Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Title Undetermined (Camping)

Oh, I had a few other thoughts for this blog post title but I figured I'd rather not scare anyone!!

It could have been: "Bruised, Battered and Burnt" but I didn't want anyone to think we'd been killed in a car wreck or housefire :)

Or I could have gone with "Camping is NOT for wimps ergo Camping is NOT for me!" but it's only about 95% true - I did survive... barely and apparantly I'm going to be doing it again next year - yikes, I'm already nervous.

Don't get me wrong the surroundings were beautiful - we slept (though I do use the term slept loosely) right near a waterfall, we tubed down a river complete with some rapids (thus the bruised part), we were surrounded by trees and mountains.

Sounds beautiful but I didn't mention - the bathrooms were uphill and we trecked up there many, many times a day sometimes in the middle of the night often with 3 girls in tow - the bathrooms were small and hot and none of the doors worked and the girls couldn't turn on the water by themselves or use the dryer by themselves leaving me to juggle doors, water and dryer - it got old - FAST!

I didn't mention that too many people don't pay attention to the quiet curfew and while all my kids can sleep through everyone talking, yelling, driving, waving flashlights, using car blinkers repeatedly for no apparant reason - I cannot.

I don't like sleeping in sand or sticking to the mud or standing on really hot playgrounds with no place to sit while the girls play for hours.

I know, I'm a baby but this is why God gave me a house to live in. Maybe someday He'll call me to live in the middle of the brush and I will make do but right now I am feeling extremely blessed to have a roof over my head - a real one, not a plastic one.

Enough about me, the kids had a great time because unlike me they really enjoy being dirty, playing in the mud, sleeping on the ground and swimming in cold pools.

The really, very beautiful waterfall we slept nearby:

And oh how the kids loved the river - kept them occupied for hours!

My "rock" girls:

Some of our group tubing - Kirk, myself and the big kids got a chance to ride - it was too rough for the triplets - maybe next year...

My handsome guy in the river - he was gracious enough to buy us an air mattress so I didn't have to sleep directly on the ground AND was willing to come home a night early so we could all sleep in our beds - true love!!

Our "home" away from home - it says it sleeps 8 so it slept our 7 pretty "comfortably".

There will be no pictures of me. They will all be destroyed. All of them...

We survived. We are all a bit burnt, we have lots of new cuts and bruises but we are alive and soo grateful to be home and have the day off yesterday. A big thanks to the men and women who serve our country and those who have family serving our country. Our family was able to have the freedom to take the weekend off and I very much appreciate my freedom!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday To My Dad!!

I want to take a moment to wish my dad a very Happy Birthday! I can't be there to celebrate with today but I will be there in a week - yep, it's time to head to Florida again and swim in the pool :) The kids are counting down the days - they can hardly wait.

Happy Birthday to my dad who is still young enough to have fun:

Crazy enough to go on field trips with my kids:

And still living well despite having had to raise me as a teenager! Dad, thanks for being an awesome dad and a fun-loving Grandpa. We love you and miss you and can't wait to see you soon!

I hope you have a wonderful day and a very blessed year :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Is God Bigger Than Sam?

We have a lot of fun conversations now that the girls are 4 1/2 (today! Yikes!) but my favorite one generally goes like this:

Mom, is God bigger than Daddy?
Yes, He is.
Is God bigger than our house?
Is God bigger than Sam?

Who is Sam you ask?

Sam is a horse.

But he's not just any horse. He's a VERY biiiggg horse! Sam is NOT on a platform - he is just that big.

A few weeks ago the girls had a field trip to one of their classmates houses to go riding on this sweet pony:

And the girls were very excited to do so.

Seems the whole class was :)

Alyssa rode first out of my three and she seemed like a natural!

Rachel was very excited to give it a try but she was the only one who wouldn't go twice around the circle - once was enough for her.

Julianna loved being on the horse and was happy to show me how much :)

After riding the girls got to feed the horses a carrot - notice how close this horse is to the stall gate - unlike Sam who towers over it.

Sam and the class - he's just a cool horse.

From their perspective Sam must be enormous and when they ask me if God is bigger than Sam it's like me asking is God bigger than a skyscraper (well, almost). I mean Sam is big to me, I can't imagine what he looks like them.

But the best part is that the girls are thinking about God and who He is and I get a chance to teach them that yes, God is bigger than Sam, God is bigger than all of us and yet He still loved us enough to send His Son to die for us.

Now that's just awesome!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary!! 15 Years!!

It doesn't seem possible...

I'm NOT old enough...

To have been married for 15 years - but it's true. At the very young age of 19 I married my high school sweetheart - okay, he was mine, I wasn't his - he'd already graduated - I was a senior when we met - still, it's close enough :)

We've had our ups and downs but one thing is certain what God joins together He intends to stay that way but He doesn't intend for us to go it alone. On the bad days I cry out for help and God always answers. He restores the love I sometimes lack and makes me whole again. Without God's grace in our lives as husband and wife we would fail as a unit and as a family.

This song says it really well and is so relevant for us! Although we didn't get engaged at 19 and 21 we were quite young and we have now been married 15 years...

Happy 15th Anniversary to my wonderful husband, Kirk. Thanks for everything and may God grant us many more years together.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!

I hope you all had a wonderful day celebrating your Mother's or celebrating with your children and enjoying your own motherhood.

