Posts tagged ‘a girl + 3 boys’

October 23, 2010

victory dance

I recently learned that the last boy has successfully predicted the champions of multiple professional sports for several years now, which made me very nervous for the ALCS series between the Yankees and the Rangers. You see, D’s a die-hard Rangers fan. And I’m a die-hard Yankees fan. So I was a little worried. Sure enough, the Rangers took the series Friday night with a final game score of 6 to 1 and a series win of 4 games to 2. The moment the last out was registered, the boy did a victory dance.
I’m hoping he roots for my Yankees next year. (click to enlarge)
Texas Rangers victory dance
August 13, 2010

lakeside celebration

A week ago our only girl celebrated her Sweet Sixteen with a weekend party at the lake. Because she’s amazing like this, Kiwi asked that her family come on Friday night for a beachside celebration, and then she had her two best friends stay overnight in a cabin so they could continue the party on Saturday with another group of friends who would join them. I’ll admit that my first thought was, “Lake? In August? When the temperatures have been over 100 for weeks and I don’t ever go into the water? You must be joking.” Soon after that selfish thought I realized there was hardly anything that could keep me away from the girl’s celebration. She’d been dreaming and talking about sixteen for as long as any of us can remember, so I just couldn’t disappoint her by not showing up. Not this girl. Not when family truly means so much to her. So I stuffed down my dislike of summer and headed out with the rest of our side of the fam to join in the celebration of our only princess — the original Princess of Quite a Lot.
God knew exactly what we all needed on this night, and He brought a short shower during the late afternoon that took the temperatures down almost twenty degrees… or so it felt. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I was and how great an impact this one shift had on my demeanor. As soon as we got to the lake, I headed straight down to the water’s edge. A rarity, for sure!
By the time we arrived the waters were calm and pleasantly warm, and the sun was hiding well behind the clouds. There was even a nice breeze coming off the lake. Serenity was the word that immediately came to mind. And since it was a private beach, we had it almost entirely to ourselves.


I couldn’t resist the urge to put my toes into the slick, squishy sand. But only so far as I could still see the bottom. Two steps beyond the edge was murky and dark green, camouflaging all the little creatures who lie in wait. I don’t go there.

water's edge

Of course, D has to be held back from jumping in headlong. He’s a water-lover, but on this night his mom “forgot” (insert sarcastic tone of older brother here) their swim trunks so they were only allowed to play at the edge of the lake.

a bit of rolling tide

Of course, turn your back for one instant and off he goes!

D at play

At one point I looked down the beach and saw every single male skipping rocks into the water. It must be a guy thing.

rock skip

The dry sand of the beach was deep and loose and a perfect temperature for walking barefoot. Plus, there were various ephemera left behind by previous visitors that are perfect to spark the imagination of children.

perfect spot for D

Of course, that only works if the water holds no allure. Which is never the case for the youngest boy. All night I marveled at how deep we sank into the sand at just the very outer edge of the water. Walking in it was exactly how I imagine quicksand must feel!

D and J in the sinking sand

When the birthday girl came back to the beach to join us, both her cousins ran to her. It’s never happened quite that way before, and it’s a great reminder just how quickly they’re all growing up. A bittersweet reminder, but something to hold onto, nonetheless.


Moments later we turned to see D standing knee-deep in the water, bent forward at the waist, with his head submerged upside-down. He probably would’ve gone all the way under had we not shouted for him to get out. It really didn’t faze him. He was quite proud to have found a way to feel truly wet.

silly cousins

As the party began to pick up again, we headed back up the hill to the picnic area. D ran up the stone trail first and shouted back to me, “Follow my path!” He stopped twice along the way up to look back and repeat the instruction, making sure that I was coming along well and didn’t need any help.

follow my path

Before we left the beach, though, I had to get one last shot of that amazing sky. I said a little prayer of thanks, as well, for the clouds that shielded the blazing sun and also kept the storms at bay.

shaded sun

The party got into full swing after that, and we enjoyed grilled hot dogs and good conversation. I was thankful that there were no harsh words or hurt feelings on this night, but instead there was lots of laughter and chatting among two sides of a family that had been joined by marriage. And there were presents, too, of course! I’m pretty sure this t-shirt from my sister was Kiwi’s favorite gift that night. How a girl born in 1994 could be such an 80s music fan is still a bit of a mystery to me, but it also makes her unique among her peers. I love that it gives us aunts something to share with her. [Note: The Bret Michaels thing is all on the youngest aunt. That’s something we’ll never share. :-p]

fave b-day gift of the night

I was especially pleased to catch a small moment of the girl and her dad, and even more pleased that they both smiled for the shot. Believe it or not, this is one of their best!

daughter and father

As we hung out and celebrated being together, we were able to see the sun setting through the trees. For just about five minutes we all watched in awe as it dipped lower and lower on the horizon and displayed the most amazing colors across the water. In those final few moments both of my sisters and I headed to the clearing with cameras in hand, knowing we would all regret it if that moment wasn’t captured. It’s scenes like this that remind me how awesome our God truly is and how amazing it is that He creates these moments just for our pleasure. Glory be!


