Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gibson Getaway 2016

Here we are again. Another Gibson Family Getaway has come and gone. Spending my morning with coffee (thanks, Panera!), a quiet home (thanks, NaNa & G.G.!), and clean floors (thanks, me!). Between working on projects for our soon-to-be Second Grader & doing laundry, I'm taking a 'get energy' break.

Scrolling pictures & remembering St. Germain, 2016:

Remembering this independent, brave boy. Last year, he was afraid of the floating dock and was extremely hesitant to go on it unless someone was holding him.

This year, he owned that dock.

Duh, guys.

MiMi was smart and brought a kiddie pool - thanks to the hot and humid weather, Carter spent the rest of his vacation here :)

Water. Carter's happy place.

I hope Nozar and Linger have a place for the kiddie pool in the classroom.


Remembering this dolly - who spent her vacation with dirt under her fingernails, chocolate on her face, and joy in her heart.

Happy Boy, happier every day. This is Carter.

Remembering quiet moments in 'MiMi geen boat!' with two kids who love the water and their mom.

Remembering hot afternoons spent with campfires (because, it's camp) and bubbles.

We discovered that Carter is an expert at catching bubbles on his hands. As much as the rest of us tried, we could not catch a single bubble without it popping. We got our hands good & wet, even...thinking that must be the trick.

Nope. It's just Carter's special touch.

Or maybe it was Giraffe.

Thankfully remembering so many moments with my people.

There's much good to reflect on. We don't just vacation, we fellowship. Tension & release.

This vacation had profitable tension.

Here's some of the tension:

Doesn't look tense, does it?

It was.

In the middle, you'll see a little boy smiling so sweetly. What you don't see is that before and after this picture, we had a nervous little boy telling us "Noooo! No sea plane! All done sea plane!".

The backstory: For Ben & Carter's birthday (in April & May) we combined their gift and gave them a certificate for a sea plane ride in St. Germain! We knew we'd have some work to do to prepare Carter, and we have been rehearsing this moment with him for months. Literally, since May.

Over the past 3 months, Carter's feelings toward 'sea plane' went from ecstatic to terrified, and everywhere in between. We really believed that if we could just get him ON, he would love it.

So here we are. On the dock. Waiting for 'sea plane' to pull up. Trying to reassure a nervous and scared little boy. He pauses his nervousness and takes a smiling photo for his mommy.

And then the sea plane pulls up to the dock. This is the moment of truth. This is the culmination of three months of preparation.

Major tension.

Can he do it? Will he even try? Can he be brave like he says? What if he doesn't? Will he regret it? How will his mommy feel if he doesn't do it?

What if? Then what?

Grabbing on to his daddy so very tight. His safety.

Saying 'nooo sea plane' but wanting to jump in so badly.

So much tension. Everyone is quiet, watching in anticipation.

Carter CAN.

Big smiles, birdie whistles (his happiest sounds), 'SEA PLANE!!!" exclamations from the backseat.

Big smiles and thumbs up from dad, too :)

As we watched him take off, conquering his great big fears, there were so many tears. Jake sent us excited videos and texts during their 15 minute flight. Carter owned that sea plane.

What excuse does anyone have to sit stagnant? What's holding me back from growing?

After the ride was over, we met the plane in the middle of the lake with our boat. Carter crossed the threshold from plane to boat in the arms of the pilot, Mr. Bill.

I'll never forget the celebration that took place on that boat when Carter's feet hit the boat.


Carter CAN. Carter will.

Since we were on the boat anyway, and Carter definitely earned it, (and Tom probably would have thrown a fit if we had just gone home) we decided to head to Cathy's for ice cream.  On the walk from the boat to Cathy's, Carter was levitating.

This is fellowship.

Laughter, ice cream, family love....all part of our release.

To add to it, we hit a rain storm on the way home.

We were all soaked from head to toe - all of us laughing so hard our sides hurt. Even the kids.

Gibson Family Getaway, 2016. Possibly the best one to date.

This was the first group picture I took. Normally I have to take at least 25 to get one good shot.  I guess we get better every year.

Understanding each other, understanding ourselves, embracing the tension & enjoying the release.

This is family.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Gibson's CAN.

If you're bored and have several hours to kill:
St. Germain 2015
St. Germain 2014
St. Germain 2013
St. Germain 2012
St. Germain 2011


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Day.

Some day, I will long to go back to these lazy summer days with two needy, smooshy babes. So I'm documenting it. Embracing it. 

Thankful for:

...a boy who knows he can. He says it every time he climbs up into his bed.  

Yes, dear one. You can. You will. 

...a little sister who loves her brother deeply. Sitting in his big boy bed is a thrill and a half. Made even better if he's actually in it :)

...garbage day. Sometimes, it's the little things. For Carter, garbage day is a big thing.

...our patio. AKA 'the summer family room'. We spend 98% of our time out here each summer, and as August nears I always wonder how we will survive the next 7 months without this 'room'.

...kids who can keep themselves occupied, in stretches that are lengthening daily.

