At The Beach

Our family is in love with the ocean. John and I have visited the beach once a year almost every year of our 20 year marriage, including on our honeymoon. No matter where we live, we’re drawn back there year after year after year. He likes to go rock-picking, and I usually bring a book, imagining I will get in some reading. More often than not, what I really do is a lot of family-watching and photography.

This year it is my baby who amazed me first. Our last trip to the beach was in the fall, half a year ago. Half a year ago, she couldn’t even crawl. Now she’s toddling sure-footedly over the rocky ground, collecting rocks–the bigger the better–and doing her darndest to keep up with the big kids. My baby. Looking at her, my heart gives a bittersweet twinge and I have to scoop her up. Oh, they grow so fast.


I see next my 14 year old son, walking tall next to his dad. When did that happen? When did that boy get so tall, shoulders almost even with his dad’s? There goes my heart, lurching around again with that mix of sorrow and delight. Oh, they grow…so…fast.


And of course there’s my 18 year old. On the brink of independence. Planning for college. Imagining dorm life and college classes and jobs in her future.

An air of distraction about her as if she’s squinting into the misty future, already beginning to leave. But at this very moment she’s still blessedly here in the midst of us. I swear it was only a dozen or so heartbeats ago that she was first laid in my arms.

And the rest of my precious ones. My daughter, on the brink of 16. My son, one short year from his teens.








My little guys, second-graders, still blessedly ensconced in the heart of childhood.






My 3 year old, who wants so much to be big. They’re all growing up on me, ready or not.

I’ve got to hug more, talk less, listen more, race less, laugh more. And of course keep snapping photos like these moments will never happen again.


  1. Those were wonderful photos! And you have such a beautiful family!

  2. Beautiful photos! They do grow so fast, don't they? I'm like you, always snapping away with my camera in an attempt to capture the moment.

  3. That looks like a wonderful time. I have been dreaming about taking a family vacation to the coast this year. Do you have any places you would recommend?

  4. wow you have a wonderful family!
    you are such an inspiration to me!!
    we have 4 children of our own and we really want to adopt one day too! we already tried from Romania and the little boy that we wanted we couldn't take because the priest of that orphanage would not adopt outside the Orthodox Faith or the country… was very heartbreaking.

  5. Wonderful photos – wonderful words!

  6. Wow, I've never been to your blog before but I see you name here and there on other people's blogs. I'm really glad I found you!!

    We actually just starting looking into adoption. We're finding out all the facts and patiently waiting for God to show us what He wants for our family!!

    I will be back for sure!!

  7. "I swear it was only a dozen or so heartbeats ago that she was first laid in my arms."

    You're killin me over here. Waaah! Off to hug my kiddos.

  8. Great pics of the kids, and such a beautiful way of expressing one of the bittersweet realities of Momhood. Ü

  9. Great pictures, what beach did you go to?

  10. WOW, what a BEAUTIFUL family!

  11. This is such a precious post…I love how you capture your heart in your writings! Thanks for sharing!!!

  12. Damn your a busy girl ! How do you find the time for yourself!?
    Looks like everyone was having a great time at the beach.

    I love all the photos too!

  13. You have a BEAUTIFUL family!

  14. You have an amazing way of bringing me to tears!! (Good ones though) Thanks for reminding me to hug my kids more!!

  15. Wonderful pictures! I love seeing a mom in love with her kids.

  16. What a beautiful family! I'm so glad you had someone else snap your picture too. I find I hardly ever end up in the pictures because I'm always the one taking them! =)

  17. That beach looks so very different from ours here in Roatan. Cold! Your descriptions are wonderful reminders of how quickly time goes with our children in our arms, under our feet, beside us, and … towering over us!

  18. Look at those happy kids. Well done, Mary. 🙂

  19. i love the beach, it's so wonderfully open and airy!

  20. precious thanks for sharing your memories with all of us.

  21. You have the most incredibly beautiful smile!

  22. I loved the pictures. And the words. So very true.

  23. Shana amd Brianna,

    We've been all along the Oregon and Washington coastlines. Favorite spots include Newport, OR and Astoria, OR. If you like to cmp, Oregon state parks can't be beat!


  24. I'm crying over here, Mary 🙂 Thank you

  25. How beautiful – the kids, the pictures, the ocean… all of it.

    We love the ocean too. My son just loves to play at the beach . WE are so blessed to live on the Pacific coast.

    It amazes me how many kids you have!!! How you have the energy I will never know…But what a joyful house it must be!!!

  26. How incredibly precious! What a great reminder to cherish those moments before they slip away. You are so blessed.

  27. What a sweet family! Anytime you want to vacation on the beach come on up here!! We have miles of beaches for you.