Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Mountain Top Experience!!!

This little family 
this big mountain 
this past weekend!!


Ok, ok - so it was no Izta like Benjy recently climbed, but for all 6 of us to make it to the top it felt like a pretty cool accomplishment....especially for certain little ones who walked each step of the way with their own resolve and determination to make it all the way (more on that to come!)

So...we spent Saturday with some very special friends as we set out to a little town just outside of Mexico City called Tepotzlan. There is a pyramid built on the top of a mountain so we decided to climb it and see it together. It was a super experience for all of us and we shared some special, life lesson applications together throughout the day and the climb!

First things first - strapping Hudson in his comfy backpack.  

He did not set one sweet smelling foot on the trail, but he didn't have any complaints about it :) Hudson was completely happy to let someone else do all the work!

But Piersen, on the other hand, was all about doing the work - all on his own - step by step by step.  He climbed to the the top of the mountain by himself - slow and steady - even while the others raced on ahead of him, leaving him literally in the dust.  He walked at his own pace,slow as it seemed, while his Daddy patiently cheered him on, supporting him as he strived to accomplish his goal of simply getting to the top like everyone else.  And he did it!  We couldn't believe it when Pierce and Benjy arrived.  What an inspiration we received from his sheer will and determination.  What a boy!!!
These two big boys, along with all of the kids, lead the group to the top.  In fact, they were so full of life and energy (what's new here?!?!?) that we were all left scrambling to keep up with them!

Yes, that's right....James was kind enough to relieve me and my back by carrying Hudson for me - thank. good. ness.

We were blessed to see some beautiful scenery!

The view of Tepotzlan from the top!  Yep - we made it!!! 

At the top of the mountain is the pyramid.  It was very high and rather freakey to watch your young children crawl all over it...I was just a little nervous!
Me and my big boys!
Somewhere on this Where's Waldo picture below...
if you look carefully, you will see Benjy and 
Pierce resting from their amazing climb!
Here we are!!! 
So proud of our Pierce!  A picture of him and his Daddy to always remember this great accomplishment in his 3 year old life!

All of us at the top of the pyramid.

The kids celebrating their victory!!  
They wanted their own mountain to climb...and they did it!!

And before we knew it it was time for the journey back down!  What a good Daddy - carrying his two little ones!

It was such a great day for all of us.  The many similarities of this day - the climb - the effort - the encouraging one another to keep going - the exhaustion - some slipping - some turning back - the hard work - the excitement - the beautiful view at the end of it all - the teamwork - keeping your eye on the goal - and on - and on - and on..... this kind of experience relates to life.  The journey isn't always easy....but it is so so worth it!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brotherly Combinations

A man of many companions may come to ruin, 
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. 
Proverbs 18:24

We are trying to create in our family an important base of strong brotherly relationships between our boys.  Yes, they are brothers, but what I see unfolding before my very eyes is that Reece & Chase & Piersen & Hudson are also friends.  I hope they will always stick together because they are brothers...but I also hope they stick together because they are friends.  These four have fun together, they fight together, they compete with one another, they protect one another, they try to be like one another and they sometimes gang up together against one another.  There are a lot of potential brotherly combinations in this "gang-up" gang :)  And every day, heck, sometimes even every few moments, there is a new combination of who is getting along well and who is left out.  When Hudson grows just a bit more - he will surely even out the playtime a bit more.  Yet at the end of the day, through the highs and lows of male bonding - these boys are true buddies!
A while back, the founder of the kids' school made a comment to me - that to him was likely just a conversation maker.  To me, however, it was one of those moments when my heart swelled so big with pride I thought it might explode.  I tucked his words into my memory - they made a deep impact on me because it was my boys' behavior away from home - away from our direct instruction - yet being illustrated the way we desire it to be....  He said, "I watched your boys today at recess.  You need to know, that although they may fight at home, those two look out for one another.  Reece was not gonna let anything happen to his little brother.  He was protecting him. It is obvious that they love each other.  You've got some good kids."
What a powerful statement - "you've got some good kids!" I so believe that to be true.  I have got some good boys! As parents, I think we can get into this bad habit of kind of ranting about our kids - their ages, their stages, their behavior, their discipline issues.... I think our kids sense that. I think they tune into our "adult" conversation much more than we realize.  I am not saying that we fake our way through this parenting thing, but when I step back and think of my boys - they surely are not perfect - but they are good, good kids... And if there are some little ears listening around me - I want them to hear me telling my friends in adult conversation that I have some good boys.  That I am proud of them.  We ought to be speaking positively about our kids when they are listening, and when they aren't. Words are powerful and they influence our attitudes.
So, as a Mom, if my words have the power that I believe they do, I am going to continue on this path of growing a deep, strong, brotherly friendship in each of my guys.  I think that involves some intentionality - instructing them how to value one another, how to interact with their friends and their brothers at the same time (keeping priorities straight), and praying for their brotherly friendships to be deep and strong. Every relationship combination, (and mathematically speaking, there are quite a few combinations going on here in our little family) between all of my sons is going to be unique and special in its' own way... but so far, I sure do love what I see (most of the time! ha!)




