Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh My!

How will I ever get through all of the photos from the weekend?!  What a fantastic time we had at Richard's father's home, which we fondly refer to as Camp Davenport, in South Carolina.  It was a great weekend of really just a whole lot of laughter and smiles.  Our girls look so forward to this weekend every year and our time spent there will always be fond memories for us all.  I was able to capture so many images this weekend and I know the girls will appreciate them more and more as they grow older.

It really was a great weekend and it was nice to get home at a decent hour today and unpack, drink some coffee and listen to some Miles Davis in the background while the little ones napped and the older ones took long hot baths (these girls have NO idea how good they have it!!).   It was crazy driving up to our house, though.  Neighbors were out everywhere ... working in their yard, riding go carts up and down the street, chatting with those walking and driving by, etc.  Coming from an extended weekend in the country, it was quite a shock to our systems!!  But a fun shock.  It really is starting to feel like "home" around here.  And I'll admit ... it's nice.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  Tomorrow's Tuesday already.  The week's definitely going to be off to a quick start!

Richard and I had a great run tonight so a long hot shower is definitely calling my name:).
Blessings to you all this week!

To God be the Glory!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We're Off! ( ... almost)

The suitcases are almost packed (i.e.the clothes are piled on top of my bed).  The Van is ready to be loaded (i.e. stuffed with as many items from inside 57 that we can possibly fit into it ... and then we'll try to cram just a little more! I thought about taking a photo of it to post.  Do you remember that commercial where the baby is in his crib and the parents are getting ready to go somewhere and so they are taking everything out of the nursery to the point where the only remaining thing is the baby and the crib? Well, that is us times five.  It's crazy and a bit alarming and so I opted to leave the photo out:)!).  Yes, we are finishing getting ready and hoping to take off this afternoon for our annual trek to SC.
Below is Olivia from last years trek.  
I look at this photo and I am reminded of how much changes in just one year! 

 I dug up and email I sent out after our trip last year and decided to post it.  I guess you could say it was a blog entry without a blog:).  It is a great reminder to me of how God always provides perfectly and abundantly.  We were without Richard last year.  Thankful to have him this year.  Makes this trip all the more special!

As I write, I think of how experiencing life as an Army wife during wartime has really made me pause whenever this weekend comes around.  Although the saying can be cliche' and is overused at this point, my thoughts and my prayers really do go out to all of those military families who are without their hero this weekend.  It has been beyond difficult to have had Richard gone so much, but he has always returned, and I am thankful ... so. so thankful for that.

So if I would have had a blog last year, the below would have been the post.  
Blessings to all of you this weekend.  Enjoy the time off.  Enjoy the sales.  Enjoy the first days at your local pool!  But please remember we are still a nation at war.  Please remember to pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.  Pray for our leaders, and pray for peace.

Memorial Day 2009

The girls and I made our first trip without Richard to the annual Davenport Olympics this weekend.  We left Friday afternoon for a 3-3.5 hour drive to Richard's Dad's house in Campobello, SC.  It was not the easiest trying to finish some school, clean house, take care of little ones and pack all at the same time.  I almost backed out three times.  But after the last attempt to stay home, Patterson couldn't hold it in and started balling, so I sucked it up, got in my "Army of One" mode and off the 6 of us went.  After the first 2 hours we had only gone 40 miles.  Our bad start had not improved.  However, we made it and all of the sanity we lost earlier that day was quickly recovered when I drove up, opened the doors to the van and everyone but Olivia ran as fast as they could to hug dogs and people and play barefoot on the grass tennis court.  There is nothing like fresh country air, grass between your toes and lots of space to run to cure whatever ails you!  

The first trip Richard and I ever made together (15 years ago!!!) was here.  His dad had not yet built on this property, but I remember visiting it.  We've been through a lot of crazy times over the years, but this has always been a favorite escape for us.  With all of the variables, it has been a wonderful "constant."  It was emotional being there without him.  It was not a memory that I wanted to make.  In one of my irresponsible Army Wife moments I realized I was without my phone.  I had left it in the van and so I walked out to get it.  It was late and dark and even in the overcast night, the stars were countless.  I thought of Richard.  He never forgets to look at the stars.  I smiled to myself as I realized that he it was still night in Kuwait.  I was in SC in the country ... Richard, in the middle of the dessert (which he has said is like "being on the moon ... dusty, no trees ... sand and rocks everywhere you look").  I knew he had the night shift, so I knew he was awake too.  Both of us so far apart, but both of us under a starry sky.  I knew that he was noticing those stars, too!  Of course tears came to my eyes, but they were not only tears of sadness ... many were of joy and thankfulness for the many blessings God has given me.  I was thankful for Richard.  I was thankful for stars.  I was thankful for the tough times that make the good times even sweeter.  I was thankful for a God who not only has me in His hands, but who has picked me up ( I certainly wouldn't have climbed up there myself! ), kept me there and promises never to let me fall.  

