Our Sweet Lil' Libby is 5!

It seems like only yesterday.
Libby turned 5 today!  Actually, we celebrated her birthday yesterday.  She didn't know that yesterday wasn't Sept. 30, we just told her it was her birthday and when you are 5, you believe your parents.  We had our parents call her too, so really everything went as planned.  So Libby, when you are older and you read this blog, please know that we absolutely adore you and we would only move your birthday up a night for dance lessons.  
Punching balloons.  What fun!
Silas thought it was great too.
Sam didn't understand that you must hold it by the string, so he spent his time chasing the balloons.
As I'm discovering in my photos, Silas spent most of the evening without a shirt on.  After balloons it was time for dinner and then onto the long awaited gifts.  Libby could hardly wait!  She was so excited to open up her new things.  She received fun little treasures from her brothers and sisters and of course us too.  Once the gifts were done and the family prayer, it was time for cake!
Just look at that joyful response.

Yay Libby!
I'd say they had fun.

Happy Birthday Libby Lee.  We had such a good time celebrating your sweet life yesterday.  You are such a dear girl and we are so very thankful for you.  Your personality brings a brilliant glow to our family life and we can't imagine living a day without you.  Happy birthday my darling beautiful girl!


A late Anniversary Date.

A Lovely moment captured.  Thanks Colby.
Despite the tardiness of it, our date was just as sweet as ever.  We went out to a sweet little restaurant down in Carmel by the Sea and it was romantic and oh just right. While I was away with my mom we were able to go to the airport Sunday morning together.  Our flights were a few hours apart, mom's being the early-bird and mine leaving just before lunch.  While sitting in the airport I was taken back to not that long ago.....
It was Jake's first deployment.  It was a tough, tough day.  I still remember the smells of the hangar.  The planes on the runway ready to leave.  Marines running to and fro trying to finish up those last minute things that need to be done before deploying.  Then there were those Marines whose families had shown up to see them off.  Colby, Jackie, Benjamin, Louisa, Libby, Silas, and I were one of those groups of family hugging and kissing and staring in hope that we'd be reunited again.  We were upstairs in the "Ready Room" and the dreaded moment arrived. It was the moment where we would have to say goodbye and go back to our cars, homes, dinner tables, and beds alone.  We slowly walked downstairs and fear began to unleash its' hold on us.  We stopped at the base of the stairs and we huddled tightly and hugged and wept and hugged and wept and kissed with the tightest, softest embraces one can imagine and then we left and let him go.  We went home and lived out a half a year without Jake in the home though he was deep in our hearts and fresh in our minds every moment.  That year was one of those years that we were apart for our Anniversary.  There have been more Anniversaries apart than together, so when we have the opportunity we love to celebrate it to its fullest.  Just like any other birthday or holiday.  

I was thankful for the memory.  The Lord had placed me in the airport at just the right time to see families saying goodbye to their Army Men.  These Men were deploying.  I didn't ask them if they were deploying but I could tell.  The men were in uniform and their brides wept softly.  One couple sat quietly just diagonally behind mom and me.  Their hands were clasped in each others, their heads were bowed, their eyes closed, he was praying.  Across the way was a little boy, about Louisa's age, he was hugging his Pop's leg and his mom had to pry him off.  It was time for dad to go, the mother walked away while her son cried convulsively.  They walked slowly and hugged tightly as they made their way back through the terminal.  I wanted to hug them to thank them for their service, their husband's service to the country.  Now wasn't the time.  They needed each other, they require our prayers.  The Lord has given the children, Jake, and I each other for the moment.  We don't know what future deployments will come to us, but truly we don't know what tomorrow will bring.  So we will remember the times apart and embrace these times together.
Jake and I before the date.
I'm wearing my, "Not the Day Old Donut Dress."

