Then, something happened while I was in the boat watching Michele hit the glass I didn't get on my wakeboard run just moments prior. I was sitting between Michael and Travis, watching John drive the boat and Michele live her moments of euphoria - and my whole mindset just flipped. Instead of looking at reaching this 40th number, I considered all that I have and have been blessed with in these 40 years of life. The relationships with those two guys sitting next to me who are my non-biological brothers and the husband who I feel so complete with - each day even more so.
With every year that goes on in my life, there's more blessings to be grateful. Deeper friendships. New people that impact my life. A love ever-expanding with my hubby. More thankfulness over who my kids are becoming and the relationships with them as they approach their "older birthdays". My own parents, who I can still turn to for any need - but are also among my best friends too. The confidence I have in my own life - no longer (as Sara pointed out) feeling the need to please every person along the way, but rather recognizing God's direction and finding that to be the vastly more satisfying, challenging, and abundant path to follow. The way forgiveness comes easier and judgement a little slower. Even knowing what my body is doing physically - not freaking out with every random symptom but having a nice long memory of why it does it's quirky thing (and this applies to all sorts of life scenarios too!).
So, with that sort of sentimentalism declared - yesterday was a GREAT day! We had a LOT of fun on the boat (though I wish Stephie would have joined us, but delivering Whitley on Cottage Grove Lake was a scenario we were hoping to avoid). Michael and Travis primarily manned the camera - which in itself was a big gift. I love how Travis (giving in to John's frequent preference) tilts the camera with most shots (leaving you leaning your head as you scan them) - and Michael loves candid shots and takes hundreds to capture just the right moment. As we scrolled through the 1692 pictures taken last night, we had so much belly laughter going on coming up with captions at our horrified, disgusted, or frankly unattractive expressions. There's been talk of making a private "The Riley REALITY Review" blog to put so much of the non PG pics up or stories that go on - we had plenty of material from yesterday! (And, for the record, no such blog currently exists, despite Travis' whining when I come off too Pollyanna in my posts).
So here you go - with not a lot of captioning as it's nearly time for bed.
He's holding the flag on his head, fyi...
Checking out what is reflected in John's camera is almost as amusing as the picture itself as you scroll through...
This would be the non-rated-G conversation going on between us...
That's MY BOY!
And, THAT'S MY GIRL!
Candid - caught in the act of picking his non-existent fingernails...
I am so not a fan of pics of me in the full wetsuit...UGLY! But, given the week prior had been colder, the water was not nearly as warm as it was the weekend before. And, I picked comfort over fashion.
Michele only wakeboarded to say she'd done it for the summer. The pics of her boarding were cracking us up as she had such a look of "can I be done already?"
This next series of photos are alarming, and were absolutely not-intentional. No one got hurt, everyone had smiles after....but man, what a spill. And, that it was caught on camera - super impressive.
Ellie's thumb went from pointing up to down after that!
Michael - time to load your shotgun....Nati's growing up!
"Rico Suave"... (Travis' birthday was on Tuesday - so this was the final birthday run of the day)
The original plan after the lake was to meet up with Mom and Dad at Red Robin. However, we had gotten a late start (due to the boat getting fixed in the NICK OF TIME!) and I was fighting hard with everything in my arsenal against a headache. So, we toyed with the idea of getting take-out and meeting up with Mom and Dad at our house. It was a fantastic idea - we were able to get exactly what we wanted, enjoy it at our leisure in the house - and even have the kids all eat outside so we didn't have to monitor appropriate restaurant etiquette! Mom also worked on me - bless her heart. Between her verbal words of sentiment and the words written in the card from Dad - my goodness, I can't even tell you how good Michele and I have it with our parents. To know two people believe in you that much and think so much of you....wow.
Following their departure, we giggled over pictures and Michele threatened to wake me up at 3:03 am when I would be 40 and she would still have 12 minutes left of 39. Fortunately, she stayed in bed. =)