08-16-17 Dinosaur Oatmeal

My day started innocently enough when Big E and Baby E requested dinosaur oatmeal. I’m not sure if you have ever heard of this, but it’s oatmeal with little colored eggs in it, and when you add water and heat the oatmeal the eggs ‘hatch’ into what are supposed to be dinosaurs, but actually are just colored blobs of sugar.

Unfortunately for the boys we haven’t had dinosaur oatmeal in months and months. This led to an early morning meltdown, but I promised to stop at the store if I got the chance to look for some. (We are running low on oatmeal of all varieties anyways.)

As I got out of the house a few minutes early this morning, I stopped at a Dollar General on my way to work in search of dinosaur oatmeal. They didn’t have any, which wasn’t surprising, but I did remember that I needed cat food. I grabbed four cans, and as they were precariously stacked in my hands, I managed to accidentally drop my phone and sent it tumbling to the ground.

Oops!

To my surprise, the screen was not cracked. I picked it up, paid for my cat food, and left. It wasn’t until I was back in my car that I noticed it wasn’t reading the SIM card. I couldn’t make or receive calls or texts. This had me a little worried, but I got to work with no other incidents.

I contacted my phone company, and we went back and forth for the better part of the day. My warranty had expired and I did not have insurance on the phone. I even took the phone to a cellphone repair shop, but they couldn’t help me either. My only hope was to get a new phone. As I looked online I realized the only new phones that worked with my carrier started at $650, which is way, way out of our price range for a phone at the moment.

So I checked Craigslist (cringe), Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace and finally found someone 10 minutes from my house that was selling the same phone I had. I contacted them and arranged to pick it up this evening.

After picking up the phone, I stopped by another store in order to look for the cursed dinosaur oatmeal, still unable to find any. When I got home, the phone wouldn’t let me set it up so I spent some time on tech support and then called the original owner. In the end, Tim took the phone back to the owner, they messed around with it for a bit, and finally got it working. So, to bring this drawn out story to a close, this stupid dinosaur oatmeal is the most expensive breakfast food I have yet to buy my children and I’ll never see a box of it again without thinking of this silly mishap!

 

08-15-17 Fatherhood

IMG_20170815_222903_589

I snapped this photo outside the bathroom as I listened to the two boys squealing and laughing in the bathtub. From my vantage point, I couldn’t see them, but I could hear them giggling as they interacted with their daddy. I stood there, a silent observer, as I was reminded how incredibly lucky I am to have married a man that is so involved in his children’s lives. He never hesitates to jump in, and he doesn’t complain when I ask him to tackle tasks I don’t feel up to doing myself. (i.e. bath time!)

Fatherhood sure does look good on this man. 🙂

IMG_20170815_223028_252

Baby E is sporting a new haircut!

08-12-17 The Splinter

I’ve gotten into a bad routine since vacation… I’m staying up way too late in the evenings and it’s definitely catching up to me. And I’m not the only one, the kids have been going to bed later, which is a recipe for disaster. This morning, Baby E put himself down for a THREE hour nap!! Eventually I went in and woke him up, otherwise he might have slept all day. 

I took the boys to the beach today so that Tim could have some quiet to recover. He wasn’t feeling well yesterday. Then we walked around the boardwalk and pier. Big E got a massive splinter in his foot, which was very traumatic for him, but his awesome Uncle Davey came to the rescue and dug it out!

We ended the evening with a family trip to Walmart and then a walk on the pier, watching the storm clouds roll in. By the time we got home, it was monsooning, so the run from the van to the house was very wet! 

He painted his face. 😂

This handsome fellow informed me that I’m his “Pretty Girl” this evening. 😍😍

08-11-17 Storm

After grabbing the boys this evening, we picked up pizza and drove down into town. As we came closer to the water I noticed that it was very choppy, which is usually a good warning that storms are coming.

