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, 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!


  1. So sorry you had such a rough start to your trip, but glad you made it safely to Texas! Wishing you a blessed Christmas-enjoy the time with your family. (And enjoy the warmer weather too!)

    1. Jan--do you ever make it down to the beach? Would love to meet you someday! We are loving Texas, the people are so nice!! Food is so cheap!! The Mexican food is amazing!!! We do NOT know how to make a authentic taco up north that's for sure!

      Merry Christmas to you too!!

  2. Enjoy the sun and your family, though it's always nice to see a post. :) I'm trying to be happy right where I am, but I have to say, I wouldn't mind being your neighbor for a teensy while. It's sunless and snowless and full of illness here. I pray you have a beautiful, simple Christmas there with your family.

    1. Oh, Nicole, I hope you are feeling better soon...that's one of the hardest things about the cold and the winter, THE ILLNESSES!!!

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  3. The difference in climate between MN and SPI is amazingly shocking! I'm even happier you are down here in TX!! Thrilled for you!!!!

    1. Yes they are!! It was 60 and very very windy this morning for my walk and it felt amazing to me, but others were bundled up! (I did wear long sleeves)

      We are loving Texas. Met a woman on the beach today from Fort Worth, a homeschooler--there are a ton of homeschooler down here!

  4. I was just telling my husband tonight how much I love your thankful post. And here you are! Maybe you'll consider once a month...always is a good reminder for me. :)

    My husband and I drove down to AZ from IN with 5 kids, last winter, almost lost our luggage on 90 in Chicago. We had a 2 year old with double ear infection and pneumonia, and the 4 year old and I caught his respiratory flu on the way there. We also almost lock our keys in the car 1 hour from our destination. My husband flew back after the polar vortex was over and I drove back with the kids by myself. I was nervous! It was an incredible time filled with huge helpings of grace. One thing we did was plan stops on You look like you won't pass Groom, TX (although they have the most beautiful outdoor Stations of the Cross. But Tulsa has a great Children's Museum for $5 (although roadtripper had the wrong address). It was a perfect stop to break up our day.

    Enjoy the warm weather! What a blessing! Merry Christmas!

    P.S. Don't know if you remember but... Thank you for making that connection between me and my long lost friend Renee. You wrote a little post reconnecting us a while (over three years ago) and it is good to have such a good Catholic woman of God back in my life!

    1. OH, Towers!! Of course I remember you!! I'm so happy you and Renee connected again!! Fun how God works sometimes.

      About 9 years ago, we were down here (Tom's grandpa lived in McAllen) and we went to a church around there...maybe Phar? Anyway, it had amazing outdoor life size stations of the cross...haven't seen anything like that by here...we might have to look for some...

      Your trip sounded like a nightmare---couldn't imagine doing it alone!! Traffic through Dallas/Fort Worth was 4 hours long....road construction, should have taken us 1 hour tops!!

      How was Arizona once you go there? We are planning a move there this next summer!

      Yes, maybe once a month a Thankful post...Merry Christmas--God bless you!!

  5. loving reading this about your beautiful family , Jamie. Shaun has a lot of trouble with his back too so I hear you on that one. I wish I could just take it all away. Make those memories & don't worry about us. Much love to you!

    1. I know his back pain prevents him from doing pretty much everything. He injured it a few years ago, doing Tae Kwon Do with the kids.

      (torn muscle, not repairable yet anyway)

      Much love to you and those beautiful children!!!

  6. I am THANKFUL to read from you here. You are always close in mind and heart as you take these months away. The photos are breathtaking and admittedly, they made me cry a bit. Happiness and sadness. So, so happy for your family to be in the warmth, sun, and sand. Sad because you're not here, I'm not there (dang winter!!), and knowing too that within perfection there is still struggle. I think of you daily and know that I completely understand the time away from the screen. Keep on taking that time and help your children, be with them. We all totally get it. Enjoy the sun and sand for me!

    ps....I never knew that's who was living in your house while you are away. That is the perfect fit and I am sure you feel at ease knowing your home is well taken care of while you are gone.

