Monday, August 18, 2014

More Magical Moments of Summer

Following the visit with Jill and Elle, there were 5 days at home for projects and visits with friends, and then Kevin and I headed to VA for a nephew's wedding. The pre-wedding days built into the trip afforded time to visit with my Dad and siblings. Love, love these events that gather us together, from FL., from Delaware, and the Virginians, which include my brother Paul, father of the groom, and his family, and my Dad and step-mom.

My sister and I made sure we satisfied our resale-shopping-together-tradition at the mission sponsored store Dad volunteers time to. Since she and I have birthdays a day apart and since the dates were only a couple of weeks away, we weren't going to miss the chance to celebrate together. There might have been a time in childhood when sharing birthdays wasn't cool, but we were way past that juvenile nonsense.  Roy, her husband, bought us a cake and Dad planned a night for the occasion, to treat us all to dinner out. Our gifts to one another were brought out from the car trunks, and we enjoyed the exchanges.
Happy Birthday, Sis!

The family lingered over breakfast in the mornings. A few of us even managed to slip in a couple of games of Scrabble. We enjoyed being treated to the rehearsal luncheon and attending the informal gathering of other extended family, outside of our clan, which had come to join in the wedding festivities.

Weddings force our attention away from any worries and cares of our own as we watch the featured couple exchange vows and smile endlessly for the photographers-for the guests-for their joyful anticipation of a new life together. We the family are treated to wonderful food and free entertainment as the dancing begins. Every wedding is unique, and we eagerly anticipate what surprises this one might hold.

After the wedding party couples hip-hopped into the reception, the first dances were performed as we all watched, and then they sat down at tables with the guests, the bride and groom seated at table with their parents. I liked the no head table idea. Also, thumbs up to the options of activities offered to the guests---dancing and a help-yourself-dessert bar. And the funny, lol moments at the old-fashioned photo booth.  Remember the phone booth sized boxes that used to sit in a hallway in the mall?  Where you and your boyfriend snook inside, closed the black curtain behind you, slipped some coins in the slot, and stole some kisses while the hidden camera captured your furtive flirtation?  Or snapshots of your 'gang' who crowed into the little space for a silly group selfie? The camera flashed for three different poses and voila! you could pull the bookmark size, black and white results from another slot for on-the-spot keepsakes! Now, many photo technology methods later, these old-time marvels are obsolete. Some local company has resurrected them, and transports photo booths to events. The photo shoot experience is now updated and enhanced with props-feather boas, oversized eyeglasses, hats, signs, wigs, costume jewelery-sure to suit any fancy and personality.

Our family decorated each other, amid laughter and iPhone camera clicks. Each couple or single took their turn in the cubicle and left with a tri-photo of themselves, in color, a memoir to keep of the wedding. A copy of each session was saved for the bride and groom who would have a grand picture collage of the guests who had participated. Dad and Lena were reluctant to frolic in the silliness with us, but they succumbed to group pressure and joined in the fun.

The weekend ended with hugs and happy memories and Kevin and I headed east to see Amanda and her family. There we enjoyed a week of more grand kid time.  Auron is 6 years old, Elika almost 4.  Grandpa and I honed our puzzle assembly skills, read stories, built Lego vehicles and structures, baked cinnamon rolls, and played Candy Land and Sorry. We visited their schools and jumped the waves at Virginia Beach. Movie night featured the Legos movie. Another night the adults competed at Euchre.
Elika Bakes!

At the end of the week, and time to leave for Indiana, there were only good byes to Daddy, because Amanda and the kids followed us back. After they spent a week in the area with other family, they moved in with us for the remainder of their stay. This time we read Grandma's story books, and played with Grandma's dress up clothes and cars. Puzzle marathon day had every kid's puzzle in the house put together for display on the living room floor. Auron learned to ride a two-wheeler, sans training wheels, on the thrift store bike I had purchased.
Birthdays were celebrated early; we would be far apart come actual birthdays this Fall.

Chalk Art!

Auron tries Pop Rock candy for the first time:)
Puzzle Mania!
Auron and Elika were an absolute delight! So glad you all could come!

Goodbyes could no longer be averted and Amanda and family left our home on a Sunday morning.  Daddy had flown in mid-week and would drive with them for the long trip back.

As the house returns to it's uncluttered floors and quieter demeanor, I reflect on the month gone by. We withdrew our days from a bank of plans and expectations, spent them freely with happiness and joy and now treasure our new possession of memories.

Thank you, Father, for family. What a wonderful plan to have two hearts share love, create new life together, and be genetically connected for life. A connection that is meant to bring security, safety, and emotional belonging.  A picture of the greater family connection we have with you.  We love, because you first loved us. Surround this family I belong to with continued peace, joy and hope. May our love grow for one another and for you. Teach us every day more about your ways.  Keep us connected when apart, intentionally available to each other when together, and sure of our love for each other when conflict happens or misunderstandings try to tear us apart or weaken our bonds. Then send us to share that kind of family love with those who need to know they are loved and have a place in your family.

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