The subsequent darkness made for a perfect cake lighting moment. I’m not sure how Kiwi ended up lighting her own candles but it made for a fantastic photo! Of course, the wind had kicked up a bit by then and she spent as much time re-lighting them as she did doing it the first time. No one really seemed to mind (except Kiwi, of course). The cake itself was a custom design by the birthday girl. She wanted fondant instead of regular icing, and she wanted zebra stripes. The ideal cake was a bit too pricey but her mom found a great alternative that kept the spirit of the cake intact and look exactly like Kiwi herself. Plus, the inner cake was marbled and tasted really, really good. So in the end, it was the most perfect cake for the most perfect of birthdays (so far).

birthday candles

During the rest of the evening we just fellowshipped together. We could see rain on the opposite side of the lake and being the country folk that we are (whether I like to admit it or not), the lightning show in the sky was too much to resist. The majority of us headed back to the water’s edge to ooh and ahh at the incredible (natural) light show. I found a solitary spot on the rocks at the top of the hill and set my camera on high sensitivity in hopes of catching one of those amazing bolts of electricity. I never did, but after holding down the shutter button for a series of 100+ photos, I finally managed to catch a single moment when the storm lit up the entire sky. Despite the grainy quality, I think this photo is the one I’m most proud of from the evening.

lightning in the clouds

Then again, this last one of the birthday girl is pretty special too. You can see her two best friends on the opposite side of the table, and our girl’s face is filled with joy. It wasn’t a spontaneous moment — this is the result of a hair toss and bright smile over the shoulder that she was demonstrating as her intended “hello” to a college guy who was due to show up in just moments — but the lack of spontaneity makes it all the better. This is Kiwi’s personality. This is her true smile and her dramatic flair and her contagious joy. This is the woman she is becoming more and more each day. What you see in this photo is her true laugh, and that’s better than anything else I saw all night.

birthday joy

August 8, 2010

Sunday Seven :: celebrating the girl’s sweet sixteen


Kiwi's sweet sixteenThis past weekend was a celebration of our Kiwi’s Sweet Sixteen, so today’s post is completely in her honor. Here are seven things I love about the missy. (Be sure to click the photo for full image.)
1. She is rarely too shy to step out for something (or someone) she’s interested in — even though she doesn’t see how beautiful and talented she is. I dream of being that courageous.
2. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and to her family.
3. She loves (and knows) the music of the 80s almost as much as those of us who lived it. And it’s reflected in her personal style, as well.
4. She is ambitious and has big dreams, but she also wants to make a lot happen right now.
5. She values her environment and absolutely loves living in a small country town. Once, while standing on a well-lit street, she told me it made her sad to not see the stars in the sky. She finds beauty and joy in the expanse of wide-open spaces.
6. When she laughs, her eyes light up and her beauty is intensified. I love that the laughter comes easily.
7. What I love most of all is the way she looks for opportunities to help people and have fun in the process. And that spirit is contagious.
Kiwi Chelle is truly a remarkable young woman with a great sense of herself, and it makes me very proud to tell people that she is my niece. Though the first sixteen years have just flown by for me, I’m so excited to see where our girl is headed as she moves from adolescence into adulthood. What I’m absolutely certain of is that she’s destined to be amazing. And I couldn’t love her more.

July 30, 2010

retro photo month :: day thirty

Kiwi, AJ, K2 - circa 1996   W, AJ, K2, Kiwi - circa 2001
  my greatest treasures: Kiwi and K2, circa 1996;   W, K2 and Kiwi, circa 2001

AJ and The D, circa 2006
AJ and Dyl, circa 2006

As best my parents can remember, I began wearing glasses in the first grade. My eyesight, like my dad’s and eventually both of my sisters’, is extremely nearsighted, and this began to manifest quickly after I began attending school. As a child it’s usually no big deal to wear glasses, but by the time I reached the fringes of puberty I became extremely self-conscious about them. In sixth grade I managed to convince my parents that contact lenses would be better for me and that set me on an interesting journey of ill-fitting lenses that were easily lost and often replaced until the lens makers finally developed better materials to accommodate my severe prescription and high astigmatism. That didn’t occur until adulthood, but it was such a Godsend to be comfortable in my vanity.
I was always certain that I would never return to glasses. Not only did I not like my appearance in them, but they were much less comfortable and practical than contacts. But age often forces a person to make decisions she never thought she would, and such was the case with me. By my mid-thirties I had developed conditions in my eyes that made contacts virtually unbearable after only a few hours, so I made the difficult decision to return to glasses. It’s been almost six years since then and I now find my appearance so foreign without the glasses. Styles have come a long way since my childhood, as have opinions about the people who wear spectacles, and I am finally comfortable with the challenges in my eyesight. At this point, I don’t even recognize myself with the glasses. My sixth grade self would never have believed that could happen.

this month’s photos

St. Louis, circa 1999 around the turn of the 21st century December 1993 circa 1991
circa 1989 eighties hair senior year, high school sophomore year, high school sophomore year, high school
grade 8 middle school drill team circa 1980 grade 6 grade 5
scouts bluebird sisters granddaughters and the matriarch three 70s sisters
sisters in plaid sisters, circa 1972 circa 1971 me, circa 1971 circa 1970
me and my sisters back at the Texas State Capitol Senate Chamber, Texas State Capitol at the Texas State Capitol summer photo day one

Retro Photo Month was inspired by Elizabeth Dillow. Be sure to check out her own collection at {a swoop and a dart}.