Monday, October 25, 2010

A Texas Wedding

This weekend, we made a quick little trip to Texas to celebrate my cousin's wedding. I love my cousin, Britt a lot. We have tons of great memories from growing up together and his parents (my aunt and uncle, of course) are some of my most favorite people in all the world. It was a beautiful wedding and Britt's new bride, Crystal, is such a sweetheart. We just wouldn't have missed this wedding for the world.

The icing on the cake (I seriously just realized that was a pun...and I wasn't even trying!) is that my entire family would be there, which doesn't happen that often (and yes...I know that is mostly my fault for living out here in hippie Colorado). So, I came to the most beautiful part of Texas, the hill country, for a fancy wedding and some much needed family time. I got both.

I love it when we get to be with family because I just know my kids are making memories. I have great memories with all my cousins and I know my kids will, too. Here they all are at the rehearsal. This is the absolute best picture we could get. With seven kids 7 & under, it just is what it is.
And then, on the day of the wedding, we took lots of pictures of all of us dressed up. My kids love dressing up, which is so fun. But, I told my mom, I DO NOT know how she dressed all three of us girls every Sunday morning for church, without my dad's help (since he was at church much earlier). But, she surely did, and we were always dressed to the nines, with our bows tied correctly, matching shoes, and our thick hair curled and tied up in matching bows. The woman is some kind of a superhero.

Sweet Bella. Doesn't she smile with her entire face?
I have a sweet one of Hope, too, but who am I trying to kid. This picture is totally more her.

This is Ava's favorite new pose for pictures I love that she throws her little head back and laughs. She is so much fun!

The Fleming girls! Here we all are. My beautiful mom, who just last week was almost refused senior admission to the State Fair because she looks so darn young, and my gorgeous sisters. I have spent my whole life loving these women and am so blessed by their love for me and their love for Christ, which overflows onto everyone around them. We look GOOD, girls!And, how about that? They all looked at the camera. That is a miracle worth documenting.

It needs to be said that, though my roots are Baptist, my family can get down with the best of them. But, we decided we might need a little practice before the reception that night and we wanted to show the kids our moves. So, we did what any normal family would do. We had a little impromptu dance party on the porch, where we all did our fair share of dancing, and where, all the adults but one eventually figured out that the camera was rolling and this film was very likely to end up on someone's blog. Sorry mom, but I do feel like I gave you fair warning.'s time everyone knew where our wicked dance moves come from.

After the wedding reception, we took off, headed back to the great state of Colorado. And, as the kids quickly fell asleep (thank you, Jesus!) I was thankful for my time with my first family and all of their families. And, I knew that I was blessed to be heading home with this family. This one who will also someday sprout new branches and grow bigger. This family, who began with a wedding, and has grown now to this. Thanks be to God!

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Year Ago Today

It hardly seems possible that, a year ago today, we met Ava. A year ago today, we came into a hospital room and saw the first glimpse of her face. Only her face, since the rest of her was tightly wrapped and a stocking cap was firmly planted on her head. A year ago today, her birthmom handed her to me and I felt the weight of her body against mine for the first time, and the magnitude of being a mother. A year ago today, I pulled that cap right off of her head so I could see what was underneath. Oodles of black curls, which made me grin and tear up immediately. A year ago today, I slowly unwrapped the blankets from around her so I could have a precious peek at those baby hands and feet, and then quickly tucked her back inside. A year ago today, I said to her, through blurry eyes and with deep conviction, "Hi, Ava. I'm your mommy." And I wondered how it was possible to feel this awestruck the third time around. But I did. And I do.

Today, she babbles to me like she's known me all along. She throws her head back and laughs at my silliness like I was put on this earth just for her. She toddles over to me with her arms up, knowing she's welcome. She cries and finds that my shoulder is a magical place that makes everything better. And knowing that one who was never at home in my body is at home in my arms, is a miracle that pays tribute to the God who can do exceedingly more than we can ask or even imagine.

Happy Birthday, precious Ava, "breath of life." On this day I celebrate God's goodness in giving you life. And am mystified by his goodness in giving me the privilege of knowing you best.

"Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds." Psalm 72:18