Instead of heading straight home, I drove the van down the road that has only a jersey wall separating the road from the rocks and then the water. I parked as close to the wall as I could and we waited for the waves to splash against the rocks and spray the van. After a few minutes the boys asked to get out, and since we were off the main road at a dead end, I obliged. They had fun running up to the wall as the waves crashed. There were a few times they were very surprised by some large sprays. I loved watching them squeal and jump in excitement. Baby E got slammed by a pretty big wave, which startled him, but he calmed down after using my dress as a towel. 😂😂

08-10-17 Beach Night

Baby E and I took advantage of another beautiful evening to enjoy the beach, dividing our time between having our toes in the sand and wading through the water. Baby E likes to lay down in the sand, which inevitably backfires on him as he often gets it in his mouth, hair, and sometimes eyes. This evening I heard him sputtering and spitting, only to look over and see him trying to rid his mouth of sand. He couldn’t get it all out, so I got to hear him crunch on little pieces until they were all gone. Yuck.

The highlight of his beach trips is always playing in the outside showers as we wash off any extra sand. Tonight he got himself drenched from his chest down, so we walked along the pier and boardwalk in an attempt to drip dry him off before putting him in the van.

Big E and Tim came home late this evening, while C has decided to stay with her grandparents for another day or two. So for tonight, it’s just me and my boys. I’m so glad to have Big E home, and even laid with him on the couch for awhile before putting him to bed.

IMG_20170810_204118_661IMG_20170810_203954_687IMG_20170810_203827_001

08-09-17 Vacation Mode

Baby E and I are definitely still in vacation mode. With the big kids visiting my parents and Tim still at work, Baby E and I opted to make a trip to the beach. The water was calm and warm, and we only had to dodge one jellyfish. Baby E seemed to especially enjoy sitting in the water with the small waves lapping around him. He would find small stones and toss them out to watch the small splash and ripples that accompanied them. He buried his feet in the sand, and talked to all the ducks he could find, telling me that they were sad that they couldn’t play with him. It was a charming evening with my sweet boy, but when we got home it was late. He fussed a little through dinner and then begged me to put him to bed, to which I obliged.

I’m slowly making it through some of the pictures that I took on vacation. 

IMG_20170809_225349_893IMG_20170809_225222_936IMG_20170809_225118_751

08-08-17 Reading

The week before we left for vacation was the week that all three children came down with strep. Out of an abundance of caution, Tim and I both had ourselves checked out as well, but our tests came back negative. So we arrived at the great grandparents house no longer contagious, but antibiotics in hand.

Much to my dismay, C woke up the following morning saying that she did not feel very well. And over the course of the morning she started running a low grade fever. I gave her some Tylenol and she took a nap. While she slept, Tim took the boys out to the lake, and I stayed behind at the house to keep an eye on her. It gave me the perfect opportunity to break out a book that I have been trying to work my way through for the past TWO years!! I had actually picked it up at a grocery store two summers ago when we were visiting the great grandparents, having seen it on the shelf of summer reads. The authors rank among my favorite contemporaries and I always enjoy their novels.

Sitting on the bed in the basement, listening to my sweet girl’s deep breathing, I flipped to the dog eared page of my book. As I started to read, I soon discovered that my mind couldn’t place the characters and the events, so I decided to start from the beginning. I got some good reading in while my dear girl slept and when she woke up she said she felt better and begged to go swimming. She did great, but by that evening her fever was pretty high and she was feeling rather rotten. She slept in the next morning, battled the fever for a few hours and then it was gone. I was so thankful no one else got it, and it didn’t interrupt our vacation too much.

We are home now and I am still plowing through my book. The big kids stayed with my parents, and as I laid Baby E down to sleep tonight he said he was scared, so I let him curl up on the floor by my feet as I sat in a rocking chair and read in my book. It didn’t take long and he was out, leaving me with a few moments of peace to enjoy my adventure.

