Sunday, September 30, 2012

Yesterday and Today

Not sure where I have left off soooo I will just give a run down of yesterday.  We did not get to bed until considerably late on Friday night.  I had high hopes of everyone sleeping in.  But, the latest I got was about 8ish.  Maybe it was a little later.  But, totally not long enough for everyone to be rested. 

We started out slow, watching College Game Day and getting a game plan.  Daddy took Boop and EG and cousin Michael for a celebratory birthday boat ride, although the weather was not really cooperating.  Then we went to spend the afternoon at Aunt Reenie's with the family and the bride's family and various friends.  More eating, chatting, football watching and watching the cousins and friends play.

Finally around dinner time our family, my husband's two brothers and their families and my mother-in-law headed back out to the lake house for dinner, more football and my handsome ring bearer's 7th birthday party.  We picked up pizzas, had birthday cake and watched my little man open his gifts.

We were all pretty tired and the other two families at 6:40AM flights back to Florida the next day.  So, after much celebrating over the past couple days, the partying came to an end.  Time to clean, organize, pack and say good byes.

This morning, after saying good bye to my sister-in-law and her family we headed to Virginia.  Alexandria to be exact.  And here we are.  We are staying in an awesome hotel just a minute from a Metro stop.  When we drove through DC we could see the Washington Monument.  So, so exciting!!  The traffic was incredible.  Which BLOWS my mind on a Sunday afternoon.  Other than traffic we made it here uneventfully.

We arrived much later than I had hoped so there really wasn't much sight seeing we could do.  But, the hotel has free shuttle service to Old Town Alexandria.  Old Town has a lot of great restaurants, shops and a boardwalk to the Potomac River.  So, we spend the evening walking around and having dinner at a place the desk clerk recommended.

My next job is to make a plan for the next few days.  There are so many things we want to see and do.  Hopefully we will get up early and be out the door by 8:30AM ish.  So, off to get some much needed planning and rest . . .

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Big Fat Irish Catholic Wedding

The last two days have been a whirlwind of flowers, tuxs, handsome men and a beautiful bride.  We were so thankful to be a part of such a great wedding celebration!

Thursday was the rehearsal and the dinner.  It was filled with a lot of family and fun.  The little guys did great in a wedding party that was huge.  Eight groomsmen and thirteen bridesmaids.  Everyone was so sweet and encouraging to them.  And they loved hanging with the big kids.

We went back to my sister-in-laws for the rehearsal dinner.  And it was packed with family and friends and lots of food!  The kids had a great time hanging out with cousins.  Everyone looked so beautiful and handsome.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of dressing and smiling and getting last minute directions as to where to go and what to do.  Hubby and I left with Boop and EG before everyone else.  Boop got to get dressed with the groom and the two bestmen, the groom's brothers, Boop's cousins.  It was big fun.  The photographer  was there and took some great pictures.  I can't wait to see them.  My little man was so, so handsome in his tux and vest.  His cousins were so great with him giving him fist bumps and making him feel so apart of the festivities!

Then it was off to the bride's parent's house to get the little flower girl dressed, along with the 13 girls and the bride.  Again, they were all so sweet to EG telling her she was the prettiest flower girl.  She definitely felt special.  What a wonderful group of young people!  Again, the photographer was there taking pictures.

Once everyone was ready for the wedding we took all the little guys to the church.  Where we waited for the rest of the wedding party to arrive.  I opted to take the littles with us instead of having them ride on the wedding party trolley.  :) 

The guests arrived and the wedding began.  It was beautiful and the setting was gorgeous.  It was in a very old Catholic church.  It was a full Mass so with that and the wedding it was close to an hour and a half.  My little guys did great!  Thanks to Aunt Reenie.  She brought gummies and coloring books.  EG bent over in the pew and colored the entire time.  Boop sat there pretty quiet but would turn around occasionally to ask how much longer.  The man sitting next to him was awesome with him.  Checking on him and helping him.

