together. I sat in the waiting room looking around at all of them talking and laughing, and I thought about this past weekend. I thought about family, and it's importance, and I fully appreciated that stolen time in the dentists waiting room. I could only be so lucky as to celebrate my own 70th someday, and have my children around me talking, laughing and remembering old times... even if it's old times in the dentists office!

(This above picture is random... just a much needed reminder of summer on this 30 degree day!)

Saturday, November 8, 2008


How do you say goodbye to someone you thought would be around forever?
How do you explain to your children that that person is gone?
How do you get beyond all the 'whys' and 'what fors'?
How do you manage to start life again when your family is one person less than it was yesterday?

Last night Fitz and I stood by and watched his brother say goodbye to his best friend, soulmate, wife of over two decades. We watched as our three nieces said goodbye to their mother. We stood and watched a heartwrenching beauty unfold... a scene so powerful and moving and horrifically sad and beautifully spiritual all at the same time.

Talking to all the kids was as expected, they each took it in very different ways. But little Emma, curled up on Fitz's lap said it best of all... "How cool... Aunt Karen is my Godmother, and now she's going to get to see God!"

Yes, Emma, Yes. And this is how we go on, this is how we say goodbye... by having Faith in things beyond us. By knowing deep in our hearts that there is something more, something even better, something beyond the pain and suffering.

Yesterday, after I had gotten the call from Fitz that it would be very soon, and we should come at once, I turned on the radio in the car to try and calm myself down. The song playing as I turned it on was "Carolina in my Mind" by James Taylor. Karen was a huge James Taylor fan, and I couldn't stop the tears as I listed to the words...

Karen she's a silver sun
You best walk her way and watch it shinin'
Watch her watch the mornin' come
A silver tear appearing now
I'm cryin' ain't I
Gone to Carolina in my mind

There ain't no doubt it no ones mind
That loves the finest thing around
Whisper something soft and kind
And hey babe the sky's on fire,
I'm dyin' ain't I
Gone to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine
Can't you just feel the moonshine
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
It hit me from behind
Yes I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind

She was amazing in every way possible... as a mother, a friend, a sister in law, a daughter...
She is a shining silver sun now, I have no doubt of that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Random Photo

I had said I was going to be better with my camera... and I have. I just haven't been better with posting pictures.

Conversation between brothers