Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Complaint Cure: Take 6

Thanking God for ...

~ restored health
~ a finished scrapbook
~ the excitement of Christmas lights
~ chocolate
~ family that is willing to come to us for the holiday
~ a membership to the YMCA as an early Christmas gift
~ weather that is warm enough for the kids to play outside
~ "aha!" moments
~ a patient husband
~ the joy of giving
~ God's Word
~ His constant protection and provision for His children

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Football Frenzy

I didn't grow up watching football. So, it was quite a shock when I married and found that my husband planned to watch all Ohio State games and several others inbetween! For years, I have resented football season because it takes away from family time on Saturdays.

But today, I had a startling realization! As I stood ironing behind my husband as he watched the last game of the season, I realized that our entire family was gathered in the living room. Football wasn't taking away from family time, it was actually creating it. My oldest was asking questions and learning about the game, my middle two were snuggling on Dad's lap, and my youngest was happily playing on the floor nearby. What a shock! Instead of spending these hours rushing around trying to get our various tasks accomplished, the entire family was enjoying one common activity.

Now, I'm not a big fan of using the TV for family time, and I still can't say that I'm a huge football fan. (Basketball is another story!) However, I can grudgingly admit that I'm beginning to see a positive side to the game of football. Or, as my daughter used to call it, "the run around and fall down game". :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Letting Go

For a few years Josh and I have had an ongoing discussion. The debate is over the decision to get rid of our baby stuff. We have so many baby clothes, the baby tub (which is huge!), a saucer, a door jumper, a baby bjorn, another bathtub ring, the cradle (which is a keeper), etc., etc. It's just ridiculous. And while, at times, I think having another little one would be awesome, Josh and I feel that we are done. I'm fine with our family the way it is and since all of our kids are close in age, having another one now doesn't make sense unless we have two. Six kids might be a bit much!

So, today we finally decided to pass our baby things onto others who can use them. With the economy so bad we really hope that others will benefit from using our things - especially since everything is in really good condition. I had always talked of doing a garage sale, but Josh cringes at the thought of all that work. I can see his point. For a small amount of money, it's probably just not worth all the time and effort.

We brought up the many boxes of clothing and I set aside one to use for "keepsake clothes". These are clothes I want to pass on to my kids. Ones that were special - like Zack's giraffe costume from when he was 7 months old, a few items that all the kids wore, handmade sweaters for Abby, the outfits the kids wore for their one year pictures... I probably kept more than I should, but my rationale was that if the outfit brought me to tears, it was a keeper. Let's just say that I shed several tears today.

I loved being the mother of babies. I love my kids now too, but there is something about the baby stage that is so very special to me. I have memories of my children in each item of clothing and for most I could even tell you who gave us the outfit. It's amazing how just looking at a shirt can bring you back to an exact moment of time and a precise memory of the person who wore it.

But, it's time to let go. My baby days are gone. We're making more memories each day as the kids grow. And, as I reminded myself today, it's much more important to enjoy the kids than to hang onto the stuff. I have to hope that others who end up with these items will also someday have cherished memories of their own little ones in these clothes. That thought makes the letting go worthwhile.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Complaint Cure #5

It has been a few weeks since my last "complaint cure" blog entry. We've been on vacation. However, I've been home sick for the last week and need a complaint cure for myself. So here goes ....

~ A wonderful two week vacation with Josh and the kids. We built so many special memories and did many once-in-a-lifetime things.

~ The safety God granted us for our entire 3000+ miles of driving. We got lost once or twice and hit traffic and construction, but never once did we have any car problems.

~ The generosity and hospitality of so many. We had many feed us and offer their homes for us to stay in. We even had complete strangers meet us and give us a wonderful discount to Disney along with incredibly helpful tips for our day at the park.

~ Health. I'm missing my health right now, but being sick always makes me thankful for the good health I normally have.

~ A very helpful and loving husband.

~ Breath

~ Digital pictures

~ Soft blankets and pillows, throat lozenges, tea and honey, and good books.

~ An unexpected card in the mail today. :)

~ The patience of my children as I tried to teach them with no voice this week.

~ The soothing sound of hearing Josh play hymns on the piano

~ The opportunity to worship again at Oak Grove tomorrow

~ Salvation by grace through faith

~ The omnipotence of God

~ That we got to see our butterflies hatch just in time to set them free in Florida. And that our tadpoles now have legs and are losing their tales. Sure is neat to see God's incredible creation!

~ Free passes to the Creation Museum in northern KY

~ Less Halloween candy than normal. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vacation South - Take 3

Thursday: We were still in Tennessee on Thursday and decided to head to Pigeon Forge to enjoy some touristy stuff. We took the scenic route to get there and really enjoyed seeing the beautiful Smokey Mountains.

