Testing a Theory

Ok, so how does that old saying go? A picture is worth a thousand words? Well, let’s give it a shot and find out. The beauty of wordpress is that it counts as I type. Don’t worry. I will do the math. The words that are counted will be below the picture. The question is, can a simple picture like this, really be worth that many words? Let’s try and figure this out together. Shall we?  


Believe it or not, that’s the best ‘family’ portrait we have. And it was taken today (Sunday). Do you know how hard it is to have a photo taken, particularly when two of the four are kids? Yeah, well, it’s hard. So hard, in fact, that this photo is the best of four taken today.

The photographer is my sister-in-law, Stephanie, who, along with her friend, Amber, was visiting us this weekend from Florida. We don’t see Steph enough. It’s hard when siblings are separated by that much distance. Stephanie and her brother live in Florida. Renee and her parents are up north. We always try to convince Steph to move back. Until it happens, which is probably doubtful, then my wife and her sister are doing pretty well dealing with emails and phone calls to go along with the two or three times a year they get to visit in person. She’s fun to have around. Who knows. Perhaps some day, she and her husband will end up ‘coming home.’

From left to right, that’s one-third of Erin, yours truly, Aidan and my wife, Renee. The picture was taken at a place called Napatree Point in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. It is, perhaps, my favorite beach. In. The. World. It’s in the middle of a summer tourist haven, yet it still has an incredible amount of remote charm to it.

As you can see behind us, the beach is curving to the left, almost in a crescent shape. Well, if you walk all the way out to the point, you’ll come across some forts that were built to protect the area during, I think, World War II. I’ve been out there a few times, but not in a long, long time. It’s pretty cool, however.

Lots of memories on that beach, including the night the woman in the picture agreed to be my wife. I will never forget that night. It was perfect.

Today was also perfect, just in a different way. It was Erin’s first trip to the beach. She liked it. Even if you can’t tell because she, apparently, wasn’t interested in the camera. The girl likes everything though. She, apparently, only does two things — rolling around and smiling. She is getting closer and closer to making that crawl thing go. It’s amazing to watch the progress in just about seven months. The smiling is so incredible. Everyone gets a smile. Give one to her, she gives one to you.

She is just a happy kid. And that makes us happy. From what you can see of her, you might notice a red spot on her upper lip. It’s a hemangioma, which, they tell us, is completely normal. It looks like a birthmark on the outside of her lip, and the inside is puffier. We hardly notice it. It doesn’t seem to be  bothering her at all. The doctors say that it could continue growing until her first birthday, then it should recede natually — and slowly, to the point that it should be all but invisible by the time she’s in first or second grade.

I look at myself and go, wow…getting a little gray on the sides and, obviously, a little thin on the top. Hate that my hair is blowing around, but it was windy, what can you do? I do think I look a bit thinner in general, a result of my Forty by Forty goal. What you can’t see in the picture are my jeans. How do I know I might be losing a little weight? Well, in this picture, I’m wearing ‘natural fit’ jeans and no longer ‘relaxed fit.’ Every little step helps. So if it’s my jeans, that’s fine with me. Really.

Aidan loves to chew his coat, which, of course,  he’s doing here. It drives Renee and I nuts, but, short of putting a dab of tabasco sauce on there, we can’t seem to get him to stop. Oh well. He was having a ball at the beach. He loves to explore. So, after finding a smooth rock to bring back for my mother-in-law, he was then ready to push sand around with the bulldozer he brought.

He also had a ton of fun tossing rocks into the bay, which is on the opposite side of the ocean. The dunes and beach separate ocean side from bay side. We were surprised to see parts of the bay frozen, but it did provide a perfect rock throwing opportunity. He tried to skim some rocks and keep them on the ice, but that changed when he heard the ‘plop’ of a big rock going through the ice. So that’s how we spent the next 10 minutes or so, picking out bigger rocks that he could ‘plop’ into the water.

He had a ball down there today. Just like he always does. Pretty much any time he’s outside is a good time. He doesn’t consider it a good time when having his picture taken. It’s just not, as you can tell, one of his favorite things in the world to do.