Ya Gain Some, Ya Lose Some

Hudson turned 6 months old on the 16th of May!  One half of a year! Unbelievable.  This sweet boy has taken us on quite a ride and has given us six months of life that we will surely never forget :)
Here is Hudson at his 6 month picture!
We have been seeing a lot of drooling in this little guy as of late.  He normally dons a wet shirt and a string of spit hanging out....just like the picture captures!

On Monday, we saw the reason for all that drool - a little white tooth just peeking out from his bottom gumline.  A tooth!  Oh my - this is going way tooooooo fast!  You can't see it in the picture yet but it is there, and I am snapping pictures to document his beautiful - but about to disappear - toothless grin!

And...then we have the other end of the spectrum.  Reece has had this very very loose front tooth for a few weeks now.  It was being pushed out from the new one growing below - and making his smile look so funny with his crooked tooth.  I knew it was about to go any day, so tried to capture his hill-billy smile with that very crooked tooth.  I literally snapped this photo seconds before Reece simply took it out of his mouth as he prepared to pose for another pic.

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I have this thing for toothless smiles - whether it comes from my baby boys, or from the smile after a lost tooth!  

Here is a great picture of the tooth-loser and the tooth-gainer :)  They make quite a team!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Above The Clouds!


*** many amazing pictures and live video below...
Last weekend, Benjy and 9 of his good friends accomplished their adventurous goal of climbing Iztaccíhuatl (a legendary mountain just outside of Mexico City). This mountain towers over 5000 meters/17,000 feet and is a beautiful and majestic sight to see.

I am filled with pride for these guys and still get shivers and close to tears every time I see the pictures, hear the stories, or reflect on the life lessons that go hand in hand with an accomplishment of this nature.

To be honest, when this idea first surfaced I was just a little nervous about it. After seeing the pictures, my instincts had every right to feel that uneasiness. This was no "hike" - it was the real deal...and the guides that took this group up, applauded them for their courage and determination. "Many set out to reach the top and just cannot make it. It is very common for them to turn back and head down. Even under these weather conditions, you made it to the top and that says a lot about you"

All of us who stayed home and cheered them on had no idea what they were getting themselves into. I don't think they did either :) The pictures will take your breath away - the video will inspire you and allow you to hear and see the conditions they climbed in - the beauty of the mountain will awe you. These men worked together and had an experience that they will never forget and that will serve them in their heart and soul for the rest of their lives. Several, if not all of them, would describe this as the most difficult physical feat they have ever had to overcome. They set out to reach four summits and fought through rain, hail, snow and wind to get to the top of one of the 5000 meter summits. Although they desired to continue on to the following summits, their guides turned them back due to an oncoming storm.  They followed their suggestion and headed back down, victorious!

The pictures themselves will speak, and say all that needs to be said about their experience! But I will give a little commentary to guide you through the climb.  And for the record, there were many more amazing pics taken... I had a hard time selecting these few (ha,ha) for this post....

The task at hand!
Beginning the climb...

The best of friends...
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Approaching snow - changing to warmer gear...
Beginning to get a little steeper...

Keeping hydrated... 
(anyone who knows my husband knows that it is a cardinal sin for him to share a drink with anyone - except for me or his boys - but I laughed so hard when he confessed to me that under the intense circumstances of this climb, he felt it unacceptable to refuse the request from his professional guide to share a sip of his gatorade!!!)

Up and up and up....
Keeping their eyes on the goal...

Looking back at how far they'd come...still going up...

They reached this refuge and settled in for the night - the altitude was so high that little sleep occurred - having to remind your own body to breath...many if not all suffered some kind of side effect to the altitude (headaches, exhaustion, vomiting or naseau)

Up at 3am to continue the climb...
Gearing up for the more serious stuff...

Horrible weather acted as an obstacle but didn't stop them....

Almost, almost there....above the clouds!!!



At the top!!
Group shot of this amazing accomplishment!

Attempting to press on to the next summit (a few hundred meters higher) but the guide suggested they head back down due to the extreme weather and oncoming storm.  The picture shows the poor visibility.

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Congratulations to Benjy, James, Jorge, Cory, Chadd, Alejandro, Lad, Zane, Jose Luis, and Zane for an inspiring job well done.  We are so proud of you!!!

Please enjoy this video put together by James!

Iztaccíhuatl and the Shaping Power of Adventure from James Henderson on Vimeo.