Saturday, July 27, 2013

For where your treasure is...

 ...there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21 NASB
 
Where we spend our time demonstrates our priorities.
A goal that we have set as parents is to teach our kids to spend their time wisely,
using their time to do things that matter for eternity.
We don't have a perfect process by any means, but certainly cause to Praise God when we see it in action.
 
Whether it's volunteering on a building project...

 learning new skills as a father/son team...

 leading little ones during VBS...

 working hard to learn God's word...

 (excited parent insert:  Amarin came in 2nd place overall and Jenna came in 1st for girls her age!)

 
 including children with special needs...

 demonstrating good sportsmanship...

 or acting out Bible history...

This past week has been crazy busy, but we can all say without a doubt, that it was a crazy FUN week!  We've made memories that are positive, and have been a part of changing lives.  None of this is done on our own, but God working through us.  What a privilege to be a part of His work!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Celebrating Laura

Laura had a sweet little birthday celebration on the 19th.

Dinner was one of her favorites...pasta!  Of course, she didn't have to eat her salad that night if she didn't want to!

Here she is, all ready to open presents from her siblings.  I just love how she is learning to smile for the camera.

Char does everything with huge passion...even loving on his big sister.  He was so excited to pick out her present, buy it with his own money, wrap her present all by himself, and help her open it.

 Jenna didn't make just a card for Laura, she made a book.  We'd still be sitting there listening to her "read" it if we didn't stop her!  Luckily, Laura loves to sit and listen to her.

 Amarin had no doubt that whale crackers were her favorite.  Looks like she's happy with that choice!
 Another favorite...animal crackers.  Jacob's hoping she will share with him, too!
 Time for birthday songs and cake.  This year, a pineapple zucchini cake with pineapple-cream cheese frosting.  YUM!

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Because She's 9

Laura is 9 years old today.
And when you're 9 years old, there is just so much going on in life.
Like pizza parties with family and friends...
school parades to join in...

 teachers to keep busy and snuggle...because you know teachers love my hugs...
 and siblings to entertain.  They do love watching parades!

Shopping is becoming more work now, too, since I have to walk more.
I prefer riding in the cart, but sometimes I have to push the cart.
 Nine year olds also like to go camping, so I got a new tent for my birthday.
 Amarin, my engineer brother, helped mom put it together.
 You mean it's for my bedroom?  And I can't wander around at night in my room anymore?
And stare face-to-face at Jenna while she sleeps?  Or sleep on the floor? Or scratch the walls and play with toys?
 You mean turning 9 gives me less privleges?
Well, that's a bit of a pickle now, isn't it?
Ah, yes, but now you are safe and snug in bed all night.
This tent is a lovely invention, and I will happily share info with anyone who happens to have a child that needs a secure place to sleep at night.
Sweet dreams, Birthday Princess!
PS.  As appalled as Laura looks in this photo, she is actually enjoying the tent!
And so am I!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Home Sweet Home

 Ahhhh...we're home.  I love coming home.  I love being at home.  As much fun as we have when we travel, I am a home-body.  I smiled as I saw the skyline of our city come into view.
Home.

But we had a good ride today.  We didn't stop much...not much to stop and see quite frankly.
We crossed the mighty Mississippi River and entered Arkansas.
It was quite flat.  Lots of fields.  Enough said.
 Then we entered Missouri.  Love this state...beautiful landscape, right in the heart of the Bible belt.  This was a goofy attempt at a picture.  I was aiming my camera out the front window, and there was a glare...I took a photo of the billboard instead of the Welcome to Missouri sign...it's way in the back!  Photography is not one of my strengths.  :)

 We unpacked quickly, and the kids darted outside to see their friends, and our friends' new puppy.  They are still out there playing.  Jamie is grilling dinner, Jacob is reviewing college brochures from Pensacola Christian College (we briefly stopped by their campus).  Yes, we have a few years, but he's already full of questions.  Thankful for time away to relax, but even more thankful to be home again.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wrapping Up Our Trip

 Our last full day of vacation was met with torrential downpours.  What to do, but go for a drive and find something fun and exciting.  We found a location with an old Civil War fort right on the ocean...but it was closed due to the weather. Double red flags were flying which meant...stay out of the water!

So off to lunch.  This "kid-eating clam" was meant for naughty boys and girls. :)  It would eat them if they didn't behave!

 The shark proved not-so-threatening.
 The rest of Friday was slow and uneventful, and Saturday morning greeted us with more flash flood warnings.  We were heading home, anyway!
We decided to drive a different route home to visit some states we had never visited.  On the way, we stopped to view the U.S.S. Alabama.  HUGE battleship that survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Back on the road for a few hours, and it was time for another stop.
This time, it was in Mississippi to visit the Waverly Plantation.  This plantation was part of the Civil War era, but has been vacant for the past 50 years.
Absolutely beautiful gardens.
 
