Sunday, July 6, 2014

Unblogged Happiness: June Edition

06/01 - Clementine's recital. I was in Tennessee with Jim (who had lost his mother two days before) and missed it. That was hard, but--given that Clementine had been practicing her ballet and tap routines since September--I'm so glad she was able to participate. I'm especially grateful to my mom, who drove eight hours to stand in for me, then delivered our precious girl to us in time for the funeral. 

Seven of Clementine's loved ones showed up to watch her recital. I put Cade in charge of flowers, and his sweet stepmother put together a special arrangement just for Clementine. The other dance moms were completely supportive. April's photos, below, are a gift. You find out who your friends are.

I can hardly wait to watch the recital DVD!

Photos by April Young

06/06 - Visit to my parents'. In the photo just below (top left), my parents were planting pastel M&Ms with the little kids. The funny thing is that--after dark, when the kids were asleep--Mom crept out to the planter to replace the M&Ms with lollipops only to discover that the M&Ms had already "sprouted and bloomed." She said it messed with her for a few seconds until she realized Dad had beaten her to the task.  

06/09 - Cade (far right) and our curly-headed friend Andrew advance to the rank of Star.

We'd returned from Tennessee with our nine-year-old nephew Boone and spent a couple weeks sharing our favorite things with him.

06/10 - Metro Richmond Zoo

06/13 - Bear Creek Lake

06/13 - Bear Creek Lake

06/14 - Water Country USA

06/20 - Science Museum of Virginia

06/20 - Science Museum of Virginia

06/22 - Mom had been in Maryland visiting family, and we met her in Staunton so Boone could hitch a ride home to East Tennessee. Afterward, we picked cherries at Spring Valley Orchard in Afton. 

06/27 - Daddy's girl. We'd had a big week: VBS for the girls, senior-citizen luncheon with our friends from the adult home, two trips to the pediatrician with Chip (who had the croup and an ear infection), and that's just scratching the surface, really, as I'd also taken a friend to the ER and visited two other hospitals to welcome/photograph new babies. I took this photo of Clementine and Jim at the event for culmination of VBS. She was pouting because it was time to go. I love this photo because I love this moody little girl, also this man who parents with everything he has.

06/28 - Honeybee Festival at Rockwood Park. This was our first time attending this free and educational event, and I'm so glad we went. The girls made bees out of pipe cleaners and had their faces painted. Clementine was all about the bee petting; did you know that drones (boy honey bees) don't sting? 

06/29 - Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

That's Cade's friend Sam carrying Charleigh (Top R). Cade's friends fit right into our family: an answer to prayer, for sure.

06/30 - Our first trip to Swift Creek Berry Farm for blueberries, this year. (We've been a second time, by now.)

I doubt that, in almost four years, I've ever blogged so little as I did, June. It would be easy to look as these photos and assume I was too busy, but truth is: I was too sad. I was doing what I do when I'm sad, which is to say: I tear up the road even more than usual; photograph even more than usual; bake even more than usual (think cherry and blueberry pies); and make even greater efforts, than usual, to fill that seventh seat of the minivan. These are constructive (or, at least, not destructive) ways to bring myself back around.

I do feel better, now, than I did. My life is beautiful and full, and I never didn't know that. If anything, I've been sad because my life is fleeting in its beauty and fullness. I feel that and have been fighting to enjoy the moment I'm in instead of grieving its too-quick passage. 

I'll leave you, for now, with some photos of the new babies in our lives: each so perfect and precious, each such a gift from heaven.

From Top to Bottom: Babies Caleb, Kayelynn, and Haven


  1. YOU HAVE SO MUCH HAPPINESS IT SHOULD BE RUNNING OVER....OMG! I am loving your happiness smiling ear to ear... GIMMEE SOME

  2. Oh, these photos are so lovely, Brandee. We each have to walk out our grief and sadness in the way that works for us - yours is a very good way, seems to me. And there will be more to come, as I'm sure you know. Thanks so much for these glimpses of pradise.

  3. Peeking in, dear Brandee, and saying hi. The photos, berries, cherries, and special times with family are special.

    Thinking of you tonight as your mourn your mother-in-law. I'm so sorry, friend.

    Jennifer Dougan

  4. i am sorry about the loss of jim's hard...

    i am glad though that she got to dance...and in the midst of all of that you had this much fun and time together....

  5. I must have missed this post! Congrats to Cade on Star. He certainly looks happy accepting it!

    I love the kugel!

    Peace <3