I am thankful today for our wonderful country and for all of the men and women who have died in the name of America.  I am thankful for the families who loved them and who miss them everyday.  I am especially thoughtful this year of the countless wives just like me who are "holding down the fort" the best they can while their husbands are away.  I am appreciative of everyone else who surrounds these families and loves them like their own during this time.   

Hope you are all doing great!  

Cary and Bridget, thank you for this weekend!!  Uncle John and Aunt Judy, we love you SO MUCH.   Jason and Emily, you are so sweet and so blessed:).  Jennifer and Jaythan we missed you:(.  Adrienne and Toby, you are CRAZY with the training!  One day I'm gonna get that vacuum decal for my van and no Ironman decal will ever be able to compare:)!  You just wait!  Ha Ha Ha!!!  

Love you all!

To God be the Glory,

Mary Katharine 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Can't You Just See Me In This??

Okay, in my dreams, the above is me.  I love this photo.  I do.
I have it here because you can enter here for a chance to win one of EmersonMade's oh so cute clutches.  Click the link and enter to win.  I did!  Who knows, Tara just won an EmersonMade contest ... maybe you or I will too!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Moment Captured

One of my favorite things to do is just grab my camera and capture what the girls are doing right then. Here are Kate and Olivia as I found them when I went to get them for lunch.

I've also linked up again for Sweet Shot Tuesday with this photo of Kate holding Patterson's seedlings.

Hope your Tuesday is going great!  It's story time now here, so I gotta grab some books and some girls:).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Not the Standard End of Year Post

I had planned this to be our last week of school, which would mean that today was the last Monday of the 2009-2010 Davenport School year.  I must say that today, our last Monday of our last week of school, fell right in line with the way the entire year has gone.  Oh how I envy all the entries of fellow homeschool blogging mommas who write of all the joys and academic successes of their school year.  How I wish I could have a post like that.  I think that even if I would have had just one day of just half of the success of which they write I would post it and claim victory for the year.  But my year has not been like that.  After unpacking most of our boxes in Jan 09, Richard went TDY to Germany early Spring, returned for a week, give or take a few days, then deployed.  I had great plans of getting everything "in order" over the summer for our upcoming school year. I got a little distracted, though, as I was ambushed with countless options for homeschooling in this area.  Not a bad thing, but for me it was something that started out as a distraction and eventually caused me to deviate from my usual way of doing things.  Again, not a bad thing.  I did decide to enroll my older two girls in a one day a week school that followed the curriculum we already used very closely, and thought that while I was there were going to be some trade-offs to do this, overall it was nice to have a bit of a break over the summer and not have to "deal" with planning out the school year ... especially since I was still trying to settle into our new home and take care of all five girls without Richard, friends, family or the Army community.  But as most of you know, I spent most of the summer loading the girls up and driving to Alabama for several unexpected funerals and because of Momma's health and oh yeah on top of all of that, I found out at the end of July/early August that the school I had enrolled the older two in didn't have enough enrollment for the elementary grades, so I would be homeschooling them fully at home again.  So our year got off not only to a late start, but a hectic one and I was already s.o.e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d. before we even had the first day.  It was quite the challenge and while all was not lost ... I feel like such a failure because Patterson did not memorize 6 poems this year and didn't start a journal and Parker did not finish her cursive lessons or start latin and Hanson Ellis did not complete her English (even though it is a grade level higher than what she is in) ... etc. etc. Yes, I suppose it would be much easier for me to give a long list of all the things we didn't accomplish and thus claim complete failure in the Classical Curriculum World ... 