 I love these huge trees down south that seem to be wider than they are tall.
Jacob and I took a peak inside the plantation home.  It was at least 4 stories tall, with winding staircases and railings all around the floors.  At the top was an octagon shaped peak.  We were trying to imagine being a Civil War soldier riding up to the front of that house a couple hundred years ago.  We decided that we need a mommy=son trip to visit as many Civil War historical sites as we can!
 
 Our trip ended a few hours later in Memphis, so we just had to try some of their famous BBQ.
It was so yummy!

More adventures to come!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Independence Day

 Happy Independence Day!!
So thankful for the freedoms that we have in this country.
And so thankful to share it with all of these little U.S. citizens!

 We crossed over into Alabama last night to a downtown area that was just hoppin'!
Jamie and I both commented on what a nice, family atmosphere there was...no rowdies, didn't hear foul language, etc.  Sure did hear some fun southern twang, though!
We only expected to watch fireworks, but there was so much more.
We watched a light show put together with patriotic music...how cool...a light show on palm trees.  I love palm trees.  They also included some local tunes...something about "roll tide."  You Alabama readers know which team that is, for sure, and boy, did the crowd go crazy with that song!  But the most crowd-pleasing song was "Sweet Home Alabama."  Not every state can boast their own top hit!

 As the light show ended, the fireworks commenced.  At their completion, the street party started back up again with some fun tunes, and dancing in the street.  I had to join in...I mean, really...who can resist the shuffle, and the YMCA?  A few kiddos joined me.  There were some other songs, too, that were obviously more "hip" than I am, and when I started to "raise the roof," Jacob said, "Oh, no.  Please, no, mom."  Ha!  I love it!

The kids were starting to look dazed and sleepy, so we headed back to the condo.
Such a fun evening!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red and Purple Flags

A beautiful Wednesday evening walking by the boats, eating dinner, and then darting inside when a rain cloud opened up overhead!
Thursday morning, we headed to a new beach area.  The sky looked a little daunting, but we decided to try anyway, and we're so glad we did. The kids had a blast squealing and trying to outrun the waves.  No wonder they had the red warning flag flying...the riptides were strong!

 Break time...let's build empires and try to make them withstand the waves!  I couldn't help but sing to them..."the foolish man built his house upon the sand..." and "...all other ground is sinking sand."  They weren't amused.


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 Laura didn't believe us that throwing sand was not a good idea.

This was also a great place to use the skim board.

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Not only was there a red warning flag indicating strong riptides, but also a purple flag.  Purple flags warn of dangerous sea life...and that doesn't just mean sharks.  Jacob can attest to the fact that jellyfish stings BURN!  The two best instant remedies are vinegar and urine.  Well, we don't usually carry vinegar to the beach, and wouldn't you know, none of the kids had to go potty at that time.  Go figure.  We tried using Laura's wet diaper, but it didn't help.  So, Jamie rinsed the burn with salt water, and scraped the skin with a credit card.  So thankful for internet access on the beach.

 Soon the kids were seeking revenge on jellyfish.  We weren't the only ones!  There were several families catching them, and burying them in the sand.

Here we have an impromptu biology class...jellyfish dissection.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Museum Day


Another beautiful day on vacation.  We headed to the National Naval Aviation Museum, with a focus on the Blue Angels.  It was fantastic!

 There were gun boats to maneuver...

 model ships to admire...
 and planes to fly.



Later in the morning, Blue Angel pilots came out for autographs.
The kids each had a poster and/or postcard and got multiple signatures. 
These were some of the pilots we saw flying yesterday while we played on the beach.  Char told one of them that we saw them flying, and the pilot said that yep...he remembered seeing Charlie playing on the beach when he flew over!  Char thought that was pretty cool.

From what we understand, the Blue Angels can not perform this year, nor can they even fly in formation to practice due to government spending cuts.  But seeing even one fly over...they are nothing short of breath-taking.  A couple planes flew over while we were at the museum today and we were so excited to see them.  
Jacob asked a retiree a few questions about joining the navy as an officer after college...Amarin isn't so sure he wants to fly a plane anymore...and Char reminded me that, "No, I'm not flying planes.  Remember, I told you I want to be a crab engineer?"  Ummm...can anyone elaborate on that job?  Jenna has no interest...she wants to be a mommy, and Laura...well...she's the comedian this trip.  As we stood outside, my back to a long line of people waiting for autographs, Laura decided to lift up the back of my skirt.  Yes.  I keep telling myself that I will never, ever see any of those people ever again...except maybe the lady that remembered seeing us at a restaurant a few nights ago...ugh.