My Noticer

My Noticer
There's always time to stop & smell the roses!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends -John 15:13

I have always considered myself to be a patriotic person. I love my country and I have the deepest respect for those men and women who devote all or part of their lives whether it be for a day, a month, or years in service to our country through the armed forces. I think growing up for most of my childhood on various military bases as a "military brat" definitely shaped a lot of my view points and values. If you haven't lived on base then its just not something you would understand. I don't mean for that to sound elitist but it really is different. It's almost its own sort of sub culture. Everyone has some big things in common. You move all the time so you totally get what its like being the new kid, therefore being the new kid isn't a big deal, you make friends fast and easy. You keep in touch with your friends because even when you move away you may see them at the next base. This used to happen to me all the time. I saw a kid I was in 3rd grade with while I lived in Okinawa several years later when my dad was stationed in North Carolina. It was crazy! I feel like the  friendships forged between those serving together and their spouses are more like the relationships you have with family because you don't have family nearby. You just sort of adopt each other, you become each other's family. There is such a sense of comradery and community that I have never experienced in any other "civilian" neighborhood or town I've lived in. Anyway, I have one more special memory to share and I'll move on! I can distinctly remember being outside on the playgrounds playing with friends and stopping in our tracks when it was "colors" time. You could be in the middle of the most intense game of tag and when that song came on signifying the lowering of the flag and you knew you had better stop and stand up straight. My favorite part is that there were no  adults around, it was just something you did. It was something every kid did. Okay..I more thing that just gets me is the National Anthem. It does something for me, maybe its cheesy but I can't hear that song and not get teary eyed. Last thing I promise.....another song that just gets me....every time... America the Beautiful when Ray Charles sings it. I get goosebumps for days! Thanks for going down memory lane with me.

I guess with Memorial Day being tomorrow I am just really reflective and grateful. I can never repay those brave soldiers who died while serving, but I can give them all of my respect, remembrance, and honor. And I do. I am so proud to be an American and I never want to take for granted their sacrifices. I was thinking about all of the friends and families of fallen soldiers who have had to move on in life without their loved ones and I was just overcome with gratitude to them as well...
they sacrifice too; often silently.

This is hard to admit but in the past it has been easier for me to think of those fallen as only seems simpler and more sterile to think this way.  My heart breaks if  I allow myself to think of the humaneness of the fallen and the loved ones left behind to pick up the pieces of their lives. But this year and from now on I want to give my respect by recognizing and truly grasping the gravity of their sacrifice. I don't want to shy away because the truth isn't pretty and simple. So even though I can barely type these words without crying (and thats okay) here are some of those other titles those who love and miss them would use to define them. Titles like; daddy, momma, daughter, son, best friend, comrade, partner in crime, hero, brother, bubba, sister, sissy, teacher, coach, mentor, companion, lover, husband, wife, fiancĂ©, school mate, grandpa, grandma, grandson, granddaughter, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, favorite person...I can't even begin to list all of the roles these men and women fill, this infinite list will never be complete.

I know Memorial Day is "said" to be the start of Summer and sometimes in the excitement of the weekend its easy to lose sight of the true meaning. I'm all for BBQ's and picnics, and friends gathering together. In fact, I think it's awesome that their sacrifice can be remembered and celebrated when we come together in like mindedness and appreciation for all the freedoms we have. It's also a great opportunity to talk to our kids about Memorial Day. Landy and I made cupcakes for our church's picnic today and we added little flags to them. He is only 3 but I did explain to him that soldiers died trying to protect us and keep us safe and sometimes keeping other people safe in other places. He got it as much as a 3 year old can but I want to establish early on respect and reverence for those who serve.

So in the midst of our fun celebrating maybe we can just remember to say and extra prayer of gratitude for those who gave their lives and for their families who may or may not be celebrating this weekend. I plan on setting an alarm on my phone so that at 3P tomorrow I can show a fraction of my gratitude and respect with a moment of silence where I truly take the time to acknowledge the depth and weight Memorial Day holds.

I came across a quote by George S. Patton and I thought he had an interesting way of thinking of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. He said; "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived"

I don't know if I can completely get behind every word but I totally get the sentiment.

I did and will celebrate this Memorial Day weekend but I will also remember.

Flag Cupcakes

They were as good as they looked!

He was very proud of his "USA" cupcake!

Also, he HAD to decorate w/ Christmas trees because what could be more American....

I dropped some frosting and obviously it is frosting poop and its hilarious and its delicious on graham crackers! Oh Landy!

He was so excited for the picnic!

See what I mean!

Something I just loved about this picture! It seems so "Americana"

Seriously...if someone captured me doing this it would be grotesque NOT adorable!

Landy and Bella sittin in a tree.....
NOT k-i-s-s-i-n-g  see what I did there........
Landy's other sweet friend..too cute not to share! Poster girl for all American girl next door!

