Archive | July, 2014

Happy Updates, Simplicity Parenting, & Good Books


“I’m making a gelato cake, Mama. BUT DON’T LET GIL TOUCH IT!!!”

Hi, friends! It’s a much happier Becca that comes to you today. Thank you so much for all your kindness on this emotional day; your comments and prayers meant so much. My whole family felt hugely loved this July 7.

It’s a quiet Wednesday night here, our last Wednesday in Sicily. This time next week we’ll be in Virginia with our family! I’m a mishmash of happy and sad and relieved and ready and torn and nostalgic and thankful. The usual emotional rooooollercoaster of moving.

After I blubbered about all our problems in the last post, God came along and took care of a lot of them for us. He helped us to sell our antique guest bedroom set that very night! And someone agreed to buy our car the next afternoon! The car isn’t sold yet, but I have their cash deposit in the bank, so I think it’s going to happen. Please pray that it does!

The movers came yesterday and took away the last of our belongings, leaving us with just the things that will fit into our suitcases. We still have military-issued loaner furniture and kitchenware, but otherwise the house is very echo-y and empty.  Everything feels much more packed away, organized, simplified. Finally!

On the subject of simplicity, I wrote two guest posts for my friend Courtney’s wonderful motherhood blog. I discussed my favorite parenting book, Simplicity Parenting, and talked about how I keep my parenting simple, choose our toys, avoid screen time, and refresh myself as a mom. Step on over to read Part 1 and Part 2 here!

Last update: today we went to the beach with everyone from Elliott’s vet clinic, and it was SO much fun. (See photo above!) I love all his soldiers and their families, and they have been a great group to work with and know these past three years. After all, it’s not every job where everyone loves taking a whole day off to hang out at the beach together. And what a beach! Hashtag grateful.

Ok, just one more thing. Book nerd alert. I’ve just spent the last 15 minutes perusing this amazing book list and seeing which ones our library has. I know, I have six days left! But maybe time to read one more book. I laughed when I saw the first four books she recommended. Remind you of anything? ;)

That’s what’s going on in our little corner. Thanks for reading! What are you up to this week?

12 :: in Army, beach, guest post, life lately, military life

Sad Days :: Loss, Grieving, & Saying Goodbye


“I’m so sad,” I said softly, my fingers fiddling with the hem of my skirt.

Elliott didn’t say anything, just listened. There was a long silence while I gathered my thoughts.

“I love this house.” I took a deep breath. “I am so sad to leave it.”

Tears welled up.

“I have so many happy memories in this house. And I will miss this town. And the weekly market. And walks to get gelato down the street….”

We both knew these things already. I’d said them before. But as we sat there on Sunday afternoon, we knew there were also a million other things weighing us down, making these simple physical goodbyes that much harder to bear.

There was the argument right before we walked into church. It was over who would put on Lena’s shoes, of all things. She can put them on herself. But it soured our whole Sunday morning.

There is our car. We’ve tried for a month, lowered the price by $1500, and it’s not selling. It’s small and scratched up, perfect for Sicily, but we’ve probably outgrown it as a family. I say “probably” because it might be coming with us to California.

There is my U.S. driver’s license. I can’t find it anywhere. I need to request a new one, but that’s hard to do when you don’t even know the number of your old one.

There is a whole bedroom set that just won’t sell either. It’s a beautiful antique! Why isn’t it selling?

There is the final moving out of our belongings this coming Tuesday, and then a goodbye party on Wednesday, and then CLEANING THE HOUSE LIKE CRAZY on Thursday. So much to do, so many boxes to tick.

And then handing over the keys on Friday. No more beautiful house on a cliff by a castle. Oh, I shall miss this house!

And then maybe a weekend at the beach. We’d been planning a special goodbye to Sicily: going back to this beach before our flight out on Tuesday morning, July 15. But now that weekend might be spent very close to base and far from the beach, if we can’t sell our car. We’ve joked about standing at the base gate and waving signs. “Amazing Honda Civic for sale! Come test drive now! Turn left, turn left!”

But then there is a deeper sadness. A dull ache, always there, that becomes a sharp pain on July 7 every year.

Two years ago today, my little sister Julia was killed in a car accident. It was, as best we can determine, a total mistake—a split-second glance at the radio, or a deer darting into the trees in front of her—that led to hasty overcorrecting, and overcorrecting again, and hitting a tree in the median. And then another tree. And then she never came home.

The comfort is that we believe she is home with Jesus, and we eagerly look forward to the day when we are all reunited there. Oh what a rejoicing that will be! There is much to be thankful for in this life.

