We have some really great friends that we went to the beach with over the Easter Weekend. The weather was horrible - cloudy and rainy - but the company was divine! We had a wonderful time playing Heads Up, Bocci ball, Left-Right-Center, arm wrestling and coloring Easter eggs.
If all that isn't fodder for a fun weekend, I don't know what is!
Today we took a day trip to Wilmington, NC with the sole purpose of touring the USS North Carolina battleship. The skies were Carolina blue and the temperature was lovely. The self-guided tour can take anywhere from 1-2 hours so we took our time wandering and pondered what life was like as a sailor on this vessel during WWII.
The Enlisted men's mess hall.
Big kettles, big griddles.
Eliza Grace was very pleased to see that the sailors had regular access to her favorite food: ice cream.
You could turn and move many of the levers, buttons and gears in the engine and other mechanical rooms. The spaces full of electrical panels and fuses were amazing. Rows and rows of equipment that had to be maintained and carefully adjusted with hundreds of switches are, in today's ships, monitored and controlled with a computer screen and the touch of button.
The laundry drop off area.
This area was once a garbage shoot but is known now as the "wishing well." Eliza Grace and Will took turns dropping quarters down the 4 stories to see if they could land their coin in the bucket at the bottom. The money is used to help maintain the ship.
The 16 inch powder magazines and projectile storage areas.
Can you imagine the heat down here while deployed in the South Pacific? Especially in the middle of battle?
40 MM gun mounts.
The view from outside the Captain's quarters.
One of many sleeping quarters. Imagine being Scott, 6'4" tall, and sleeping in those.
Will honoring those who fought and died so that we remain free.
After nearly 2 hours of climbing up and down lots of narrow ladders and ducking under and stepping over lots of steel bulkheads, we headed to the Front St. Brewery for a beverage and some ice cream.
It was a perfect pit stop to talk about what we had seen and learned and to even further appreciate those who have and still do put their lives on the line to ensure our continued freedom.
Last night our American Heritage Girl (AHG) troop celebrated a wonderful tradition of honoring our 6th grade girls who will be moving to a new level in the spring. This event includes having the girls' fathers say a few words about their daughters and present them with a gift. As part of the proceedings, the audience is told about a badge the girls have earned called "Daughter of the King."
Here's what the AHG handbook says about being a daughter of the King: "You are a daughter of the King! Though our culture may try to tell us differently, God sees each of us as beautiful, worthy of love, and full of potential! It is important for us to hold these truths dear and live our lives accordingly, as our identity is in Him and we are made in His image."
As her mother, I make a concentrated effort to help Eliza Grace see her amazing worth and potential just as God as made her. And Scott? As her father he is KEY to this understanding. The relationship with, and the love and acceptance of, a daughter's earthy father immeasurably impacts her relationship with her heavenly Father, her self-image and, eventually, her relationships with other men. Which brings me back to the events of last night. Eliza Grace's sweet, sweet Daddy took the words he would say and the gift he would present very seriously. Scott very publicly and eloquently told his daughter that he loves her and how proud he is of his smart, loving and quick-witted girl. He spoke about how much she has grown and matured in confidence. He told the audience that she is a very brave and loyal young lady who is not afraid to try new things, voice her opinion or speak up for her friends and her beliefs. He then presented her with a beautiful silver Claddagh ring, which he researched and picked out himself. He explained how he felt that the story behind the Claddagh described his daughter and how he felt about her. Take a look:
As he started to put the ring on her finger, he stopped and said, "Whoops, not that way. That way would mean you're married," which got a chuckle from the audience and a mild look of horror from Eliza Grace.
Words have power and I know that the words of love and acceptance Eliza Grace heard from her earthly father will forever impact how she views herself and her heavenly Father. She is beautiful. She is worthy of love. She is full of potential.
I'm not sure why North Carolina decided we needed to have an actual winter season this year, but I think we can all agree it was a mistake. Regardless, if it's going to snow, you might as well be out there playing in it. Here are some fun sights and sounds of playing in the white stuff.
Chewie had so much fun running around in the snow. He also had his first ever sled ride!