The bride and groom were so handsome.  But, I was kind of partial to the flower girl and ring bearer!  They did so, so well and looked so darn adorable.  I was one proud mama.  Two little kids, in the midst of a ton of activities, surrounded by a bunch of people they barely knew and having hardly any good sleep.  They rocked!!!

The reception was a blast!  Surrounded by 350 of our closet friends - ha, ha!!  All of hubby's family was there so a few familiar faces.  Majority of our Florida cousins were there so that was great to see.  We all danced, ate and enjoyed each others company.

We hung out until after 11 o'clock with all the kids hanging tough.  I know there are a ton of little things that I need to remember and blog about.  But, we are leaving in a little to hang with the family and celebrate Boop's 7th birthday.  Maybe a blog in a day or two with just random memories . .  .

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Family and Fun

The highlights from today are the "field trip" to the coal mines and the big family dinner.

We just hung out this morning and got moving kind of late.  CoCo brought us some much needed coffee.  And donuts!  It was kind of a dreary, rainy, overcast morning so it was hard to get motivated. 

The kids, hubby and CoCo went to the grocery store and I hung back and got a little organized.  When they got back we went and picked up my niece and we went and took a tour of the Pennsylvania coal mine.   It was really cool.  Literally and figuratively.  We went way, way down into the earth and got a close up tour of how coal is mined in the area.

When the pictures get uploaded, I will tell more about what we learned.  If I remember.  It was hard life mining coal.  And very dangerous.  Boys as young as 5 were given jobs.  The young man who gave us the tour is currently a minor and he has said not much has changed in the industry in the last 50 years.  Crazy!

We went back to my sister-in-law's for a family dinner.   The groom and 5 of his siblings were home.  One all the way from med school in Grenada.  That is one of the coolest things about a wedding, how it  brings family from all over back together for a little while.  It is even cooler when such a large family is involved.  Not to mention my brother-in-law's family has been in the area for generations.  So lots and lots of family around town.

We enjoyed doing a little catching up with our nieces and nephews.  We talked a little about the wedding and what is going to be happening with EG and Boop.  Trolleys and pictures and hair and nail appointments.

Right now I am awaiting the arrival of my brother and sister-in-law and their two kids.  The big girls, including my youngest niece are crashed on the floor watching House Hunters International on the TV.  Boop is asleep on one couch, EG is asleep in a big bed, hubby is at the airport and I am blogging.

Tomorrow the festivities begin.  We will go over and help my sister-in-law.  I might take the big girls for manicures.  Then it is the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, more family and then Friday the wedding.  I might be done blogging for a day or two.  I am sure it will get a little crazy. . .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We Are Here, We Are Here!

The hardest part of this little blog post everyday is keeping it little!! I have so much to say!!  And those who know me are not surprised I am sure!

We arrived safe and sound at wedding central today.  Last night we stayed in Gettysburg and we all slept great last.  I fell asleep and woke up with a few seconds left of the Packer game.  We were winning so I turned the TV off only to find out this AM we actually lost and I watched all the controversy around the horrible ref call.  But I guess I will save all that for another day!

Everyone was up around 8ish and ready for breakfast by 9ish.  It was a fabulous free breakfast with eggs, and sausage and make your own waffles.  We all ate great.  And then we were on our way. To the Outlet Store across the street!  Hubby had left his khakis at home so we were in search of a new pair.  We were successful along with a few new shirts and shorts for the kids.  (Did I mention on Sunday when we left on Sunday we had to go back to the house twice to get things we forgot?)  We also stopped in to a Civil War shop and ended up buying the movie Gettysburg.

Then on to our next shopping expedition, Cabela's.  Our family vacations are not family vacations without a trip to a BassPro Shop or Cabela's.  It is just how we roll.  The stores our really cool and this one was particularly cool because it was situated right in the valley of a couple of smaller mountains.  The view was breathtaking!  The leaves are just beginning to turn so we would see splotches of color.

