Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mystery Solved

3 weeks...

That's how long it took for us to find his good pair of shoes...sitting right beside the toy box...where I'm sure we had looked several times before.

Sometimes, I think St. Anthony is mischievous when helping to find things that are lost-so much of the time they turn up in plain sight & you think-how have I missed seeing it all this time?
This is how Jack camps, by the way...without shoes.  Actually, Jack does most things without shoes...which is how we get in the predicament we were in-they go missing because he's always throwing them off.

Jack has had this shirt for awhile now, and it is one of my favorites.  I think this summer will be the last he gets to wear it and I am a little sad.  Don't know what it is about it, but I love it on him.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Perspective through Forgiveness

I have had this issue bugging me...it's been eating at me, taking more of my thoughts than it deserved, and I have responded in kind-being less than grace-filled when dealing with this issue.  But, finally, I bit the bullet (so to say) & went to reconciliation this past Saturday.  Talking with my priest, he was able to give me wisdom and from his perspective (removed from the situation) told me how to work on getting past this.  I left, still feeling a little begrudging towards it but trusting in the beautiful transforming power of this sacrament.

Over the weekend, slowly, the transformation took place...I started to pray about it, even though I told God I didn't want to!  I was able to let go of the resentment & by today I could see a whole different perspective on the issue.  Turns out, it was so much MY issue without any outside influence!  Taking Monsignor's advice & my husband's, I waited instead of reacted and was saved of making a huge mistake.  I finally got serious about taking a problem to God (through reconciliation) and He helped me work it out, lifted the blinders off my eyes and showed me a true perspective.  It seems I was in a perpetual spiral of one negative thought after another-by praying for this issue to be resolved & consciously making an effort to not have negative thoughts, it's a whole different ball game!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jaws...in birthday form

The answer to any question animal related for my hubby is always shark.
"What's your favorite animal Daddy?"
"If you could be any animal, what would you be?"
"If you could have any pet, which would you want?"
"What's the COOLEST animal in the world Daddy??"

So...for Daddy's birthday, the kids, Nana, and I...
made a shark birthday cake.

 He was...impressed.  And LOVED all the icing we managed to squeeze onto it!

Jack loved the icing too...the funny thing was that he just knew the different colors would taste different!

Happy 35th birthday to my awesome husband!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cooking & Blessing

This Saturday, some of my closest friends came over to my house to cook.  Let me tell you, we COOKED!  It's the third time we've done this and it is so much fun, I want to encourage you to do it as well.

Two of us gather recipes and place a bulk order through Sam's, which is where the savings comes in.  Then, on Saturday, the ten of us all work together to prepare usually 6 meals for each of our freezers.  We dice, we saute, we assemble & measure-and within about 2 hours my kitchen is back to normal (maybe a little cleaner even!) and I have meals for the upcoming month tucked away in my freezer.

This is also a time for the dads to have bonding time with their kids-I'm not sure what each of them do, but I know mine love having Dad to themselves for a couple of hours (I think big Sonic drinks are usually involved!).

It is a blessing to have the meals for sure, but to take the time from our busy schedules & get together to laugh & catch up on stories-I love my kitchen filled with all the girls!  I planned to have pictures this time...like I planned to do last time, but we are so busy with preparing that when we got started I forgot to grab it!

Get your friends together & make some meals-you'll be so happy you did!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A tale of two camping trips, part 2

 A peek into the world of mountain camping with 4 small children...

If they are anything, the mountains are COLD at night by Labor Day weekend.  We were prepared, but maybe not prepared enough.  But did we ever snuggle, and what a complete feeling as a momma to have all your little chicks & big papa bear all right there beside you!

We did decide that this awesome coffee pot was worth every penny!  Neither of us are a fan of the campfire coffee, so this was a great product & worked just as promised.
Spoiler alert:  We never saw a bear.
I say this because it's rare in these parts to be there & not see one, but we breathed a big sigh of relief when we left that we never did!
However, a funny side note...the first night both the hubby & I woke to the sound of sniffing & were very intrigued, maybe a little nervous.  It went away & we didn't think anything of it until the next morning when Macy tells us emphatically that she was awakened in the night by a bear pawing her head! (She was sleeping on the outside edge of the tent)  Guess we'll never know, but we did all sleep together from then on!

This picture was taken in the morning-I think it was about 5:30 mountain time when we finally got out of the tent.  So wish the kids had an internal switch like my iPhone when we cross time zones.
My Eagle Scout knows how to make a fire!
Our campsite was right along the creek...which provided lots of entertainment for the kids.  And, oh how glorious to listen to at night when you are falling asleep.

This camping trip was good for our family, especially the kids.  We had to do necessary chores that we don't have at home, like gather firewood for warmth, and we had to live without so many things they take for granted (anyone hear a *flush*?? Heehee!!).  My kitchen fit in a small tub & I was able to make meals for 6.  We lived on 1 gallon of milk for Pete's sake people!  We got to talk a lot about how fortunate we are and to talk about how glorious God's creation is being so close to it without the normal distractions.  It took them a little while to settle in, get out of the constantly entertained rut, but they did and they liked it!
We hiked...a lot.  Not long distances, but we did do the walking.  On the other side of our campsite was a trail head, so we frequented that quiet trail on several occasions.  It was difficult enough to satisfy the kids but not so hard they couldn't do it.
It's always amazing to hear the silence of the trees, for it to be so completely still...you feel at peace in your soul.

And then...back to reality.  Why were we worried about bears???  IF there were any, they ran with their little fuzzy tails tucked between their legs as fast as they could when they heard our completely noisy clan coming!!
There were noises coming from this mouth.

There were fits and dramatics and hysterics coming from this mouth.
Lily was so cute...she would fill her front pocket with rocks for momma and then try & carry even more, but they would drop & she'd ask one of the boys to carry them for her-she had to get every one back to the campsite for me.

Much squawking coming from this mouth...and Ava too. Heehee!

Lots of unsolicited instructions for younger siblings coming from this mouth.

We would wait for the heat of the day and venture down to the widest part of the creek and the kids would play...for a long time.  And, they would get along and laugh and not complain about being bored...and we thought to ourselves: "Ah, this is why we come here!"

It's so good for kids to get beyond bored...they become creative again & such good conversationalist.

If you think you can't take a baby camping...this is what you do with them.  She loved playing under the shady trees in her pack-n-play.  It was security for her but let her see the new world she was in!

We did have to make a couple trips to the small town we love so much for various reasons, this being the primary one.
Macy was reunited with her love...Daisy.  And all was right in an 8 year old's world.  The rest of us enjoyed a picnic while our cowgirl went for a saunter in the woods on the back of a horse.

We learned some things on this trip:
1. sleeping bags should have stayed on the essentials list.
2. tents can withstand gale-force winds at night.
3. just because you have gale-force winds at night, you shouldn't assume the next morning will be miserable.
4. Jack can make socks multiply even in the mountains.
5. having a campsite near both the potty & elk hunters is a good thing.
6. you can never have enough s'mores.
7. packing toys is a waste of time-sticks are way more fun.
8. our kids can go 5 1/2 hours in the car if you are willing to consider beef jerky and laffy taffy a sufficient lunch!  Hey, it covers the major food groups, right?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Side Note

I promised camping pictures next...but I just have to say...HOW does a certain 4 year old boy lose his new school shoes?  I mean, he never came home bare-foot.  I'm pretty sure if our little Cinderella (Lillybug) was cleaning up, she wouldn't put them in the trash-she outgrew that months ago.  I never saw another boy leave wearing them...so where did they go????  

AND, do you know when it is that you realize that your spirited son has lost those pair of shoes???  Somewhere around 3 minutes after you should have left for the carpool.  Nothing throws off a morning like scrambling around looking for those suckers, then realizing it's futile & having to search for his backup shoes (the ones he wore camping-yuck).

The shoes are still missing...have been for several days.  Little Orange & Black Sketchers...wherever you are-please come home.  Your owner misses you, needs you, loves you (because he doesn't have to TIE you!).

Friday, September 10, 2010

A tale of two camping trips, part 1

Our first camping trip of the year was at the lake with my parents. This was our second camping "trip"...we finally fulfilled the kids dream & camped in the backyard. They've been begging to do this for quite some time and I have to say it was a lot more fun than I dreamed. We tried to gather everything in one trip & then STAY outside, as if we were away.

Starting with the most important part of any camping trip:
And, while we were camping, we did make use of any amenities that we could, such as a convenient plug on our patio.

Our tent is really neat-very easy to set up & a great design. It has lots and lots of room-something we definitely need!

Never seen them excited to go to bed! Never fear, it didn't last.

It tried really, really hard to rain on us but ended up just sprinkling...we did get to enjoy a rainbow though!

S'mores and swinging
After dark came, we cheated a little & let Ava sleep inside while we started some old movies on the Mac-the kids loved it. I'm thinking camping would have been just that much more fun if my parents had had a Mac way back when!
Sleepy head snuggle time in the morning.

And, we cooked bacon & eggs for breakfast & had a picnic.
It was memorable...

Up next...REAL camping-in the mountains, where it's COLD...and there's bears!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Family Reunion

Still catching up from our summer! (And, because this is so much more fun than doing the laundry that is threatening to overtake my living room.)

In July, my dad's family had a reunion. We met at the park & had a potluck lunch, then ended the day at the amusement park.

To say it was fun is an understatement. I think for the first time in a long time all of our family was together at some point during the day-no missing brother, or hubbys that couldn't make it, or other family members that had other arrangements. With all of our busy schedules, we all found time to get together and it was wonderful.

You see...my family is the best (including my mom's side & my hubby's sides too!). We love each other...we care about each other...we help each other...we laugh together and all of us are still together (very rare in today's society)...we have been blessed.

God has abundantly poured out His love on our family.

All the family...one uncle & aunt weren't able to make the picnic.

Grandma & Grandpa, who became Grammy & Grampy when the greats came along...

It was most definitely one of the hottest days we had in the month of July because there was no breeze & it was very humid. But, kids are crafty and most definitely drawn to water & it didn't take long for them to see the fun in the cool water.

Lily, always the lady, tried to keep her dress dry.

One of the ways our family has been blessed is with beautiful, beautiful babies...ranging in age from almost pre-teen (can't believe it) to a few months old, my grandparents have 15 great-grandchildren. This is the newest little chubby cheeks-don't you just want to squeeze her?? So adorable!

The men cooked...with a big fire. They go together, right?

Macy with my Uncle Bill, who is the youngest brother. He was still in high school when I was little & I had a deep attachment to him. He's always been a kid at heart!
I love this picture of my grandpa...when I think of him ready to go or "dressed up", in my mind I see this hat-it's as much a part of him as his mustache.

All the girl cousins
No picture of the boys because guys don't like to take organized pictures.

Some shots from Wonderland...

I can't wait for our next reunion!