I used to read ALL the time, but there isn’t time for it much anymore. I still love books. I enjoy holding them in my hands, feeling the pages between my fingers, and smelling the mix of paper and ink as my mind races to keep up with the characters. Hopefully it won’t take me another two years to finish this one up! 🙂

IMG_20170808_222234_634

08-07-17 We are home…

There’s always a sinking feeling when your vacation comes to an end and you know that you have to resume your regular life the next day. Not that regular life is bad, it’s just that having a break from it makes you realize how crazy and hectic it can be. Our family needed this time away and it did wonders for our little tribe. We experienced many adventures, milestones, and smiles over the past ten days and even though we are pretty exhausted, we have returned feeling a little lighter and a whole lot happier.

  1. Apparently, my children love to swim. Last year I couldn’t get either of them in the lake, but this year, after a slight hesitation, they got in. I assured them they were safe, we practiced swimming, made up songs to help them remember what to do, and within a few days, they were swimming all around by themselves, never needing us to intervene.
  2. Big E loves to run. He ran from his great grandparents’ house to the lake (about a half mile) following the van and pacing it at 5-8 mph.
  3. The big kids went camping. They were too scared early in the week, and even the night they did it, they were pretty nervous, but they learned that even if you are scared of something, it can actually turn out to be something amazing and fun.
  4. Baby E is unstoppable when given the opportunity, and don’t try to convince him he can’t keep up with the bigger kids. He has a wild imagination and loves to play games, especially ones that he makes up like running from the “Spider Finding Dory” (which Tim eventually explained to me was the Octopus from Finding Dory.)
  5. Children’s energy is pretty much boundless. It didn’t matter that they got to bed late, woke up early, and didn’t get naps, those children could run and play ALL day long.
  6. Baby E survived on a sparse diet of salami and grapes for the majority of the week. That sounds pretty unappealing to me, but it seemed to keep him going. (He will not be getting the same leniency now that we are home!)
  7. C spent three nights sleeping at the great grandparent’s house while we were in the hotel. The first night she did some sleep talking and when great grandma came to check on her and get her back down, she wouldn’t cooperate. (I think she might have been in a mild night terror, or something similar.) In response, great grandma laid down on the floor next to her and they both fell asleep. That seems pretty special to me.
  8. If nothing else can make a child happy, a Gator ride definitely can. The kids enjoyed riding the trails and paths around the farm, dodging branches, and eating blackberries from the bushes.
  9. Fish in lakes aren’t afraid to nibble on you. Beware.
  10. Sunburns hurt. Sunburns on top of sunburns hurt even more.
  11. For the second year in a row, C injured her big toe. Last year she dropped a brick on it. This year she stepped on the thorn or twig and cut it open.
  12. Either something joined Big E in his sleeping bag, or he rolled around in poison ivy, because that kid was covered in itchy, painful bumps. They were everywhere, and the first day they were huge!
  13. Sitting around a campfire is always better with s’mores and glow sticks.
  14. Homemade sweet tea is the best.
  15. Watching my children play and smile, was definitely my favorite part.

As I mentioned before I took a few pictures this year, but not nearly as many. In fact, while I packed our big camera, I never even took it out of the van. I contented myself with using my phone here and there, but in the end the trip isn’t documented as well as I usually do, and that’s fine by me.

This past year has been an incredibly rough one, in which I felt like I was being pushed and forced though some pretty horrible and unpleasant experiences. In the process, a part of me grew sad and numb, encouraging me to be more of a spectator than a participant. But in the past couple of months, I’ve begun to wake up, and the joy that had been dormant has begun to resurface. The sadness is no longer consuming, and the promise I have held onto, that He would not forsake me, has proven to be true. What an incredible blessing. So in response, I promised this week I would BE there. No sidelines, no spectator, but rather complete immersion. So while I may not have a ton of pictures, I have an overflowing portion of special moments and memories with my children. After all, they are only young once, and I don’t want to miss it!

IMG_20170807_232241_734