Saturday, May 28, 2016

Jaci's Grad

 Oh I love you! wasn't it just yesterday I was taking picture of you at your grade 9 grad?  Really wasn't it yesterday that you looked like this:

The little girl who toddled about behind your big brother Benny and made me realize he'd be a pretty good dad one day. 

One of the things I have in common with my kids, is we have all unanimously agreed that you are our favourite person...ever. 

But I think a lot of people feel that way. Like everyone who gets to know you. 

When I took photos at your grade 9 grad, you'd only done a year at that school (with kids who'd been together since Kindergarten) but you were adored. 
And here you are again, doing it all again. Not many could move to a new school in their last year of High School and some how snuggle right in. 

As we arrived...

...after last minute hair and simultaneous sleeve sewing....

 We were greeted by "Jaaaaaaci!!!!!" As poeple ran over with eager hugs and exclamations of "You look so beautiful!"  Which is all to be expected. But there is something about the deep sincerity with which people love you and interact with you. It's not just a too your face nicety, but a genuine gladness at your very presence, not a competitive popularity contest, but an untainted kind of friendship you seem to be able to foster wherever you go, with who ever is lucky enough to get to associate with you. 

It is one of your (many) gifts.

And in the long list of those who love her, her family is at the top.
The baby of eight kids to graduate. Pretty special.

This was the very last picture we took, and as I looked at it on my viewfinder, it was like my "life with Jaci-flashed before my eyes" and I was flooded with memories of that sweet smile-- from her little toddler arms wrapped around my teenage neck all the way to our reunited greeting, in which I always get a big hug and her "Hey, Chels".  My heart just swelled and my I totally teared up, feeling so grateful for this very special girl in my life. 

Jaci, you are going to all sorts of good. You are going to continue pulling the best out of people, just by being you.  As Ben shared one time on your birthday, "Life is better when ... my wife is happy, and Chelsea is happier when Jaci's around." Such truth. Love you Jaci!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Little family trip

I only screeched, "Fine! We're NOT going!" a couple of times at my kids before we left for a long weekend trip. Maybe we need to do more surprise trips. But as someone who prefers anticipation I thought I'd give my kids the chance to look forward to some fun...besides I'm not above having incentives to bribe my kids with and/or threats, as it turns out, hence the few "Listen to me, or we're just going to stay home!"

But instead of motivation, my kids where just a tad bit wired--a buzz with the thrill of staying at a hotel and spending a few days water-sliding. 

Well, in the end, I didn't cancel the trip, and we managed to get all packed up and on the road. 

Ben had a church commitment Thursday evening, but we decided it would be fine to go late... 
We were wrong. That two hour nap on the way to Medicine Hat, was just enough for Hadley and Enoch to think it was time to party and they took forever to settle. We also realized that we're officially too big to stay in just one hotel room. By the morning, we were exhausted and the kids were still rearing to go. 

This is them looking down at the pol from our hotel room.

Poor Hadley being told she had to what for mom to get baby
Enoch to sleep before she could go down the slides.

 There is always that moment, where after all the laundry and packing and just hardwork it is to arrange for a family trip---that moment where you witness siblings (who have fought non-stop all week) interact like friends, and you smile, as your heart sighs and you realize, "Yes. This is why we do this. It's all worth it. Memories are being made. Just that break in routine is enough to help us see each other again. To remember how fun we can be and how much we can enjoy one another.

Lots of times we travel "with" Ben, which means while we play, he's busy working, visiting offices and staying out late helping on installs. Usually we run around exploring the city, going to different parks, but this time is was raining as so I gave up an expectations other than hanging at the hotel. And it was soooo nice. We swam for 3 hours, then had a brea for lunch and naps/quiet time. Went back and swam another 3 hours. I gotta say, I'm pretty impressed with myself that I managed to take 5 kids swimming that long (another 2 1/5more hours the next morning)all by myself:)  Probably helped that my sister-in-law, Ben's brother;s wife who is the lead tech in that office,  came by, so I could have a bit of adult conversation.

After soooo a long day of playing I thought for sure the night would be better...and it kinda was.
I took pictures, so I wouldn't be so annoyed at how late my kids still managed to stay up.

Despite a late night, they were up early, and despite their puffy, sleepy eyes they were ready to put their still damp swim suits back on.

Aaron loved hanging out at the top.

Someone was tired and decide she could take her soother and blankie into the pool with her
....that elephant needed a good bath anyways.

Aaron, for the most part was really good. He is fairly independent in pools, but still if it's busy we can run into issues. This time it was him deciding it was rather fun to stop himself and walk up the waterslide instead of sliding down them. The first time, I was sitting with Enoch in the baby pool and I start hearing a lot of people shouting "Hey! Hey kid!"Aaron's very good at doing just what he's suppose to until you relax and he knows you;re not being quite as vigilant. I ran all the way up with Enoch in-tow just in time for Aaron to decide to slide down. We intercepted him at the bottom and he got to sit. He tried it a few more times and sat each time until he decided the fun wasn't worth wasting precious pool time. 

I love this shot, catching Mckye watching as Levi runs off, with the little friend they made...
and knowing that Enoch is about to get ditched.

My kids...I love em. And sometimes getting outta my house, with the constant dishes and laundry and pile of school papers I wish would all just disappear, is just what I need to remember it. 

My kids love packing in this little old Care bears suitcase. It's falling a part but I love it. Figured I better get a photo of it before it bites the dust. Levi was very first.

Before we hit the road home (also just did a couple nights instead of the whole weekend, which I think was good too) we had to hit up MacDonald's one last time.  ("M" is for McKye, by the way)

One thing I LOVE about my big camera, is how a shallow depth of field can transform even a cluttered MacDonald's table, full of wrappers and ketchup into one more place I can capture those little interactions between my kids.

That's a whole lota fries Aaron just stiffed in his mouth...
and he's thrilled about it!

Til next time.