Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fun In The Sun - Part 3

Our vacation wouldn't be complete without some family pictures.  I love pictures.  They help to remind me of moments past, moments that I can't get back again but I can continue to enjoy each time I see them.  And these sweet moments will always be fun for me to look back on.

Can I just say, I cannot believe how big my little people are?  This was our first beach vacation in nine years where I didn't have to bring swim diapers or a pack 'n play!  It feels like a total win!  I told Adam several times, I truly truly love the baby stage, its one of my favorites, but honestly, I'm really enjoying this stage where everyone can go and do without needing a nap or requiring us to keep a tight schedule.  I loved that I could sit on the beach and read almost an ENTIRE book while my kids played at the waters edge and didn't need my constant supervision.  That's what made this trip feel so much more relaxing then in years past and I loved it!

I am blessed that these little friends call me "Mom".  This is what I always wanted to be.

And this man right here, he is my rock, my encourager, my best friend.  We have so much fun together, even if its ten hours in the car with our little friends listening to their moviethon.  We laughed together, sang together, talked and just simply enjoyed each others company in the seat beside us.  He is all that I prayed for in a spouse and I am humbled and feel so undeserving of his adoration and love.  I love him with my whole heart and thoroughly enjoyed our time away.

Here's Poppy and Grammy surrounded by all their grandkids.

How precious are these two?!  Melt.My.Heart!

Here's another cute family! 

Papa and his boys.

And sweet baby Abigail.

Here we all are minus Sidney and John.  We truly missed them and wished that they could've been there with us.  We'll look forward to the next beach vaca where we can all be together.

The cousins had a great time all week long.  They played well and played hard together, which makes these sweet pictures even sweeter.

Cousin time truly is a fun time!  I love this one!

Fun In The Sun -Part 2 - We Made Some Memories

On any family vacation there are funny things that happen that may or may not be funny in the moment, but one thing is for sure, a memory was certainly made that will be talked about for years.  We had several of these on our recent trip, here's just a couple of them.  

Most nights we traded off cooking and cleaning up the dishes, but midway through the week we chose to try and eat out.  I say "try" simply because eating out with 8 kids and 7 adults is no easy task.  We chose to eat at Crabs, a seafood restaurant in Pensacola with Gulf views that draws diners to its laid-back beach scene complete with live music & outdoor tables.  I would totally recommend this little gem to any families headed to the beach, it even has a great playground right beside all the tables so the kids can run off some energy while waiting for their food, what more could you ask for?  All the adults sat down at one table and promptly ordered the Tuesday night special, margaritas for $2.50.  I enjoyed my frozen mango margarita while the kids did their thing.  I should say here, that I was super bummed that Adam's brother John and his wife Sidney couldn't join us on this trip, they were both missed, especially on this evening.
Everything was going fairly well until the appetizers started to arrived, that's when the bottom sort of dropped out of our evening.  Both Lawson and Theodore fell mouth open, face down, into the sand, which was not a happy moment for either of them.  We got them cleaned up and all the kids seated at their booth (directly behind our table) as they were ready for some pre-dinner bites when Malachi stood up to do a little grooving to the music.  He wiggled and rocked while standing in the booth and accidentally got right on the edge and actually toppled head first onto the floor.  About this same time Ava Jane started crying and saying "her poo-poo was coming out", so I promptly got out of our very narrow booth and headed to the ladies room.  Emerson decided to come with us and I just took both their hands and headed that way.  A few minutes into our "toilet tour" someone entered the bathroom and asked, "is there an Emerson in here?"  I said yes, but didn't ask any other questions.  Apparently, the whole wait staff and other diners, were helping my family look for our son...just awesome!  As if we'd not made a big enough scene already....I just loved being the cheap entertainment for the evening.  It was one of those evenings where things started off pretty good and quickly escalated to "not so good".  We'd had intentions of playing putt-putt golf and riding go-carts but by the end of our meal all of our nerves were shot and we decided bed time routines sounded so much better.  

Another memory maker was taking a bike ride as a group.  Our entire family participated including Emerson, who this year, requested that we bring his bike for him to ride on instead of just riding in the trailer with Ava Jane.  We gladly brought his bike and he willingly went for a ride....a long ride.  It wasn't long in length but rather duration.  I stayed back to ride with Emerson and caught myself many many times asking him if he could pedal just a little bit faster?  He never complained, he actually was having a good ole time, but I must say, it took all of me to not just lose it a couple of moments.  Adam, Joseph, Peyton and Lawson (along with the three trailer riders) went on ahead and actually ended up passing us on their way back to the house.  They had all been home a good ten to fifteen minutes when Em and I finally arrived.  It started out fun but ended as a real "memory maker" if you know what I mean.

This cute sign was in one of the yards along our ride.

Here I am with my little buddy, steady Eddie...he was slow and steady our entire ride.

Another fun moment was when my sister in law gave all the kids some art supplies one morning while waiting for breakfast.  The kids were excited to sit outside and paint on the porch.  My nephew Theo was painting and one of the kids came in and said, "it happened".  I didn't know what was being referred to, but apparently Grace had told Theo that he didn't need much water to rinse his brush with, but like any toddler, they think they "need" it, so not shortly after beginning his artwork, there was water spilled.  Its just the way it goes with kids.  It all starts out fun and then someone gets upset because their paper gets wet or someone messes with their stuff; it's all part of "doing family".



All of our moments last week, whether there was fussing going on, laughing, tears being shed or sheer enjoyment being had, it was all spent together, as a family.  And family is truly a gift.  It's a blessing to have people in our lives who know us well, who know us at our best and who know us at our worst and still they love us.  I'm so thankful to have and to be apart of a family.  I am lucky and grateful for the people God has graciously given to me and am also thankful for the memory maker moments that I now can look back on and smile or laugh about.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fun in the Sun-Part One

Every two years Adam's family gets away together for a week of fun in the sun.  They have been going to Navarre Beach, FL for over thirty years, its a fairly private, family friendly stretch of beach that only has a couple of high rise buildings so the beaches aren't crowded at all.  Located in between Destin and Pensacola, it's a perfect place for a family vacation with options to drive a short distance to either city for meals or entertainment.

This was the view from our room all week.  Being able to actually see and experience this part of God's creation is always breath taking and I was once again filled with awe at the vastness of the ocean, the infinite number of grains of sand, it gives great meaning to Psalm 139:17-18 "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God.  How vast is the sum of them!  If I would count them, they are more than the sand.  I awake, and I am still with you." 

I love these boys, how handsome are they?  And this sweet baby girl, how can she be this big?

Our week usually involves a whole lot of nothing, which all of us truly enjoy.  We built sand castles, found sea shells, ate lots of tasty food, floated in the turquoise waters and sat with our toes in the sand.   It was a really relaxing trip.

Adam decided to take the "polar plunge".  Our second day, the water was a little bit chilly but it didn't seem to phase all the boys in our group.

These sweet cousins had fun playing together in the sand and surf.  I think each one of them had such a great time hanging out and splashing in the waves.  Many memories were certainly made!


Sweet baby Abigail did a lot of this; I'm certain she loved the peaceful sound of the waves coming in.

I loved spending quality time with my sweet family this past week.  It was so incredibly relaxing after quite a few grueling weeks (for both Adam and myself) leading up to our vacation.  Getting away and having a change of scenery from our day to day was a real treat for us all.  Simply sitting, staring out into the vast ocean and listening to the calming sound of the crashing waves was oh so refreshing.

Lake Day With Friends

Back in March, Adam and I began setting aside weekends on our calendar to go to the lake this summer with friends and family.  It felt a lit...