Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

On The Road Again - 2017 Vacation Plans



Now that I'm out of the first trimester, it's a good time to start thinking about vacation!

We are going on vacation pretty soon, and after some debating back and forth, we decided on Arizona!  If you've been around a while, you might remember that we took a trip to Arizona with Gwen was a baby.  For some reason that trip is just a quick blur in my memory.  I remember two days actually at the campground in Arizona, and I can't for the life of me figure out what happened to the rest of that vacation.  This is why I am thankful for this blog.  Someday when I am old (or not so old), and I can't remember anything, I'll be able to look back here.

(Actually, skimming over that 2013 vacation post, I can see why I don't remember it.  The whole vacation got cut short by budget problems and Shingles.)

So this time, I'm hoping no unforeseen monetary or health problems arise, and we can do Arizona right.  Here's the plan:

Day One: Road Trip.

Day Two: Road Trip with some sightseeing mixed in.  Going to a resort in Page, AZ.  The resort had mixed reviews online since they are apparently undergoing construction, but from the pictures, I have high hopes.  We should reach the resort by evening.

Day Three: Antelope Canyon! Click here to see some gorgeous photos.

Day Four: Aside from the Canyon there is nothing to do in Page, AZ that is kid-friendly.  We could go boating on Lake Powell, if you know, we had a boat.  Since we don't, we'll head on down to Flagstaff.

Day Five: Grand Canyon, maybe?  Except we are staying far, far away from the edge.  I don't know if this is a mom thing, or just a me thing, but I have visions of Clarice wandering under the guardrails to look over the edge and slipping. Ugh, I don't even like to think about it.  We'll just drive around and stop a couple places where I feel relatively secure, and Clarice will stay in our arms or the stroller the entire time.

Day Six: Not sure.  I'd like to check out this Rock Slide Park I've heard about.

Day Seven: Pack up the kids and drive up to hang out with my Gramie and Grandpa Bill!  We'll spend a couple nights at her cabin.

Day Eight: Spend the whole day with my grandparents, exploring, playing game, etc.

Day Nine: Pack the crew up and head home.

Aside from all that, I am hoping to sneak in as much swimming as possible.  Arizona should be much warmer than our home state in May, so I'm going to get a jump start on swimming lessons with the kids while we are there!

You'll notice that this year we are not camping.  We pack up our tent and air mattresses almost every year for vacation and usually love every minute of it, but the Lord blessed us a with an unexpectedly good tax return this year, so we decided to make life easy on ourselves and stay in hotels.  I am happy about this, because the last time we went camping while I was pregnant, I admit I was ready to be done by the time we headed home.  Something about being pregnant just makes dirt and rain/cold less tolerable for me, and I like to feel pretty when I'm pregnant, which makes a shower and other amenities a must have.  I'm grateful everything worked out the way it did this year.

I will say though, it is ridiculously hard to find a hotel that will allow you to keep four kids in the room with you, which I find absurd.  I'll say it for the thousandth time, four kids is not that many!  Our hotel days may be over for a bit once the fifth kid arrives, unless we want to book a suite or two hotel rooms.

So those are our soon-to-be-executed vacation plans, assuming all goes well and I don't come down with Shingles again.  Next week I'll share the books I'm planning on taking on vacation!  The important stuff, you know.

Have you been to Arizona?  What should I put on the must-see list?  Where are you going for vacation this year?


How To Have Easter Fun When You're Apparently Not Anemic



What a full week we've had!  Last week we not only had our first ultrasound, but we also had Clyde's 3rd birthday, and then Easter of course! I was also so excessively exhausted and actually physically weak one day I called my doctor to find out if I had anemia.  Wouldn't it be nice if that was my only issue?  Hello iron supplement, problem solved!  

But I apparently am not anemic.  However, that's not stopping me from eating foods that are iron-rich, just in case I have low iron stores or something.  Which is entirely possible, because right before I got pregnant I was craving ice - and isn't craving non-food items a sign of iron deficiency?  I think so.  Maybe I should have told that to the condescending nurse from my doctor's office (I may or may not have cried when I got off the phone with her).  Thankfully iron-rich food is what I'm craving anyway.  Give me all the dark leafy greens, eggs, and hamburgers.

Lots Of Easter Fun

Since I was so exhausted most of last week, I tried a new strategy and woke up with the sun and the kids just long enough to pour bowls of cereal and turn on Clifford The Big Red Dog.  Then back to bed I went.  I'm happy to report it worked beautifully, and I got another hour and a half of sleep.  Yes, that also means my kids got an hour and half of TV first thing in the morning, but you do what you've got to do.  This gave me enough energy to actually do the Easter activities I had been hoping to do all week, instead of spending another day miserably tired on the couch!

