Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beach Shots I

OK, so I finally found our camera (unpacking has been slow) and uploaded our beach pictures today. I have many more pictures to go through, but here are some of the decent ones I've uncovered so far.

Is this little fellow the sweetest, or what?
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Yup, she belongs to me too. I'm one blessed Mamma.
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Cute little Ari-man loved the beach. After maybe one day of being skittish about the water, he warmed up and spent the rest of the trip exploring everything quite fearlessly.
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Some people have adorable mothers. I happen to be one of those people.
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Matthew didn't get to the beach as much as I had hoped, due to his illness. But when he did, he definitely preferred the dry sand to the surf! He spent a lot of time climbing on and around our beach chairs.
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Thanks to this fabulous, fat-wheeled wheelchair, Cubby made it to the beach every single day--twice, most days. Take that, angina! It blessed all of us so much to see our Cub enjoying the beautiful outdoors so freely. That chair sure was worth the rental fee, huh, Cub?
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The Jacqua Lady
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Daddy and Megs shots:
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That's my Baby.
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And, hey, look! There's my Baby's baby! :)
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Did I mention that my mom is adorable?
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I love this one of Ari and the volley ball net.
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More to come...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back From the Beach

We are home from the Outer Banks--and what a quick trip it seems now that it's over! Actually, it was even quicker than we had planned. Originally, we were not scheduled to return to Maryland until tomorrow afternoon. But God's ways are not our ways!

We began to see this three days into our beach trip, when Matthew started running a high fever. His bout with sickness meant that Dave and I were up in the middle of the night to check his temperature, give him medicine, soothe and feed him. This lasted for four nights straight. Throughout this time, Cubby also experienced various and mysterious health problems, and my mom came down with a cold. Then, after the final night of Matthew's troubles, we awoke on Friday morning to the news that a stomach bug had invaded our home. First Lena and my brother-in-law, Asher, went down. Jacque succumbed later that day. At that point, Dave wisely decided that we should drive straight home on Saturday rather than extending our vacation with a stay at Jacque and Asher's house.

So on Saturday morning, we packed our van, said goodbye to the rest of the family and headed out. We hadn't driven five miles when Meg threw up her breakfast all over herself and her car seat. We cleaned up, stopped at Walmart for supplies, and kept driving, knowing that if Meg got worse we might have to find a hotel. Fortunately, she did not vomit again, though she was one miserable little girl for the rest of the day. We made it home just in time to get the kids to bed, then we unloaded the car and fell into bed ourselves. Three hours later, I woke up and headed to the bathroom for some one-on-one time with the commode. I spent almost the entire day on Sunday in bed with chills and aches, while David valiantly played house-husband.

The biggest bummer of it (to me) is that I had saved up all year to take Dave to Busch Gardens today. My roller-coaster loving guy hasn't made it to an amusement park in several years, and I was psyched that Jacque and Asher were willing to keep our kids while we went to ride the Big Bad Wolf and Alpengeist and the brand new Griffon. But, alas, it was not to be.

At times like this, I am extra grateful for the gospel. It is tempting to think that I have a right to complain about my marred and abbreviated vacation--to think that God owed me more than He delivered. But the gospel reminds me that what I really deserve is God's righteous wrath. And because Jesus went to the cross on my behalf, what I have instead is God's undeserved favor and forgiveness. So any vacation at all is icing on top of an already unbelievably sweet cake!

Plus, as my husband wrote in an email earlier today, "While it wasn’t exactly ultra restful, it was [a] very joyful [vacation]." For the most part, despite the minor trials, it truly was. And that's why I'll be following up this post with some others later in the week... pictures and stories (of all the nicer parts of our trip) are forthcoming!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our First Time at the County Fair

Yes, yes, this really was our very first visit to the famed (OK, maybe hyped is more like it), annual Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. Neither Dave nor I had ever been there until today, despite the fact that we've both lived in this county for seven or nine years or so. And lemme tell you, we chose the perfect year to start going--the weather was UNBELIEVABLE! In the seventies, breezy, sunny, all 'round gorgeous. No DC dog days so far this August! And we had a great time.

So I hope you're ready for some pictures, folks. Because I have dozens. (You think I'm kidding.)

