Saturday, June 30, 2007

Home Sweet Home

It was a sad, gloomy day as we piled into the van this morning. No one wanted to leave, including TJ, who is not a “beach” person. That is, until I introduced him to the paradise that is the Outer Banks. As we were driving off the island, he made the comment about looking for a job out there. I laughed and said go for it! If you have never been to the OBX, I highly encourage you to go at least once before you die. There are no other beaches like it. We barely scratched the surface of things to do, and are planning to go back in mid-October for a long weekend. I am including some pictures from our week. We made it home this evening about 5:30PM. Reality set in as soon as we walked into the house. Meals to prepare, clothes to wash, kids to feed. . . time to get back into the swing of things!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hot! Hot! Hot!

It's hot today! We were at the beach by 9:30 this morning. I am sad to see our trip coming to an end. We have at times missed some of our daily luxuries, such as television, but overall it was a blessing because it allowed us to grow closer as a family. We have been up early each morning and out late at the beach each night. Instead of spending time watching TV, we’ve been watching God’s creation and thoroughly enjoying ourselves!

We met another family yesterday when we went to the NC Aquarium in Manteo. We ran in to them again today at the beach. We were able to talk for a long time and found that their infant daughter and T.G. both have the same birthday! They also have a 5 year old daughter and 4 year old son. The boys had a good time playing with them today. We made plans to meet again in the morning. They are from Virginia, and are really nice. I hope to keep in contact with them after we leave. Well, everyone is napping and I am going to do the same. Until next time. . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hello from Paradise!

Just a quick note from paradise- we are having a great time! The weather is perfect, in the mid-80s and sunny. We've been to the beach every day, usually several times a day. This morning we saw dolphins swimming off the shore. I didn't get an exact count, but I guess there were probably 8. It was awesome to see them jump and dive in the water. Th was so excited! Tonight we went back to the beach after eating some ice cream so the boys could burn off their energy. It was after 8pm and the sun was almost set. Sand crabs come out at night, so on our walk back, TJ and the boys were catching them. One of them bit TJ's finger and it scared him. He ended up throwing it on Th, who screamed bloody murder. Tomorrow we're going to buy some nets for them to catch them with! :) Okay, it's late and I'm tired. I'll post pictures when we get back this weekend. Take care!!

~T.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Beach Bound

I am washing, packing, and cleaning today to get ready for the OBX! I CAN”T WAIT!!! My mom is there, getting the cottage ready for us. She called and said the weather is beautiful, as usual. I hope my brother gets back early tomorrow so we can get on the road. The ocean is calling me!
We don’t have a strict itinerary, but Sunday we are going to church (a must for us, even on vacation!), and then heading to the beach for a while. I need to pick up some things from the store, so I’ll probably do that sometime Sunday, as well. It will be a low-key day. Monday we are touring our way through lighthouses, eventually taking the ferry to Ocracoke Island. Tuesday my mom and brother are leaving. I’m not sure what we’ll do then, or the rest of the week for that matter. TJ and I both agree that we want a relaxing vacation, not one that is highly structured with strict timelines.

Lots to do today, so I must be going. I will write more when I return, and post some pictures from paradise! Until then. . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Week in Review

Father’s Day, in my opinion, was a nice day, although it didn’t start out as such. The night before we went to a friend’s house to swim, eat, and hang out. We didn’t get home until after midnight, and by the time the boys were in bed, it was almost 1AM before I got to sleep. I set my alarm to go off at 6:15AM so I could wake before TJ and make breakfast. I did wake first, and prepared eggs, sausage (his pick!), hash browns, and French toast for him. I had the food ready, the table set, and his surprise gift (a calendar entitled “Our Life in Pictures”) waiting in his spot. When he woke, he wasn’t feeling well and barely ate. Now, I really don’t like sausage. It’s not just the taste, but everything about it grosses me out! The smell while it’s cooking is more than I can tolerate! TJ felt really, really bad about not eating, especially because he knows how much I despise sausage. It’s the thought that counts, right?

We were out late the night before, and the kids didn’t get a bath before bed. On Sunday mornings, we have a routine that includes TJ ironing both his and my clothes for church while I’m either getting myself or one of the kids ready. Since TJ wasn’t feeling well, I not only had to bathe, clothe, and feed the 3 kids, I also had to iron our clothes and get myself ready. Plus, we had to be at my in-laws at 2PM, meaning we needed to hit the road as soon as church let out at 12:30PM. Because of that, lunch needed to be prepared so we could eat in the car on the way. I had to wash the breakfast dishes to make counter space to prepare lunch. Needless to say, we missed Sunday School and barely made it to church!

We had an okay time at the in-laws. It was nice to see everyone again and catch up. Our minds were focused on all we had to do at home, or at least mine was. Probably the highlight for us was the family trip in the peddle boat. The 4 of us squeezed into it and Th got to steer. He is looking forward to the day his feet can reach the peddles so he can help- and so are we!

