dear friends + family!
we have been back in newport for several weeks after a three week vacation down south! we had a week in amherst, with my folks. the farm was splendid! it was hot and humid (which was so SO welcome to our cold souls), green and lush (since i havn't been back to the farm for almost 4 years, it seems that the small trees are now very large!). we visited my brother's grave, a first since his burial. a small country plot overlooking the hills of the blue ridge mountains. we visited a wonderful little country store and had fresh peach shakes. we went to the lynchburg farmer's market + liberty university (my alma mater). i even got lost on the lynchburg bypass b/c its tricky to a new comer. we went swimming in the jacuzzi and admired the views. we walked up and down our gravel driveway and talked about the dogs (ransom enjoyed laying on the dogs, they were very patient). we fed and pet the goats, checked out the sheep, that are grazing on the land. rhys milked the goat. trudged around in rain boots and avoided the ticks to the best of our ability. we explored down by the bonfire at the bottom of the land and climbed up on the tree fort/house that my mama has made for the kids out of repurposed building supplies (it even has our old spiral staircase!) i took several of the kids to v.e.s. for a little walk about. its always good to reconnect with that special place. it even smelled like i remember it smelling during the summers.
then it was off to annapolis for a two week stay and a stop off in nyc (brooklyn) for the 4th of july. we had such a lovely, relaxing visit at marmie and pop's. we went swimming at their neighbor allison's pool nearly every day. we played in the plastic kiddie pool and threw rocks and pebbles in the west river. we played in mole's end and up in the attic, dressing up. we played with the kitchen in the mud room and ate marmie's delcious waffles. (this is a requested favorite for my kids). rebecca and i worked really hard to get the kids back on a good schedule. i instituted a rule that the children were not allowed to get out of their beds until 0700. it took a little getting used to but they were champs! how nice to get a full night's rest. i also starting allowing blaise to cry himself to sleep. this insured a full night with no wake ups for mama. i think sleep deprivation (among other things) has been the main source of my spring meltdowns. it is imperative that mama gets good sleep, otherwise i am not able to be a good mama to the kids. i don't want to be a snippy, cranky mama or wife. graham flew down for a long weekend, surprising me! we got to have a double date with some friends from hawaii and walk around our old stomping grounds in annapolis. it was a very special weekend for he and i.
i always come back from tenthouse (the name my in-laws gave to their home) feeling so refreshed. thank you re and mark! thank you mama and daddy for opening up the home down in virginia, it is such a special and beautiful place.
we had a nice family gathering at logan and laura's in brooklyn. we watched the lights of the city as the sun faded west over the skyline and the hudson. the view from their roof is spectacular! the next day i drove up to newport, while graham went sailing with his dad, brother, cousin and some friends, up to newport with the dawn treader. (the boat). they came in around midnight of monday night. what a wonderful homecoming!!
the week we came home we had eli, graham's cousin with us. it was a wonderful visit. he is such a big help with the kids. we went to gooseberry beach several times and got some good sunshine. upon kyrie's request, graham and eli built a lemonade stand and we set it up for business on a sunny and warm newport saturday morning. the kids had a blast. we even got a date night and walked down to the theatre to see "away we go". great flick. please go see it!
this week we have had anna and rachel magee (from our homegroup at coast vineyard) staying with us, helping me out with the kids. this is their 3rd summer coming out! we love them. they love our kids and are so good with them. i love having the girls with us. the kids had vacation bible school all week at our church - and loved it of course!! we also had emily here for a few days as we celebrated graham's 30th birthday on july 16th! the dawn treader had been docked at the war college marina for a week and so his parents and siblings all came up to celebrate and then to sale it back down to annapolis. we had a wonderful party for him on friday night - rebecca brought all the food. it was phenomenal. we had some old and new friends and it just was a special evening. we have much to celebrate - not only graham's birthday but that we also got FAO (foreign area officer) and are moving to monterey in a few months for language school. this was exactly the career move graham was hoping for. this means we'll be in a foreign country within a year to 18 months. we are so so excited!!! such a blessing for the lord. we have been so excited about this move and now its almost finally here!! the emotions we feel can be described as just getting engaged or having just had your first baby! its so BIG!
so that is our summer so far. we are enjoying the warm (well today its raining) and sunny summer weather, the park, the beach, and walking all over town. we'll be hopfully picking berries at sweet berry farm, going to outdoor concerts at the beach, seeing the beach boys on the naval base this weekend, celebrating kyrie's 6th & blaise's 1st, helping with a wedding shower for whitney and jondavid, and v.b.s. later in august. its crazy having four kids, but each day is new and a clean slate!