I got to spend the weekend away with my husband at Hershey Park, PA - lots of rides and lots of chocolate but no kids :) It was a nice break. I'd say that covers Mother's Day even though it was more for our 15th anniversary.

Now for Mother's Day I got a different sort of gift - my favorite kind:

Photos of my family!

My beautiful kiddos :)

The whole family - I think this is such a cool shot:

More of the family - seems like Rachel was not cooperating! Stinker...

My handsome boys...

And my beautiful girls...

I think these are my favorite - the individual shots of the kids - how cute are they?

And no photo shoot is complete without some good photos of me and my favorite guy!

A big thanks to Megan Keys from Keys Photography for the great shots! And of course, Happy Mother's Day to me :) I hope I can actually get some of these on my wall soon...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Now I Feel Like A Parent...

There are few milestones in the life of kid-dom - like being born, walking, learning to use the potty, starting school - but the most dreaded of all makes me really feel like a parent:


I'm sure college will be that much worse but braces is one of those real big expenses that parents face.

Now I'm good at using coupons but darn it they just don't make coupons for braces! Sure they have insurance but I have to say their definition of "co-pay" and mine are quite different. Fortunately, the Lord was gracious and provided a way where the braces aren't as expensive as they could be and o, how grateful I am for that! Of course, this is just child #1...

The big before:

Unfortunately, Kaitlyn has a very large overbite and that for me necessitated the braces - even the orthodontist was concerned about her teeth chipping because of their position in her mouth. Beyond that she has a jaw that doesn't align and one that even when it does her top jaw is actually inside her bottom jaw.

Sooo... to fix all that she actually has to have a very special bracket inserted in her upper and lower jaw - 10 years ago this would have been head gear but they have found no one wants to wear that (go figure) so someone invented the brackets to go inside the mouth rather than outside - yea!

NOT happy as they put the brackets in...

Brackets are in, getting ready to put on the top braces:

Top braces are on, just 4 for now and no wire yet - that will come after we've spent a few weeks daily adjusting the bracket:

All done - I think this look is more pain than gratitude. What do you think?

And today (after):

She is surprisingly good spirits despite the discomfort that I know she's in. The smile here is about how much she can close her mouth for now. I also notice that the photo doesn't show clearly enough how much metal is actually in her mouth!

We're looking at a 3-year process - a long, slow journey but so worth it in the end - I look forward to seeing the finished "product" - for now I can just enjoy making the payments and this quite large childhood milestone.

Now that makes me feel like a parent... but I love it!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Counting Down To 15 Years

In 10 days Kirk and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. Fifteen years may not seem as big as the tenth or twentieth anniversary but it's pretty big to me :) The past 15 years have not been without their bumps and bruises - amazing highs and amazing lows.

When we said our vows all those years ago I certainly didn't foresee a lot of what lie ahead. I mean who could have predicted we'd have 5 kids? I wouldn't have guessed I'd have 4 girls especially that 3 of them would be triplets! At the time we lived in Florida and now we're in Virginia. We've lost Kirk's mom since our wedding and we still miss her. We have no idea what lies ahead but I am grateful that I still have Kirk standing next to me as my husband and my best friend.

So, 10 days out from our anniversary I thought I would take a moment and list 10 reasons why I love Kirk - this is not an exhaustive list and it isn't in order from least to greatest but it's a small attempt of mine to show my husband how I love him and how happy I am that we will be celebrating 15 years together.

10. He's a hard worker - he works full time at his job and then comes home and helps me with dinner or other activities at home and then goes back to work at his other job to make sure our family is provided for.

9. He has amazing talent - I am constantly impressed at how good he is at what he does. God has given him the talent he has and he uses it well. I don't understand half of what he does but I see the results and they are amazing! He writes for THIS magazine and THIS one - how cool is that?

8. He has a tattoo with my name on it - come on, that's just cool! Not only does it have my name but he designed it, got it done and surprised me with it about a year and a half ago. How's that for romance?

7. He's a great dad - ever since Kaitlyn was born he has pitched in without question or complaint. When the triplets were born he helped with feedings and changings. Now that they're older he makes every effort to spend time with all the kids and they have a great relationship.

6. He has a servant's heart - not only does he work to provide for our family he helps me at home whenever he can. When I say "Do you mind grabbing this for me?" He always responds with "Don't mind at all" - I aspire to his servant's heart.

5. He puts up with me - I'm not putting myself down here - I'm just stating the obvious that I am a flawed sinner and Kirk has put up with me for 15 years with patience and love.

4. He always encourages me - whether it's couponing or writing or mothering or whatever I endeavor to do he is willing to support me and encourage me and help wherever he can.

3. He forgives - a bit like #5 but even more than that - another lesson I can take from my husband - the ability to forgive - I am grateful to constantly be on the receiving end.

2. He loves Christ - he has a strong faith in Christ and I love to see it grow as he strives to love me as Christ loves the church and as he strives to love me in a self-sacrificial way. I love to have theological discussions with him, to discuss the Bible and what we have learned - our relationship with one another is greater because of his love for our Lord.

1. He is the man God created for me - while not every day is easy (despite being awesome Kirk is a sinner too!) Kirk is the man that God created for me and I for him and I am proud to be his wife.

I'm know this isn't a complete list but this is a small idea of how blessed I feel to be married to Kirk and to be loved by him. I am very excited to be celebrating 15 years of marriage in 10 days. By God's grace we are still together and by His grace we will be together for many, many years to come.