The stores and houses and towns are built into the sides of smaller mountains and cozily situated in the valleys that we would see whipping down the interstate.  The roads are so high up that when you look down into the valleys and you just see treetops.  Pretty cool!!

We arrived late afternoon at Aunt Reenie's, the mom of the groom.  It was great to see everyone, all the family that we don't hardly every get to see.  We haven't seen them since Thanksgiving, 4 years ago, 10 days after EG was born.  But it seems like yesterday.

When you look out of their front door and it is a big huge mountain in the distance that will turn brilliant colors in just a few weeks.  All the houses in her neighborhood are two story and they just look different then what we have in Florida.  Some of the houses we passed were made out of stone and you could just tell they had been there for a hundred years.  Speaking of things that are different, we did see some Amish people shopping at Cabela's.  You just can't help but notice them.

Anyway, one of our niece's is the same age as the girls.  So they loved hanging out.  And we hope to have her hang out with us tomorrow when we do a little site seeing.

We are now safely ensconced in our adorable lake house.  We got here at dusk and we are somewhere on a lake that we took a bunch of back roads to get to. I don't think we will leave until after sunrise tomorrow!

Over the next couple days, the rest of hubby's family will arrive.  I am sure we will have a great time the next few days enjoying the weather, the family and the festivities . . .

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Trip

So a friend of mine encouraged me to do a short daily blog post about our trip. When she mentioned it, I didn't think I could or would do it.  But, I figured I would give it a try! 

My posts won't have pictures while on the road because I have hubby's computer (from work) and I don't think I can upload them.  But, I promise I will post bunches when we get home.

So, we are day two on the road.  We drove about 2 1/2 hours to my hubby's brother's house late yesterday afternoon.  We figured if we got a couple of hours out of the way, the rest of the trip would be a whole lot easier.  And so far, that idea has paid off.

Anyway, we had a great dinner with my brother and sister-in-law and my two nieces.  It is kind of funny because the next time we see them will be in just a few days in Pennsylvania!  Anyway, we all went to bed early because we had big plans to get up at 4 AM and get on the road bright and early. 

We were on the road by 4:30 and half of the kids were still in their PJs.  I took first driving shift.  I love to drive.  But, because I didn't sleep well I was only able to drive for a couple of hours.  Which was kind of a bummer because when we pulled over to change drivers, the kids woke up.

They packed books and crayons and books of puzzles.  The Kindles were a big hit and so were the DSs.  Amber, the name we have given our GPS, was a little off today.  She led us off the interstate to a Chick-fil-A that didn't exist.  The next place, on a different exit, was closed because of a broken water main but we finally persevered and were able to eat lunch.

After lunch was movie time.  We had made it through Georgia, S. Carolina, N. Carolina and the never ending state of Virginia.  We were making great time until we got to the DC area.  In 5 o'clock traffic.  It was crazy busy and backed up.  In every lane.  I guess Amber was trying to help us get around all the traffic and she directed off the interstate.

We went on a wild goose chase around a suburb of Baltimore, near as we could tell.  In 5 o'clock traffic.  It was crazy.  We were lost.  And it took us forever to find our way back.  The highlight of the whole mishap was that we got to see some really great old, old homes!

We are safely tucked away in our hotel room in Gettysburg.  Watching the Packer game after having a great meal of PB and Js and pastrami sandwiches.  We took a dip in the indoor pool and jacuzzi.

We have about a half day's travel tomorrow and a trip to Cabela's to look forward to.  There might be more blog posts because it is kind of fun.  But, then again there might not.  We will see how it goes . . .

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Birthday Party

This will be my last post for a couple weeks.  Tomorrow we are on our way to Pennsylvania to my oldest nephew's wedding!  EG will be a flower girl and Boop a ring bearer.  On our way back we are going to stop for a couple of days in DC.  Seemed kinda crazy to drive right by and not take advantage of our proximity to the nation's Capitol.

So my last post for awhile is about the unique birthday party we all went to a couple of weeks ago.