    1. OH, no, so sorry to make you cry. I think of you often, wish you could come down here for a break away from the cold. Enjoy those cold baking days, I don't feel like baking at all, kind of miss that part. Makes for an odd Advent, that's for sure.

      Yes, Tim is watching our home....and his dad is fixing it up while we are away...Turned out perfect.

      Love you Sarah!

  7. There was a lot packed in that post! What a time you've had. I'm so sorry Simeon lost his blankies. I know how much they meant to you. :-( I hope the skies stay sunny for you and you can enjoy your time down there.

    1. Thank you Barbara, love you!!

      (I already emailed you a bunch...not repeating here!)

  8. What a trip, how frustrating about the u haul and how sweet of Charlotte to replace the blanket.
    Welcome to Texas! I hope our paths cross some day.

    1. Oh, gosh, that would be amazing if our paths crossed!! We're here til the end of February, want to come down?

      We are LOVING Texas!! The people are so nice and groceries are cheap!! And the weather, AMAZING!

      God bless you Mary!

  9. It was my privilege to get to replace that blankie for him and help heal your mama's heart. I have had little ones with dedicated blankies and I can't even imagine being in your shoes. Hope your rough start is as rough as your trip ever gets. Enjoy the sunshine!

    1. Thank you Charlotte. I can't help but smile when I think of you.

  10. I've been thinking of you!!!!!
    Oh, enjoy this time with your loved ones...
    I know you will. : )
    Miss you something terrible here...
    but totally understand.
    Love and hugs for Christmas!!!!!

    1. I miss you too!! I put on my list of blogs to read while away, but have not had time!! I have to get over there soon!!

      Time, precious time. It's fleeting.
      Love and hugs for Christmas to you too!!

  11. LUVed this post...much to be thankful for.... A simple Christmas might end up being a favorite in your memories...years from now. My prayers and admiration.

    1. Yes, I think it already is a favorite in my mind!! I am missing all the little things I usually do, all the baking, crafts....and so much more. BUT this is good too. It's just one year. (hard to bake when the ocean is calling!) For some reason, it's easier to bake when it's cold outside!

      Love to you Allison!!

  12. Timothy is loving your house. He has all of his recording equipment set up on the main floor and I think he fixed your wifi so it has a stronger signal throughout the house. You'll seriously have to evict him in March. Dan's been making friends with the neighbors while he's working there. So glad you are enjoying life in TX. When I talk to my mom and dad in AZ, I think of you (always great weather but no beach!)

    1. Awesome!! How did he fix the Wifi? We've had a hard time with it reaching our bedroom...just a pain for watching any movies, since we don't have TV just Netflix...Did I tell him he could move the VCR to the living room if he wanted to? I think I did...he can...SO happy he's enjoying it and making himself at home. He can stay if he wants when we get home, but not sure he'd like it as much then!! hahahah!

      So funny about Dan making friends with our neighbors...I'm thinking Jeanne? She told me she wanted to hire him to do some stuff. Hope he gets more jobs out of this! Jeanne knows your mom...I think from church? (Holy Spirit)

      Merry Christmas--great to hear from you!!
      You are on my list of blogs to read...but have not had time, I have to catch up!!
      Love you Kim!!

  13. Enjoy that beautiful sunshine...I am so happy for you and especially Tom who is feeling better. I am sad though...that you are stepping away from the computer. Ever since you told me you were leaving..I have been sad. I know you need to do what is right by your family. Family first..but I do so enjoy your friendship and keeping in touch through blog or facebook is the only way to keep in touch. Calling is so know that!!! we are busy mamas. But...I am thankful you are doing well and enjoying the sunshine and please blog and facebook when you can!!! miss you bunches.

    1. Christine!!! Oh, no, don't be sad. It is hard to keep in touch sometimes, but we HAVE to. You are so good at it. We have the kind of friendship that it won't matter how long we are apart, we will pick up right where we left off!! I'm not quitting blogging, just wanted to let people know it won't be anything regular..but I guess it wasn't anyway!! SO it probably won't be much different! hahah!

