Sunday, December 15, 2013

 Here our road trip back east begins for John and Stephanie's wedding... and visiting. Little did I know that leaving that day, June 11, I would be gone for almost 6 months before coming back home. Yes, you read that right. I was gone 5 months and 1 week, came home one day and left for 3 more weeks before making it home again this last Monday. I hope to catch up over the next couple weeks and show you all the adventures the Lord has led us on.

"Hi Daddy! I already miss you... you wouldn't believe what car rides are like with this group!"

Burning off cooped up energy

We love being able to visit as many people as we can on these, ever too short, trips. This time we begin our visits with the O'Connels

William and Philip playing with their grandchildren, Jesse and Molly

Philip kept telling us how much the doll he was pushing around reminded him of Marian

Since we were staying with the Flynns we were able to join in celebrating Uncle Fred's 30th birthday

That night we danced and had a limbo competition. You can see a little video here featuring Melissa and Marscel (the most fun to watch because he's so tall!): here
The following day we packed up for a day in Lexington and Concord

You know it's been too long a time away from dear friends when everyone starts taking pictures of every little thing. "Look, they're finding a place for lunch. Take a picture..."

",,,Look, Amanda is walking toward you looking so pretty. Take a picture..."

..."Look, Jeff has his camera out. Take a picture of him taking a picture of you."
We're slightly into photo's with these people... just slightly.

It's one of those mid-lunch, look at the camera pictures... not very flattering of either of us, but so funny. Me trying to avoid the "Philip look" of food in my mouth while he doesn't mind sharing it with everyone... and leaving a bit on his face for later.

The red headed fairy

Sharing different stories of on sight locations from "Paul Revere's Ride"

Either being close together doesn't make it look like there are 20 people or it's becoming a wonderfully common sight with our friends with large families

Philip found a good chum in Anna

Getting our fill of historical markers/memorials

Every couple hundred feet we paused to remember the sacrifice of those that have gone before us.This was the sight of the old belfry from where the alarm was rung April 19,1775

The ultimate reminder... Freedom comes with a cost. 
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Visiting cemeteries are always a good reminder of the fleetingness of life and the endlessness of eternity. As these stones remind us 
"Behold all you that passeth by,
As you are now so once was I.
As I am now so  you must be, 
Prepare for death and follow me"
And on the right:
"Dear friends for me, pray do not weep,
I am not dead but here do sleep
Within this solid lump of clay
Until the Resurrection Day
And here indeed I must remain
Till Christ shall raise me up again"

Oh to have our lives glorify God and preach His word in life and even in death. Here are two more of my favorites I saw. Left:
"Life is short, but death is sure,
Sin is the wound, Christ is the cure"
"Lo in the law Jehovah dwells,
But Jesus is conceal'd;
Whereas the gospel's nothing else,
But Jesus Christ Revealed."

Reading stones back and forth with Pa.

Do you ever read grave stones and wonder what their lives were like... trying to guess from the short sentences that sum up an entire existence? What will we be remembered by? 
"Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?"

This was built in 1799. Listen to the vision these men had:
Sacred to Liberty and the rights of Mankind!!!!
The Freedom & Independence of America, sealed and defended with the blood of her sons.
This monument is erected by the inhabitants of Lexington under the patronage, & at the expense of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to the memory of their fellow citizens Ensign Robert Munroe, Mess. Jonas Parker, Samuel Hadley, Jonathan Harrington Jun, Isaac Muzzy, Caleb Harrington, and John Brown of Lexington & Asahel Porter of Woburn, who fell on this field, the first victims to the sword of British Tyranny and Oppression. 
On the morning of the ever memorable Nineteenth of April. An. Dom. 1775.
The die was cast!!!!
The blood of these martyrs, in the cause of God and their country, was the cement of the Union of these States, then colonies, gave the spring to the spirit. Firmness and resolution of their fellow citizens, they rose as one man to revenge their brother's blood and at the point of the sword to assert & defend their native Rights.
They nobly dar'd to be free!!
The contest was long, bloody & affecting 
Righteous Heaven approved the solemn appeal; Victory crowned their arms, and the Peace, Liberty & Independence of the United States of America was their glorious Reward"

Anything strike you as odd about this picture? I didn't notice Susannah on her knees until the second or third time I looked at it

At the Old North Bridge. You can blow this one up if you want to read it.