A good friend of the girl's had a birthday party camping trip. I thought it was a super cool idea!  So about three weeks ago I packed up all the kids and a tent and took the girls to the party at a local state park about an hour and a half away.

I wanted to go for moral support and to use our new tent.  Hubby had to work the weekend so I had to take Boop and EG with me.  We loaded up the car, drove to the state park and then helped our family friend's celebrate their daughter's birthday!

The weather was pretty good, the state park was beautiful and all the kids (adults too) had a great time.  Eating hot dogs, making smores, swimming, going on a nature walk and just hanging out.

It was our first time using our new tent.  I am glad Mr. S was there to help me set it up but it really was pretty easy.  Boop, EG and I slept in it.  I learned a few things that we will need for our tent camping trip in October.

First, it will be sleeping room only.  There will not be enough room for anything else in there.  Second, it will take the kids a little bit to get use to all of the nature sounds at night.  They kept asking me "what is that noise?"  Third, tenting camping is cool but I think I will enjoy it much more with hubby along! ;)  And fourth, it is so cool looking up in the morning and seeing the beautiful trees and sky (we slept with the "windows" open to catch a breeze through the tent.)

Anyway, I am glad my girls' friend had such a great idea for a birthday party.  It really was special . . .

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friends in High Places

Recognize anyone familiar in this picture?

Well, I will start by saying that the lady in red is our state's Attorney General.  The gentleman standing next to her just happens to be the Governor of our great state.  The others are various Cabinet members.  And, in the middle with his "foster parent" is our former dog Snoopy!

I got a call from my sister this morning, who works for the AG, and she said that on the Cabinet's agenda this morning was the adoption of dogs.  And, as a guest to the Cabinet meeting, was none other then Snoopy.  We were all shocked and amazed by the craziness of the whole situation.

My sister said he paid a lot of attention to her and slept under her desk while he was there.  She said he did great!

Of course, it made us miss him.  We have been following him through the website and have called the Humane Society just to check up on him.  For as much as we miss him, we are confident that he will find a great forever home.

Now that he is a star . . .

Friday, September 14, 2012

Beautiful Ballerinas

Ballet season has begun!  And the girls are so, so excited!  We will spend most of our week day afternoon's at ballet.  I now officially have three beautiful ballerinas.  And I am thrilled!  We have been with this school for 8 years (except the one we took off after EG was born) and have loved every minute of it.

This year is a little more committed.  Nature Girl has two classes on Monday and Little Mama has one. EG started her very first class a week ago Wednesday.  NG, to help with tuition, is assisting in a class on Wednesday as well, which is really nice.  NG has two classes on Thursday and Little Mama decided to try ballet again so she has a class on Thursday as well.

We love the dancing.  It helps the girls stay active and gives them discipline and teaches them to take care of their bodies.  We have met really great friends, both me and the girls.  They take classes with their besties, many of which they have been dancing with from the beginning.  And, most importantly, the girls' dances are a praise and worship of God.  It just has a really great focus.

I have no idea where we will go from here.  I don't know if the girls will desire to continue to dance.  But, I do know that this has been a wise choice and investment in our girls' lives.  And I am so, so excited to continue to watch them dance and to see what the girls learn this year . . .

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Coveting My Days

This year we have been given a couple of amazing opportunities to learn a couple of new skills.  For free.  We were able to take advantage of one over the summer, learning some sign language.  It was something I have had in the back of my mind for awhile so when a friend organized a little group to learn, I was all for it.

I thought it was just a summer deal.  Then I realized that the opportunity would go on at least through the fall portion of the school year.  On a day we typically stay home.  As I tried to decide what to do, take advantage of a fabulous opportunity or covet the two days a week we don't usually schedule anything outside of the house, my practical side won out.

It is so darn easy, especially when really amazing opportunities come up, to over schedule myself.  And as I have alluded to before, I am not good at that.  Ultimately my family and I pay a price.