We Like Yarn

Well, mom and I found lots of yarn on our travels and I'd guesstimate that we spent somewhere around 8 hours of daylight over the expanse of 3 days in yarn shops.  We found some fun little and large projects, from winter hats to shopping bags.

Our time together was so sweet and as Saturday approached we prayed before our lunch that the last afternoon would drag by slowly.  It did too.  We decided to spend it knitting. So, we went to the pool:

We watched people, young and grown, thin and not so trim, plummet down the water slides.  While various folks played in the pool, mom and I:

Sat in some lounge chairs in our sweaters with our pant legs rolled up and we knitted all afternoon long.  It was a bit warm and sticky, but it wasn't bothersome and the day truly rolled slowly by.  I am sure I can confidently say for the both of us, that it was a most wonderful trip and one that will be treasured for a long, long time!

Thanks again Jake and Dad for allowing this trip to happen for us.  We are humbly grateful to you both!



In Which...

Since moving to California I have been influenced by some of the styles and in particular I have discovered that it is lovely to fix your hair.  It's great to let my hair go curly one day, the next day to pin it back in little buns, and the third day to brush it out and where it down.  I tend to repeat this cycle and yesterday, the big day of travel, I was on day 2 so, I pinned it back in smallish buns.  This was fine until it was time to check in and I triggered the alarms with all. my. bobby. pins.  Blah!  So, I was ushered to the side and a female attendant was called on, my suitcase was thrown open and my computer was temporarily confiscated and inspected.  While my computer was being "checked out" so was I.  We're talking the full body pat down.  The magical beeping wand lit up like a Christmas tree when it got to my head.  My feet were bare because I had no socks on and wasn't permitted to put my shoes back on yet.  It was humbling, to say the very least, and I was already dealing with the jitters because my forte isn't flying.  Flying is actually a rather frightening thing that I'm forced to deal with from time to time.  I know it sounds like a paradox, the pilot's wife that's freaked out by flying.. so I am.  The Inspector Gadget Wand lady mumbled things like, "I'm going to pat you with the back of my hands," "Hold up your arms higher," "Spread your legs wider."  You get the picture.  Once I was through checking in, they let me board the plane!  Not without stopping for a piping hot cup of coffee from Peet's which was so sweetly stationed within the terminal.

The first leg of my journey took me to Salt Lake City, Utah.  The ride there was entertaining as I sat next to an Italian lady who could speak 4 languages (her husband speaks 5).  She married late in life and had kids late, thus she struggles to keep the weight down.  She is well traveled and informed of different cultures around the world.  In particular I was surprised to learn that the French are a very stinky people.  That they don't care for themselves very well, and they are an exceedingly proud people and think of themselves very highly.  I wasn't surprised by the last fact because I know the French have had a small part in the war on terror and would prefer to roll there eyes at the rest of us.

My second leg of the journey took me to Colorado Springs.  I sat beside an older man who had a lot of work to do on his mac computer.  I looked out the window and read Martha Stewart Living.  It was so beautifully boring.

Once in Colorado, I met my Mom.  Yay for moms!!  We've been having a sweet time so far.  We ate some really good food yesterday and we visited some very fun yarn shops.  We also went to this amazing place called the, "Garden of the Gods."

It's isn't at all what you may guess from the name.  I thought it was going to be an extravagant greekish garden with statues of all the greek gods.  Not so, It is these beautiful rocks.  With smooth grooves, crevices and all shown in a beautiful red clay.  They were put there by our God.  At the beginning of time.  The grooves and slants were shaped by the flood.

Can you just imagine this being under the oceans floor.  Deep and dark and then suddenly seeing the light of day once the waters receded?  They are beautiful.  It was truly a Garden of our God.

Today we are off to more yarn shops, to drink tea, to eat more good food, and to do nothing else in particular.  Sounds like fun to me.