My oh my, I'm sure I'm causing gasps by many of you out there!  But there is nothing anyone could say to me that would convict me more than the daily, minute by minute, hour by hour thoughts that have been making my head feel like it is going to absolutely explode, over the past year.  No, overall I do not think my girls have "fallen behind" or that they have not learned or that the year has been a complete loss.  My mind tells me that.  And I am thankful for my mind, because my heart, oh my heart has ached for these girls this past year in a way that none of you out there could possibly understand.  

Patterson is our little Richard in female form.  Full of life, motivation, ENERGY and endless optimism.  If you knew my husband, you'd understand (and I'm sure if you know him, you are smiling reading this).  But also like Richard, she struggles and with processing the negative.  This was Patterson's first year of school.  Patterson is our Kindergartner.  I have worried so much for the lack of "fun" this little girl has had in her "introduction" to formal schooling this year.  Patterson is not very creative in any way.  She is our thinker and "question asker," so it was really just within the past few months that she has started sitting down and doodling.  Her drawings are simple and similar to many her age.  But they are so Patterson ... they are HAPPY.  Look at this one that I picked up off of their drawing table today.  It just oozes happiness.  Even the cloud has a smily face!

Richard says this is a "good sign."  It is also a good sign that she drew her sister Parker (see the red hair girl??) in a positive light.  Patterson threw away Parker's prized possession, a little stuffed beagle dog, when we moved to KS (Patterson was 4 and she used to play "hide and seek" with Parker's things and put "Pup Pup" in the trash) and Parker has never forgiven her!  It is terrible!!! So it does my heart good to see this little drawing.  Anyway, I picked this up and put it by the computer to put on the blog tonight. Then as I was tucking in Kate (again) after my end of the day run with Richard (so incredibly hard to do at the end of the day after all the girls have been read to ... while I love to run, and love to run with Richard at the end of the day my top choice is curling up next to him on the couch and watching dvr'd Glen Beck!!!) .. so back to Kate, as I tucked her sweet little footy jammy self back in bed, I sat on the floor and rubbed through her hair and talked to her about what she was going to dream about "Jesus" she said (good answer:)!!) and so I said what Bible stories do you like?  Do you like the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den?  And I talked her through that story and told her of how God is always there for us, even when "bad" things happen (like being thrown in the Lion's Den).  When I left her room I thought about David.  Richard loves the story of David and Goliath, and I must admit so do I! What an amazing story of confidence in God's strength and will.  Sitting down at the computer preparing to type this entry, I saw Patterson's picture and then thought about David and then remembered I had a picture that Parker drew of David and Goliath last year.  I decided to get it and keep it out as a reminder of this year. 

When we moved to GA, I was overwhelmed by all the Goliath-s that surrounded me ... the civilian world, our really nice mold-free house, five children (three to teach, one to potty train, one not even walking the first months we were here ... diapers to youth group H.E.L.P.), no husband, a sick momma, no friends, N.O.O.U.T.L.E.T.!  Yes I was surrounded, and I had my armor ... I guess I just forgot to put it on and keep it on and go forth in the confidence of the Lord.  Somewhere in the changing of diapers, putting people on the potty, laundry, dishes, sounding out words and grading papers I got tired and forgot that being on my knees isn't the worst place to be.  Being alone isn't the worst thing that could happen.  And not having the most fabulous homeschool year one could dream of might just possibly be the one we all learn the most from.  

I am so thankful for the faithful moms who invest so much in their children's lives.   So thankful for those of you out there who have a vision for Christ and live as intentionally as you can.  So thankful for those of you who document both the good and the bad for the benefit of those who read.  You inspire me.  You encourage me.  You comfort me.  

This year has been hard, and it's going to be a while before I can fully lay it at the cross.  But I am working on it and I look forward to next year and am excited about a new start and another year.  My girls are amazing (despite having me as their Momma) and I love them with all my heart. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In a Blink of an Eye

Hanson Ellis is at the age where sometimes I see her still so young ...

... and then other times I catch her out of the corner of my eye and I get a glimpse of the future.

   It seems like in a blink of an eye she's gone from two to twelve.  I know it won't seem any different from twelve to twenty-two.  