I love being at home.  I love to have dinner ready at a reasonable hour.  I love the opportunities that being at home create.  The kids play together, sometimes.  The girls do cross stitch or swing or draw or read or write or a number of other things to occupy their time.  The little guys run around together, listen to music, create, play games.

I like the time to bake and plan and catch up.  Even though we were busy over the summer, we were able to do a few of those things and I don't want to give those things up.  For us, for me, it is what makes our house a home.  It is hard to say no, especially when the opportunities are fabulous.

But, I covet my days at home.  I need to try to protect them.  We need to have a little cushion and flexibility.  I have to think about what is coming up in the future (travel, basketball, etc.) and I am not very willing to give my days up.  My plan for today is to see how the fall goes and then go from there . . .

Friday, September 7, 2012


Over the years we have done Shakespeare in a number of ways.  Mostly read very good shortened versions of the plays written by the Lamb and others.  We have even used paper dolls and dressed them up as the characters.  We have rented one DVD, A Midsummer Night's Dream (with Mickey Rooney).

But, this year, because I have three to read Shakespeare to, one of which is suppose to read the actual plays, I decided to do Shakespeare on CD.  Back in the summer I ordered A Midsummer Night's Dream because I know the story and the kids have heard/seen it in various forms.  Plus, we have car time every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon on our trip to ballet.

So, this past Wednesday, we put in the CD.  At first LM said she didn't understand.  But then the story got going and she recognized some names.  When we got to ballet I read to them the very brief synopsis from the insert of the CD.  It helped tremendously in their grasp of the story. (I told them from now on I would read the over view first.)

It was hard to understand in some places.  The actors use Old English and takes a little bit to get use to.  By the time we made it to ballet, everyone, even EG, was listening with great attention.  What made it even greater was that the girls came out of my bedroom this morning saying that Boop was saying "Lysander, Lysander" one of the main characters in the play!  He is six so him just remembering a character was music to my ears.

My plan was to only listen to it on Wednesdays.  I want the CD to last the whole semester.  But, when I got in the car this afternoon, they requested to hear some more!  So, we listened to Act I, Scene ii and the first part of Act II.

It isn't easy and I don't expect them to understand all of it.  Heck, I don't.  But, it is kind of cool to be cruising down the road and have the car quiet because the kids are listening to Shakespeare.  Just one of those great mom/teacher/life moments. . .

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


The funeral was Friday.  When J (Ms. B's son) and his wife told us about funeral plans I asked if it would be OK if the bigger kids came.  She was a part of their lives and now she is gone.  He said "yes, definitely, she would want them there."

Death is scary.  No body wants to die.  But, it is a reality.  I want my children to have a wonderful appreciation for life.  And for death.  I am not afraid to go through it with them.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it painful for a mom to see a son with tears in his eyes knowing he misses someone?  Yes.  But we can not hide from it.  It is so real.  And, I, we as believers, have hope.  I could not imagine going through this with them without hope.

Jesus died on the cross for my sins.  He was crushed for my transgressions.  He is my hope.  As we are learning in our Catechism class we all are born with sin because of Adam and Eve.  Boop said the other night he wished Adam and Eve had not sinned because then we would never have to physically die.  I agreed.  Life would have been so different.

But, then I said to him that God has given each one of us a choice to obey, to accept, even Adam and Eve.  We now have a choice to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior or not.  I have to be honest, I don't want to be forced to do anything.  I want to choose.  I choose Jesus.  I choose hope.  I choose life eternal.  Love born of choice is so much sweeter than a forced allegiance.  And I choose to live for Him everyday.  And with that comes a sort of peace.  Especially when faced with death.  I have hope.  I am teaching my kids about God's hope for a forever future.

I am a sinner from the very beginning and I continue in my sinful flesh everyday.  I am learning to love and serve and share Jesus.  But, no matter how my day goes, my life goes, I have hope and a promise from God.  "In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you."  John 14:2

I just can't imagine going through life without hope . . .