Monday, June 17, 2013

a June getaway

We drove all the way across Texas to get to Galveston, and the beach. Sure, it's the Gulf of Mexico; the water is brown and the seaweed is abundant, but our little buddies didn't care one bit. Take kids to the beach and they know what to do.

We had reserved a charming-looking place on the beach and it turned out to be charming in real life too. 

Little Miss (her real name is coming soon, and we have an adoption finalization may notice I'm feeling far less cautious about showing her precious face on here) practiced her new crawling moves. She just popped up on her hands and knees a few weeks ago and now, suddenly, we once again have a baby who's into everything. I couldn't be happier about it. Open those drawers, pull those bags down. We've been waiting for it.

The water was warm and the air was thick. I love humidity (well, below a certain temperature.)

After our last vacation with these three, we thought it would be best to keep things very low-key. Beach, naps, down-time, pool, meals, more beach. None of this running around amusement parks or touristy sights business. I'm usually the one who feels like we need to see the Sights and do the Things, but it's just not enjoyable with whiny kids and grumpy parents. It will keep until they're older. We were able to cook and do laundry in our place, too, and that made things even more simple. I think we're on to something.

Little Miss surprised us by napping on the beach. She's usually so particular about where she sleeps. I think the water was incredibly therapeutic (and therefore incredibly exhausting) for her little self. It was lovely to have so much time to just play with her. She has this whole curious side that's emerging. Parenting her is peeling off layers, Ricky says.

The boys loved attacking the waves and digging big holes. Silas is made up of rawr and sugar. Nicky has plans and ideas and dance/ninja moves. They're pretty fun right now.

We did venture out one night for dinner, an exploratory drive around the island, and frozen yogurt. We ate it on some wooden swings by the ocean, in the night air. That's my new favorite way to eat frozen yogurt.

Nicky was pretty fearless out in the bigger waves, and worked on body surfing.

And of course we "big people" had to be vigilant but we both enjoyed watching them take it all in. There's nothing much better than experiencing things all over again with your babies.

"Here, let me fix your hair. I know about this stuff."

After one final morning swim, we got cleaned up (and Nicky discovered the magic of soap in a jacuzzi tub) and packed, and headed to Austin for our niece's first birthday party.

We took a slight detour to pass through Lockhart, Texas, home of Black's Barbecue. It's soooooo good. Growing up, we visited our Opa and Oma outside of San Antonio every summer and they would make us food just like this: sliced brisket, homemade sausage, and of course all the sides. Yum. Silas pointed to the deer and said, "Hi, camels."

We had some seat belt disagreements, and some crocodile tears, along the way. Soon we rolled into Austin and helped Ricky's sister get ready for a very cute farm-themed party.

Tio Mark busted out the bubble machine. I decided we need one. I also decided I like birthday parties that involve mimosas and mini-quiche (aka tractor wheels.)

Emma and Little Miss only are six weeks apart. How cool is that? She's in the "hold my hands and take me walking everywhere, please" stage and has the creamiest baby skin I've ever seen, and we noticed that she and Silas make some very similar facial expressions. It was fun to see them all again, and I selfishly love that they live in the area of Texas they do because it's one of my favorite places.

Tia Lizette took Ricky, me and the boys to this very fun splashpad next to Town Lake. The boys were both timid at first but pretty much had to be dragged away by the time the water went off.

Then, time to pack up and go once again. Silas drove, while Ricky and I sat in the backseat and watched movies, took naps, and ate the snacks that were handed to us. It was awesome. Okay, so he had to be convinced to get into his own seat, a lot. 

Several park stops, ice cream, Curious George, the Karate Kid, the Lumineers, This American Life, silly singing, and big beautiful clouds helped us home.

My summer cup runneth over.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


It's been an interesting few months. Not long ago, I had this sinking, constant feeling that I was in control of nothing. My temper surprised me, my irritation was an addiction, little things exhausted me. Something had to give. I suppose I should elaborate on the feeling of lack of control: I couldn't control the timing of the adoption or make myself feel all the things I thought I should or make our daughter progress any faster in her journey, I couldn't make Silas any easier in the throes of toddler behavior, I couldn't seem to make myself any more patient with very long question and answer sessions with Nicky, it felt like I was going nowhere at work, and I continued to feel the loss of some things that are better not described here.

I was feeding the wrong wolf; I can see that so clearly now. The answer was not to keep shoving my feet into the shoes that just don't fit, or to force anything else, really. It was to find something I could be proactive about and get to work on it.

Turns out I'm a pretty controlling person. (It's been disappointing to realize this.) I honestly think it was God's hand, directing me to simply let go. Stop forcing. Fill my mind with other things. So I did: I took a leap and started a new job that was demanding of my time and energy, and my wonderful partner in life took up a lot of slack in the process. He wants me well too, and I love him for it.

I think one kind of tiredness is a cure for another kind of tiredness. It's the difference between your hands aching because you've been clenching your fists all day and your feet aching because you've been running with a purpose. That good tired when you fall into bed, when you've earned your sleep. I've found a lot of rest in getting good and tired, and I feel better. My mind feels like it's waking up, more than before.

As for those lack of control things: I've seen our daughter blossom under Ricky's calm and relaxed care, I've learned to enjoy my Silas again, and I now look forward to that moment when Nicky runs in the front door with his million questions and observations. Of course I still get frustrated from time to time, but I don't wear it like a heavy overcoat these days. Thanks be to God; I can say it with my whole heart.

I don't think the issue was ever actually about my children. Sure, parenting is such hard, self-exposing work, but there are other things in my life that felt wrong for such a long time that I was trying to keep plugging away at, and that created a toxicity that had to come out somewhere.

There are still things I don't know what to do with, but not everything is fixed right away (or at all, perhaps.) I can carry on. I've come to believe that it's okay to put things on a shelf and distract myself with the good. When the right time comes, I'll feel compelled to take them down, examine and work through them. In the meantime, I'm not forcing anything. I'm not enslaved to anyone's formula. I'll try to be better at listening, knowing we're all carrying quite a load around.

It comes back to this, over and over: walk gently through the world. Look for the goodness of God. Rejoice when you find it; rejoice with the people around you who see it too. Whoever they are, wherever you find them.

So I'm trying to look around, all the while feeling quite vulnerable and oh-so-tired. We're all in some stage of healing I suppose.
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