Here we are, just starting out. Imagine me saying, "Meg, look at Mommy!" and Meg saying, "NO!" and Dave saying, "I don't think this is working," and you'll enjoy this one much more.
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The first area we toured was the goat barn. Matthew was transfixed by the goats. When he first saw their faces poking up over the fence, the sweetest smile spread across his face. I failed to capture that, but this shot was pretty cute too...
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I think this was the one that captivated him.
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This gal was my favorite by far. She should definitely get a blue ribbon just for those ears.
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Dave, Meg, and a sheep being prepared for shearing:
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Next we went to see the pigs. As we entered their barn, three of them were having a little dispute, uttering those loud, gutteral squeals that big pigs can make and sort of shoving each other around in the pen. Well, that was enough to make Meg pronounce that "pigs are scary." Honestly, I didn't blame her much. Them suckers was huge!!! Not exactly what Meg sees in the picture books. This photo doesn't even begin to do them justice. They were monsters.
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From then on, Meg kept asking to see "the little piggies," as if we were hiding the real specimen from her. Alas, we never found the little piggies.

The sheep proved much more acceptable to Meg...
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...especially these woolly lambs.
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Woah, here comes my favorite moment of the day. This is Dave and Meg watching the pony rides.
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After a moment or two, Meg said, "Meg ride pony too?" Dave and I looked at each other. Was it even worth the effort? Would she panic and scream when they set her on the pony? Would she cry all the way around the corral and make everyone around us miserable? We pressed Meg to be sure that this was something she really wanted to do. She vacillated, then made up her mind. Dave took her to wait in line while Matthew and I manned the camera.

When they first set Meg on the tall, brown pony, it seemed that our fears would be confirmed. She let out a loud wail, and Dave lifted her back down from the horse's back. But next up was a little white pony, which Meg mounted quietly, if nervously. And when her noble steed began to move... a great big smile lit her up! (You probably can't see it because this is so small, but it was there!)
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I was so proud of my brave girl for riding her very first pony!
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Lunchtime. We headed for the concession wagons, where we purchased a basket of chicken tenders and fries for Meg and a hamburger (mistake! mistake!) for me. When I asked my husband what he would order, he uttered the most memorable quote of the day: "It's the fair. I'm havin' a corn dog!"
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Matthew had all of us licked in the nutrition department; he had the only packed lunch! And despite the face he's making here, he happily gobbled all of his sweet potato, collard greens and baby cereal medley!
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(The red tent we ate under makes for some nice pictures, eh?)

After breaking bread, we checked out one of the dairy barns.
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OK, enough bovine observation for one day! Let's go do some rides!

This is where the day took a turn for the traumatic. As we headed for the carnival rides, Meg once again spotted a blow-up Dora the Explorer that she'd been eyeing all morning. When told that she could not have a Dora, she started a melt-down process which continued off and on for the next hour or so. But apart from the moments when she was sobbing, we still had lots of fun.

First ride: the cars. (Otherwise known as the Jalopy Something... can't remember any of the rides' proper names.) Here's my David, takin' his girl out for a spin.
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She loved it. (Silly hat, messing with my pictures.)
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He's got her in training for roller coasters.
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Next Meg rode the tea cups with Mommy. She loved that too.
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After that... a surprise. Meg wanted to ride what she dubbed "the sneaky snake"--sort of a baby roller-coaster thing, shaped like a cobra. (Note: all snakes are "sneaky snakes" right now, because the story of Satan in the Garden of Eden is called that in one of our Bible story books.) We were shocked by her choice, since this a loud and large ride, and many of the smaller rides we had passed Meg had judged as "too scary". Anyway, here are Meg and Dave getting settled on the sneaky snake.
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Off they go...
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Again, you probably can't see it, but she has a huge grin on her face. Dave says she loved every minute of it.
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After a brief and traumatic experience on the big slide (the kind where you sit on a burlap sack), which we will not share at length, there were just enough tickets (and mental energy) left for one more ride. Meg chose the tea cups again--this time, with her hero, Daddy. They ended up in a cup with two other little girls. It was so cute to see Dave with the three of them.
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I love Meg's happy face in this one.
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This post would not be complete without a brief tribute to Matthew, who earned The Trouper of the Day Award. He rode in his stroller for the full three hours, with no breaks and relatively little attention, through sun and crowds and noisy, rattling rides and screaming big sisters... all with nary a murmur. And this was with no morning nap! He helped make the day a joy for all of us, and we are grateful to God for our sweet boy.
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So that's the story of our day at the fair! (In only twenty-four pictures. Told you I had dozens.)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Family Day at Black Hill

Pictures from our day at the park this week... we took off to Black Hill Regional Park for a walk in the woods, a romp on the playground, and an impromptu picnic. I love being with my little fam!

A little hike
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Treasures from the forest floor... a butterfly wing, a bright red leaf
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Now we're at the playground/picnic area...
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A see-saw for the whole family!
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