I just want to thank you again Jake, for this opportunity.  I know yesterday was hard with the toilet incident, the cupcakes mess in the bathtub, the bike collision, and the screeches and yells, and I'm sure dirty stinky diapers.  You are my hero all over again and I love you very, very much.  May today, Friday, be more uneventful than yesterday and don't forget to take out your steak and chill your beer.


Can you hear that? Listen closely.

Yesterday, the time of truth was on us.  After thousands of minutes and dollars it was truth-time.  The truck has been the central project for months now.  With the engine in, the transmission attached, the drive shaft rebuilt, recut and installed, the electrical system putting out the current and the liquids filled, it was time.  Time to turn the key.  

The man took his seat and put the key in the ignition.  Let's give it a whirl!
Jake's trustee mechanic friend, Matt, who was his right-hand man with the project.
It's cranking, sounds are coming out from "under the hood."  Will it turn over?

Well, what do you think happened?

Plug your ears Libby, it's really, really loud!
The gauges are singing sweet praises and the red light means go, right?  Actually that means the fan is running to keep the radiator calm and cool.

Notice the truck is released from the cave.  A little pre-flight check and things look good.
More inspections and looking cool!  
Oh yeah.  THERE HE GOES!!!
Silas taking off down the sidewalk to see where pop is going.  He kept saying, "You fixed you truck, you fixed you engine."
Judging by the close-proximity of Colby, I'd say he's being tail-gated already.  Jackie is so proud too!  They left the hood off to give it the deep woods red-neck look.   Can you tell who got the first ride?  I'll give you a hint, she has blonde curly hair and light brown freckles all over her face.


If You Say Run, I'll Run with You!

Put on your red shoes and dance the blues!

So, he and me, me and he, have been continuing our dance lessons.  Tonight was such a blast and I'm happy to report that I'm being a much better follower.  Our instructor is a Salty old fella', I'd guess in his late 70's.  He made the comment tonight that women these days just don't obey, that they, "don't even know what the word means."  That's sad.  Oh Lord, please grace me with the ability to obey more!  Jake, if you say run, I'll run with you!  If you say hide, we'll hide.

On with the dancing.  We continued with "The Hustle."  We danced it to the Bee Gees.  It was soooo much fun and our instructor taught us a very saucy new move.  Or is it sassy?? Actually, it's down right sexy!  Sexy is great for married people so please no offense over the word, okay folks?  Jake and I are getting a lot more comfortable with our respective roles in dance class.  We also did some swaying to some much older music and that was very romantic as well.  Jake spun me until my head felt like the tilt-a-whirl and then one of the instructors spun me around too.  Once my world stopped spinning we refocused and danced, danced, danced.

Dance class is fun.  I like it, a lot.  Unfortunately, next week I am going to have to miss it.

Do you want to know why??  I am about to let you in on a very big secret, actually it's not a secret to our family and to my parents, and if you're curious... NO, I am not pregnant!  I am going on a Road Trip!!!  I write this with exclamation points, because this isn't a military move, it isn't one of Jake's Road Trips, it isn't a trip to the commissary, to Costco, nor is it a trip to Target.  It's a real live, bona fide Road Trip.  I am going to sleep in a hotel in San Jose, CA alone.  There won't be any little sweet babies to wake up screaming in the middle of the night, which means that I won't stub my toes on numerous objects in a dark strange room.  I won't mash my foot on an unknown squishy remnant morsel thing that was spilled from the dinner that we finally ate wayyy too late. I won't be wincing from the toe injury, nor trying to find something to clean my foot off with while trying to find my baby so that I don't wake my husband and my other babies.  No, it will be me, alone, sleeping.  I am going to use an alarm clock and wake up all. by. myself.  This may not seem like big potatoes, but, you see,  I have this very handsome Marine who serves as my personal alarm, who says the word and I am up with him, mostly.. almost always... only sometimes do I linger under the warm covers...  Then, once I'm awake, I'm going to board a big plane and fly to Colorado Springs!  My mother will be meeting me there and we are going to have a 4 day long adventure, which will include, sleeping, eating, knitting, yarn shops, wine, exercise, tea, and conversations shared between mothers and daughters who are also good friends.  I am so excited.  Mom and I have been talking for years, that we should plan a trip sometime and just be together.  Ever since I left the house as a very young 19 year old young woman we have looked to the day that such a trip might take place.  My family has had many pregnancies, lots of breast feeding, homes in foreign countries, war-deployments, and the like to keep that from happening.  Those are all beautiful, wonderful things, except the war part, and definitely all a part of my God-given call as a woman.  I am so thankful for all of the things that the Lord has given me to do.  However, trying to find the right time to take a trip was where the brainstorming, smart-planning would need to take place.  After careful consideration and talking with our husbands, mom and I have found the perfect time and place. With our tickets bought, and car rented, there is only one thing left to do.  Pack our bags!  So mom, if you say run, I'll run with you!