Once there, we found a place where the kids could pan for gems and fossils. They loved doing this! They each found a bagfull of "treasures" to bring home.

After that, we just wandered around a few shops and enjoyed a lunch of ice cream and nachos.

That evening, Uncle Bob came for dinner. It was nice to reconnect with him - especially since we rarely have the chance to see him.

The downside to the day was that I felt sick. I began coughing on Wednesday night and started with a fever on Thursday. It put a damper on the day, but we still had a good time.

Friday: I woke up quite sick on Friday. I spent the morning in bed while Josh tried to pack up all of our things and get the kids ready to go. We said our goodbyes to Grandma and headed out to Cincinnati. Our original plan was to stay with the McKittricks (friends of ours), but because I was sick, we opted to stay in a hotel for the last two nights of our trip. Josh and the kids still went over to their house for dinner and I stayed in the hotel and slept.

Saturday: I was still rather sick on Saturday, but didn't want to miss out on the day's events. So, after Josh took the kids for a quick swim in the hotel pool, we all headed out to the Creation Museum. This museum was the original motivation for our trip, so we were all excited to go! The museum is so well done and we really enjoyed it. We went through all the exhibits and most of the side videos as well. It was very educational for the kids and a good reminder in many ways for Josh and me as well.

After the museum, we went directly to the McKittrick's house for dinner. They invited our mutual friends over for dinner as well and we had a nice evening of conversation and food. Josh and I also got a chance to see where the new building site for Horizon Community Church is. Since we have sent two families out from Oak Grove to Horizon, it was especially meaningful to see the plans for the new building.

Sunday: Once again, I woke up feeling ill on Sunday, so Josh and the kids went to church and then picked me up at the hotel afterwards. We began our drive towards home. Unfortunately, because we started late and because of traffic, it was a very LONG drive. We finally were about a half hour from home when I asked to stop at the Urgent Care nearby. I was having a lot of trouble breathing and knew I needed some help. Turns out that I was hyperventilating because I couldn't get enough oxygen and had begun to panic. They also tested me for H1N1 and although the test came out negative, the doctor assured me that I have all the symptoms. She said 28 out of every 100 tests are wrong and put me on meds for the flu. It wasn't a fun way to end the vacation, but I'm thankful that I didn't get it mid way through our travels! We finally arrived home around 10 pm. Here's our final mileage for the trip:

So, a wonderful time! God granted us safe travels, excellent times with family and friends, patient and obedient children, and many, many memories!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vacation South - Take 2

Friday: We spent the entire day driving from Athens, GA to Kissimmee, FL. It was supposed to be a 10 hour drive and ended up taking more like 13 hours.

However, there were some hi-lights on our trip. Here are a few:
We saw HUGE anthills in Georgia! I’ve never seen anthills this big, so naturally I had to stop and get a picture.

We also saw cotton fields. I have never seen a cotton plant, so it was pretty exciting to stop and show the kids a cotton plant and to have them touch the cotton. Call it education.

Another big hi-light was that the first of our butterflies came out of its chrysalis. We didn’t actually see it hatch, but did watch it pump blood into its wings and begin the process of moving about. Of course, we stopped for that excitement too!
We finally arrived in Kissimmee and were greeted with yummy food and a comfortable house. The long trip was worth it!

Saturday: We awoke Saturday morning to find that all but two of our butterflies were flying around in their cage. How exciting! After a wonderful breakfast of chocolate chip and/or blueberry pancakes, we headed out with my sister, Beth to Universal Studios. We didn’t pay to get into the theme park, but rather just walked around the free area and looked in the shops. It was 94 degrees out and we were sweltering! Thankfully, we found some fountains and the kids shed their shoes and romped around until completely soaked.

After Universal Studios, we headed to Downtown Disney. It’s a free shopping area that has lots of fun stores – a Lego store and the largest Disney store on the planet! Boy was that fun! We didn’t have a lot of time because we wanted to get back and trick or treat. So, after a little shopping, we headed out for pizza with Beth and Steve and then went trick or treating with the kids.

Trick or treating was somewhat disappointing. We’re used to a town where just about everyone participates. Although we chose a neighborhood with lots of kids, few people had their lights on. Besides that, the mosquitoes were out. The kids did get some good candy though, and I suppose I’m actually quite happy to have about a fourth of our normal loot! Especially since we had to fit it into our already stuffed van. The odd thing about our trick or treating experience was that we had few people actually wait for us to ring the doorbell. Most people were outside waiting for the kids to come. At first, I assumed this was because the weather was warm. However, after asking Beth, I found out that because of the high crime rate, few people are willing to open their door to strangers. It’s too risky that someone may look in and then come back later to visit on less friendly terms (i.e. robbery). Once done with the trick or treating, we let the kids take a quick swim in Beth and Steve’s pool. The kids had a great time and slept wonderfully after a thoroughly exhausting day!

