Things I Learned on Vacation

Vacation [vāˈkāSH(ə)n] noun: a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday.

  • There is no such thing as the word ‘rest’ for the Mom while on vacation.

Everyone still needs all the things they needed before. Everyone still says “mom” and many more times than need be. All we did was leave the house and drive many hours to keep doing most of the things we did here.

  • While on vacation the father of the tribe does more than he is given credit for.

When he gets sick and spends a day in bed and another day recovering, you quickly realize how much weight he pulls.

  • Watching your kids learn about history is fun.

I am not a big history lover like their Father. He could stand in a museum and read for hours. I, on the other hand, get all twitching and itchy after 10 minutes of reading. The kids were highly intrigued with the Titanic and came away with lots of new information.
They were especially interested in this Captian and his story.

  • Cell phone addiction is a serious problem and some people are in need of rehab.

We spent a few days at an indoor water park and the kids loved it. I mainly spent my time people watching and standing in the shallow water keeping an eye on Kennedy.
I knew that people are addicted to their phones, but this took it to a whole new level. Seriously, people could not put their phones away to swim! They had them around their necks in a waterproof case or just carried them in their hand while they swam. (or tried to swim) Some of the parents carried theirs but for the most part, it was the teenagers and a few younger kids.
I overheard a conversation and I assumed it was a mom and her son. She was trying to get him to put his phone in her bag while he went into the water. He had all the attitude in the world as stated that he would not be putting his phone down for anything, not even swimming. As I said, rehab!

  • One little boy can do a lot of damage to some wings.
  • It takes a lotta, lotta food to feed this tribe when you eat out!
  • Little things can create great arguments.
    Like pushing the elevator buttons.
  • When the youngest of the clan calls from the backseat of the van and says she doesn’t feel good … you better MOVE! Now! Enough said on that subject.

  • Although it might not bother me in the least,
    fear of heights is a very real thing for some people.

This fear was much to the amusement of the other person on the lift with her.
We took the tram and then the lift to the top of the mountain. One of the girls had a much harder time than the other one. I’m all like, “Just close your eyes and don’t look around.” I was informed that doesn’t work because your mind is still working.

  • You know Spring has arrived when little flowers appear in little hands.
    (and you can’t resist those eyes.)
  • TN has some wicked pollen and northern people get attacked quite viciously.
  • I should probably not move to an area with a high tourist count. I would have to forever and always be repenting for swearing in traffic.

  • You take yourself (and your brain) along on vacation.

There is nothing like leaving it all behind, forgetting and not thinking about stuff. I sat in the big rocking chair on the back porch of the cabin with a coffee cup and contemplated life for a long time. The good, the bad and the ugly that has come my way.

Life keeps moving, changing, the words of my story keep flowing, page after page. There are pages written that bring laughter, when I can smile and say, “God is good!”

But when the paragraphs of fiery trials are written, what is my response? Do I want to rip that page out of my story and scream “No! Why?” Do I constantly want to grab the pen and reword it to suit me?

I can ask “Why?” all day long, but generally, there is no answer to that question. Instead, I often hear three quiet words from Him, “For My glory!” When the pages with trials are being written, am I looking for ways to bring glory to God in the midst of it or am I fighting, kicking and still asking why?

Am I allowing Him to write my story for His glory?
I cannot change what happened, but I can control my response.
It’s ugly, I don’t like this part of the story, but am I willing to say,
“Use me, for your glory!”

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Little Ones Moments

Backing up to the first of March,
we were in Florida over Spring Break.
I figured since Kennedy had just turned 2,
I could take her 2 year picture quite easily down there.
Nada.
This mother forgot to take into consideration
the simple fact that she was dealing was a 2 year old.

I won’t even tell you how many pictures I took that night,
and not one was a nice, “Look at me and smile” photo.
So, we used what we had and you could just
call it, “A typical 2 year old photo shoot.”
Summed up nicely into one word
it would be called, “RUN!”

Even though she was less then cooperative,
I don’t want to forget those moments,
how she ran, wouldn’t look, ignored me,
but boy, did she enjoy herself!

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When we would go to the beach during the day, she hated it!!
Sat on a chair or towel under the umbrella almost all the time.
In the evenings, she was a different child, she loved it.
We have since figured out, she dislikes anything hot.
The sun was hot and so she sat.

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{May I never forget this soft little hair}

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Oh, the sea weed, how she loved that stuff.