But in the meantime, I look at my children, and I miss Booie so much. She knew Gil was coming, but she never met him. Booie, her friend Renee told me later, hoped Gil would be a boy, and I know she would have gone nuts over him, just like she did over Lena. Except Booie and Gil have the same hair — curly, thick, blond, stops people on the street — and she would have loved sharing that with him.

Lena talks about Booie frequently, sometimes asking acutely painful questions.

“She died?”


“Where is she now?”

And I answer them until I can’t bear it anymore and quietly change the subject. I am glad she knows about her Aunt Booie, though, and can recognize her in pictures. I will encourage that the rest of my life.

I miss Booie for my children’s sake, and I miss her for my family’s sake. We’ve always been such a family: four kids, two parents, a six-pack of adventure and support and laughter. We also functioned as a unit, needing each one of the kids to contribute their dose of crazy, or serious, or silly, to balance out the whole. Without Booie, our family will always walk with a limp, always have a glaring amputation, always gather somewhat sadly, knowing a piece of the whole will be missing the rest of our lives.

And I miss her for my sake. She was almost six years younger than me, and so for most of our growing up years we were sisters, but too far apart in age to be besties. That was reserved for Emily and Booie, just 18 months apart.

Then I went to college, and Boston, and married Elliott, and I was gone most of that time. We did have one very sweet period together: Lena was born, Elliott was still deployed, and I moved in with my parents for three months with a newborn. Booie was there, finishing up her senior year of high school and working at Starbucks. For awhile, we were under the same roof again, sharing the same meals, and I have a dozen pictures of her holding Lena every chance she got.

I wish we had more time than that. I wish we had time to be adult sisters together. I wish she could have met Gil. I wish I could have seen her fall in love and get married. I wish we could be three crazy old sisters dancing at Lena’s wedding one day. I wish, I wish, I wish.

I miss you, Booie, today and every day. I love you so.


“Who’s that?” Lena asked when she saw this photo just now.

“Who’s that?” I repeated, knowing that she knows.

“Lena,” she said softly, “and Booie.”

“That’s right, Lena.”

“But Booie died,” she continued softly. Then a pause. “But she’s alive now.”

That’s right, little one. Praise God.

34 :: in grief, Julia, memories, thoughts

Pros and Cons of Saltwater Sandals


A reader and friend, Bethany, wrote me an email awhile ago and asked what I thought of Saltwater sandals. She noticed Lena wearing them on my blog, and she wanted another mom’s opinion before she ordered them for her girls.

Well, I wish I had asked someone, too, before I bought three pairs last year to get the right size! In case you’re considering them for your kids, here are a few pros and cons from our family:

Cons of Saltwater Sandals

  • Lena can’t get them on by herself because of the old-school buckle. It only takes me a few extra seconds, but sometimes she’s already chosen other shoes that she can get on by herself.
  • The sizes run large. Order a size smaller than your child’s other shoes.
  • They don’t have a great grip. The soles of the shoes are hard and smooth. It doesn’t seem to bother her now that’s she’s used to it, though.
  • Lena has had to break them in, so expect a blister or two at the beginning. Putting them on your child during her bath will help them soften up and mold to her foot.
  • We got the sandals in white, and they do look a little dingy after awhile. If I could do it again, I might get gold or champagne or something, just to be a little more fun and hide the scuffs.
  • They’re pricey, at least if you buy them during the summer.

Pros of Saltwater Sandals

  • She can’t get them off by herself. Do you know how nice that is?!
  • They are the only shoes she needs all summer (except for a pair of sneakers, I guess). Last summer, she wore them to weddings, church, the beach (they’re waterproof), and for everyday errands. They’re leather, they’re cute, they’re comfortable.
  • Did I mention they’re waterproof?! The specially-treated leather means they don’t get soggy or dry hard.
  • If you buy them in the off-season, they cost about 50% less than during the summer.
  • They pretty much go with everything and make any outfit look good if you get a neutral color. And if you get a bright color (like my friend Emily with her daughter’s lime green Saltwaters), they add a sparkle to even the simplest outfit.
  • They are the most durable kids’ shoes I’ve ever met. They still look new (except for the slightly dingy look on the white shoes) at the end of the summer. Lena still fits into the ones she wore last summer, so she’s wearing them again. They could last through a couple more children and summers, too!

In the end, I would recommend them. I’ll get them again! They are cute shoes, and hold up well, and go with everything. What’s not to love?

P.S. These are the “new” kids’ shoes I have my eye on for Gil. Equally pricey, unfortunately, but stinkin’ cute and waterproof. Have you tried them?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
10 :: in gift guide, Lena, links I love, wishlist

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes