Saturday, June 30, 2012

vacation wrap up

We ended our trip yesterday, boy that was a looooong drive home! I nearly keeled over from being in the car with the whole fam.
The beach was wonderful.  Let me give a big shout out to Orange Beach AL!  Who knew what perfect beaches and water are a few states away?  Miles of sugary sand.  The water was clear, okay, not magical torquoise like the Bahamas, but very nice.  And, no passport required.  Plus, the prices are very much like home--not overinflated like popular tourist traps tend to be. We will be returning for sure. Two funnies:  When we first were dabbling in the waves Sunday night and the double red flags were flying, Mike actually said "I hope I haven't underestimated the strength of a tropical storm"!  Another one:  we were at a souvenir shop and Mike and I both reached out to rub Dillon's head.  But, it wasn't Dillon!  Another little Asian boy with a buzzed head was standing near us. No, we aren't saying all Asians look alike. It is just that where we live, there are not very many little Korean boys in the stores with us. 
Carter, Abby, and my 12 yr old niece Alyssa, parasailed.  Shana and I were a bit apprehensive at the thought of our babies dangling from tethers 800 feet from the boat...over an ocean!  But, it was their highlight of the trip.  Of course, no trip is a true family trip(at least our family) without Dillon vomiting his huge dinner into he plate.  He was just ovestuffed.
Thursday afternoon we walked around New Orleans for a few hours and met our long time friends for dinner there.  Not..A...Family...Place!  Dillon was scared of the street music and covered his ears.  Carter had to cover his eyes pretty much the whole 3 blocks of Bourbon street that we walked.  Several beggars approached us. I loved the old architecture and plan to go back someday,without children, to explore the Garden District.  Dinner was very good cajun food across from the riverboat. We just really didn't enjoy a place where sin and rebellion are celebrated.  The poverty and darkness was palpable. Our friends, however, were delightful.  They work at a Christian school and are so warm, hospitable, and funny.  Our kids walked in their house like they owned the place.  Dillon even lost a tooth that night!
Side note, that is not interesting to anyone else, but quite perplexes me.  My scalp is sunburned and itches like crazy!!  Will it peel like my skin always does?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Perfect Beach trip

I'd be lying if I said we weren't nervous about the weather Sunday  night at arrival.  The coast gaurd was flying along the beach, double red flags were raised meaning water closed to the public, foreboding storm clouds, and big waves.  We threw caution to the wind and got in anyways!  This morning dawned really cloudy and windy.  Then, the clouds parted and sun shone.  The water was perfect!  The kids had a ball all day.  Dillon stayed safely on shore...he isn't much of a wave person, or a sand person, or a risk-taker.  He had fun digging. Hudson, just as we all suspected, is a maniac!  He is in heaven. Abby is having such a blast with her cousins.  Tomorrow we are taking a dolphin watching cruise in the bay.  Perfect time.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beach bonanza

Packing the minivan down, will be a low rider with 405 suitcases, 1100 bottles of water, 15 packages of sunscreen--Yep BEACH or BUST!

11 hour drive...whole family....first time big vacation with all 4 children and Mike's sister and her fam are coming with us.  And, a tiny thing like Tropical Storm Debby may or may be swirling our way. This is gonna be one for the memory books I tell ya. 

I'm scared and excited all at the same time!  Can you say Benadryl?  Just kidding, I'd never drug my little ones to keep them chill and quiet for an 11hr car ride...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer fun

Dillon playing baseball.  His team is the Texas Rangers!  He, of course, is number 5(Ian Kinsler).  Dillon loves being part of a team.  He understands what to do and tries hard.  A few weeks ago at practice he must have swung at 15 pitches.  He patiently kept at it.  I was cheering for him and afterwards he said "I trying"

Here are Abby and her best friend for the last several years.  This was at a friends's home for the 5th grade end of the year party.  Best sundae bar ever!
 Here is Abby receiving her character award from her teacher.  She got cheerfulness.  Look at her--can you see why??!  I love her face.  Oh, they aren't wearing their uniforms because it was class party day and they got to wear "normal" clothes, as Abby called it.

And here is Mister big shot himself, at swim lessons.  He loves it.  He tries sooooo hard!  As Nana said, if he can't do something, he will die trying.  That boy is super determined.  I can't help but wonder if that doesn't stem from being born too early and being in the hospital the first 2 months of life with no parents cheering him on to health. He had to be a fighter.
 Here he is under water.
 And here is my sweet, handsome lil fish.  Dillon jumps off the diving board with flair :)

I'm home alone.  Mike is at a conference.  Carter is learning to be a student leader at Super Summer. The 3 younger ones are at Nana's again, finishing up swim lessons.  It is too quiet here! Tomorrow night I'm going to chill with Susie. As for now, I'm about to dive into a bowl of Thai noodles.  Oh, if anyone of you who live near me like Thai, we have the BEST  little Thai restaurant near here.  Ask me and I'll steer you there.

Friday, June 15, 2012

my kids have the best grandparents ever

Sorry all you other grandparents, but my kids have the best ones ever--and on both sides!!  No contest.  This week and next, the little boys are taking swim lessons in the country.  Nana and PaPa, along with Grandma(their greatgrandmother) shuttle the boys back and forth each day and then keep them all week.  This is a family tradition since Carter was 5yrs old.  The same lady has taught every grandchild to swim.  Hudson is fantastic.  He is the smallest and youngest in the class, but the best.  He tries sooooo hard!  Here he is when we left the other day.  Pooped!  Dillon is doing great too and loves jumping off the diving board. I haven't downloaded all the pics from the real camera yet.  I'll post swimming pics soon. When they aren't swimming, they play Uno and matching a million times with Nana and Grandma--and almost always beat them! They also read lots and lots of books, basically, all the things I don't really like doing. The kids need someone who enjoys that kind of stuff.

