The first responder and the last survivor

Even with all the time to myself/pampering over Mother’s Day, what I enjoyed the most was just hanging out with the loves of my life. I don’t know if it was the kids singing during the Mother’s Day program at church (serious problems controlling tear flow over on our pew) or simply having a minute more quiet reflection time than normal, but my heart felt like it was going to burst!
When I stop and think about it (and I don’t usually just STOP and think for a moment– something I need to work on), what my own mother did for me is nothing short of self-sacrificing. Sure, I was grateful for my mom and mother-in-law before I had kids, but it doesn’t compare to the jaw-dropping, oh-my-goodness-you-did-this-for-me?!?!?!?! feeling I sense to the depths of my bones every single day post-Samantha and Amelia. I didn’t truly understand until now.
I am so grateful for my own amazing mom and the love, the sweat, the tears, the wisdom and the joy she put into raising me. We are the luckiest girls in the world that she can be a grammy to Samantha and Amelia; hopefully it’s more of a reward than hard work being a grandma! I also feel a huge debt of gratitude to my mother-in-law who, even after her husband died and she was left to care for the six youngest kids still at home, still raised the selfless, smart, hard-working, and wonderful man I am blessed beyond measure to call my husband.
And to all the other women in my life who have helped mother my daughters– extended family, friends, and neighbors– it really does take a village and I am so grateful to have mine. 
Life feels renewed through Samantha and Amelia’s eyes. Being with them, watching them get down on their hands and knees to point out ants, cry when they want the blue plate instead of the purple, and gleefully show me a bus on the street as they burst out in song, has given me so much perspective on life, love and what really matters. I learn so much everyday from two little humans who have only been on the planet for two years, yet seem to know so much more than I do about what it means to love. 
I’m a big fan of the blog posts and books by Hands Free Mama, and one part of her Mother’s Day post really resonated with me. Just knowing that I am the “first responder” and the “last survivor” in someone’s life makes all those messy times in the middle– the times I’ve been frustrated, the times I’ve been tired, the times I’ve had no clue what I was doing– fade away. Being a mom is a beautiful mess and a true refiner’s fire if I’ve ever been through one. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 I love you to the moon and back.

Whoa–I had planned on simply saying Happy Mother’s Day and posting a few pictures from our Mother’s Day picnic at Salt Creek Beach! On to the rest of Mother’s Day…

After the girls cooked a steak dinner at home, we enjoyed a picnic and berry crumble for dessert at the beach– perfection!

Samantha always ends up with 85% more food on her face than Amelia. 

I love my hat!
These guys are my life. 
I love you! Scrunch faces and all. 

All this eating has me tired. 

So serious. 

That time when Samantha spilled all the walnuts and we were immediately attacked by seagulls. 
Classic Sammy fork in mouth pose. 
Amelia and Jake relax. 

Amelia loves to SIIIIING!

And YELLLLLLL!

Please don’t put sand in my eyes. Please don’t put sand in my eyes. 

Ok then. I’ll throw it in your hair instead. 

Making sand cupcakes. 

My ideal view. 

Sammy– please don’t grow up and get rid of your pigtails. 

 I love pretending to eat their sand creations. 

Samantha doesn’t always pretend to eat sand. 

Burying Samantha. 

Monkey see monkey do. 

Those little faces. I don’t want to ever stop pinching those cheeks. Ever. Ever. Ever. 

Do you think that seagull is going to poop on our faces? 

Here sis– a little sand for you. 

No, really– try some.

Let the sister torture begin!

Framing this one. 

I might just frame the whole series and call it: Sister Sillies: A Photo Essay.

The only downside of Salt Creek is the hill. I don’t tend to pack light. 

As their extra special Mother’s Day gift to me, Samantha and Amelia fell asleep peacefully once we got home. As much as I loved savoring the day with them when they were awake (read: crazy), watching their little faces as they slept calmly was the icing on the cake!

Lots of love, 
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