We colored eggs...





We did a (late) review and celebration of palm Sunday (I think this is the way to go, because I got five palm branches on clearance for a $1)...





And we made Resurrection rolls, to remind us of the empty tomb, because Jesus rose from the dead! Yes, I added pink frosting.  There were probably flowers on the outside of the garden tomb, right?





As for Easter Sunday, we went to a sunrise service at a local Christian camp, and then off to my mom's for Easter dinner and egg hunt!  It was a lovely Resurrection Day!  Much better than last year, when we spilled a gallon of paint and nearly ruined the carpet.

Sidenote: Easter with kids is like, 100% more fun.  The fun may come at the expense of actual reflection time, but I snuck some in where I could, and you do have to naturally reflect a bit to explain what Easter is really about to children.

What Am I Reading Lately?

I finally finished all the fiction books that were in my obligatory review stack, and I've decided I'm done with the book reviews for a couple months (after I finish the two non-fiction titles I have left -  insert sigh).  I need time to read what I really want to read.  I just get so tempted by the brand-new free books dangling in front of my face, but I'm shutting my eyes now and saying, "no!"

I'm trying really hard to finish a young adult read this month to participate in Collaboreads, but it's not going so well.  I feel like I'm running gout of time, and I'm not totally sure if my book choice counts as "young adult".  I went with "On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness" by Andrew Peterson (affiliate), first book in the Wingfeather saga.  I'm only a little way in, but I am so enjoying it!  It reminds me a lot of Narnia so far, and it's funny.  I read a couple chapters to Derek in the car, and he was laughing out loud. Also, it's written by Andrew Peterson, who is a Christian singer/songwriter a couple of you recommended to me when I asked for new music a couple months ago!  I didn't even realize that until after I picked it up!

What is the best young adult book that you've ever read?  And I'm taking Hunger Games and Divergent series out of the running, for variety sake.

Old School Blogger Shoutout

As previously mentioned, I have been a complete blog slacker between trying to finish my outrageous to-review book list before vacation next month, and feeling kind of gross if I stare at a screen for too long (pregnancy-related).  I won't totally let this section go, but I don't have anything new for you this week!  I will attempt to get caught up on my blog reading soon.

What I'm Drinking:  Orange juice.  I cut back on the decaf coffee because I couldn't decide if it was helping or hurting my excessive exhaustion.  What is your favorite tea blend for iced tea in the summer months?  I'm planning ahead!

A Trip To The Ranch (And A New Turntable)



We have eight inches of snow outside my window as I type this.  Hello Spring! 

My appetite must be back, because all this snow has me in the mood to make ginger cookies.  Who says it has to be a Christmas thing?  I'm contemplating the concept of making some gingerbread egg-shaped cookies...Easter is right around the corner, after all!  We could fancily frost them and everything.  I've always loved gingerbread better than sugar cookies.

A Trip To See Friends

This last weekend Derek and I loaded the kids up and took a mini road trip to visit our rancher friends!  I grew up with these ladies in a tiny white-steepled church in the mountains before they moved away, and they will always be dear friends of mine.  We always have such a nice time when we visit them, and they are such an encouragement to me.  

The kids loved seeing the lambs and calves (some of them born just the night before!), riding in the chuckwagon, getting to watch the baby animals have their bottles, chasing the chickens, and riding a pony!

(Of course my camera battery died, so I had to rely on phone pics - hence no pictures inside the barn of the cute lambs.  You can see my cute kids outside instead.)




(Grooming the pony!) 





(One of the best pictures to date of Clarice's curls!) 



(Bringing the wagon around for a ride!) 


 (My dear friends and myself - Holly, Me, Hazel, Heidi.)

We had lunch together and we adults had a nice time to visit too.  And the sweetest thing was that Holly gave me (drumroll please)...a Victrola turntable!  I am so excited!  She had read that I wanted one on my blog, and she wanted to give me this one as a "just because" gift.  She included the sweetest note of encouragement that was just what I needed to hear.  I felt so blessed by her thoughtfulness!

The Turntable

I have been so excited ever since I got the turntable home, and I went to the thrift store the next day to hunt down a few records to try out on it.  I love it!  Vinyl records sound so different than CD's or digital music, and I am a huge fan.  