Sunday: Sunday was a terrific day! First thing, we set the butterflies free. It was pretty exciting to watch them all fly out of their cage and head to freedom in the warm Florida weather. I’m glad the kids were able to experience the fun of that!

We decided to take the day and head to Sea World. We knew this would be our only chance to get there. Thankfully, Beth came with us and was able to get us a military discount on our tickets. We went right away to the Shamu show. All I can say is WOW!!! The trainers are amazing and it was incredible to see them work with these huge animals. We purposely sat way down in the front (3rd row) so that we could get wet. And sure enough, we got DRENCHED!!! Shamu came out and created these huge waves that soaked us completely. Everyone loved it!

We also saw some other neat things. We got to pet the sting rays – which is a rather odd feeling; Abby, Beth and I paid to feed and pet the dolphins (the high point of Abby’s day!); we ate lunch surrounded by sharks; and we watched a funny pirate show with seals. The kids had a blast and so did mom and dad. It was another busy, fun day!

Once back at the house, we asked Beth if we could use her big bathtub to bathe all four kids at once. She agreed. Once all four kids were in, she substituted some shower body wash for bubble bath. We really weren’t expecting the results! The suds took over the tub and overflowed onto the floor! The kids had a great time playing in the suds, and even after draining all the water, we still had a tub filled to the brim with suds. Needless to say, not much washing happened in the tub, so each child had to take a quick shower after their bath. But it created some great memories.

Monday: This was our biggest day of the trip. We got up early and headed out to … DISNEY WORLD!!! The kids were so beyond excited! It’s impossible to recount all the great experiences here, but I’ll try to hit a few. We were at the Magic Kingdom and had planned to spend the entire day there. Right away we saw Pluto and decided to get in line for his autograph. (A friend had given us the tip to bring autograph books for each kid. That’s something I highly recommend doing!). So, we got a family picture and autographs with Pluto. In fact, throughout the day we gathered autographs from Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald Duck, Cinderella, Belle, and Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). Of course, we have pictures of the kids with all those characters as well. We saw many others, but decided it wasn’t worth our time to continue standing in line.

We rode on several rides. The kids particularly loved the Buzz Lightyear ride, the Goofy ride, the Pooh Bear ride and the Pirates ride. My favorite thing was Mickey’s Philharmagic – a 3D show complete with smells, water, sights and sounds! It was so fun for me to see Gabe jumping out of his chair trying to grab the objects flying at him! We were especially thankful for a set of recommendations from a friend for what rides and events are worth your time. We followed her advice and were not disappointed in the least!
When evening came and sun set, the kids seemed to grow even more excited. There is something about the lights on all the buildings and rides creating a magical environment. We stayed to watch the light parade and the fireworks. Here are some really cool pictures from that.

I never expected that my little three year old would be able to walk for three days at various theme parks! He was such a trooper! The poor little guy was so very exhausted by the end of it all that as soon as we left the Disney parking lot, he conked out in the car. What a good boy!

Tuesday: Sadly, we had to leave our times in Florida behind. We left the state exhausted, but with many wonderful memories to cherish. We especially enjoyed our time visiting with Beth, Steve and Shawn and the opportunity to take part in their lives for a few days. We left before 9 am on Tuesday morning and got on the road heading to Maryville, TN. We were off to see Josh’s grandma and were looking forward to a slower pace for a couple of days. This was our longest day of driving. And it was compounded by our children’s tiny bladders! We were reminded that when a 3 year old says, “I have to go BAD”, reminding him that the nearest exit is only 3 miles away does no good. “BAD” means “Stop the car NOW”!! And that’s what we did! I think we stopped about 5 times in the first hour of our trip. Needless to say, our trip lasted much longer than the 10+ hours we had scheduled and ended up taking more like 13 ½. Ugh. The kids were troopers, but we’re glad to have the day done.

Wednesday: On Wednesday we took the day easy. We had a few loads of laundry to do and were happy to just hang out at Grandma’s house and relax a bit.

We did go for a nice autumn walk and took a long, curvy drive through the mountains. The views were incredible! Gabriel slept through most of it, but the rest of us enjoyed the majesty of God’s creation.

Grandma cooked us some terrific meals and we all worked to get to bed on time. At this point in the trip, a restful day was just what we all needed!