Then, there is my side.  Every summer my mother keeps sets of grandkids(she has 9 so it takes a stretch of weeks) for Ma Camp.  Abby and her cousin Maddie are the same age.  They are having Ma Camp this week. Basically, during Ma Camp, the kids do whatever they desire!  Abby and Maddie shopped, ate at CiCi's---alone like big kids--got manicures, and best of all, they sewed pillowcase sundresses to be sent to children living in orphanages in Africa.  My mom and dad have both been to Africa before and are trying to figure out a way to go back and serve in an orphanage for a month or so. This project was a great way for the girls to learn to sew and show love in a tangible way. 

Pillow case dress

We are so dang blessed to have grandparents that are not only near physically, but also relationally!  I don't remember having that with my grandparents.  Our children are really lucky.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Back in the budget saddle again

We are back on track!  After
6 months of complacency and not following Dave's steps, we found ourselves in a state we didn't like and stressed us out.  Do not hear me saying that we are hard-pressed.  We have great jobs and are extremely blessed with resources.  Acting like we are suffering for cash is a complete slap in the face to 2/3 of the world living in crushing poverty on 1 dollar a day.  We want to be good stewards and honor the Lord!  So, the envelopes have started back.  Only this time, I copied my youngest sis's idea of cutting off the outside of those cheapy plastic photo albums.  They are hardier than envelopes and cuter too.  So, this week, the grocery envelope is empty, that means we eat up what we currently have in the fridge and pantry--no more shopping!!
We also are making Carter watch the Dave Ramsey for teens dvd set before we will open him a checking account.  He loved his trip to South Africa so much that he talks about going next spring break all the time.  So, we showed him that 2500 by next March is saving 250.00 a month--the boy needs a job!
It is a great teaching tool for teens about money management.  We were watching the one about paying cash and how it has a hurt factor when you spend vs swiping and how you spend more because swiping has no hurt factor.  Then Dave taught on envelopes.  Carter asked "didn't ya'll do that one time?"  Ugh, yes dear, we weren't very steadfast with sticking to the cash rule.  I hope he grows up living out the principles and does a much better job than us.  My favorite line in the dvds is this "I don't want to be normal...normal is BROKE"
Speaking of broke, my minivan had an engine trouble light on this weekend.  We took it in yesterday  and I prayed my heart out--Please God, don't let this be a big and major repair.  I plan on driving that sweet sucker til this time next year(10yr old with 197,000) miles on it!  Thank you Jesus, it was a gas cap and cost us 25.00 :))

Saturday, June 9, 2012

new country to look at!

Interested in international adoption? Colombia's adoption program is off to a good start.  Dillon International(our adoption agency) has a program there and are excited about it.  Here is the link to the program
Remember, int'l adoption isn't a sprint to a miracle, but a long and steady marathon--well worth it, but takes understanding and patience.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

childrens ministry memories

Children's ministry is funny, painful, nutty, sweet, and miraculous all rolled up together. Here are some snippets from the week.
Overheard at GA camp:
We were with a lady talking about celebrations.  She was asking the girls about what kind of events do they celebrate and have parties for.  They typical ideas were given:  birthdays, babies, weddings.  One girl called out "funerals."  We all snickered.  The lady questioned how/why people celebrate funerals and another little girl piped up "If you really wanted them to die you do!"  It was hilarious.
Awesome highlight for Mike and Carter.  There group at VBS Sports Camp was a reflection of our city church--very eclectic.  They had kids of all races and 2 preteen age boys who live in a group foster home.  As you can imagine, those 2 boys thought Carter was the coolest and I thought it wonderful that my husband, champion of the fatherless child, got to invest in those boys' lives.  The last night, Mike and Carter got to lead one of the boys to Christ!  What a precious privelage that will forever be in Carter's mind and heart.
And, I was reminded of how there are so many kids who suffer and need us adults to stand up and say "I love you, you count, Jesus cares about you, you have a great plan!"  So many sad stories and heart-break that the children have lived through including horrific abuse, houses burning down, children with intellectual and emotional delays who have absent parents and the kids are left to raise themselves and are languishing in school, with no advocate.  I'm so thankful for people like my sis-in-law and her church who love and minister every week to these children.  It is hard hard work, but worthy work.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer starts off with a bang

I'm living it up way out in the rugged country from our home with Abby, my nieces, my sis-in-law and 40 other 3-6th grade girls at a girls only church camp that Shana's church goes to each year.  Fun times people, fun times.  The girls are really sweet and funny.  I participated in the blob--that was really fun!  I'm terrified of a bug flying into my ear as I sleep in the rather old bunk room.  So, I'm sleeping with a tshirt wrapped around my head.  Abby is enjoying her cousins and learning about missionaries.  The only reason I'm able to blog is because a little girl is sick to her tummy and needed to rest a while. Sweet times.  The little boys are with Nana--God bless her.  She and Papa will need a big vacation after my little boys  leave!  Mike and Carter are huddle leaders at our home church.  VBS is a sports camp this year and they are helping out.  Each group of kids is divided up into a country--like the Olympics.  Mike and Carter are South Korea--big surprise!  They both wore jerseys for the S. Korean Tigers(soccer) team yesterday.  June is pure insanity for our fam this year.