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She found a little pile and played for a long time.
Her Daddy checked on her….
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…and she would have been happy to share.
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When I asked her about it,
I got a very real smile, seaweed, gum in her mouth and all!
This was the only picture with a genuine smile.

Right now she stands behind my chair yelling,
“That’s me, Mama! I have yuckies.”

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She loved to run, so when he offered, she was willing.
If the water got to close, she was running the other way.
She had an awful fear of the water.

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She stopped often to check out shells in the sand.
Thankfully she doesn’t want to bring them all home. {yet}

I wanted just 1 picture of all 4 of them…
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…but every few seconds she would turn around and yell,
“Waa waa is coming!!”
She was so scared that water was going to get her.

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She found a sand castle someone had made.
After sizing it up for awhile,
she destroyed it in a grand 2 year old fashion.

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And when she thought she was left behind,
Daddy was there to take her hand.
She licked her tears and felt safe holding his hand.

I pray she puts as much energy
into Jesus someday as she does into life today!

Question of the day:
Doesn’t this make you want to have a 2 year old?

Painting Bird Houses

Now for the next edition of Christmas vacation.

As part of the grand-children’s Christmas gifts,
Grandpa built bird houses for them
and Grandma organized an afternoon of painting.
We all went out to Grandpa’s garage and what fun they had!

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First order of business was to put a coat of gray paint on.
This didn’t go too badly. We were prepared for the worst and were pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went. 🙂
It was a grand thing I tell you, splashing around in that paint.

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Some had little brushes and some had big ones.
It was a good thing these guys had smaller ones,
they dipped often and went pretty heavy with the paint.

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Of course there were others that tried to go heavy with the paint
on things that shouldn’t be painted.
I was kind and didn’t return the favor.
(Mainly because I didn’t want my entire face painted)

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Aleigha wasn’t making very much progress and Mr Fast Lance was done already so he volunteered to help her.

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This one is related to her Uncle in more ways then one.

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Grandma and Grandpa did a bunch of supervising.

After they all had a coat of gray paint,
we let them dry for an hour and then came back to add some color.

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Some painted pretty birds and flowers.

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And others just tried to cover up every hole on their box.

We’re just hoping birds aren’t scared of color.

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This was the most precious thing.
She was painting away and she says,
“See that yellow.That’s Jesus on the cross!”

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After they were all done and were ready to take a picture,
we discovered Madison had already left to take a shower.
So here are the happy painters, minus Madison.

Now don’t you all wish you had grandparents
who built you bird houses to paint? 🙂

Thank you Grandpa and Grandma for your hard work and patience with this gang. These kids will remember this for a long time. We love you.

Christmas Vacation

Defined as:
Not long enough.
Well spent.
Busy. Fun
Memories.
Family.
Lots of good times.
Coffee. Good food.

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We spent a few days at Grandma’s house.
There is just nothing like being there!
Food all the time. Relaxing. Drinking coffee.
Someone is always stopping in.
The cousins come to play every day.
And we are just all royally spoiled.

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Mr Nick and his Mama.
You could say he is giving her a run for her Mama money right now.
Hopefully there are better days to come for both of them.

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Grandma loves to buy and give gifts, so these kiddos were quite blessed this year. We decided they have to take turns opening gifts and make this last longer than 2.5 seconds it did last year. We started with the youngest and worked our way up. It was quite a long wait till we got through 12 of them.

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Sometimes there were so many kids around you couldn’t even see the little person opening the gift. 🙂

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Kennedy just stopped as soon as the first one was opened and started enjoying it. The guys next in line let her know she has to keep moving.

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It was general chaos all around for awhile but we enjoyed every minute of it.

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The girls had these dolls so Grandma spent lots and lots of time sewing some clothes for them. They were quite happy!

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If someone gets a basketball hoop for Christmas,
we use it right in the middle of the living room!
The love only goes one way with the 2 in the bottom picture.

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The overall boys, Max, Nick and Tys.
When the Dad has something, the boys want to be just like him.

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Max had been longing for a pair of overalls, just like his Dad’s, for a long time.
I had Nick’s name for Christmas and got him this little pair.
Max looked at them for awhile and says, “How big are they?” 🙂
Unknown to him, his mom had some wrapped up for him to open on Christmas morning and he was a happy little guy when he came to show us!