Walking for Life

This is a letter I just sent out.  If I happened to miss your email address would you consider sponsoring us?

Dear Family and Friends,

Jake, the children, and I are getting ready to do a wonderful thing in Santa Cruz.  We are joining a united effort of churches who are taking a stand for the Sanctity of Human Life in one of the most liberal counties in America.
This Saturday, September 18, the walk will take place.
The moneys raised from this walk will help protect the lives of mothers and children throughout the coming year through the courageous efforts of LifeNet and the Pregnancy Resource Center of Santa Cruz.
We would consider it an honor and a privilege to Walk for Life for you for the sake of the unborn who have no one to stand up for them.

Just copy and paste the following link to sponsor us:

Even a 10-15 dollar donation can make a difference.  It will only take a moment of your time to protect a mother and her child for a LIFEtime.  

Thanks for walking with us for LIFE.

The Reynolds Family

To make this a fun challenge:

Jake and I plan to match half of the total sponsorship moneys donated.  So, come on.. break our bank!

This picture is from last years walk.


And you can Dance!

Jake and I are taking ballroom dancing lessons.  Let me just say.. if you think that you are experiencing a blissful marriage, try dancing!  We have had soooo much fun and are learning a lot.  For example, we can Hustle to "Billy Jean" and Fox Trot to older songs which I don't know the name of.  We also have discovered that we can fight over things which we assumed we had mastered.  Say for example, who should lead.

On Thursday evening during lessons it all unfolded.  I didn't like the way Jake was leading and Jake didn't like the way I was following.  Do you see where this is going?  That's right, a lover's spat right there on the dance floor.  No one around could hear what was going on, but in our little square of the floor there was minor distress.  I was thinking to myself, "I'm ready to cry, I really want to follow if only he would do things my way."  He was thinking, "fine, if she won't follow my lead I could really be home working on the truck right now."  So it goes huh?  Selfishness at its finest.  We worked through the spat and went out and ate some good Mexican food.  Chase that down with a mild Margarita and we were laughing.

Really, what is it with married people?  Ever since the fall women have rebelliously tried to call the shots!  Come on Eve, do you really need a bite of the forbidden fruit?  I am always surprised, but then again not really, by the attitudes that surface when I least expect them to. It was interesting to see what came up during dance class and then oh so pleasing to talk through and work out what went wrong while we were dancing.

Marriage is beautiful and is this magnificent union between man, woman, and their God.  He orchestrates all of it.  Man leads, mostly :), woman follows and has her share of helping to "call the shots."  Our dance instructor said that we, the women, will have a chance to lead, there are times when the women should lead during dancing. I'm excited to learn when that is! I'm still figuring that part out in our sweet marriage.  We have sweet times of calling the shots as wives and mothers, but truly, we call those shots with our husbands and our Lord in mind... "How would Jake do this?  How may I glorify the Lord?"

Oh the grace to live life well, to honor my Lord, to obey my husband.  All of these things are being mastered as we live!  Oh Lord, be merciful to me!