Saturday, April 19, 2014

Erie Vacation

This week just seemed to disappear... but somehow I managed to edit my vacation pictures and start a photo book. I'm hoping to get that done before my coupon expires. (40 page 8x8 book for $12.99, free shipping... worth it!)

Anyways... here's a little recap of our family vacation to Erie, PA last weekend.

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On Saturday the kids woke up bright and early at 7:00 so we ate breakfast, loaded up the van and hit the road. We passed our time on the almost 2 hour trip like we usually do... pretending our large lollipops are microphones and singing along with our favorite songs.

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Our first stop in Erie was the Children's Museum. I had found a coupon online for buy one admission get one free... so I printed two and we went to the museum for $12 total! We explored and used our imaginations and had a fantastic time.

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Next, we stopped at the Bicentennial Tower. Liza and Jason were hoping to take the 200-some steps to the top but when we got there we found out that you had to take the elevator.

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Being that we couldn't take the steps, we ended up still having a lot of time before we could check into the hotel. We decided to find one of the three lighthouses in the area.

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Turns out there was a park right at the lighthouse which the kids were excited about.

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It was finally time to check in at the hotel.
Liza and Jason tested out the bed and then we went for a swim.

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After dinner we headed to Presque Isle where we got a bit excited about the ice, froze our faces off and watched the sunset.

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Liza and Jason then got to spend their first night in a hotel. They had a hard time falling asleep while sharing the same bed but eventually quiet came and we all got some rest... until 6:30am when Liza and Jason decided it was time to wake up. At 7:00 we headed to the lobby for the continental breakfast where Liza and Jason were excited about all the options that they never get to have at home. At 8:30 we were back in the pool.

It was a beautiful day so we then headed to the Erie Zoo where we got to see lots of animals that we don't have at our zoo... and some that we do see all the time. The zoo was really nice. We'll definitely go back. Especially since it is so cheap for us. We have a membership at the Pittsburgh Zoo and the Erie Zoo is one that honors that. We got 1/2 off meaning we only paid $11.50 for the four of us to go to the zoo!

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We spent the rest of our time at Presque Isle again because we love the beach. It was much warmer and we found more lighthouses. We took silly pictures, played in the sand and found a bunch of small seashells.

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We stopped at a restaurant for dinner and then made the drive home. We were all completely exhausted and full of good memories.

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Hooray for a successful family vacation!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

All Grown Up

Yesterday evening I got really sick. I spent a good bit of my night sitting on the hard footstool by the toilet while my body got an intense and unwanted workout. It. was. awful. I spent today laying in bed too nauseous to do anything other than sleep off and on. It's been a long boring day.

As soon as I realized how sick I was last night I started getting things in order. I let the kids know that they would have to get themselves in bed since Mike was working. They were on their own for Bible story and tuck in.

I then sent out emails...
to a friend letting her know not to send her son here before school in the morning.
to another friend letting her know I couldn't take her son to daycare for her after school.
and to another friend letting her know I would not be exercising with her in the morning and could she please walk Jason home from school for me.

Then, since Mike would be working today I had to have him run to the store for all my sick needs last night when he was done working. He's a good husband.

It's hard being mom AND being sick but in this house this mama sure does get taken care of well.

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Liza and Jason were so grown up getting themselves ready for bed, watching the time, doing their Bible story, praying for me and tucking each other in bed. And can I just say that kid prayers are the sweetest prayers of all. Liza prayed "God, makes the germs go where they are supposed to go and not on my mommy!" AMEN!

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This morning was another thing to navigate. Thankfully Mike got Liza's lunch together and was home long enough to get them started with getting ready. I laid in bed while they watched a movie until it was time to go to school. I have to say that it was sooo hard to lay in bed as they walked out the door instead of walking with them and giving them hugs and kisses at the school steps before they ran in the door for the day. I didn't even get to watch them walk from the window... too sick to get up. But while it was hard to not be able to have our regular send off, it was so easy to trust them. I'm certain that they were more mature in their walk to school today than any other day.

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I gave Jason instructions to come upstairs and wake me up as soon as he got home. He came in the door and straight up the stairs.

ME: Hi Jason. How was school?
JASON: Good.
ME: Are you going to get your lunch?
JASON: I guess.
ME: You can watch a movie.
JASON: Ok... I've got it all under control mom.
ME: Oh... all right buddy.

They don't need me.
It's bittersweet... because my goal is to raise them up to be independent. And today I am sooo glad that they were able to be independent... but they are only 6 and 7!! Aren't they still supposed to need me for everything?

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Jason took such good care of me this afternoon while the others were still out for the day. He would randomly stop what he was doing and come in my room and ask "how ya doing mom?" And then he would offer sweet little boy words of comfort.

