Friday, September 30, 2011

Family Vacation w/ friends!! :)

Last year we went to the mountains with some friends. You can see those adventures here. This year we decided to do it again but this time to the beach. Yay!! :) We rented a villa together. Our room had such a big closet that our children slept there. Okay, that sounds bad but really, it was big! :) Check this out...
Here's little Ronni getting ready for bed in her "room". :) See how much room there was? It was HUGE!!! Day 1 we didn't do much. We hung out in the house which had a screened in back porch which locked from the outside. This was great for the kids!! We didn't let them play in the backyard b/c there was a pond back there with a couple of gators we we opted with locking them on the back porch. ;) After dinner, we got the kids (all 6) in bed and the adults (all 6) stayed up and played games until after midnight (actually, we did that every night). ;)
Day 2: The kids, Paul and I got up, showered, dressed, ate breakfast and headed off to check out the beach. :) By the time we made it back to the house the others were awake, fed and getting ready for the beach so we changed into our swimsuits and headed back out. :)
It was supposed to rain all weekend and the morning certainly made us think the forecast was right.
The tide was low and there were little pools everywhere. The pools were great for the smaller kids and the waves fabulous for the bigger kids (bigger kids meaning my 5 yo was the oldest one there... LOL!).
Eventually the sun came out and we were all digging around for sunblock. :)
Here is a picture of our sand castle mountain with a mote. :) Hey! The kids had fun and they thought it was pretty cool. :)
After our beach adventures we headed home for lunch and saw someone swimming in the pond behind the house....
The kids thought it was pretty neat and of course it was my husband who walked to the edge of the pond to take the pictures of the gator... "/
After nap time it was off to the pool. I, unfortunately, forgot the camera at the pool but it was so much fun. Ronni borrowed a friend's life jacket which gave her a lot more confidence in the water than she normally has. When it was late and we were trying to load up the kids to head back to the house Ronni started crying as she yelled, "I have to stay here to practice my swimming. I might forget tomorrow." LOL! She's so funny sometimes. Collin was the oldest one there and he likes to stack cups. We buy plastic cups just for him to stack and apparently he's not the only one. Another family there did the same thing. Collin liked to build the towers and then let the younger kids knock it over. Sometimes they wanted to knock them over before he was finished so he would go into the master bathroom and build them and then invite the kids in once he was done to knock them over. Here's one of his towers.
That night we had tacos and the adults stayed up playing games... again. :)

Day 3 we all split up and did our own thing. Our little family headed off for the lighthouse.
 We made it all 114 steps to the top of the lighthouse!! Yeah! We are awesome. We didn't even have to carry the kids. YAY!!!
Isn't that a great view from the top?
Then we found a park...

Then we headed home for lunch and naps. After naps we went back to the beach then came back home for pizza!! :) After pizza we went on a bike ride around the island until dark. After that, we all headed up to the Salty Dog Cafe where we had ice cream and the kids danced.

Then we headed home and put the kids to bed and.. well, played more games. :)

Day 4 we had to be checked out by 10am and the church there started at 10am so we were out a little before then. We were a little late for church but that was okay. I must add that it was really nice being able to go to Relief Society. I honestly cannot remember the last time I was able to go to that. I've been in primary (kids) for the past 3 years and before that I was in young women's for almost 3 years so... yeah, it's been a while. :)  

Anyways... that was our exciting vacation!! =o)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Invisible Mother

A friend of mine sent this to me and I thought it was absolutely awesome. Especially since people say that I "just" stay home with the kids all day. I'm not leaving a huge mark on the world, I know that. But, I'm raising my children and I think I'm doing a pretty good job of it... I hope, anyways. So, I thought this was a pretty cool article.
Invisible Mother
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, “Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The Invisible Mom. 

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this?
Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please..”

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. 

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, no one will ever see it.” And the workman replied, “Because God sees.” 

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.”

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, '”My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, “You're gonna love it there.”

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Monday, September 19, 2011


So, Collin technically doesn't have to start sparring until he is a camo belt. He is a first level yellow belt then he'll test for a second level yellow belt and then he'll be a camo belt so he still has a few months for me to worry about it. Well, today someone offered me his sparring gear for half the price. YEAH!! So, I bought his sparring gear. It's everything except for the mouth guard. So, I guess my little man is going to start sparring.

Paul was throwing punches while Collin blocked. We wanted him to see that this doesn't protect him from the hit... just adds a bit of cushion.
Collin was so funny. He's been bugging me to get sparring gear for him for a while but it's just too expensive and then this happened today. As we were leaving I said, "I have a surprise for you in the car."
Collin said, "Let me guess, you got me sparring gear."
"How'd you know?" I asked.
His face was suddenly super excited, "I just did. Where is it?"
"In the van."
"Yay!" And, he runs out to the van. "Where is it? Where is it?"
"In the van." I repeated.
He climbs in and looks around. "It's black!?"
"Yeah, is that okay?" I asked, worried b/c there are lots of different colors he could have chosen from.
"Yes, Mom! I don't care what color it is as long as I have the gear!"
He then held it in his lap the whole way home and carried it inside and put it on before I even wiped it down. Remember, it was used. Eeeewww!! Oh well. He is soooo excited about it. Now, I just have to get him a mouth guard. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mud Bath!!

Ronni likes to play outside while I do school with Collin so, today she was playing the backyard. I ran out to check on her periodically and it's completely fenced in and our dog barks if anyone comes close so I don't worry too much. Then, I heard the water turn on and ran out there. She was making mud. She was already dirty and wet so I figured I'd just let her go at it. LOL! Collin and I did a bit more school then I checked on her again. Oh my!! I can't even describe what I found so here are some pictures.
Love this shocked face!! She saw me... she was caught!

Oh good!! I'm not in trouble! :)

So, she sat back down and continued playing.

The bathtub -- post Ronni. =o) I still haven't cleaned it out.. yikes! She also took a shower so part of it probably went down the drain. *fingers crossed it doesn't clog anything up*

Monday, September 12, 2011

First day of Class Connects

As most of you know, Collin is virtual schooled. This means he is schooled at home but he is technically in public school. He has a homeroom teacher, Ms. Neal, who also teaches his reading class. Then he has Social Studies and Science which is taught by Ms. Laney and he has Math which is taught by Ms. Hankins. We survived our first day of classes. Today he had Science and Reading and we still managed to do speech therapy and get all of his classes done. Hooray!! Here are some videos he watched in his science class... they are cute. haha!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Daddy is gone... :(

Paul left this morning for a work trip. So, in case you don't have a calendar that means that my husband is flying over D.C. on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. He'll be fine. We really aren't worried or he wouldn't be going. But, this morning we all gathered together to say a family prayer before he left and I think that's when it all hit little Ronni. As soon as the "amens" were said she jumped up into her daddy's lap and cried... and cried... and continued crying. She kept yelling, "I want to spend a long time with you, Daddy." We kept explaining that it's only 7 days and he'll be back next Saturday but she doesn't care. She wants him now.
Isn't that such a sad picture? :( Paul promised to talk to her on the computer (Skype) some this week and now she's at the computer with me wanting to see him on the computer. He's on the plane though and can't get on so she's settling with looking at pictures of him. Poor little "Daddy's Girl." She keeps holding on to me as if she's afraid that I am going to go too. So, I am going to go and give my girl some extra cuddles.

Hope from 9/11

I have seen this video before and I love it!! I am so used to seeing ppl talk about how horrible the day was and the loss that was felt that day. I remember it and it truly was a horrible day and there was a hopelessness felt all across the U.S. but this family was able to find the hope from the experience and to see how it helped them find what is truly important.