Are We There Yet?

People joke about kids making that statement when they go as a family on a trip. We left Monday on a trip and it was less than 30-minutes down the road when one of them asked the question. I thought this was way too early for a five-hour trip. It became an about every 20 minute routine for them. It was sort of cute, sorta. They did very well during the trip and the anticipation of it all kept them focused with joyful anticipating rather than sinning their brains out.

Grandpa said we could visit with them at Hilton Head for part of this week. This is their week at the condo. It’s always fun to go down and spend some time with them. They arrived on Saturday. We arrived just after noon on Monday. We’ll leave just after dinner late Wednesday afternoon. They will leave on Saturday.

The kids love the beach. They really love Hilton Head. It is not as much about tourist as families. The modesty issues that we run into at Myrtle are a bit too much. At Hilton Head there are more retired couples and parents with small children. There typically, in the weeks we have visited, haven’t been too many young, unmarried people on the beaches. And in October the crowds are very small.

Yesterday we walked to the beach, which was a 30-minute hike, with three kids, wagon load of implements and shoulder bags. I felt like I was pulling a sled. Today I noticed all four tires were flat on the wagon. I was pulling a sled. We went to the convenience store and bought some air. The wagon pulled amazingly well today.

Tonight for dinner we had what is becoming our annual beach birthday dinner for Tristen and Haydn. This is the third year in a row that we have celebrated their birthdays at Hilton Head. I think that is correct. Grandma made a birthday cake for them. Haydn placed five candles in one side and Tristen placed seven in the other side. We fired it up and sang our song and blew the candles out. Haydn got a “shooter” type rocket launcher kind of thing and some connect type contraption that makes scooters, planes, monsters and the like. Tristen got a very large coloring page of some Disney princesses. There were four of these giant-size things in her packet. She also got a painter’s easel type thing with paints and canvass and more. She was stoked.

Ansa, not to be left out, got a very soft kitty. It wasn’t real, praise God! She didn’t seem to mind if she got something or not. Fortunately she’s not too materialistic at two years old. She was enjoying her sibling’s joy.

It has been a tiring day. We spent 6+ hours at the beach swimming, digging, running around and more. The kids are doing very well. They are behaving, not being selfish and being pretty much a delight. They bring me much joy. Lucia and I are sleeping very well and enjoying the sound of the ocean and the sunshine. It is very peaceful down here.

I met a lady yesterday at the Bargain Box. She has been married for 66 years, amazing. They retired in ’82. I was just getting going in ’82. She was very kind.

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Smoothies and the Grace of God

Today Lucia was making smoothies for our kids. This is an almost daily occurrence for the fam. My kids, plus this big kid, loves Lucia’s smoothies. She keeps a regular stock of frozen bananas in the freezer in the garage and a few frozen strawberries or blueberries or mango or whatever mixed with some apple juice. My, my!!

This afternoon she didn’t have enough of one of the ingredients so only three of the four kids in the house could imbibe. I was upstairs in the office doing some work and Haydn, my four-year old, came bounding up asking me if I wanted his smoothie. I was confused. Really confused. Was this my son? Was he sick? I don’t typically think the best when misunderstanding comes my way. I’m working on it.

I gave him a very huge embrace and commended him over and again for his Christ-like behavior. He was glowing from ear to dirty ear. 

Still a bit confused and not thinking the best I asked Lucia later what was up with that. “Did you ask him to give up his smoothie?” She said it was all him. She told the kids that there was only enough for three and Haydn immediately popped up and said that daddy could have his. And immediately up the stairs he came running to let me know. You have to understand: he might as well have said I could have his favorite toy or he was going on a sweet-fast. 

Sometimes I wonder if these kids are mine. Sometimes, many times, they get it right. I am lost sometimes as a dad and typically only hitting on half my cylinders in the parenting department. But my kids do get it right, often. God’s grace was magnified today as three of us were slurping smoothies.

The Biggest Loser

Okay, we’re hooked. We started watching the The Biggest Loser last year and now we’re hooked. Tuesday night family time is watching some very large people lose weight. It actually is quite motivating. I only had one handful of popcorn tonight, while watching the latest episode and my family had only one bag. We’re making progress.

Personally I think all those real-life programs are overrated and we don’t even give them a courtesy nod, hence my surprise we’re watching this.

I was told the “red couple” is from Greenville. That’s pretty cool.

Brother IZ

A number of years ago Lucia and I had the privilege to spend a week in Hawaii. It was beyond belief. It was drop-dead gorgeous! While we were there we visited with a friend who turned us on to some Hawaiian music, particularly Brother IZ. His real name is Israel Kamakawiwo`ole. He is one of the most popular Hawaiian singers ever. He is revered over there. He died a few years back.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Finding Forrester” and watched the end credits roll up-the closing scene on the basketball court-then you heard Brother IZ sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It’s one of the most popular versions of that song.

Here’s a Youtube clip of Brother IZ.

It’s a Girl! …and a Boy! …and another Boy!!

…and 10 more to go!!!

Tristen came running into my office this morning with the big news. The caterpillar collection we bought two weeks ago are now hatching into beautiful Monarch Butterflies. We watched them all form their chrysalises a little over a week ago.

This morning they began the coming out process. The Monarchs were shriveled a bit as well as damp. Last week we put a florescent lamp over the plants where they have been eating and then hanging. It was cool to watch them come to life, slowly dry out and begin stretching out their wrinkled wings.

Each chrysalis was about the size of the end of my wife’s little finger. You can imagine how wadded up the butterfly was. The kid’s bedroom is fluttering with butterflies. We let the first three go through the crack in the screen we made. They are now enjoying their new life.

The other ten chrysalises are yet to open.

Tristen’s Storytime

Tristen dictated this story to her friend Brooke, who kindly penned it for her. Brooke, who has kept the kids in the past, wanted to stop by to see them again. It’s been awhile since they’ve hooked up. She is so kind. She is a full-time student at North Greenville, but wanted to spend time with her little friends.

From a dad’s perspective there isn’t anything much better than a God-centered, God-affected young woman desiring to spend time with your kids. We parents are not all that confident we’re getting it right and when somebody wants to come alongside you to serve you it’s a wonderful thing.

Thank you, Brooke!!

Here’s Tristen’s story:

Once upon a time there was a family that was kind. They planted a tree. Their house was pretty. The mother saw it was going to rain. They had one daughter. She was pretty. She had a pet named Ariel. She was a pretty, white cat.

There was a rainbow in the sky. They had a fort. They had a flag, too. It was an American flag. The daughter got married one day becaue she was thirty-years old. She lived happily ever after.

Tristen Thomas