I shipped my brother off to camp with my church’s youth group this week. I had to finish laundry Sunday night and Monday morning so he would have enough clothes for the week. He was so excited to go. The Lord has really answered prayer this past week, and the opportunity for Adam to go to camp was one of them. He returns Saturday afternoon, which means our OBX trip is postponed until then. I plan to hit the road as soon as he steps off the bus, but ultimately God is in control. I am so thankful for our church! I am thankful that when Th is old enough, he will be able to go to camp.

I am also thankful for the many godly men and women in our church. One woman heard Th crying because he couldn’t go to camp now. She invited us to go swimming at the new YMCA. It’s awesome! They have an indoor pool, but they also have an outdoor water park with water slides, swings, and all kinds of cool things for the kids. We spent 3 hours there, and it was so nice to be able to talk with her. She was such an encouragement to me, and her children were, too. I have shared my testimony of salvation with many, but I really love to share my life experiences (good and bad) with others so they can know the many ways God has shown Himself faithful. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to share God’s goodness in my life with her.

Today is going to be low-key. I am taking the boys to get their hair cut, and then we are headed home so I can clean a little before we head to the beach Saturday. It’s raining, so hopefully that will keep me motivated to clean. When it’s nice outside, I am often tempted to forgo my responsibilities in order to get out in the fresh air. I have to get it done, though, because the church secretary is house/dog-sitting for us.The last time she stayed here, she made brownies as a welcome-home gift for us. Have I mentioned how thankful I am for our church?!? Have a great day!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Encouraging Words

I am so thankful for the often small, seemingly insignificant reminders the Lord uses to encourage me throughout the day. Th said something yesterday that has been on my mind since. When we were leaving VBS yesterday afternoon, he ran ahead and opened the door for me (I was pushing T.G. in her stroller and holding everybody’s “stuff”, along with Ta toddling behind). As I walked through the door, he said, “I am in training to be a godly man, and a godly man holds the door.”

Can you believe he said that! When I correct the boys, I always tell them they are in training to be a godly man. My job (and TJ’s) is to show them how to act and behave in a godly manner. I was really touched that Th said that- it reveals his heart, and God’s Word says that out of the heart come our thoughts and intents (see Hebrews 4:12). Th's little comment revealed to me that he has a desire to love and serve the Lord, and second to salvation, is the most important decision he can ever make! I didn’t decide to love and serve the Lord until I was in my early 20s! I pray God will continue to use Th to do great things in his life to serve Him!!

Thank you, Lord, for providing me with the encouragement that I need to continue to raise my children in the fear of the Lord.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Vacation Bible School

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

It has been a tiring week. I relied upon the above verse because I was feeling very overwhelmed with all of my commitments. As usual, I was being pulled in several directions and was having difficulty in prioritizing them. The reality of Vacation Bible School didn’t hit me until last Thursday evening. I met with the other teacher in the class to talk about our plan for the week. I left her house feeling both excited and panicked- I hadn’t prepared for the upcoming week through prayer as well as I should, and I had only myself to blame. The weekend didn’t provide much relief so I prayed every opportunity I had. We had our T-n-T campout last Friday, attended 2 birthday parties on Saturday, picked up my brother from the airport Saturday evening, and made final preparations for VBS on Sunday. The VBS kick-off was Sunday evening, and I had to be back at church at 4PM.

The Lord has been good to us: it has both rained and been sunny for the past 2 days. The rains came before and after VBS, allowing the children to play outside for game time. Plus, our theme this year is “Rescue Zone”. On Monday, a fire truck and fireman in full turnout gear came and demonstrated the equipment for the children. They even hooked up a hose for the kids to spray on the grass! They had a ball, especially my age group (5/6th graders). Today a police officer came with his police truck. Unfortunately, I was unable to get pictures both days- I forgot my camera on Monday, and today I was preoccupied with T.G. However, I heard a rumor that a helicopter is coming on Friday so I will definitely take pictures then!

Th is having a great time-I’m glad he’s able to participate. There is also a puppet named “Shadow” that all the kids love. He only makes his appearance during VBS, and last summer Th was a little apprehensive about him. He asked where Shadow lived, and not wanting to scare him from coming back to church, I told Th he lived at our Pastor’s house. What are the chances of Th going there? Well, when I went into labor with T.G., our pastor and his wife Gretchen picked up the boys from the hospital and brought them to their house. What was the first thing Th asked about when walking through the door? He wanted to know where Shadow’s room was! Pastor and Gretchen died laughing, and today Shadow asked about Th during the closing the service. Th was ecstatic that Shadow remembered him!

I am posting some pictures from our campout Friday and VBS today, and Lord willing I will be able to get some more pictures through the remainder of the week.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Update

I have added some pictures from various life events in which we've recently participated. T.G. is getting to be such a big girl, not just physically, but in every way. She never did take to a bottle, and put up a fight against the spoon, but now she loves to eat! She gets so angry if I eat something and don't share it- even if it's a burger! I have to pinch off a piece of everything for her to try. She eats pretty much anything she can get in her mouth. I was worried that she wasn't getting enough iron since she fought against eating infant cereal, but she's quickly made up for that! She eats the cereal, any type of baby food, plus whatever I can mash up enough to give her. She still doesn't have any teeth so I can't give her pieces too large. She eats regular bananas just fine, so that's a money saver! She also likes applesauce and sweet potatoes, plus toast and graham crackers. She's been sitting up by herself for a few weeks now, so that helps in entertainment. She loves to sit and watch the dogs and the boys play. They all make her laugh.

