Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fifty-five Days

I realize it's been quite a while since I've posted. 

I have my reasons.
The most important reason being that we have a limited number of days with Darling Daughter before dropping her off at school in August. 
And another reason:  this is probably one of the few remaining summers we'll get with ALL four of our offspring living under one roof. 
We're savoring every moment.
So, blogging will most likely resume regularly after we've taken our girlie up to school.
And, you know, once I've come back home as the lone female in a house occupied only by hairy, testosterone-filled, calorie-consuming, muscle-building, yard-working, truck-driving, music-blaring, sweaty, growing, Swamp People-watching, big-footed men. 
And Lucy. 

The dog. 

And after I've finished sniveling and whining long enough to form somewhat coherent sentences again. 
In the meantime, why don't you enjoy some snapshots of life in the past 55 days since Darling Daughter graduated from high school:

We ran into the Gour Clan in our Wal-Mart just before we left for the beach the first time.  Heather got to meet Asher for the first time.  And also get some hugs from her favorite Charleston girls, Isabel and Claire!

 We kidnapped the Gour twins and took them with us to Hilton Head. 
(I'm not even going to tell you what these teenagers were doing out on the beach at 2am.  Some things are best left unsaid.  Besides, we all have those moments our parents don't need to know about...right?!)

 The kids rented a surf board for a day and some of them got pretty darn good at it!
(Hilton Head isn't really known for its huge have to wait until a storm blows through.  That's why we rent boards when there's a chance of anything worth riding!)

 We played some seriously intense games of Kubb on the beach in the evenings! 
My team, The Singing Walruses won once or twice. 

The boys, Ryan & Zach, left on their first ever mission trip (without Mom, Dad, or either older sibling!) as soon as we returned from our first beach trip.  As you can see, they were absolutely thrilled beyond words to be traveling five hours away from their family for a week.  I don't mind telling you that as their mom, I felt even worse about it.  I think I drove my poor hubby out of his mind the week leading up to it.  I mean, I know they're almost 14 and all, but these are my BABIES.  You understand?  The tiny 3 pound, helpless infants who need their MOMMY! 

I felt much better after some heavy prayer.

And also when Hubby grabbed me by the face, popped a Xanax in my mouth and clamped my face shut.


Needless to say, they survived, and so did I.
They went to Tabor City, North Carolina with World Changers.  Zach's crew painted houses.  Ryan's made wheelchair ramps for two different homes. 

Imagine my delight when Ryan phoned the first evening to tell me he was having a crisis and needed my help.

Luckily it was only girl trouble.

The next heart-attack occurred when he called me the following night to report that he'd been using a power saw.  Huh.  And here I thought he'd be wielding nothing more deadly than a paint brush. 

He came home with all appendages still firmly attached. 

Thank you, Lord!

Back to the beach (again...who can get enough beach?  Not me!) for the week of the Fourth.
Mush fishing.  Not by me, but by the men-folk who enjoy spending large amounts of time on such things.

 He's proud of that one...but you should see the one that "got away!" 

 So here's the thing about Hilton Head. 

When the life guards rent these sailboats, they typically spend about 2 and a half minutes on a safety-use-of-sailboat type presentation and then they send unsuspecting people out into the ocean. 
And usually, the people sort of float, drift, dangle, mess around with the sails, then somehow end up way down the beach and waft up onto shore.  My step-dad and the kids ended up "rescuing" multiple families and couples (and giving them rides) by offering to show them what to do and help them back up shore. 

And then we rented one for ourselves.

Since Step-dad sold his a few years ago, the kids are all bigger now and really missed sailing!

Zach and GF went parasailing. 
An exciting adventure for the guys who aren't so much into slimy fish guts.

Should I even need to mention that Todd is a bit weird? 

This summer, our brave rescue hero took a ropes course and also played a victim in a bridge rescue rappelling exercise.  He's handy that way.  He applied for a job as a real officer of the law, too.  And then turned it down because he has two more semesters of school. 

 He escorted three (not one, but three) beautiful blond ladies to dinner several nights during our vacation. 
But this is HIS lady. (His sister & her bestie don't count.)

Oh, and there's a new Grand-dog in the family.  One of the cousins has adopted a fluffy new creature. 
He's kind of huge already.  He hasn't been introduced to Lucy.  He's probably bigger than she is.  I know his feet are bigger than my daughter's!

Ok, almost!

Amid travels, we have also been collecting things for the Dorm Room.  This isn't all of it.  And it isn't all she needs, either.  Apparently moving into a dorm equates to starting up a whole new household.

Who knew?

 A couple more beach shots...Daddy & his girl in matching Salty Dog shirts.

My twins and Gour twins in the pool.

Mid-July brought a baby shower for our youngest sister!
(Those are my sisters Mendy & Rachel and that's me on the right.)

And then...finally...the highlight of this summer:

Little Clayton arrived!

And now Darling Daughter definitely doesn't want to go away to college when there are baby snuggles to be had...and their just a couple of blocks down the road!

And who can blame her?  Look at that sweet face!

I may be slightly biased, but he is undeniably the most adorable newborn I've ever seen in person. 
My kids were all kind of odd looking for a few months.  Scraggly, scrawny, bald, wrinkled, blotchy.  Clayton's got perfect pink skin...flawless.  Little rolls on his legs.  A head full of fluffy hair.
Those baby noises!  And that baby scent! 
Just think!  We get to hold him and spoil him and coo over him and rock him and ooh and aah over him...
and then give him back!

So that's it.
For now.
I'll return in mid-August and you can help me work through my emptying nest!

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