Renee looks fabulous in this picture. Or, for that matter, any picture. She started out carrying Erin on her back, but I took over shortly before this picture was taken. I was impressed. I wish Renee and Stephanie were closer — in a geographical sense. They, I think, have now spent more of their lives living away from each other than being together. They have always been committed to making the distance thing work for them, but on these types of visits, it clearly isn’t the best option. 

As you can see, Renee gets pure joy from our wonderful kids. (And, well, ok, maybe just a little bit from me, too!) She’s a fabulous mom, a fabulous teacher, a fabulous wife. She’s just, well, awesome. We make a great team — and make no mistake — she’s the captain. I couldn’t do it without her. She does soooo much. And I know I don’t tell her enough, but I do appreciate all she does for us — and, well, for me.  I couldn’t do it without her. No question about that. She’s the best there is, and I couldn’t be happier that she said yes on that beach a long time ago.

And that concludes my little test. Can a simple picture really be worth a thousand words. Now you know.

What else? I got nothin’.

17 Comments on “Testing a Theory”

  1. Chelle says:

    Napatree is an amazing place and it looks good for the 4 of you. Are you perhaps a bit thinner as well? Lookin’ good mister!

  2. verybadcat says:

    You have a beautiful family! 🙂

  3. La says:

    What a lovely family photo! Really!

  4. violet says:

    i love watch hill!

    to steal la’s words (i swear i was going to use lovely anyway and now im just going to be repetitive) what a lovely family.

  5. Melissa says:

    I hate getting teary-eyed at work, but I figure it’s ok if it’s for a good thing vs. bad. You do have a beautiful family (to echo verybadcat) and beautiful words to describe them.

  6. milwaukeebuckeye says:

    What a beautiful family. I love that Aidan is chewing on his coat – it’ll be a funny thing to look back on.

    I’ve only been to RI once, we went to Sakonnet Point. It was beautiful. I’m now convinced the whole state may be beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing, your wife sounds like an amazing woman.

  7. Stormy says:

    Awesome dude.

    The fort? That is what is left of Fort Mansfield, which closed in 1917. Some day I’ll have to take you on a tour of Fort Wright at Fishers, which Fort Mansfield was affiliated with back in the day.

  8. Barb says:

    what a great family picture! You call tell from that picture that they are all worth alot more than a 1000 words to you.

  9. That’s a good lookin’ family. Even though I wish I could see Erin’s face and that Aidan didn’t look like somebody stole his lunchbox. 🙂

    Also, I love RI beaches. We vacation sometimes at Briggs Beach. We rent a cabin and stay there for a week without tv or internet or cell phone signal. It’s awesome.

  10. Clink says:

    I love this photo! You all look…at peace, especially you and Renee. I don’t know if that’s the best way to put it but it’s the first that came to mind.

    And, um, come this summer either you or Molly or BOTH are going to have to introduce me to the wonder that is RI beaches.

  11. erin says:

    What a cute family! Such a cute photo (even if you can’t see Erin’s face). I love the little fleecy outfit she is wearing too!

  12. Paper says:

    ah, Watch Hill. It makes me think back to the spring of ’91. I think of Christine and getting Cecil for .50 the next day. Good times. He went yard 50X that year. As for the girl, well, not so good. She went yard once…never made it back.

  13. Anna says:

    What a great photo! The adults look fabulous and we already know the kids are cute, even if we can’t see them clearly in this shot.

    Love the post. And you are brave! We thought about Napatree this weekend, but headed to the playground instead–wimpy, I know!

    P.S. Will totally chews his coat.

  14. JC says:

    Don’t forget she’s a catholic.

    There’s something to be said about that.

  15. L B says:

    LOVE this idea. and what a fabulous family 🙂 hey, good seeing you in person today…meant to tell you–this whole 40 by 40 thing is working huh?

  16. LOVE the picture! We were just there! Did you see my pictures of our outing to the Forts? I love the forts! It is a great way to expel some of that energy kids have! LOVE IT!

    The coat chewing thing…it will go away! it did here!

  17. Stephanie says:

    What a wonderful photo – the four of you make a fabulously lovely family. Wasn’t it a bit chilly for the beach!? Brr…

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