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Little boys love Grandma’s house. There is a never ending supply of hot chocolate, although you could call his chocolate milk it’s so cold. There are cookies of all kinds, candy and all kinds of good things to eat.

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There was also lots of this happening.
Guess we’ll just chalk it up to vacation mode
(although it happens a lot at Grandma’s)

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On Saturday morning Grandma made sugar donuts.
I think my kids will switch to calling them “Grandma donuts.”
Take canned biscuits, cut a hole, deep fry, and roll in cinnamon sugar.
Grandma makes them for her grandkids all the time.
My guys say, “Mom, this wouldn’t be too hard to make at home would it?”
I just smile and shrug and think
it’s a good thing to be left for Grandma’s house.

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There was lots of sweet baby squeezing.

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Mr Grant loveloveloves little Libby!

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These 2 are so funny.
She says, “Byyyyyce! No!” Byyyyyce, come!”
Since we’re home she picks up her toy phone and talks to “Byce!”

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Lots of quality time spent with each other
and sipping some bubbly too.

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Kennedy thought this was the grandest thing but as you can see,
Libby was less then thrilled with her ride.
And the toy corner, I wonder how many times it was cleaned up!

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Sunday evening the kids acted out the Christmas story for us.
An angel appears to Mary to tell her she is going to have a baby!

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Mary goes to see Joseph.
She said, “Joseph, I am going to have a baby!”
He said, “Yeah, right!”
Mary wheeled around and replied,
“Well, you just wait and see!”

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Joseph leads his donkey into Bethlehem with Mary on board.

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Joseph inquires with the Inn Keepers, searching for a room.
He finally found a stable, parks his donkey and settles Mary in.

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Angels sing of this baby’s birth and shepherds come to visit and hold the Him!

blog 1-3-14 (35)The little cast of our sweet play!
We are privileged to be able to teach our children this story
and in return have them teach us.