A favorite picture of the month

With my not-so-little-brother

Why is the first branch of trees always so high?

Hard to believe these were two cute little kids a few years ago

Chillaxing by the tree

There are two trees that come to mind when I think of climbing trees. This one and one in Newport. It's become a tradition to climb it every time we visit.

Pa and Mom were missing in the group picture... here they are.

About to enter another world

I'm amazed how babies can sleep sometimes... look at Marian, one leg hanging and one sticking straight out.

Good friends are like stars....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.

One couldn't ask for a better sister!

Must have smelled really good... looks like they're going to eat it

Shadow art

If you mix Amanda and I together you'd get Anne of Green Gables... we're that kind of twins.

After church we gathered with the Thomas side of the family.

Grandpa and three of his great grandchildren

Little Locksley

Marian rarely gets put down with someone always wanting to hold her... and her liking to be held.

There's nothing like a New England sunset. The west may have less trees and more vibrant reds, but my favorite is still that which you'd see here in Mass. The most beautiful cloud patterns ever.

The soldier is back! 
It was great being able to see Josh on his visit home after his training and before his deployment over seas.

For those of you that know us, or have viewed this blog for any length of time know Kathy, beaded jewelry extraordinaire! Check out some of her latest pieces on her facebook page: Classy Adornment
(For those of you who have been on her website, it will not be available much longer as the person updating it passed away)

Options for beading projects are endless when you have almost every imaginable bead at your fingertips and such a patient instructor.

The joy of having the little ones used to sleeping on a lambskin is that it's like a portable bed...

... though being social can be more fun

4 generations
I love how Marian is holding Grandma's pinky

I'm not a sports fan... unless it's baseball and I'm not a fast food eater... unless it's D'Angelo (and even then it's rare. For those of you not in New England D'Angelo Sandwiches are made to order and not microwaved but cooked on a big grill surface on the spot. If you ever stop to get something, the best thing you can order (IMHO) is a veggie sub on wheat bread... yum!

Why the face? Melissa feeling Marian's pain for her as she sits in oblivion as to what will happen. We got her ears pierced and true to our experience doing babies is so much better then when you are older. Melissa had hers done at 6 months and I had mine done at 3 months. Mom said we cried a little nursed and were fine... and Marian was the same. I think she cried less then a minute before she started smiling and laughing again. I'm so glad I had mine done when a baby, I like not remembering it.

We had such a wonderful visit with the Eckersons full of great conversations and at the very end of the night as we were walking out the door we realized we hadn't taken any pictures! Pictures wouldn't capture the conversations anyway, but I'm glad we got this one to remember the night by.

The Hampsons!!
Catching up as if we'd seen them last week.... but with months worth of things to talk about

We walked down to the beach which may be little, but it has a lot of pretty shells and skipping rocks and is a great place to catch up with friends


The closest personal library to a Beauty and the Beast library I've seen. Such fun perusing the shelves

Twoo wuv!

Since we planned to have a family day in Newport we decided to go vintage 50's

Beauty and the Beast... actually I think the only thing Micaiah and the Beast have in common is facial hair

The retro Niednagels

For a guy with that much muscle I wouldn't think I'd be that heavy!

Why, hello there!

We were so happy Matthew and Micaiah could join us a few days before the wedding (as they were to be groomsmen)


and Marscel... such debonair brothers I have

Oh, bother this unexpected wind

The summary of a good time at the beach... Ocean, sand, seagulls, and family

Chillin with Momma Monica

This makes it to my favorite pictures of the year folder


Matching momma and maiden

I thought you'd like to see another picture of this adorable family... or maybe I did.

