Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thankful Christmas Week

On December 22nd, Little Red turned 3!!!
My favorite part is all the kids gathered around the birthday kid!
Thankful for my baby boy.
He'll always be my baby.
I so get that now.
He denies it, but he's wrong.
I'm the mama and he's my baby boy.

 Thankful another favorite part is the birthday child putting on their candles...so fun for them!
Love watching their little fingers be so careful...serious business.
 Thankful Doesn't he look grown up here?
I guess I can't pretend he's still 2.
 Thankful for big trucks and big boys
This is serious business carrying your new truck down to the beach
OK well, we can stop at the hot tub for a little bit first.

 It was a perfect day!
That was the last warm sunny day, I think it was in the 70's that day
It's been around 60 since (with one day around 50!)
 Thankful who needs to plan a big party when we can just go to the beach?
 and run into new friends that feel like old friends.
(and I don't mean age!)
This is Sherrie!
(and her beautiful grandson)
We met on the beach, we both like to walk with the sunrise!
She homeschools and is from Northern Texas.
Thankful people in Texas are SO nice!
 Thankful I get to watch all the fun they have, all the things they do and I never hear,
"I'm bored" at the beach!
 Thankful for scenery like this!

I'm going backwards here for one picture.
Tom and I celebrated 18 years on December 20!
Thankful for the love of my life
and the life I get to spend with him.
Thankful the warm air and sunshine has done wonders
This is the first winter in a long time that he's felt this good.
He looks healthier too. 
It's like a weight lifted.
Thankful this has made up our minds,
we are planning a move to ARIZONA
this next year.
For sunshine and health
 Onto Christmas Eve Day
 Had to get Little Red in action here, told the kids to line up and then told him to go stand
by his favorite 5 year old and you can see I snapped an in action picture, he was just passing through!
 Thankful for snowman making (sandman actually)
 Beach walking
Up until Christmas, we pretty much had the beach to ourselves
(except on weekends)
Now it's a little busier
 Thankful for piggy back rides
and teen boys that turn our "Merry Christmas" into "Merry Ohristmas"!!

 Thankful we all kind of matchy matchy for Christmas Eve Mass
Thankful for sandals and flip flops in December!
 Thankful for our Christmas meal!
Stuffed Manicotti
Garlic butter infused garlic bread
We also had fresh fruit!
 and of course there is that bubbly stuff...
3 bottles of the bubbly juice gives us each one glass!
 Thankful Christmas morning, the maintenance man, Eloy,
brought us up to the top of the 31 floor building and showed us the view!
It was amazing!
I know he doesn't do this for everyone, he's so nice to us!
We could see the whole island!
 Back for our Christmas brunch
Monkey Bread
Egg Bake
Fresh oranges and grapefruit
 And gift opening in jammies!
 Later on Christmas Day
we went to the beach to play
 and feed the seagulls!
 The girls loved it!
Feeding the seagulls at the ocean is not quite like feeding the ducks at a lake in MN
She had not even opened the bag yet!
 Thankful for moments like this, growing friendships between siblings.
 I forgot to take a picture of our Christmas dinner meal, but got a picture of the desserts!
3 ingredient fudge
Candy Bar Pie
 Thankful (the day after Christmas here)
that even on cloudy days, we have the beach
and every single day is different.
 these two were feeding themselves and the seagulls!
 Pretty foggy here...much more in person

 Thankful the humidity has done wonders with her curls!

and mine!!
Thankful on our way back in from the beach (the kids were soaked)
we caught Santa on his way out.
He was taking a much needed rest!! 
Here in Texas!
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Merry Christmas and a year full of blessings wished for you!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Good Tidings! Great Joy!!

A SAVIOR is born!!
Wishing warm Christmas blessings to you all!
(Get it?  Good Tidings?  Tidings? The tide is behind us!!)