They fell, but o'er their glorious grave floats free the banner of the cause they died to save. 
-Francis Marion Crawford

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's Heart

I love Mother's day. For me its a day for reflection. Not only of my own mother but for all the women who have impacted my life. I feel so blessed to have been loved on and impacted by so many strong and beautiful women. In church today we honored all of the mothers, and then our Pastor took it a step further and asked that we honor all women who have a mother's heart. He pointed out that because we are wonderfully made in God's image a mother's heart mirrors Jesus' own heart. Like we love our own children unconditionally so our Heavenly Father loves us. Of course our Father's love surpasses any earthly love we can experience,  even the love we have for our children. I am thankful that we get to experience even just a taste of the love He has for us. I am so completely honored and blessed to be Landy's mama.

Today I just want to bask in the glow of motherhood. Thanks Landy for making me a mommy and for teaching me more than I ever imagined about this life and love!

This picture perfectly captures the essence of who Landy is! I can't wait to see who you become!

Just a couple of goofballs! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
Heart Stealer....always has been, always will be!
My Mother's Day card from Landy this year is my favorite so far! He picked it out because it had roses on the front. I like that he thought of me when he saw it. Also, he told Austin to write and I quote: "I love you more than the stars in the sky" -Snickerdoodle Landy

I can't even..... touché Landon!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Summertime, and the livin' is easy!

It's official, the ice cream truck proves it, Summer is right around the corner! I love Summer and all that it represents. The sounds and the smells of Summer bring back so many of my own fond childhood memories. Summertime was simply the best. Summertime and the freedom it brings is like a right of passage in childhood. Summers are when I had some of my favorite adventures and I hold onto the memories like they are precious gems, because they are.

I have a feeling this is going to be a regular occurrence!

Summertime means sweaty brows and dirty bare feet, it's eating way too many popsicles, its chasing fireflies, its endless days of playing outside all day, every day. It's impromptu picnics, and long bike rides. Its picking your mom dandelion bouquets, its smelling like coconut sunscreen and practically tasting the beachy air every time you put it on. It's summer baseball games and fireworks, late nights and early mornings because you can't wait to see what the day holds for you. Its the smell of fresh cut grass, skinned knees, windblown hair, and the sound of the ice-cream truck.
Summertime can be perfectly summed up in one sentence....

-Summertime is always the best of what might be- Charles Bowden

Every summer has its own story and I want Landon's summer stories to be some of his favorite chapters in his life. One of the positive things about moving up North is that Summer is just a little bit sweeter. Living in Naples was amazing and I miss it all the time. It was a perpetual Summer and I loved it, but I can say I appreciate it so much more now. So far, Landy's summer is shaping up to be pretty amazing. There are adventures to be had, friendships to be forged, and ice-cream to be eaten!

Landon has become quite the ladies man in the neighborhood. I didn't even realize there were so many children in the neighborhood. Leave it to blue skies and sunshiny days to bring the kids out! Landy just recently had a picnic with our neighbor's granddaughter. Abby is all he can talk about. My husband took a picture of the two of them sitting under the shade of our huge tree eating their wheel shaped pasta and talking about who knows what....
Oh to be a fly on the wall for that sweet conversation...

This makes me happy! 

Then, another neighbor's 7 year old granddaughter took Landy under her wing like a mama hen and taught him the fine art of hide and seek. Seriously...they were hiding in another neighbor's car. Granted the neighbor said they could I still didn't know whether to laugh or lecture them about "smart" choices! Then, he and Hailey bonded over ice-cream sandwiches and laughed chocalety smiles. It was a delicious moment. I wish I would have captured that. I find myself taking lots of mental snapshots and I really do mentally file the images away. I don't want to be so obsessed with capturing every moment that I miss out on actually experiencing the moment.

Besides, I am always more amazed and impressed by the moments I can't quite capture anyway. Like, how do you capture the innocence of kids and the ease in which they make friends. I love that Landy walks up to other kids no matter where we are and wants to play. He is so brave and uninhibited. I want that to last for awhile. Life.. relationships... its all so un-complicated right now. I want to follow Landy's lead and lead a less complicated life. I want to live in the moment more and I want to be brave and genuine. I want to just be me and be completely and totally comfortable with that. I want to stop over thinking and over complicating life. Ah....another life lesson from my little sensei!

Here are some of our pre-game Summer moments I managed to capture. I know this Summer is going to be great!

Ice Cream Time

Good Choice!

My favorite people in this whole world!

Family Day! We played kickball for like 3 hours! Nothing makes you feel old like being sore after kickball.....

This smile!

It was a good day!

Could nature be more beautiful? I mean, we have flowers slowly drifting down from the trees... 

I feel like I'm in a Dr. Seuss story. I probably wouldn't be shocked if the freaking Lorax popped out!

 The entrance to "our" field! Landy is very impressed that the trees are no longer "maked"

DISCLAIMER....Landy AND I are obsessed with dandelions!

He finally learned how to successfully make a wish and send the wish fairies on their way!

This was a REALLY long dandelion and Landy was enamored!

I'll take a bouquet like this any day!

Even beautiful in black & white....

That yellow though.....

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air -Ralph Waldo Emerson-  My Summer Motto
We recently went to a carnival so I'll write about that soon because a carney post is always good! Tonight we are off to a baseball game AND fireworks...there will be beer and hot dogs so I am ridiculously excited. Who knows what other adventures Summer holds....I can't wait!