This fellow stopped to ask the boys if they were dandies. Apparently, he had been somewhere and heard a description of a dandy and thought the boys fit

Rose and blues ...sounds like a name for a band

Fun fact: Melissa made all of us girls dresses which was inspired by a picture on pinterest. She's so inspiring!

I love the love our family is blessed with for each other. I'm thankful for Pa and  Mom taking the time to train us to love each other and model it for us

Lil' Captain

This made me smile... you would too if someone was offering you ice cream you like

 Lots of travel for Pa's work hasn't always been easy, but we're thankful for all his hard work and being able to get a great deal on this rental convertible because of all the travel points.

Recreating a fun picture we saw

It's like how many children live in a shoe... only with adults in a convertible

We were joined by the Flynns and O'connors for a picnic supper

Madison and the blue cooler art

Visiting Grandma and having her share stories about family pictures one last time, which is something she always enjoyed... family and pictures. We definitely inherited that gene!

The quintessential summer structure at Grandmas... we couldn't forget it

Here I thought Men's Wearhouse started making realistic looking mannikins only to find out it was my brothers being fitted.

The wedding draws nigh... John and Stephanie, the bride and groom to be

"Many hands make light work" as the decorations are set into place

Figuring out the where and what for

Connie may have cancer, and it may make things a lot more difficult, but that didn't stop her from shining and being herself... an amazing example and reflection of the work of Christ in our lives.

Marian loved having Connie talk to her and just wanted to keep touching her face.

The day has come and amidst all the last minute preparations it was so admirable to see them praying together, the groom and his parents, before things began.

Anticipations mounts

The bride arrives. I love Marscel helping hold the veil.

We were all so thankful for Connie being strong enough to participate in the wedding and Matthew was honored to be the one to lead her to her chair.

I couldn't get a picture of Stephanie walking down the aisle as everyone stood up, but I love this glance of theirs during the ceremony

Pa officiated the wedding and did a wonderful job

Right after their first kiss. I ended up filming and then switched to get this right after.

Congratulations to the new couple!

The flower fairies

The brother of the groom and the sister of the bride... who are now engaged! We're so happy for them!

And one of these two handsome guys sometimes known as Thing 1 and Things 2 with our friends Tayla and Ashley

The blue and the grey
(Disclaimer: There is no reference to the North and South or any part of the War between the states in the above comment... thought I'd clarify ahead of time)

Twins... yet not

On the way to their car John swept Stephanie off her feet and carried her the rest of the way

The complete wedding party... probably the biggest I've seen

The first dance...

...followed with some Portuguese dancing

It was such a wonderful time on Sunday being able to fellowship with friends and get some group pictures in.

Photogenic boys

So classy

One more picture before heading back west

Mom stayed in Massachusetts to be with Grandma who wasn't doing well.

Uncle Johnny also flew out and serenaded Grandma with some of his instruments.

Mean while on the way back to drop Melissa off at her house we stopped at the boys apartment where these little guys needed to borrow some pj's from their uncles. I remember our uncle bringing us all t-shirts as kids that we used as night robes... fun times.

"I shake you warmly by the hand"

Sleeping handsome... hmm, that just isn't quite the same as saying sleeping beauty for a girl is it?

Marian found herself a teething ring while doing her yoga.

Thus ends phase one of the travels with a gypsy...


Zoë Quinn said...

Hello, Melanie!
Just a quick note to say that I've been greatly enjoying reading your blog! Especially this post... you have so many great photos!

I love how you always dress in such a beautifully feminine and classy style. Lovely!

The 1950s styled outfits are awesome. :] They look like a lot of fun to wear!

Have a lovely day!

Melanie said...

Thank you, Zoe! I'm glad you enjoy the blog.