      Miss you a TON too. I wish I could share this with you. Wish we could take a morning sunrise walk together. I think of you every morning when I see the sunrise, because I know you are watching too, up north...

      Love you Christine!!

  14. ps...I LOVE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE!!! I was wondering what you did for decorations!

    1. HAD to get some lights in the window, it just didn't feel like Christmas time here...still struggling a little with that one. Gotta wrap presents, that will help!

      Bridget made the Angel on top with a paper plate. Simeon made one's in the middle of the tree. It's a 20 buck pre-lit tree found it at Wal-mart! Made trees to put in the window too...and the kids have mad angels and trees,St Nick pictures and the Immaculate Conception pictures...taped to the our Advent wreath. I brought a smaller Nativity set, but there's not really anyplace to put it, might take it out for Christmas Eve & Christmas day, but I know Simeon would take all the pieces and either hide them or break them!!

  15. So sorry about the luggage! And so glad Charlotte was able to make a replica. That can be so important to a boy his age (I know, I have one!!). Also, my boy has a pink car seat too. Hopefully they will not remember or we will never hear the end of it!

    1. SO happy we are not the only ones that pass down girl things to boys!! He doesn't know the difference!! I can just hear him now, when he's older, "Nice carseat mom!!"

      Love to you Amy!!

  16. ...oh..and I was thinking of Toms back. Really hope that gets better soon. I forgot to add the pictures are amazing. Wondering if you got a new camera??? You take great pictures. How are you going to celebrate Sims birthday??!!! post post pressure. sorry for being a dork.

    1. Same camera...must be the Beach!!

      Simeon's birthday....when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, if he wanted cupcakes or a cake, if he wanted a white, yellow, chocolate cake, he said, "I want a BIG cake, not cupcakes, mama, and I want a brown cake" (chocolate, I'm assuming!) No's too hard, I'd have to buy everything...he's 3, cake and ice cream and swimming in the pool!! (he wants to go swimming in the pool) We got him trucks, a big dump truck for the beach and a garbage truck (that makes noise) an a small lego dump truck...or maybe it was a digger?


      Tom's back has been like this for a few years...can't do much of anything. We don't let him lift ANYTHING!! He tore a muscle when he was doing Tae Kwon Do with the kids...gone to chiropractors, done Prolotherapy...nothing works or helps...

  17. I MISSSSSSS YOOUUUU. Thank you for this update. So lovely to see you and the kids and especially "my" helpful girls again, even if it is just in the pictures. Prayers and love for all of you.

    1. Prayers and love to you all too!! SO happy to be able to keep in touch through Facebook.
      I miss you too!!

  18. We went to North Carolina at the end of August. 8 of us in a small 3 bedroom beach house. But it was on the beach, and all we had to do was literally walk out of the back of the house and there it was. It wasn't perfect as far as attitudes and so forth (mine included), but there is something so supernatural about the ocean, and being there for an extended period of time. My kids still talk about it, and we've decided that no matter where we are financially, we are going. It's a much (and the Vitamin D did WONDERS for the psoriasis on my elbow. Gone!) I'm so glad you all have this time. <3

  19. Ok, you have probably been told this a hundred times already through the comments (I didn't read all of them) but it has been WARM here! Granted, nothing like what you have in Texas and no beautiful sunsets, so you still win! :-) But all the snow is gone, and it's warm. I actually kind of hate it. Where is my white Christmas?

    Yes, the flu has been so bad this year! Our pediatrician said that the flu shot "missed the mark" this year and it's not really stopping any strain of flu. Almost all of us have had the flu and just when I think we're getting over it, ear infections began! :-)

    So glad you guys are having the best time ever. And just so you know, we have a case of "ungrateful kids" too so I'm glad it's not just my own kids. I'm kind of nervous about Christmas this year; if I hear one complaint about how bored they are of their toys I just may lose it, because this has been a very tough year coming up with money.

    Anyway, have a great vacation and merry Christmas!


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