Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Dinner & An Evening

Since our beach camping trip was cut short, we had some staycation time and extra money leftover. We decided to take the family out to dinner at a real restaurant with a server and everything. The whole night turned into a very fun evening and I have a few pictures to share. Of course, I'm still not great at taking pictures at night without a flash, but I'm learning. Please excuse the blur...

We went to a local pasta place near a walking bridge. Tony's Pasta was fun-free bread all night, kids meals that are big enough to split, and the spot where John and I had our very first official date. "Ew, yuck!" the kids said in response to that news, followed by explosions of laughter.

At the walking bridge, we let everyone run free, or in Burl's case, climb free. Lark is starting to transition from being in the stroller to being a big boy. Because he was so excited with his freedom, he yelled in celebration the whole time. I imagined him saying, "I am big-here me roar!"

On the bridge, there is always someone playing good music. All the children liked it, but Ridge was the only one who asked if I would dance with him. Dance we did because he is my twin when it comes to good times and easy fun. Followed by the guitar man, we saw someone practicing ballroom dancing. Fern was the most intrigued by this! She gets her people watching from my side of the family, a trait that runs strong. 

The night became An Evening and the kids forgot all about their camping trip troubles. They followed up by kindly asking if we could do this more often. Specifically, they asked if we could go to a restaurant once a month. Apparently $5 pizzas and drive-thru ChickFilA don't count-who knew!? We said yes (and it has to be a place that gives some food for free). Sometimes staycations can be better than vacations! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Beach Camping Trip: Busted

Our first ever beach camping trip was cut short because we were evacuated due to Hurricane Michael. I won't get into the long details of how it happened, but I'll say that we had no clue it was coming. We drove 7+ hours and we were there for 24 hours, so we were sad. Here are a few pictures from our time there:

 Luckily we had a list of good campsites, so we were able to grab a good spot with trees and shade. That was nice because it felt hotter than normal. 

This trip was monumental for our family because this was the first time that Lark had visited the beach. We took him when he was a few months old on the most exhausting trip ever, but we didn't bring him out of the condo much because of all his naps! This time, he got out and enjoyed it.  

He loved digging his hands and feet into the sand! All the sensory feelings had him swooning! 

He could have played trucks in the sand the entire time, but we wanted to see him in the water! We quickly figured out that he wouldn't go in the tide pools unless he had his puddle jumper on. Safety first for Lark!

I loved how much the older kids enjoyed and adored Lark with his first beach trip. We took him to the ocean's edge to let the breakers wash on his legs, but he was uncertain. He watched his feet sink and disappear into the sand with such panic and confusion! After realizing what his stunned expression was telling us, Fern and I wiped away the sand so he could see his feet again! "What relief!" I imagined him thinking. Once he realized that he still had two feet with ten toes, he enjoyed the game. Back at the tide pool, he taught Fern how to play the same game with his hands in the bottom of the water. A quick game of "now you see it, now you don't" with necessary body parts is the exact thrill that makes Lark amazed. It's like hide and go seek with sand and water. "I have hands, I don't have hands, etc" 

The big kids did their kid thing. They ran away from the waves screaming and laughing. They collected shells and stuff. They threw sand patties aggressively into the water. 

I won't sugarcoat it and say "we made the best time and it was still worth it and nothing gets us down and it's all ok." We were bummed, exhausted, and disappointed. However, I can still sift through my memories with enough motivation to pull out the good parts. The beach, sand, and water were amazing-probably the best one that I've ever seen! My babies had fun. We came home and had a relaxing staycation to recover. Hopefully we will get a second chance. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Dad's Farm Birthday, Again

Happy Birthday, Dad! We did our annual farm trip for my dad's birthday a couple of weeks ago. John wasn't able to come, which meant I had to take the four kids by myself to the farm-hard, hard work I tell you. I don't mind taking them places by myself, but the farm is totally different. They want to do all the things all the time and they need all my help to do them. Burl can usually start to wonder off by himself, but the other three take some time to adjust and often keep coming back to me for help and assurance. Plus, there are the diapers, the potty training, and the putting the miniature straw in the caprisuns for the 4,000th time.

I made sure my brother was going too for some help. He brought two other buddies, and I wasn't sure how the vibe was going to go with three rowdy men to help me. They were awesome and such a help! My kids loved having their fun uncle and his fun friends there. 

They took the kids fishing for me (such a relief after last time), and Ridge caught his first fish! I could hear them celebrating for him all the way from the pond to my dad's cabin. I grabbed my camera and ran down there-one of the guys even took pictures on his phone in case I didn't make it. I made it down there and took the only pictures I took that day. 

Ridge was so excited! At bedtime he told me that he really wanted to cut it up, cook it, and eat it. What a good day to show his namesake, Ridge Thomas....He gets excited over victories, and wants to cook his own food. Happy Birthday, Dad. It was a fun day. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Empty Time, Full Time

I don't know how it happened, but so much time has passed since I've posted on my blog! Setting aside time to blog has been a more struggle with four active, moving kids, as I expected it to be. Long ago when I started blogging, I had one child who napped 2-3 times a day. Those were the days when sitting down and writing my thoughts about being a new mom were plentiful and fun. Now, we are either focusing on house projects or cleaning some mess and those take my downtime, read: nap time. Or, rather, I'm taking a break from the whirlwind and lying myself flat on my back to find a few minutes of rest from it all.

I still find it fun and good to pair my photos and words about my not so special, gift-of-a life here. It's the gift of an outlet that I love. So, here I am. I'm huddled up by myself while John takes over the morning duties. Glory!

The picture below is not so special, but it meant so much to me. It was the last day of fall break and it was one of those days that felt full and magical. Our fall break trip was cancelled due to the hurricane (more on that later), and we had ourselves a very easy staycation. There was a lot of neighborhood play for my big kids. On this last day of fall break, we met friends at the downtown library, picnicked in the new downtown park, Fern had a much needed girls-only playdate, then we were back home with the kids running from yard to yard with neighbor friends. Someone parked her bike by the trash cans-neighbors coming and going. This time and opportunity is one of my biggest gifts to my children-better than a good education, big gift, exciting trip. While those things are great, I love giving my kids EMPTY TIME TO RUN AROUND AND PLAY! I'm getting preachy, and I don't mean to-sorry. Seeing them play like this brings me so much fulfillment as their mom. 

As I'm writing this out, I'm realizing that my three favorite things to give my kids are: Jesus, chores, and empty time. That's my current mom-flavor. I love when I get to see it. 
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