So far I found a classical music record that ended up being more of a jazzy classical version.  I was wondering how they fit so many pieces on one CD - it's because they are all up-tempo medleys. It's okay, but not quite what I was looking for.  I'll try again for a different classical record the next time I am at the thrift store.  I also found a Flyin' W Wranglers record (which is fun cowboy-style music), a Hawaiin collection (there is my desire for Summer winning out again), a hymn record that is excellent, and Peter And The Wolf (narrated by Lorne Greene! Of Bonanza fame).  The kids have been requesting Peter And The Wolf over and over again, so that has dominated our player so far, but I am excited to go hunting for some other good records to play on it.

Anyone else have a turntable out there?  Where do you find records?  Isn't it the most fun way to play music?!

Old School Blogger Shoutout

I've been a horrible blog reader since the first trimester hit - all my blog reading time now goes to napping.  I'ms sorry!  Hoping to change this soon.  However, here is a new blog I have been enjoying reading, It's Just Angi, and Angi is just the sweetest.  I have been enjoying swapping comments and getting to know her over the last month or so!

What I'm Drinking:  I finally got over my uptightness about caffeine in the first trimester (it just takes me a while with each pregnancy), so I have been allowing myself some decaf coffee here and there! Ah, sweet nectar!  I'm drinking Boyer's Mountain Roast Decaf with CoffeeMate Chocolate Toffee Truffle creamer.




A New Family Formula




Words are escaping me for the start of this post, so let's just cut to the bottom line!





We are expecting an addition to our family!  Baby #5 calculated to arrive in November!

Details coming next week!

Why You Should Give The Antique Mall A Chance



Wow.  What a roller coaster of a week it has been!  You may have noticed that this old fashioned blogging is a day late, and that is because of the afore-mentioned roller coaster.  I'll get around to sharing the whole story soon, but for now, let's focus on one highlight of the week, which was a trip to our local antique mall with my mom and sister on Saturday.


All About Antique Malls And My Love For Them

Just in case you don't have an antique mall near you (which I'm sure you do, they are all over), a bunch of antique dealers can rent space in the mall to sell you their finds.  Because of the range of sellers, you could literally find anything in an antique mall.  You can never know what to expect, what you may find, or how much you may spend.

The very first time I ever entered an antique mall was with my grandma when I was perhaps eight years old.  My grandma used to take each of her grandkids out for their birthday and buy them whatever they wanted for a gift, followed by a sleepover at her house.  It was a great tradition, and one that my mom continues with her grandkids today.

This particular year, I wanted to find more Bobbsey Twins books.  This was a great old series about four siblings, two sets of boy/girl twins, and their adventures.  I had a couple of the books, but the additional titles listed in the back cover always intrigued me.  With titles like "Bobbsey Twins On Blueberry Island" and "Bobbsey Twins In Tulip Land", my eight-year-old imagination was running wild.  I had to read those books!

So my grandma took me to an antique mall to see if we could find any.  After browsing for quite a while, I spotted not one, not two Bobbsey Twin books, but the entire series!  In my haste to bend down and see the price tag, I failed to notice a broken ceramic washbasin, and sliced open my knee.  My grandma whisked me out of the store, applied hydrogen peroxide, and I later got a stitch.  I still have a scar.

And I never did get those Bobbsey Twins books.


How I Shop At Antique Stores Now



Still, that whole adventure seemed to attach the invisible thread that would draw me back to antique stores later in life, and when I grew up and went to the mall as a newlywed, I figured out that there are actually a bunch of other interesting things there besides Bobbsey Twins books.  This is what I usually look for:

1. Unique teacups.  All the china has a certain appeal to me, because they just don't make a lot of these things anymore!  But teacups are so dainty, and also practical, so I find myself scanning the shelves for them most.  My criteria for teacups is that they must be unusual and speak to me in some way.  Even amidst the unique field of teacups, you'd be surprised how often a rose pattern shows up, and then all the rose patterns start to look the same, so I go for the unusual or even odd-looking ones.  I'm also a happy camper if I can find one for less than $15.  Over $15 is usually more than I'm willing to spend, unless it's something really special.

2. Old books.  This cannot be just any old book, because with the advent of Amazon, you can find almost anything online.  In order for me to buy it, it must be an unusual title that I know would be hard to find or cost a fortune online, or it must be a good price, or an edition of a classic that has a cool look to it.

3. Records.  I keep asking for a record player for my birthday and Christmas, but so far no one has taken the hint!  Still, I am convinced I will get one someday, so I keep my eyes peeled for any good old records.  Especially if it's an Elvis record.

I definitely recommend going into the store with a few items that you want to hunt for - otherwise it can get overwhelming.  The search is what makes it fun!