Once, in a grand gesture, he noticed that a small amount of light was coming through the curtains and decided to take care of that. Jason is such a sweety!  

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Even though I haven't got out of bed today and I have felt miserable for most of it, my heart is full. I am loved and cared for. I can count on my family to take care of themselves when I am not able to take care of them.

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Mike is off on a soup run for me, stocking up for tomorrow since he'll be gone most of the day. Liza and Jason are relaxing while watching a movie... and I'm still laying in bed sipping on some flat ginger-ale while thinking about how grown up my babies are.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Presque Isle

A week ago I looked at the forecast and saw that the weather was supposed to be amazing... so Mike asked someone to switch him at work and we took a family trip to Erie, PA on Saturday and Sunday. We did a ton of stuff in those two days and completely wore ourselves out but in honor of the cold weather rolling in again I decided I'll share about the cold part of our trip first.

On Saturday afternoon we went to the Bicentennial Tower and rode the elevator to the top.

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Liza and Jason were bummed because they really wanted to take the steps... we weren't allowed. But it's always fun to see how far we can see when we get up in a high building or tower. As we looked out we saw white and were a bit confused to what it could be. You can see it just behind the tree line.

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I thought about it all day and then finally it hit me... it must be ice! Being that it was 70 degrees and sunny it took my mind a while to realize there could still be ice on the water.

But ice it was and it was actually a really neat thing to see!

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We spent Saturday evening at Presque Isle exploring the beaches, looking for cool stones and freezing our butts off! We stayed for the sunset and then called it a day.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Girls Are Good

I want to start this by saying that I do not believe that there is a right or wrong number of how many children and what gender combination makes a family complete. I also don't think that everyone needs to have a boy AND a girl in order to experience the fullness of raising children. After all, it's not like we get to choose the gender of the babies we have unless we adopt or abort. (Not a fan of abortion.)

With that said, there is a phrase that makes my heart sad. I've heard it often over the past few years and I wish it would go away. What I am hearing is this...

I'm glad I got all boys. I wouldn't know what to do with a girl!

Sometimes it is even said "I'm glad I didn't have any girls." 

There is nothing at all wrong with having all boys.
All boys is a GREAT thing.
I know several families that are all boys and I love them.
And I don't think every parent needs to have a girl AND a boy to have a full experience. That's just silly thinking.

But to be glad that girls weren't had... that's what causes me to pause and think.

Let's rewind a few years... like 30...

This is me... the girl who was always dirty. My mom tells me she doesn't know how it happened but the stomachs of my shirts were always filthy.

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I was strong willed and apparently had no shame as I saw nothing wrong with throwing tantrums in the street.

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My dad always jokes that he had to read a book because of me... The Strong Willed Child. Yep... I drove my dad to read! He must have been desperate.

As I grew older I further developed my tom-boy ways. I remember thinking it unfair that girls had to wear shirts when boys didn't and I despised wearing dresses. I didn't understand the girliness that other girls were developing. I spent my time in the woods, playing sports, and hanging out with the guys in the neighborhood proving I could do whatever stunts they could. I even got a skateboard for Christmas one year.

I continued these ways straight into college. I couldn't pass up a good rainstorm and a chance to play in the mud!

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Eventually I met a guy who liked me just the way I was and asked me to marry him. Then we began talking about kids and you know what... I was one of those women who dreaded having a girl. I always said "I would like two boys. That's it. No girls. Girls scare me." I probably even said that I wouldn't know what to do with a girl. You know... pink and frilly and MAKEUP! Oh my gosh... what would I do if I had a girl and she wanted to wear makeup? I've never worn it myself.

And then I had a girl.

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A sweet, precious, amazing, unique, girly as they come GIRL.
(She insists on wearing a dress to school every single Wednesday because they have music class... and when there is singing there might be dancing so she needs to be prepared.)

And I found out it wasn't so difficult. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. (So far anyways! She's only 7 1/2.) I found out that all I needed to do when raising a girl was LET HER BE.

I need to let Liza be Liza.
If she wants to wear dresses and dance and sing and twirl all day (which she does) then I need to just let her be. I need to encourage her heart and her dreams... just like I do with my son. I don't need to know what to do with a girl... because she knows what to do with herself.

The most interesting bit in all of this though is how having a girl has changed ME. I say it all the time... My Liza has made me a better person. (And so has my son and so will yours.) I found that my fears were unfounded... even silly. I feared having a girl because I didn't know how to be girly and I thought that would affect my daughter. It hasn't. She has affected me in that way far more than I have affected her.

Girls are not something to be feared.
They are wonderful and exciting and powerful.
They are sweet and giggly.
They are something to be desired... just as so many desire boys.

Girls are a blessing.
Girls are needed.

It's ok to be glad that you got all boys.
But please don't be glad that you didn't get a girl.

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