...this view - my favorite. Siblings chillin' with their ma.  I love sibling love.

...the depth of this boys soul when I look into his eyes, like this picture below.

Just kidding. He's looking at his ice cream cone.

...a daughter with the biggest, sweetest, fiercest, sunniest personality of anyone I know. People frequently tell us she is 'pure joy'. We agree.

...the spare time that I've had to keep these alive. I'm actually doing it!

....the post-nap sillies. Carter likes to help me 'wake up sissy'.

Actually, he runs through the door and screams "HIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!".

It seems like a pretty horrible way to be woken up. But she likes it.

...this boy and his blossoming personality. We've made a few changes and they have made all the difference for this boy - less anxious and closed off. More friendly and curious.

The smiles are real, folks.

...afternoon snacks and swims and snuggles. So many snuggles (from Carter, not Macy).

...a little girl who wears her mama's swimsuit (only 30 years old). Having a son is great. Having a daughter is transforming.

...summer. I'm thankful for summer. When the days drag on and September seems like it will never come, I think about the future me. The one who has grown kids with summer jobs and college plans.

I think about her and wonder if she's thinking about me. I bet she is.

Instead of wishing I was HER, I'm going to embrace ME.

Choosing to embrace my smooshy babes now, while I can. This is the good stuff.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Thankful for summer!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Our Little Vacay

Back in June, Jake and I talked with our friends, Brett & Amelia, about planning a little vacation. This summer Jake and I will celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss - and Brett and Amelia will be celebrating 5 years. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to plan a couples getaway. 

We've been planning this vacation since June, 2015. Now it's over. Crazy how that happens! Laundry is put away, schedules are back to normal (read: hectic), and so I suppose I can officially post my vacation blog. Waaaaah.

Here's a little run-down of our trip (and some info for anyone who's made it here from our AirBNB review!).

St. Maarten. I had never thought much about this place (and possibly never heard of it) prior to our planning in June. I'm glad it was on Brett's radar. 

St. Maarten delivered.

Hands-down, our favorite beach on the island. We made sure to arrive early (before 10, for sure) and enjoyed a quiet bay, practically empty. Crystal clear water, fish swimming around out feet, and no waves. 

We liked Mullet Bay so much, we returned for more toward the end of our trip! 

We all agreed that Hilma's Windsor Castle was delicious! Hilma was featured on one of Anthony Bourdain's episodes over 10 years ago, and it's still creating a buzz today. Hilma was exactly as we imagined - sweet, personable, funny, and sassy. 

What do you do when you've finally arrived at Hilma's? You hug. That's what you do.
The johney cake breakfast sandwiches were incredible. We hoped to make it back to try her 'meat pocket' (our best description of what looked to be pork/chicken/beef in a johney cake pocket), but weren't able to fit it into our schedule. 

Bummer, I guess we'll have to go back :)

We followed a road to the highest point of the island - Pic Paradis. The term 'road' is used lightly here.

Drive with caution :)

Jump on ferry (don't be late), get off ferry, look around, pick your jaw up off the sand.

Yes, it's that amazing. The pictures do not lie.

This was another spot where arriving early worked in our favor. Trek over to the Karibuni Restaurant side of the island for the better view. It's worth the extra 100 steps.

This is us, being friends. Four friends (not two sets of friends that happen to be married).

We were here on Sunday morning. We fellowshipped. Real fellowship. Real love. This is church.

We climbed a bit to get to this spot - a perfect place to watch a sunset in late-May. It was a bit cloudy, but still breathtaking.

It only took us 12 tries, using the timer, to get this photo. Guys, I had to run across jagged rock and get in place - all in less than 10 seconds.

Brett stumbled upon this awesome find - we were the inaugural sunset cruise for the Swaliga 2. Lucky for us, we had the entire catamaran to ourselves.

This was a great find, and such an enjoyable cruise. The sunset was a total flop (not because of the Swaliga 2, but because of the clouds lined up in exactly the wrong place) - but the views, the pineapple juice, the stories, the laughs - they all delivered.


It was a great re-charge for me. I was worried that I'd be using this vacation as an escape from my real-life. The truth is, I missed my kids almost the entire trip. Instead of using our time away as an escape, I used it as a re-charge. And we strategized about what it could look like to have these re-charges more frequently. Can we do a re-charge without a vacation? I think so.

Special thanks to my mom & Brad for taking an entire week out of your lives to love our kids while we were away. We are incredibly grateful for your help, and have only had to do a small amount of 'behavior boot camp' since coming home. Mostly for Macy :) Truly, though, you both loved our kids well and it allowed us to relax knowing they were in such good hands.

That's it. Vacation over. Our little getaway, with two fantastic friends, and nobody yanking on my dang arm while I ate my meals. It was pretty spectacular.


Of all the views I took in during this getaway, none of them compete with my view over the top of my little coffee cup each morning - two kids, eating - playing - laughing - sleeping - bathing - crying - swimming - throwing fits. It's good to be home.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Re-charge. It's oh so good.
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