26 November 2008

sixty

This October, to celebrate the monumental occasion of my dad's 60th birthday, we boarded the Carnival Destiny and cruised to Mexico with my dad, his wife and 60 (yes, SIXTY) of their closest friends.

In a word, the trip was incredible. And as I sit here and think about the four-and-a-half days we spent together, I am struck by how good - I mean really good - the time was. Contrary to what one might expect, it wasn't the cruise ship or its amenities, or the Florida Keys, or Cozumel, or the much needed R and R, or the family time, or the friends, or the sun, or the fun, or the foofy drinks, or the food (or the fact that someone else was cooking all of it), that made our time away so extraordinary. So, what was it?!

It was... the pause that was so profound. Our trip felt like that moment at the end of the day when you sit back, fill your lungs and finally exhale.

For four-and-a-half fun-filled days and nights, the ritual and routine of each of our lives were momentarily interrupted. We breathed slow, sweet, deep breaths. Inhale... Exhale... Inhale... Exhale... Inhale... Exhale... We soaked in the sun. We went to the cheesy cruise events. We spent time together. We enjoyed periodic respite from the kiddos and they from us courtesy of Camp Carnival (may God bless Camp Carnival). We had plans and no plans. We celebrated. We honored. We rejoiced.

As I sort through my pictures and think back to the Destiny, I am thankful for the priceless time I shared with my family, with sixty of my parents' friends and 2940 other voyagers aboard a Carnival cruise ship (who knew?!). But mostly, I feel thankful for my dad.

I am thankful that my kids know and utterly ADORE their Grandpa Gbo. I am thankful for his wife - for my step mom - and for the new life and hope and joy that has sprung from ashes. I am thankful for the years I felt misunderstood, overprotected and unheard, yet loved and loved and loved some more. I am thankful for health and time and the opportunity to nurture and grow in a living, breathing, mature relationship with my daddy. Ah... to pause. To breathe. So sweet.
















Inhale... Exhale... Inhale... Exhale...

24 November 2008

we heart colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park (aka Paradise). September '08.








danville '08

A handful of snapshots from our adventure with Grandma at Virginia Safari Park and sweet time spent together during our visit to Danville in August...
















23 November 2008

eight months


Well, HELLO!!

Obviously much has happened since March. I know.
Here is a brief (really brief) recap...

April

May


June

July

August*

September

October*

November*

... and a bit more* to follow.

In short, the last eight months have been... FULL. The break has been necessary. The insight, invaluable. The kiddos, HUGE. The volumes of untold stories, yet-to-be-downloaded pictures and priceless memories... plentiful.

There are far too many treasures to recount, but let it be said that we've lived - really lived - these last eight months.
I suppose you'll actually have to read our Christmas letter this year (I suppose I should write it!). Yes.

So now I'm back, and the telling of our story continues...