The next morning we headed home to have Christmas
with the other side of the family… now sadly that is almost over too
and we’ll be back to school before we know it.

~~~

There was one activity on Saturday afternoon that didn’t make this post but that’s because it deserves a post of it own. Look for it next week.

If You Take A Boy to Florida…

If you take a boy to Florida,
he will want to go outside and enjoy the warm air.

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When he goes outside,
he will want to ride his bike.

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And when he rides his bike,
he will want to ride to the playground.

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At the playground,
he will see the sand in the volleyball court
and he will want to go to the beach.

When he sees the sand he will remember
that you need sand toys at the beach.

When we get home,
he will hunt up some sand toys.

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When he finds them,
he will remember that you need
swimming trunks at the beach.

While digging through his suitcase for swimming trunks
he will decide that today is the day
to visit the beach.

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When we get to the beach,
he will get out the sand toys and begin to play.

When he plays he will remember
building sand castles.

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When he tries to build a sand castle,
he will remember that you need water for your sand.

He will head down to the shore with his bucket
and fill it with water.

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On his way across the shore,
he will see sea shells scattered around
and will pick one up.

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He will see another and another
and continue picking.

He will come back with all his treasures
and asked to go hunt for more.

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His Daddy will swim him across to a sand bar
and they will find many treasures.

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While hunting these he will decide
which ones to take home.
All of them.

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When he gets home,
he will pour over his sea shells,
talk about finding them,
and want to go to Florida again.

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At Grandma’s

“A week at Grandma’s is never long enough.”
…according to the kids.

Grandma and Grandpa might think otherwise with all the noise and chaos that happens while we’re there. I’m not sure why, but the craziness seems to multiply when we go somewhere and the kids “should” be on their better behavior.
A simple meal turns into a circus without the big top and when it’s over, we flop on the chair as if we ran a 5k.
Since Grandma and Grandpa are used to things being relatively peaceful and quiet, I think they are ready for the tribe of Eric to go home by the end of the week.

It really was a good week, despite all it’s craziness.

The man of the house went to the uttermost parts of Canada to fish with cousins, brothers and Dad, so we must needs go somewhere too in order to break up the long week without him.
So to IN we went.

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Mom and Dad are building a new house so there was mud, sand and dirt galore for the kids to play in. As you can imagine, they loved it.

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And these feet wanted to come in Grandma’s house!!

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Thankfully Dakota is too finicky about being dirty that he didn’t want to play in the mud but would rather sit on the bulldozer and “drive.”

IMG_7613Mr B napped in Grandma’s bedroom one day… At some point previous to that Grandma had hidden the markers from him behind her bedroom door. This day he awoke to see the markers and promptly put them to use! 🙂
Since his Mom was away and Grandma and the Aunt were babysitting, we just let him proudly wear it. 🙂

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Grandma’s specialty, “Sugar Donuts.”
Mom used to make these for us when we were kids, usually on special occasions. Now she makes them for the grandkids when they come. Till they were done, there was almost more sugar on the floor then on the donuts. I think Grandma reconsidered ever making them again.

They are biscuits fried in hot oil and then rolled in cinnamon sugar. Some people call them campfire donuts.

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We did lots of swimming. Kids loved that! I think they would live in the water if I let them because they are never ever ready to get out when it’s time.
“Just one more jump!”

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Lots of time to chat while the kids swam.
We hit all kinds of topics that day.

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Another day, another pool.

IMG_7727The diving board and slide were in use almost all the time.

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He’s a water duck of the truest sort.
I think it’s a good thing he’s starting swimming classes this summer.

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A family get together is always a good thing when you go to IN.
I think every family has it’s quirks, traits or things that they think are totally normal while other people would raise their eyebrows about.
One family trait is homemade ice cream.

After I got married, I realized that not everyone eats homemade ice cream year around like this gang.
Now to be honest, I would say that 90% of the time the women make it because they know the men want it, not that actually they crave it themselves.
I’m not sure what it is about homemade ice cream and these guys,
but they can put away bowlfuls like no ones business.

One last evening outside before we went home.

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Like Father, like son.

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He didn’t seem to mind the load he had to drive around….
and she was more then happy to let him peddle away.

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You can’t imagine he would do anything naughty, would he?
Ask his mom! 🙂

All in all, it was a good week. Very busy but that wasn’t a bad thing to keep the kids (and the Mom) from missing their dad.

Florida

We just spent 10 days in the sunny south…
the most wonderful time of the year.
Or was it?
At least the kids think so.

I’m telling you, vacation with kids is hardly vacation.
At least for the mom. (and the dad)
But the kids, oh yes the kids, they would move there.
Life would be grand.
We would go to the beach.
The pool.
The playground.
Eat out.
Relax.
No work.
And live happily ever after.
Ha.

But it was good while it lasted this year.
My children are old enough to handle themselves, no baby crying on my hip while I dig sand out of his mouth and all of that.
Yes, it was good over all.

  

Eric and the kids went exploring back in the woods where he used to roam as a kid.
I trailed along behind avoiding stickery prickery things.
They hollered, “Mom, slide down here too!”
“Um, sorry, don’t think so!”
I know, boring Mom, just that’s what Dad’s are for.

 

We took in the local ski show and it was a hit with this kids.
“You mean people can really do that?”
Wow, you really are sheltered, aren’t you!

 

And they swam and swam and swam.
My aunt has a pool behind her house and it was warm.
Very warm.
And the kids partied hard.
4 hrs at a time some days!
Talk about water logged.

 

Other days we hit the beach and they spent hours in the sand… and loved it.
(unlike their cleany, cleany Mother who would rather not get all sandy)
This was one evening when we went out at 4, a little less hot, less people, and we all enjoyed ourselves more.


 

We hit up a few sea food restaurants… for the most part that was good.
Ate a little gator, then a few days later went to see their relatives. 🙂

 

Any body want to jump in?

 
Bike rides and park fun… Aww the life of a kid.
Vacation at it’s best.
Not a care in the world.

 

We were down with friends of ours and their itty bitty (or not so itty) was a super-duper baby on vacation.
Chilled in his car seat most of the time, snoozing away like I wished to be doing.
Occasionally he woke up and shook his fist and wanted to eat, but usually all was well.

Of course there were pictures at the beach.. just not FL without them.
Or so I think.
(Don’t ask what Eric thinks of that subject)

 

When you add Mr D to the mix of any photos, you never know what you’ll get.
We had about 15-20 min to pull this off and he was in a wild and crazy mood.

 

My little family!
I love them.
Craziness and all, I wouldn’t trade them!

 

And time spent with good friends is the best of times.
Our kids had a party together and we adults had quite a good time ourselves, I must say.

 

No words needed on who is the most mature of this gang.
We mom’s held things together, for sure.

 

And a FL sunset to go home with!
God speaking through the beauty of the earth!