Monday, August 9, 2010

Laugh Until You Cry!

There's something really special about growing up near a lake ... and Minnesota has a few. :)  Some of my and Jay's favorite childhood memories are from those long, carefree days of summer on the lake. 

I love how my kids play together with abandon.  I love how all 4 of them are pefectly content to be with each other, or with their friends (it really doesn't matter as long as they are ... at the lake.) 

They spend hours fishing, and jumping off the dock, practicing back-flips, perfecting their dives, seeing who can hold their breath the longest, doing canonballs, helping each other put worms on the hook and take fish off the hook.  

Then, as the intense sunlight starts to fade and the sky turns all pink and orange, and the surface of the lake becomes still, we start a fire and extend our together-time around the campfire with hotdogs and s'mores.

And I love how we fall into bed at night with that healthy, satisfying kind of exhaustion and the warmth of the sun still kissing our skin.

~  keep reading below for the story about Jayden laughing until he cried ... ~

This is what JOY looks like!  Jayden appreciates life with intensity and complete abandon.  He remembers all to well what it was like to be hungry and alone (when he was an orphan in Ethiopia).  He remembers how worried he was, and sad, all the time.  And now he is completely secure and content within the loving circle of his family and he LOVES to experience life like a cannonball!

As the day came to an end, we started a campfire near the water and I laid out the food on the nearby picnic table.  All of the kids speared hotdogs with their extending fire-forks and let the flames begin to blister the skins of the wieners.  At this point, I started explaining the finer points of cooking wieners over an open flame by using Emme's hotdog as the example.  I started explaining to the boys about how hot the forks would get and how they had to be careful not to touch them. 

"Look at Emme's wiener," I said.  "See how she's turning it so that it cooks on all sides?" 

"When Emme's wiener gets bubbly on one side, she turns it over."

"Emme is going to be careful when she touches her wiener so she doesn't get burned".

It was about at this point that I registered the quiet hysterical laughter that Jayden was trying to stifle.  We all stopped and looked at him as he laughed until tears rolled down his face.  We all waited for him to be able to talk, and once he caught his breath, I asked "What happened?  What's so funny?"

His response ...  "You said Emme had a wiener." 

And then he buckled over with laughter until tears flowed freely again. 

We all started laughing too.  He's come a long way in the past 18 months - from speaking NO English, to being able to find humor in our English phrasing. :)


Determined said...

What a great story!! And what great pictures!!

Becky Lee Burk said...

awww. love it! The photos are GREAT as usual. Thanks for sharing :)

Robin said...

Karen - I did just laugh until I cried! Love it!

Karla said...

I cried too! He looks so handsome!

Angela said...

Ahh love it! And priceless pictures for sure! Happy Tuesday!

Debb said...

WOW! Such a talented photographer you are, Karen! And what amazingly beautiful "subjects" you have to photograph! I was smiling broadley as I read about how Jayden lives life so freely! So awesome to see the pure JOY in all four of your children! You and Jay are doing an amazing job parenting! Nothing better than creating a family of safety and love, while making sweet memories! :o) Bless you guys!