Antique Store Haul

My mom and sister and I had a lovely time browsing the shelves last Saturday, after my mom treated us to breakfast (thanks Mom!).  There is so much in this antique store.  We only made it through half the aisles!  We decided we'll have to go again in a few months, and I'm already looking forward to it (and trying to remember to hold some money aside, because I always end up buying something).







(Doesn't everyone need a ceramic Robin Hood head?)

 (My Beautiful Mama.)

(Haha, my sis.  Can she strike a good pose or what?)

(Moi.)

This is what I ended up getting:

-Peach pearlized teacup.
-Delicate mint and pink daisy teacup.
-Green flower teacup.
-A book for my dad (which I won't specify here, in case he's reading).
-A hardcover copy of The Boxcar Children ($3!).
-A Peter, Paul, And Mary record ($2), which I will play someday on my future record player.
-Two pretty handkerchiefs (one from my mom).  Why don't people carry hankies anymore?  I guess because of the whole disposable tissues thing.

I'm most excited about the teacups and hankies, because they are so pretty.  You can expect these to be making appearances when I have to stage photos for the blog.  Can you believe I got all three of those teacups for $20?  I thought that was a pretty good deal.  

It was so fun to spend the morning with my mom and sister and find some treasures!





Have you ever been to an antique mall?  What would/do you hunt for in antique shops?

I highly recommend making a trip to your local antique mall, for a few reasons.

1. It's amazing the amount of interesting things that can be packed into one building!

2. You never know what you will find, but you most likely will find something that speaks to you.

3. If you don't find something cool for yourself, teacups and old books make great gifts!

4. It really is a great outing for bonding with family or friends, especially if you go from someone of a different generation than you.  It was so fun to hear all my mom's stories, keep an eye out for interesting items to swoon over or chuckle at, and see everyone's tastes!  It's one of the best destinations I can think of for quality time, and definitely was a special day with my mom and sister.


Old School Blogger Shoutout

Last week I somehow snuck in quite a bit of blog reading time, and found a few new favorites!  This week I thought I'd point you to Rachel at The Random Writings.   I feel like Rachel's blog pretty much embodies everything good about the long-ago days of blogging, and she is also a wonderful social blogger who will return your comments.  I am loving her blog and looking forward to getting to know her better!

What I'm Drinking: As you may have seen yesterday on Instagram, hot chocolate with Irish cream syrup.  But as you are reading this today I am off to the Children's Museum and have probably picked up a white chocolate iced coffee (my on-the-go go-to).






If Sisters Were Flowers, I'd Pick You



Did you know that last Thursday was Random Acts Of Kindness Day?  I didn't know there was a such a day, but I think it's a fun idea.  It's nice to get something special on special days, but there's something different and maybe even better about getting something special on a day you didn't expect it at all.

Proflowers offered me a free bouquet to send someone a bouquet of flowers in honor of Random Acts Of Kindness Day, and when I thought about who I wanted to send them to, I decided on my sister!









I am so proud to call this sweet girl my sis!  She inspires me in many ways.  She is so thoughtful and loving toward her family, including me!  She is the kind of person you can always count on, and she always does what she says she will do.  There are not as many people like that as you might think, and I'm lucky to have someone so reliable as my sister.  She also is so good at standing up for herself and what she believes in - I've occasionally recruited her to make a phone call for me to a difficult company, and she knows how to get things done (a relic of her office manager days collecting payments when we used to work at the same dental office!).  I want to be more like her in all these ways!  I'm so lucky to have not just a sister, but a best friend.

I think sometimes we don't take the time to really tell those closest to us how much we appreciate them and what we love about them, and I'm guilty of this too.  That's why I wanted to send the flowers, because I don't tell her enough how glad I am that we're sisters!




I'd encourage you, in honor of the month which holds Random Acts Of Kindness Day, to do something special for someone in your life too - just for no reason!  And if you do, here are a couple ideas:

1. Send flowers.  You can do what I did here and have a bouquet sent!  Proflowers was so easy to order from, had a great variety of flowers, and even delivered to my sister's rural address, so I'd recommend checking them out if you want a swift and easy way to deliver some botanical happiness!

2. Mail a card.  People don't send enough snail mail anymore, and there's something so nice about getting a non-bill piece of mail - especially when you put some thought into telling your friend or family member what is special about them!  We all need some encouragement sometimes.

3. Stop by with coffee.  Especially if you are surprising a mom with young kids, but really, who would turn down coffee?  Except those crazy people who don't drink caffeine, by whom I am continually puzzled.

Have you ever done anything for Random Acts Of Kindness Day?





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