Thursday, December 18, 2014


 Thankful we are HERE, in the warm air and sunshine!
We decided we needed to leave Minnesota for the winter.
We will be back March 1st
 Thankful I was able to get all the things we needed packed for our 3 month trip away from home.
 This was not an easy feat...now, take note of those black suitcases there.
Mine is on the left, packed full, carrying three days worth of clothes for three days of travel,
for myself and 3 of the kiddos,
Simeon's baby blankets, his favorite books, my 5 year old's favorite pink cowboy boots,
extra jammies and any extra last minute things I'd forgotten.
Tom's suitcase on the right there, his has his clothes for 3 days,
along with 3 of the older kiddos clothes for 3 days, including jammies,
Tom's work laptop, all his meds and vitamins, checkbooks, his i-pod,
all our Star Wars DVD's, and many other things.
 Thankful we have 12 lives at the Lake + 1's son living in our home while we are gone!
(He's awesome by the way)
 OH, my gosh, look at that snow and those gray skies....
Thankful we loaded up the U-Haul and drove off to the Twin Cities and
spent our first night at Tom's folks home.
Now, I have a "God Story" for you.
The next morning, we left around 5am from the Twin Cities.
Within 15 minutes, Tom noticed something fall of the U-Haul in his side mirror.
Now, it was dark, and he wasn't sure, we stopped along side the freeway.
Cars were zooming by at 70-80 MPH.
Sure enough, the back of the U-Haul had come unlatched
and we lost our luggage.
Thankful we did not lose everything.
The luggage must have exploded or a semi hit them,
because by the time we backtracked there was not much left.
Jedi had a pair of jeans that had $75 bucks in, and those were beside the freeway
(he was freaking out a little about his "worked all summer for that money" money)
Simeon's baby blankies were lost.
Along with his favorite books.
(I had plans on reading those in the hotels at night)
OH, those hurt this mama's heart.
Something black flew up when a car zoomed by,
it ended up being my 10 year old's Tee.
"Got Jesus?"
was the Tee.
We were feeling pretty defeated at this time,
no clothes to wear for the next 3 days,
the laptop, Tom's meds...we lost so much,
but you know what?
We have Jesus.
And He is all we need.
Now, if that was not a direct sign from God,
I sure don't know what would be!! 

 Traveling with 6 kids was not fun.
Thankful it is over.
Until February.
We planned 2 very long days and one not so long.
Thankful we learned our lesson
and on the way home plan to stretch that out to
3 1/2 not so long days.
An extra stay in a hotel will be so very worth it!

 She does have her seatbelt on here...but not the arm strap...Hmmmm....
 We took turns driving.
His back was killing him, the whole time.
It didn't matter if he was driving or riding, it hurt no matter what.
OH, I wish that could just go away for him.
 I have to say that Iowa was pretty boring....
But Kansas, was beautiful!!
once we got to Texas,
there were cactus's and palm trees everywhere!!
And it was SO WARM!!!
Look at the beautiful street!!
Thankful for the scenery changes from state to state!  

Thankful for our view from our patio.
The pools and the ocean and the beautiful sky.

 Thankful every morning, I get up to walk the beach during the sunrise
and before I do, I go to our patio and put on my shoes,
and get to look at this!
It's like the clouds part the way for the SUN to come up!!
It's amazing.
 The sunset over the bay is not so bad either.
 Thankful for lots of beach time
 Thankful for 5 year olds that sing while they play.
OH, I could watch her all day.
Oh, yeah, I do.
I'm Thankful for that!
 Thankful for hot tub time and swimming pool time!
Free Vitamin D!!
 Thankful for big brother moments like this.
 And little brother toesies moments like this.
 The big girls said they were not going to go in.
They ended up getting soaked.
We have a hard time staying out of the water!
 Thankful for shell searching!!
And buckets
And these 2 cutie pies!!
 Thankful for soft sand under our feet
 And for our hands to dig in.
 Thankful there is so much to do here, he is back to taking naps.
(wherever he can)
 Thankful for our little tree for our simple Christmas..
 Thankful for these cool pool chairs!!
Wouldn't you love to have one of these?
(I'd have to add some pillows though)
 Thankful for sunny beach days
 And cloudy beach digging days
 Thankful for the most amazing scenery.

Thankful for busy boys exploring a new world.

 I'm going to end this with a HUGE thank you to
Charlotte--Waltzing Mathilda
She made Simeon his original baby blankie.
that he lovingly called, his "Quack-Quack"
It was lost when we lost our luggage
and you know what?
She made him an exact replica
the day she found out
and sent it out.
He was so happy when he got it,
he rolled around the lobby hugging it and smiling and dancing with it.
 He got into his carseat
(why yes, he does have a hand-me-down carseat from his sister, why do you ask?)
and laid his Quack-Quack duck side up
and was the happiest I'd seen him since we left the morning we lost the luggage.
It was like having a little of  "home" again.
My mama's heart was happy.
Now, this blankie is even more special than before.
Thankful for the sun on my face,
the sand under my feet, the smell of the salty ocean air,
the breeze in my hair and
for a God so BIG
He created it all.
Now, don't look at these pictures and think we have it all perfect and all.
We've struggled to live in tighter quarters than we are used to.
We've got anxiety issues and fighting and unappreciative kids.
We are 8 very different personalities with constant wants and needs.
Just like you.
I'm not sure how much blogging or blog reading I'll be doing.
It will be here and there, but my main focus
is my family at this time
I don't want to be distracted from what God has given me.
I have a little girl begging me,
"Mama, find me something to do!"
(in a very whiney voice)
over and over and over.
I have an almost 3 year old
 at my side wanting me to "weed to me mama"
(Read to me mama!)
 I waste the precious time given me with my children.
while I look at this rectangular thing.
I'm losing so many opportunities
for joy and grace.
All in balance
God bless you!


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