Thursday, October 14, 2010

Outer Banks Birthday ...

So ... I am tardy with this post and Claire turned six years old ...two weeks ago today. What can I say? At least I am consistent.
Six years and two weeks ago, our third beautiful baby was born. Everything was expected to be routine. Until it wasn't. I remember my mommy-sense kicking in and hearing her cry - differently than the others. Weaker. Less enthusiastic. I remember my doctor talking to me ... faster and very verbosely than the others. It was our third delivery together - and I knew him pretty well. The nurses didn't immediately tell me her apgar scores. Again - I knew something was different. But I had seen her - and knew she was beautiful. And crying. And alive. So... I prayed. We prayed. And I watched as my husband followed our daughter down to the NICU.

As I recovered, I remembered hearing snippets of conversation .... revolving around a possible heart issue. I vividly recall my "deal" with God. You know the ones I'm talking about. They start with "Dear God, if you will only ________, then I promise to _______." I began to bargain. I knew what I wanted from Him ... but I didn't know what to offer in return. So I promised to love her. Every day. With all my heart. And that she would know Him. Every day. With all her heart. So ... she needed her heart. A healed one.

She was in the NICU for 8 hours. One of the shortest stays on record. A lifetime to us. Her heart was pronounced perfect by specialists. So I had a bargain to uphold. We have loved this child every day of her six year two week old life. She knows the love her God, her family, and her friends have for her. And I am so glad we got to celebrate this birthday with her on the beach. In the rain. Touring lighthouses. Ghostcrabbing. Eating donuts. Swimming in hot-tubs. Happy 6th birthday Claire. We have many more to celebrate.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Outter Banks - Part Two

On the way home we asked the kids their favorite parts of the trip. As anticipated, the beach came in first. It was closely followed by Duck donuts (made to order and still warm) and the newly adopted hermit crabs (which provided a lot of entertainment on rainy days). I guess when you are 6, 7, and 9 - that is an appropriate appreciation of things.

For me, the lighthouses still hold a sort of magical power. They must. We drove close to 2 hours one way just to see and climb Hatteras. In the rain. The kids skimmed over the history but were excited to climb over 200 steps to share in the view the lighthouse keepers held for many years. I admit, I was happy to corral Cooper at the bottom and take some pictures.

We climbed Currituck and Hatteras. Bodie Island was under construction so we just drove past. We so wanted to get to Ocracoke Island ... but the ferry was not running due to weather conditions. Just as well. It is a trip not to be rushed. Next time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Outer Banks Trip ... Part One

I have long loved the Outer Banks. It is natural, beautiful, and has plenty of history. Since we are now so much closer, we thought the kids should see it. It was also timely as Emma's social studies class is studying the lighthouses. What better way to study them?
We rented a beach house in Corolla. Good friends Janet and Tony drove all the way from Illinois to join us. We were just coming off a tremedous vacation in Fort Wayne and were hoping the beach would distract the kids (and me) from missing our friends.

We wanted to see the wild horses (only a mile or two up the road) but weather prohibited it this time. In fact, weather threatened to prohibit most of the planned events as tropical storm Nicole rolled through. But ... we did it all anyway. We swam, we beached it (when it wasn't raining ... and even when it was), we collected shells, we hot tubbed, and we ghost crabbed with a delightful family from a neighboring state. We saw lighthouses, ate Duck Donuts (legendary), researched area wildlife and history, rocked in Nags Head Hammocks, adopted hermit crabs and flew a kite. We searched for wild horses and passed the spot where the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk. We had really yummy fish tacos too.

Best of all, we enjoyed the company of some lifelong friends as well as each other. As we left, the kids were asking when we could come back again ... and bring more friends. Soon I hope.

It is soul stirring to see the kids falling in love with the ocean. It never fails to take my breath away or to quiet my racing mind. I am glad they feel small in the midst of it. I am thankful they realize its Creator and theirs. I am ecstatic they always choose it instead of an amusement park.

I haven't told them they have only seen half of the Outer Banks. I'll just keep that part a secret for now...