"Take (her) heart Lord, take and seal it.  Seal it for Thy courts above."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Family Time

We've had a fantastic weekend thus far.  Dinner out last night at our favorite mexican restaurant.  Stuffed ourselves with chips and filled our hearts with laughter.  Afterwards Richard treated me to a new pair of running shoes ... and I said goodbye to my old faithfuls that I've had since Parker was born (that's right, they were EIGHT years old!!!).  This morning Richard and I had our painful 3 mile run.  This is our run that we have to psych ourselves up for ... if I remember correctly, there are at least 7 hills in this short run.  It is definitely the kind of run that you never really feel the "yeah, turnaround!" because there are just as many crazy hills on the way back as there are on the way to the turnaround.  It is just a v.e.r.y hard run.  But it is always the greatest treat to me to run with Richard.  Always.  It was humid this morning, but there were was a wonderful cool breeze as well.  We saw several little wild bunnies and a very beautiful yellow bird that I need to research to learn it's name.  Yes, a hard but nice run and a great start to the day.  The rest of the day has just been busy with normal day to day things, but we have laughed and laughed and just enjoyed each other so much.  I know I've said this before, but it is so nice to have Richard home.  I am so thankful for that.  And I am so thankful for laughter.  :)
Remembering in my prayers all my Army Wives without the ones they love ...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What I Love

New flowers for my home.

Working outside and laughing with my girls.

Seeing a sweet little one discover life.

Olivia snatched up Patterson's purse today and I noticed her just standing with her arm up so the purse wouldn't fall off:).  Love it.  And then she just kept staring at me as I took photos of her ... I'm sure she's wondering what this thing is that I always have in front of my face.

Today was a sweet Thursday.
I had coffee on the couch while starting a new book.
I got my hair cut.
I witnessed Hanson Ellis growing up just a little more when I walked in from the salon and she had Olivia on her hip, she had Parker and Patterson get dressed and the dishes were finished.
I folded laundry with Patterson.
I read stories with Kate and Olivia.
I went to Home Depot and purchased pine straw for our yard and the girls and I realized putting it out was not as easy as it looked and we laughed and laughed thinking about how worth the money it would have been to just have someone deliver it and put it out for us.
I let Patterson blow off the driveway ... and laughed so hard at that little hyper toothpick working so hard, yet blowing nothing at all!
I had dinner with the six people I love more than anything in this world.
I snuggled with a sweet one year old in a rocking chair and read bedtime stories and sang Jesus Loves Me and How Firm a Foundation.
I went on a great run with the man who's always been there for me and loves me and encourages me despite knowing my countless shortcomings.
I had a wonderful conversation on the phone with a dear lady who I've admired since the first time I met her when Richard was in Ranger School.

I surely love the big moments in life, but what I love the most are the little things that happen everyday and may not be significant in and of themselves, but clumped together are what make LIFE.

Goodnight.  I'm hopping in the shower, grabbing my book and climbing in bed.
Thankful for today.  Looking forward to tomorrow.

To God be the Glory.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Summary of Today

Today was as full as any of my days have ever been.  Overall it was a good day.  Of course there were many things not checked off on the "to-do list" (which many days I consider my "must do" list), and there were many failures in parenting along the way ... but the day was a good day and as I sit here typing this, so many thoughts run through my mind of how blessed I am and how life, even on the days where everything is not checked off and where I fail miserably as a parent, life is such a tremendous and priceless gift.

So briefly, here was my day ...
the girls slept in an extra 30 minutes this morning, so I had time to enjoy the below on my back porch.

I also found time to sit with the girls at lunch (something I used to do everysingleday until this year ... OH THIS YEAR!!!)

And then this ... I finally got a photo from almost 2 years ago framed and up on the wall (I know this sounds extreme and probably is, but in all fairness it was taken in AL while we were visiting from KS and when it was ready to frame I had just had a baby and was in the process of moving to GA and just figured I'd get it when I got there and then we were busy moving in and Richard deployed ... etc. etc.).

We had some errands to run this afternoon and when I returned home I found an email in my inbox from my sister in law, who forwarded and email from a girl I knew in college about this girl pregnant with inoperable brain cancer.  Click the link.  Read the story.  Pray for this girl, her baby, her husband, her family. Then go and hug all your sweet little ones and your spouse, too!  Thank God for your life, for your health and for theirs.  Go to bed remembering the gift of life you had today and excited about the gift of life you'll be blessed to have in the morning.

I've had Great is Thy Faithfulness stuck in my head all day after reading this entry on Planted by Streams.
Yes, "All I have needed, Thy hands have provided!  Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me."

To God be the Glory,