I picked up some Tiki Torches yesterday for TJ for Father's Day. Th told him as soon as we got home, ruining the surprise. I wasn't too upset, though, because I had no idea where I was going to store them until the big day. TJ was very excited and put them up last night. He found the other surprise I had planned to give him. I bought a stepping stone for the flower bed and planned to have the kids paint it. I had it stored in our laundry room under some old towels. He found it last weekend when he was looking for something. I have 1 more gift that he doesn't know about, and thankfully it doesn't require storage!

That's about it for now. T.G. is waking from her nap and "paging" me with her cries. Until next time. . .

Friday, June 1, 2007

Catch Up!

I am very excited. . . I found out my sister is expecting her first child. She and her boyfriend Paul were going to get married anyway; the pregnancy sort of sped things up a bit. Nevertheless, I am very happy for her. Plus, her due date is my birthday, so that makes it more exciting! She really wants a boy. In fact, she already has a name picked out- Noah James. I love it!

I would love for her to have a boy because I know how cool it is to have a boy first. I would also love for her to have a girl because her baby and T.G. will only be about a year apart. I told TJ last night I want to go and stay with her when she has the baby. I haven’t decided if I’ll go the same time as my mom or wait until after my mom leaves. He told me we have plenty of time to work out the details- I guess he’s right!

Her husband is a Marine and she told me today that he is due to deploy to Iraq in March, when the baby is about 2 months old. He’s already been there at least once (I think twice) so I encouraged her to think about moving onto the base. She will be closer to the base hospital/medical care, the store, and hopefully she’ll meet some other spouses and they can support each other. If he does leave, I will probably go and stay with her during my spring break and then have her come stay with us some next summer. She is very emotional and doesn’t want to think about it. I gently reminded her that she needed to plan now before he does leave to make it easier for the future. I feel for her! I know what it’s like to be a military spouse. I am so thankful we never had kids while TJ was still on active duty for that very reason (the long deployments).

We’ve been going to the pool daily this week to escape the heat. Ta is fearless and jumps right in- without arm floats! Th is much more cautious and eases his way down the steps. He can walk on the bottom, but he is still fearful. Even though they’re mine, I am still so surprised at how different their personalities are! Th was swimming a little bit yesterday and today but only because he saw Ta doing it first. He didn’t want to be outdone by his 2 year old brother! I am proud of the progress he’s made in a week. I just need to keep working to convince TJ of the practicality of enrolling the boys in swim lessons.

We have a quiet weekend planned for once. . . somewhat. We have a couple of things we need to do around here tomorrow, and then Sunday after church we have a birthday party to attend. This is our last “quiet” weekend until August, and I’m not exaggerating. We have something every weekend until then. This upcoming Friday we are camping with our T-n-T group again. So far there are 4 families signed up to camp. It should be fun because only 1 family out of the 4 was at the last campout. Fresh meat!

Next Saturday we have 2 birthday parties to attend, plus my 13-year-old brother is flying in from Ohio to stay for 3 weeks. The following week is Vacation Bible School at our church. We are free for 4 days before we leave for the Outer Banks (OBX). I am so excited for that trip that I have already begun a packing list. My family has been vacationing there since I was a child, and last summer my mom finally got a little cottage and is allowing us to stay there. It is right next door to my uncle’s house and across the street from the beach.

My mom is going to meet us there for 4 days and stay with my uncle so we can use the cottage. It’s 2 bedrooms so TJ and I will have a room and the boys will have a room. We’ll go grocery shopping when we get there to help offset the cost of food. There is so much to do there that is free or cheap. I feel like 8 days isn’t going to be enough time to do all that I want. TJ has never been there and I can’t wait to show him around.

When we lived in California, before having children, we’d often camp and tour various lighthouses. The OBX is what started me on my love of lighthouses. There are so many to see in such a small area. The OBX are actually islands off the coast of NC. The Atlantic is on one side and the sound is on the other. During low tide, it’s possible to walk a mile into the sound and go clamming & crabbing. The water is so clear- it’s awesome! There is also a park called Jockey’s Ridge. It’s a bunch of sand dunes and it’s difficult to describe how tall they are. People actually hang glide off of them. We are bringing the kites to fly there. This is where the Wright brothers made their first flight.

Along with the other “tourist” type activities of mini-golf and ice cream, there is also an aquarium, ferry rides to the other islands, fishing, and of course the beach. We also go to this place where you can 4-wheel on the beach. I know the boys will love that! Can you tell I’m a little excited?! I haven’t been there in about 10 years but my family assures me it’s still the same!

Once we get home, we’re here for a week before heading to Atlanta for a week. Then, after that, we’re home for 12 days before going to Myrtle Beach for a few days in late July.

Because of the business, I know the summer will pass quickly.